Eid-ul-Azha Rawhide Market Sees Record Low Prices in Bangladesh

Salt-cured cowhides set at Tk 55-60 ($0.50) per square foot in Dhaka, a stark contrast to the previous year's rates.

The ongoing issue of unsold rawhides at government-fixed prices is causing significant concern among those who sacrificed animals during Eid-ul-Azha in Bangladesh. Seasonal traders, who are essential in the rawhide market, are offering prices far below expectations due to diminished demand. This trend highlights a broader crisis impacting the leather industry in Bangladesh.

During this Eid-ul-Azha, many individuals who sacrificed animals found themselves accepting dismal prices for rawhides.

“I bought my cow for Tk 1.16 lakh (approximately $986), but had to sell the cowhide for only Tk 400 (about $3.40).” .

Mubarak Hossain from Narsingdi shared his disappointment

Such low offers from seasonal traders, who are essential middlemen in the rawhide market, underscore the sharp decline in rawhide prices. The global decrease in demand for luxury goods like leather products and footwear, exacerbated by the pandemic and other crises, has severely affected local rawhide prices.

Hayet Ullah, a seasonal rawhide trader, mentioned that he purchased 25 pieces of cowhide at prices ranging from Tk 400 to Tk 600 per piece (approximately $3.40 to $5.10), depending on size. He aimed to buy rawhide worth Tk 25,000 (about $213) this year but noted the significant drop in prices due to lower demand from tanneries.

In Dhaka, the government set the price for salt-cured cowhides at Tk 55-60 ($0.50) per square foot, while outside the capital, the rate is Tk 50-55 per square foot. This year, the minimum price for cowhide in Dhaka is Tk 1,200 per piece (approximately $10.20), and Tk 1,000 (about $8.50) in other areas. Castrated goat skins are priced at Tk 20-25 ($0.20) per square foot, and regular goat skins at Tk 18-20 per square foot across the country.

Despite these set prices, the actual market situation tells a different story. Aftab Khan, president of the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants’ Association, reported that the trade of rawhides has not picked up momentum.

Typically, merchants purchase rawhides in the days following Eid-ul-Azha from major markets, focusing on salt-cured hides from seasonal traders. This year, more than one crore pieces of rawhide are expected to be produced, but the market remains sluggish.

The disposal of unsold rawhides has been a troubling trend in recent years. Many rawhides have ended up in rivers or buried due to the extremely low prices offered by grassroots traders and delayed payments from rawhide merchants. Additionally, rawhide merchants have faced challenges in receiving payments from tanners, compounding the issue.

Eid-ul-Azha contributes significantly to Bangladesh’s leather industry, providing roughly half of the annual rawhide supply. This raw material is crucial for the country’s billion-dollar leather and leather goods export business. However, this year, the market’s financial dynamics have been strained.

Shaheen Ahmed, president of the Bangladesh Tanners Association, estimated that rawhide worth Tk 80 crore (approximately $6.80 million) might be traded this Eid. Banks have disbursed Tk 280 crore (about $23.80 million), but due to the rescheduling of previous debts, the full amount is not available for investment in the market. Consequently, only Tk 80 crore worth of rawhide is expected to be traded, with over 30 percent of tanned hides still unsold due to lower international demand.

In conclusion, the rawhide market during this Eid-ul-Azha faces severe challenges. The significant drop in demand and prices has left many seasonal traders and leather industry stakeholders in a precarious position. Addressing these issues is crucial for the sustainability of Bangladesh’s leather industry, which remains a vital part of the country’s economy. The need for strategic interventions and support from both the government and industry players is more pressing than ever to stabilize this critical sector.

This article was covered by The Daily Star, click on the link to read the entire article – https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/rawhides-being-sold-low-prices-3636136

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