Khulna district is bracing for a shortage of sacrificial animals ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha causing worries among the Muslim devotees about a possible hike in price of the cattle.
Only about 48,000 sacrificial animals will be available for slaughtering compared to an estimated demand of 75,000 this year, according to figures available from the south-western district’s cattle farms and officials.
Eid-ul-Azha, the festival of sacrifice, is likely to be celebrated across the country in July next for the second consecutive year under the shadow of a surging Covid-19 pandemic.
Khulna has recently witnessed a spike in the infections, along with other bordering districts.
According to the local Fisheries and Livestock offices, some 47,789 cattle are available for Kurbani this year in 5,212 farms across the district as against a demand of 75,000 cattle.
The district saw slaughtering of some 74,000 cattle heads during Eid festival last year.
This year the farms have reared for Qurbani 28,568 oxen, 2,319 bulls, 2,404 cows, nine buffaloes, 12,239 goats, 2,250 sheep.
The huge gap between the demand and supply means the traders and buyers of the district will have to bring in animals from other districts. This, in turn, will spike the price.
Habibur Rahman Sardar, a local resident said “We have a joint family and we usually sacrifice 2 to 3 animals. Cattle brought from other districts cost high as we need to pay more for the carrying and extra tolls too.”
Shamsuzzaman Mia Swapan, councillor of number 21 ward, said “It is difficult to meet the demand of sacrificial animals with our production only. For this reason, we have to bring animals from other districts which may increase the price.”
During a recent visit to a number of cattle farms, this correspondent found the farmers in Sadar, Fhultala, Terokhada, Rupsha, Dakope, Koyra and Paikgachcha upazila busy in rearing their animals.
Afsar Sheikh, a farmer in Bamandia village of Dumuria upazila, said “Now I am passing busy days to look after my oxen as I have reared these without using any medicine. I hope I will be able to sell these at a good price.”
Ranjit Chakraborty, Khulna district Fisheries and livestock officials, said about 26 cattle haats will be set up in the district. Since animals from other districts will also arrive, there will be no shortage of sacrificial animals.
Medical teams including upazila-level veterinary doctors and their field-level assistants will visit every cattle market to check health condition of the animals to prevent selling of sick ones, he said.
He said the farmers as well as the livestock officials are now alert about use of any harmful chemicals in cattle rearing.