Nasir, a dairy farmer from Kustia, on Monday was instructing another farmer, in a phone call from Gabtali cattle market, to sell off his cows without any further wait as the price of the major sacrificial animals recently suffered a drop.
"Cow price has dropped. Let go of the cows. There is no [hope of] profit in keeping them," he said to the person on the other end of the phone call.
Nasir had brought 250 bulls from Kushtia to Gabtali market ahead of Eid-ul-Adha. So far, he has sold 222 bulls, within the price range of Tk1 lakh to Tk3.5 lakh.
"We are selling cows at the price at which the butcher sells meat," Nasir told The Business Standard.
"Usually, sacrificial cows are sold at a little higher price but we are not getting that extra profit this time. The number of buyers is low, so I have sold the cows at a small profit. The maximum profit per cow has been Tk5,000," he said.
Another sacrificial animal trader A Khaleq said, "It is our understanding that cattle price was higher in Dhaka last year and this time the price will be lower. I am selling them even if there is a little profit."
Khaleq has been selling cows in Gabtali Market for 40 years. This year, he brought 95 cows to the Gabtali market in hopes of profit ahead of Eid. He has already sold 70 cows.
"I have sold the cows for an average of Tk1.50 lakh and gained a profit of Tk2000 to Tk3,000 per cow. Buyers are claiming cattle price has dropped further now. If I hadn't sold them before, I would have been incurred loss."
Pointing to a large red bull, he said, "I bought it for Tk2 lakh and now buyers are pricing it at Tk1.50 lakh. They've understood that the market is filled with cows, and now they are not paying high prices. The price of cattle is higher in rural areas now than in Dhaka."
This TBS correspondent talked to 20 more cow traders who shared the same views as Khaleq and Nasir.
Ariful Islam, a trader from Chudanga, said, "Customers have realised that cow market has come down to normal. There's no profit, I have incurred losses."
Meanwhile, Md Mamun, a buyer, said cow prices are lower in the Kachukhet cattle market than in the Gabtali market. A big bull can be bought from there at TK1.30 lakh.
Another buyer Md Zafar, who has bought a bull for Tk1.56 lakh, said, "I'm happy with the price," he said.
However, Hashem Ali, the seller of the bull, said he bought the bull from Chuadanga for Tk1.57 lakh. In addition, it cost him to bring the bull to Dhaka.
In the meantime, traders who have cows worth Tk5-10 lakh are failing to sell the cattle. They said in the last few years many cows have made headlines for being sold at high prices. Some have been sold at Tk10 lakh. But this year, there's a lot of big cows in the market.
Liaquat Ali, a cow trader, brought 3 cows from Kushtia to Gabtali. He is asking Tk10 lakh for two of them and Tk6 lakh for another.
But, he said, "Buyers don't even ask the price. I will never raise big cows again."
Trader Amir Hossain said, "One buyer wanted to buy my cow for Tk6 lakh on Sunday. But today [Monday] no one even wants to pay Tk5 lakh for it.
"The cow weighs 1300kg. I have been raising it for four years. If I sell her at this price, not even my original expenses will be covered," he added.
Another trader Saiful Islam thinks cattle prices will come down further in the last day.
Sanwar Hossain, a member of the market management committee, said, "We are asking traders not to keep the cows in the hope of higher prices but to sell them even if there's a small profit. They should not cry later for not being able the cattle at all. We want them to return home happy."