National, Front Page

Low price casts gloom over rawhide trade

Published : 12 Jul 2022 10:23 PM

Even after fixing the prices of rawhide of sacrificial animal, leather traders are not getting the real prices of the hides.  

Discouraged by repeated low prices of rawhides in the previous years, the leather trades also showed hardly any interest in buying the rawhides especially from the rural areas following the just ended Eid festival. 

Based on districts, all kinds of hides of cows and buffaloes, big and small, have been sold for Tk 300 or less. In the absence of any seasonal traders in those areas, 98 percent of the sacrificial skins have been donated to local religious schools or madrasas and orphanages while skins of the sacrificial goats were reportedly buried in the ground. 

Area based season traders are saying they are not able to sell skins as per the price fixed by the government, on the other hand the wholesalers said that they are buying leather at a price higher than the price fixed by the government.

Meanwhile, leather traders in the north-western part of the country are in dire straits due to non-receipt of prices fixed by the government. At the same time, they are frustrated with the increase in the price of salt. 

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have stepped up surveillance at the border areas amid fears of rawhides being smuggled out due to low prices. 

According to the Posta warehouse keepers, the price of leather is lower in the international market. Tannery owners do not want to pay so much. Apart from that, the tannery owners are in a capital crisis as they owe huge sums of money. 

On the other hand, tannery owners and traders of leather goods are arguing that the European Union (EU) and the US brands are not buying Bangladeshi leather as the pollution in the leather city of Hemayetpur has not stopped. As a result, the main buyer of Bangladeshi leather is now China but they pay less. 

Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) Chairman Mohiuddin Ahmed Mahin said, “Demand for this specialty has decreased significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals. However, artificial leather products are taking the place now. The EU and the United States are not buying leather unless it is processed in an environmentally friendly way. For that, we have to get the certificate of the international organization Leather Working Group (LWG) as an eco-friendly leather industrial city.” 

“We are currently forced to sell leather at USD 1.00 per square foot in China. If the tannery industry is environmentally friendly, it is possible to sell that leather at 50 percent to 60 percent higher prices,” he added.

Although the target was to preserve one lakh skins in the Posta area, still the target is not achieved. Workers’ wages, adding salt and others all together have added roughly Tk 30 per square foot of skin preservation.

This time, the tannery owners will get about nine million pieces of skins - the leather traders have been relieved to meet this target as they are not wasted. But collection is not the last stage. Following few steps those hides are preserved. In that case, if this long-term process is not done properly, the quality may be lost and the price may go down.

The Ministry of Commerce has fixed Tk 40 to Tk 44 per square foot of salted cow or buffalo skin outside Dhaka. Besides, the price of salted goat skin has been fixed at Tk 15 to Tk 17 per square foot across the country.