Overheads behind bakra buoyancyArchive
LAHORE: Sunday turned out to be the first day when city animal markets witnessed a big rush for the first time since their establishment a week ago, and naturally prices of the animals also went up with buyers swarming the markets.
Almost all the buyers Dawn spoke to had complaints of high prices, especially for the smaller animal (bakra, dumba) for two reasons: firstly, they were more in trade. Secondly, they were in comparison to bigger ones in short supply.
“The trend for bigger animals is gaining strength because of economic reason,” explains Ubaid Anwer – a buyer at the college road market, set up by the city district government on 70-odd acres in Nishter Town. One normal size goat is costing between Rs40,000 and Rs50,000 whereas the bigger animal (cow) would have seven partners and would not cost more than Rs15,000 for each of them. So, middle class people now prefer bigger animals which cost less and also fulfil the religious ritual as well.
Partnership option is convenient for many
The trend is there for the last few years but is only becoming more obvious now, he thinks.
“In fact, the price has witnessed a slight decline if compared to what the traders were asking a week ago,” says a city government official in the same market. Some strong rains in the last few days have defined limits of the local government as well. Demand for more tents to deal with after-effects [of rains] has increased.
The rain made traders nervous and a slight slide in prices is there. What make them more vulnerable is the Met forecasts, which forewarn about more rains in the next few days as well. So, some individual traders might be asking for higher prices – taking two, three sunny days as a small window of opportunity for more profit – but the overall trend is down for sure, he asserts and warns: “These traders and markets will plunge into chaos if additional paraphernalia does not arrive before next spell of rain. This market now has more than 25,000 animals, requiring massive tents and allied arrangements spread over 70 acres. The market on Raiwind Road has over 20,000 animals and 60 acres to deal with. These are massive structures created by the city government, requiring massive supply of services as well.”
“What people do realise is the fact that the cost of living has gone up for everyone, animals included,” says Nazar Hussain – an animal trader – while explaining high cost of animals. These animals now cost a fortune to be raised.
A bigger animal, even when raised domestically, costs around Rs200 to Rs300 a day on the basic feed head. If one needs nutritious feed, add another 50 to 60 per cent to that cost. Medical coverage is additional and so is manpower invested in it.
Then the animal has to be transported to bigger cities like Lahore, with substantial investment. Keeping them here for a week or so has its own cost. The city district government has created some infrastructure but everything here costs money – much higher than the market price; fodder, water, tea, meals all cost hugely as compared to normal days. All these costs are naturally passed on to the customers, Mr Hussain says.
Another risk factor is return journey. If all animals are not sold, one has to carry the rest of the herd back home. Even that cost has to be recovered from the ones sold. So, all these factors make animal a costly proposition and the people rightly feel the pinch, he admits.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2017