The government has planned to launch a project soon to facilitate the establishment of cold storage facilities at community level aiming to ensure the quality of rawhide and skins, officials said.
The commerce ministry has decided to prepare a necessary project with an aim to set up such storage facilities at the community level, they added.
The ministry will sit with its officials concerned and representatives from the home ministry and Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Company on January 10 to devise required strategies in this regard.
When contacted, additional secretary of the ministry Sharifa Khan who will preside over the meeting said the government moves to help establish small-sized cold storage facilities at the community level.
“We will help interested persons/warehouse owners who have godowns/storehouses if they want to establish preservation facilities. This process will mainly be share-basis. All kinds of necessary training, consultancy and innovative idea/proposal will be provided in this regard.”
It has already targeted persons or warehouse owners in Chattogram, Feni, Cumilla, Natore, Gaibandha, Jashore, Rajshahi, Kushtia, Bogura, Naogaon, Chapainawabganj, Dinajpur and other places, according to a source.
The government is considering helping the traders concerned in setting up of a couple of cold storage warehouses for preserving and stocking of rawhide if they (persons, associations or groups) want to build such storage facilities.
The move has been taken at the request of stakeholders concerned, a high official of the commerce ministry said.
The commerce ministry is likely to give technical or financial assistance from the proposed project to establish required storages as per the demand made by persons/stakeholders concerned, an MoC document showed.
“If any person/traders’ groups/associations concerned take move to establish cold storage facilities or convert any leather warehouses into cold storage ones, we will cooperate in line with their requirements,” Ms Sharifa said.
The additional secretary also explained that they could extend all sorts of support for establishing cold storage warehouses in the country.
Thousands of pieces of rawhide remained unsold during 2019 Eid-ul-Azha. Many also buried their rawhide under the ground after they failed to get expected prices while others sold them at throwaway prices.
A drastic fall in rawhide prices forced the owners of sacrificial animals, small, medium and seasonal traders in different districts including Chattogram, Sylhet, Narayanganj, Tangail, Dhaka, Narsingdi, Khulna and Rajshahi to throw away thousands of pieces of rawhide of cows, goats and buffaloes during the holy Eid festival.
In 2019, cowhide was sold between Tk 100, Tk 200 and Tk 300 a piece whereas usual prices are around Tk 1,500, Tk 2,000 and Tk 3,000 respectively.
Seasonal rawhide traders and tanners blamed a ‘syndicate’ as the price of cowhide began to drop on the evening of Eid.
The merchants had blamed the tanners for the steep fall in rawhide prices, alleging that dues from past years forced them to offer low prices or stop buying.
If some cold warehouses are established to preserve and stock of rawhide by the persons or associations/groups/traders concerned with the help of the government, it would be better for the country’s leather sector, industry insiders said.
They think that good management will have to be ensured for the operation of cold storage warehouses properly.
Under Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants Association (BHSMA), there are around 300 warehouses across Dhaka city apart from more than 1,600 makeshift warehouses.
Besides, nearly 0.12 million people are involved with around 5,000 warehouses across the country.