Tanners to start buying rawhide, oppose export
Amidst nationwide backlash Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) has at last decided to start purchasing rawhides of sacrificial animals of Eid-ul-Azha at the request of the commerce ministry from next Saturday.
But many believe that it may be too late for seasonal traders to wait with their collection. Buying is a good news but at what price is unclear and whether the merchant traders will offer fair price is not sure, said a trader.
However BTA President Md Shaheen Ahmed told the media that allegation of an 'influential syndicate' taking the market hostage has slammed prices of rawhides.
Earlier at a press conference, the association opposed a government decision to allow rawhide export in order to ensure fair price but said they would start buying rawhides on Aug 20.
After the news conference, the ministry said in a media release that the tanners in a discussion agreed to bring forward the starting date for rawhide purchase.
Bdnews24.com adds: Seasonal traders alleged merchants offered them far below the government-fixed prices of rawhide during Eid this time.
The crisis reached the peak when the merchants stopped buying rawhide from the seasonal traders claiming they were out of funds due to unpaid bills from the tanners.
The seasonal traders, with no way to preserve rawhide, abandoned their foods on the streets of Chattogram. Traders in other parts of the country, including Dhaka and the northern region rawhide hub Dinajpur, also suffered huge losses.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader has said the government will try to find out whether someone manipulated the Eid rawhide market.
The government has lifted a bar on rawhide export, but many things remain unclear such as how the move will affect domestic industries or benefit general people and seasonal traders.
"Let's see what happens. We will slow sown (rawhide) export if we see negative impact on the local industry," Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi told bdnews24.com on Tuesday.
At the press conference on Wednesday, Bangladesh Tanners Association expressed deep concerns over the government's decision to allow rawhide exports, on the grounds that it might pose a major threat to local leather industry.
"Our investment worth of Tk 70 billion will be affected if the government allows exports of rawhide," the association's President Shaheen said, urging the government to withdraw the decision.
"Leather industries in Savar would be affected as rawhide export will make the raw material less available in the domestic market. Many of those involved with the trade will lose their jobs," he said.
He also denied the allegation of Tk 3 billion in unpaid bills and said, "The merchants are citing the allegation to buy rawhides cheap. They are manipulating the market."
About half of the cattle slaughtered in a year in Bangladesh are sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha.
Wholesalers buy and preserve the rawhides and skin of sacrificial animals from seasonal traders and later sell these to tanners.