Digital Haat, which had already drawn much attention, was inaugurated on Tuesday for the sale of sacrificial animals online before the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha amid the raging pandemic.
While inaugurating the virtual marketplace, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim said the digital haat would ensure fair prices for sellers, and buyers could rest assured that they were making good purchases.
"If the government were not as digitally capable as it is today, it would not be possible to organise a digital haat," he said.
About providing incentives to those whose animals will remain unsold in the Eid market, the minister said they would not need incentives since they would later be able to sell their animals for meat outside the haat.
However, the government will help the fisheries and livestock sector, he said.
It has provided financial incentives to the tune of Tk700 crore to nearly six lakh farmers affected by the pandemic in the fisheries and livestock sector, he added.
The online cattle haat is jointly managed by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, and the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB).
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who was present at the inaugural ceremony, said some 241 marginal haats had been brought together into the digital haat this year with more than 1,800 shops.
Organisers have been able to connect farmers and traders from remote areas of the country to Digital Haat.
"We have had more than 19 lakh visitors on our website in the last few days and are optimistic that the figure will increase in the next few days," Palak added.
After the programme, the ICT minister himself purchased a cow for Tk70,000 and donated it.
According to the e-CAB, until 12 July, Digital Haat sold more than one and a half lakh animals for Tk1,116.8 crore.
Shomi Kaiser, president of e-CAB, said that utilising information technology was a great way to distribute resources and pass on the benefits to the poor and marginalised population.
Secretary of Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Raunak Mahmud, Access to Information (a2i) Project Director Dr Abdul Mannan, a2i's Joint Project Director Dewan Mohammad Humayun, Secretary of ICT Division NM Ziaul Alam, Team Leader of ekShop Rezwanul Haque Jami, and Secretary-General of E-Cab Mohammad Abdul Wahed Tamal, were also present at the event among others.