Eid Al-Adha: Goat Breeders, Traders Worried as Maharashtra Curb on Livestock Market Impacts Demand

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A goat seller feeds goats at a livestock market ahead of Eid-Ul-Zuha in Bikaner, on Aug 6, 2019.– IANS

There’s been a virtual collapse of business just before Eid Al-Adha, with the state government disallowing operation of livestock markets

Ashok Kumar | Clarion India

MUMBAI – Goat breeders and traders in Maharashtra are worried about the virtual absence of demand for the animals just a little over a week before Eid Al-Adha, also called Bakr Eid. The state government has said mandis will not be allowed to operate because of Covid-19.

Breeders across the state are concerned about the sharp fall in demand for the animals. Thousands of farmers and cattle dealers are also witnessing the virtual collapse of business just days before Bakr Eid, when demand soars every year.

The Deonar abattoir here, one of the largest and busiest, is virtually deserted. According to officials at the abattoir, every year during Bakr Eid an average of more than 12,000 cattle are brought from other parts of the country.

But because of the ban on buying and selling of animals, there has been virtually no transfer of cattle this year. More than 5,000 farmers, butchers and others are involved at Deonar during Bakr Eid every year.

Last week, the state government issued guidelines disallowing livestock markets from operating anywhere in the state.

Reacting to the overall ban in the state, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Maharashtra, has urged chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to reconsider his decision and allowing ‘Bakra Mandi’ with additional safety measures in 27 of the 36 districts in the state, which are not that badly impacted by Covid-19.

“Nine of the 36 districts in the state have 93 per cent cases of Covid-19,” pointed out Rizwan-ur Rahman Khan, president, JIH, in a letter to Thackeray. “We suggest allowing Bakra Mandi before Eid Al-Adha, in 27 or other least affected districts of Maharashtra with certain additional safety measures such as social distancing, wearing of masks, hand gloves and sanitisation.”

Citing the fact that commercial activities are allowed, even in red zones with certain restrictions, the government should permit Bakra Mandis in community sacrifice centres with stringent safety guidelines.

“Trading of goats and animals should be decentralised to avoid big gatherings,” said Khan. “Playgrounds and other facilities can be converted into temporary community sacrifice centres.” Officials of these nine districts must draft guidelines with the help of and in co-ordination with the local municipal corporators, political and social activists, Ulemas and cattle traders, he added.

Goat breeders and traders across the state are facing a major crisis. In Nashik, for instance, goat breeders and meat sellers are facing massive difficulties. “There is no demand for the goats,” says Ramesh Kathale, a goat breeder in the district. “The prices are also not good.”

Iqbal Khatik, another seller in Nashik, bemoans that this year will see a major blow for his business because of the sparse demand.

In Akola district, goat breeders point out that demand for animals on the eve of Bakr Eid is not even half of what it was last year. Breeders say that goats that were selling for Rs30,000 last year do not even fetch Rs15,000 now.

Nagesh Kale, a trader in Buldhana district, notes that the government direction banning Bakr Eid celebrations in public places has resulted in the markets being closed for the past few days. “Demand for goods is very low and the prices do not cover our expenses,” he adds.

 

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