Traders irked by sudden decline in prices of sacrificial animals

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HYDERABAD: Sudden reduction in prices of sacrificial animals in local as well as major urban markets in Karachi and Hyderabad is irking traders, who have invested thousands on purchasing popular breeds of animals for business on Eid-ul-Azha.

Traders have been supplying expensive breeds in the markets, but buyers are reluctant to purchase high-priced animals.

Muhammad Usman, a farmer from Matiari district has sold two of his two at Rs115,000 only. He said he could not have imagined a sudden fall in prices. “I was offered Rs140,000 for both bulls at my village farm, but I refused at that time.” Instead, he brought the animals to the weekly cattle market in Shahdadpur, Sanghar district, where he ended up selling the bulls at a much lower price than he was offered in his village.

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Mahmood Arain, a milk vendor in Hyderabad city has purchased a beautiful bull for Rs60,000 from Tando Muhammad Khan cattle market. He believes it was a reasonable price.

Buyers are heading to weekly markets now expecting lower prices compared to the ones offered at the Hyderabad cattle market, he said. The general perception is also that the local markets have healthier animals compared to the major markets, where big traders dominate business.

Also Read: Eidul Azha brings brisk business for blacksmiths, butchers

Sikandar Ali, a small-scale trader had brought four goats to the Hyderabad cattle market, where he had to sell the animals at a lower price. “I expected to get Rs60,000 for each goat. But the situation was not favourable, and I sold one goat at Rs40,000 and three at Rs35,000,” he said. His cousin was reluctant to sell his animals at low prices, and was staying at the market, expecting reasonable prices to recover the expenses of transportation and feed. Traders and farmers said Hyderabad cattle market does not have proper facilities for them and animals. Officials sitting there are only interested in collecting fees and charges, and do not facilitate farmers, traders, and animals at the premises, they allege.

Riaz Nangraj, a trader from Naushehroferoz district, who had brought 43 big and small animals to Karachi cattle market three weeks ago, is still waiting to receive clients. It is a disappointing situation for traders, who are receiving fewer buyers this year. Secondly, Nangraj believes that buyers were offering much lower rates compared to what was comfortable for the traders to recover cost and earn some profit. “We expect to sell cows at Rs140,000-Rs150,000 each. Unimaginably, we are being offered prices for animals up to Rs80,000-Rs90,000 each. Similarly, we have brought popular breeds of goats and want to sell at Rs50,000-Rs60,000 each, but the offer prices are merely Rs25,000-Rs30,000,” he said. Despite this, traders are optimistic about selling animals at better rates, and expect better business during the last two-three days. “We are not in hurry, and have to wait,” Nangraj said. “For now, a few people are visiting the market daily, asking for the prices and generally observing the situation. We want to sell our animals, but the prices being offered are not reasonable till now,” he added.

The volatility of prices on Eid-ul-Azha has put leading traders in a difficult position, as they have invested more on purchasing animals of popular breeds from Bahawalpur and local cattle markets. Transportation, taxes, fees for placement of their animals, and other expenses like feed make up the major chunk of their investment. Karachi as always attracts more traders and farmers from across the country, who bring popular breeds for business. But some traders still recall the trouble they experienced last year, when heavy rains disrupted business, forcing people to stay at home and traders faced huge losses. The rain had inflicted heavy losses on traders, who failed to recover even the cost of the animals, which included the purchasing, transportation, taxes, and cattle market fees.

Local markets in Sindh contribute more stock of animals to the major cattle market in Karachi, annually. Some leading traders from Sindh travel to Bahawalpur and local weekly cattle markets to purchase popular breeds to sell on Eid-ul-Azha. The farmers keep these animals at their farms for five-six months, providing proper feed and care to maintain their health before moving to the main market in Karachi.

This year, many traders believe that the supply flow to the Karachi market is low compared to previous years. Despite slightly low supply, prices of animals are down, they said. On top of that, there also seems to be a delay in the buying of sacrificial animals.

Usually trade activities begin a before the Zilhajj moon is sighted, and from the 1st, business gains momentum, however, this year the situation is worrisome for the traders who have invested thousands to buy and rear sacrificial animals.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on August 15th, 2018)

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