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Rawhide prices hit rock-bottom

  • Published at 03:43 pm August 14th, 2019
Rawhide prices hit rock-bottom
Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Heavy blow to seasonal, small traders in Chittagong

The slump in the prices of rawhide of sacrificial animals has dealt a big blow to the seasonal and small traders of Chittagong. 

They have attributed the plummeting prices to acute fund crisis, as tanners did not pay their arrears before Eid.

Failing to sell rawhides even at a nominal price, many seasonal traders left the rawhides on the streets. 

Shafiqul Mannan Siddique, Chief Conservancy Officer of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC), told Dhaka Tribune that they dumped more than one lakh pieces of rawhide in two dumping stations of the city.

"Every year we have to remove leftovers of the sacrificial animals. This time we removed the rawhides left on the streets. I have never seen this in my life. Most of rawhide was left on Hathazari road, Agrabad, Hamjarbag, Aturar Depot, Boropole and Bayezid Bostami areas of the port city," the official said.

Mobarak Ali, CCC councillor of West Sholoshahar, said: "I have talked to rawhide traders. They said they were compelled to dump rawhide for failing to sell them at a nominal price." 

Hailing the government decision to export rawhide for ensuring fair price, Muslim Uddin, adviser to Chittagong Rawhide Warehouse Traders’ Cooperative Association Ltd, squarely put the blame on the tanners.

"The plunging prices of rawhides is a national loss. The country's image will suffer due to the incident of rawhides getting damaged. The tanners are responsible for the plummeting prices of rawhides. They did not pay the arrears, which amounts to Tk 25-30 crore, and for this reason we could not purchase rawhides. Moreover, our bargaining capacity with the tanners of Dhaka has reduced, as there is only one tannery functioning in Chittagong," said Muslim.

"The seasonal traders make the market unstable by purchasing rawhides at higher prices. Rawhide is a perishable item. However, the seasonal traders tend to stockpile the rawhides hoping for a high price. That's why the rawhides got damaged," he said.     

 "As you know, the tanners fix the price for salted rawhides. We have very little profit margin as each square feet of rawhide costs Tk 15-17 including salting, labour cost and shipment charges. We have to sprinkle 8-9 kg salt over a piece of cowhide and 1-1.5 kg salt over a piece of goatskin," reasoned Muslim Uddin. 

This time the tanners announced to buy per square feet salted cowhide and buffalo rawhide at Tk 45-50 in Dhaka and at Tk 35-40 for outside capital.

The price of salted skin of castrated goats has been fixed at Tk 18-20 per square feet, while the price of salted skin of un-castrated goat has been fixed at Tk 13-15.

This time, the merchants have set a target of procuring around 5.50 lakh pieces of rawhide from greater Chittagong.

Of them, 4 lakh pieces of rawhide are likely to be procured from cows, 1.20 lakh from goat, 15,000 pieces from buffalo and 15,000 pieces from sheep. 

According to District Livestock Office, a total of 655,415 cattle were sacrificed in Chittagong in 2018. This year a total of 720,000 cattle heads are projected to be slaughtered in Chittagong. 

According to Chittagong Rawhide Warehouse Traders’ Cooperative Association Ltd, 70 percent rawhides were collected till Wednesday. 

Around 200 rawhide warehouses are housed in Chittagong region and 20,000-25,000 people are directly and indirectly involved with the rawhide business. 

After collecting rawhides from different parts of Chittagong, the seasonal traders take them to the warehouse traders at the city's Aturar Depot area. 

Then the warehouse merchants begin processing the skins. 

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