-Price of rawhide low; small traders facing loss
-Piles of thousands of unsold rawhides ruin on Chattogram streets
Zahid Hossain Biplob: Rawhide traders including wholesalers and seasonal business people are incurring significant losses in the post-Eid period due to government mismanagement, the high price of salt, and the low retail price of their products.
Rawhides were traded at very low prices in Dhaka’s Hazaribagh, one of the country’s major tannery hubs, on the day of Eid-ul-Azha. The cowhides were sold at Tk 350 to Tk 400 on average and those of goats were sold at only Tk 25 to Tk 30. Whereas, in the last year, the prices of cowhides and goat hides were around Tk 800 and Tk 50 respectively.
The small traders, who individually bought hides from across the city, were not getting even the price they paid to buy the hides, many traders told Daily Industry correspondent.
In an investigation it was found that most of the seasonal rawhide traders across the country were facing the same problem. The lifeline of the rawhide business – salt – was being sold at a much higher price than normal.
When asked about the low prices, one of the buyers, Afzal Hossain, said there is enough stock of rawhide in the market, and the prices at the international market has also fallen significantly.
“Earlier, the price of per square feet of hide used to be around $1, but now the prices have fallen to around 60 cents only,” he added.
Traders alleged that, although the prices of commodities in general show an upward trend, the price of rawhide marks decline almost every year. The tannery owners are buying hides at a lower price on the ground that there is dearth of foreign buyers. As a result, the rawhide merchants are in difficulty.
The Ministry of Commerce lowered the price of rawhides ahead of the last Eid-ul-Azha. Following the government move, buyers were found not available even at lower price.
Tanneries are of the opinion that there is stock of old hides and they do not need to buy new hides.
Meanwhile, salt price has marked a rise of late. This has contributed to a rise in preservation cost of rawhides.
Nevertheless, rawhide price has reached a new low allegedly because of the unfair practice by a vested quarter. Some traders, therefore, are of the view that export of rawhides could be an answer to help break the unholy influence of the syndicate.
Meanwhile our Chattogram Bureau reports, seasonal traders in Chattogram have left on streets unsold rawhide of around 100,000 cattle following a steep price fall, according to an official.
Chattogram City Corporation workers started removing the rawhide from the streets of Aturar Depot, Muradpur and Bahaddarhat on Tuesday afternoon.
Wholesalers said most of them could not buy rawhide or had to offer meagre prices as they ran out of money due to unpaid bills from tanners in Dhaka.
The seasonal traders who were able to sell rawhide claimed they suffered huge losses after buying rawhide of cattle slaughtered on Eid-ul-Azha.
“We’ve removed four trucks of rawhide from Bahaddarhat. There appears to be 70 trucks more at Aturar Depot and Muradpur. Around 100,000 pieces of rawhide have been destroyed,” Mobarak Ali, said a ward councillor who has been appointed by the CCC as a monitor of cattle waste removal work.
The workers were transporting the abandoned rawhide to the CCC’s dumping ground at Bayezid Arefin Nagar.
Nazim Uddin, a seasonal trader who brought 200 pieces of rawhide from Fatikchharhi, said he paid Tk 300 for each and went door to door collect these, but the wholesalers were offering him Tk 50 apiece.
“No-one was eager to buy rawhide at even Tk 50 apiece in the afternoon. So I am leaving these on the street,” he said.
Another trader from the city’s Eidgah area said he invested half a million taka in rawhide trading during this Eid but was able to recover only Tk 300,000.
“I have abandoned 300 pieces as there was no buyer in the end,” he said.
Piles of thousands of abandoned rawhide started to form on the streets on Tuesday afternoon.
Blood from the piles littered the streets following rains and malodour of the rotten blood and rawhide covered the areas in the evening.
The CCC said it was applying bleaching powder to tackle the malodour and pollution.
The Chattogram Rawhide Merchant Cooperative Association targeted collection of 550,000 rawhides this Eid, but its leaders said they could achieve only 60 percent of the target by Tuesday evening.
Its President Abdul Kader believes rawhides of 10-15 percent cattle slaughtered during Eid will be destroyed this time.
Only 30 of the total 262 cattle merchants in Chattogram, including 112 members of the association, were able to buy rawhides this Eid as the tanners of Dhaka were yet to pay around Tk 500 million for rawhides sold previously, according to Kader.
He also thinks the government should have moved earlier to prevent the situation.
“The situation would not have been so bad if the government had announced the decision to allow rawhide export earlier and moved for discussion with the tanners for payment of the dues before Eid,” he said.
Our Khulna Bureau says, Rawhide traders of northern and southern regions of the country fear smuggling of the item to India as tanners have announced a low price of rawhide this year.
Small and seasonal traders alleged that despite high demand of rawhides in local and international markets, tanners are delaying purchase of rawhide this year forcing them to release their stock at lower prices.
Refuting the allegations, big rawhide traders, however, said they have no other option but to fix the price of the item due to its declining demand in the international markets.
Alauddin Mukul, secretary of rawhide market at Rajarhat in Jessore, told the Daily Industry that small hide traders will face huge losses this year due to low prices.
Ashraf Ali, president of Jessore Hide Traders’ Association, blamed seasonal traders and agents of the big businesses for the situation.
Seeking anonymity, a rawhide trader in Khulna feared that the hides could the smuggled out of the country due to the low prices this year.
Our Barishal and Rajshahi Bureau also reports the same scenario in their respective regions. Rawhide markets here are passing slack days after the Eid-ul-Azha, which seems unusual after the festival.
The situation worsened as traders lost their interest to purchase rawhide due to a fall in hide prices on the international market.
The slump is caused by a fall in demand for rawhide as the global financial crisis dampened sales of leather products on the international market, traders said.
Wholesalers are worried about their stock as they are unsure about at what rates tanners would buy rawhide.