Other States

Maharashtra farmers resort to distress sale of cattle

Thousands of cattle are for sale at market in Pachod village of Aurangabad district.  

The Sunday markets in the villages bordering Beed and Aurangabad in Maharashtra are witnessing distress sale of cattle, with farmers resorting to desperate measures to cope with the acute shortage of fodder and water.

For some, the sale of cattle is important to wipe off debt, and others need money to perform marriages at home.

Most farmers arriving at the markets on Sunday had already lost some of their cattle to the searing drought, while others had run out of fodder and water.

For Bablu Pawar, 17, the sale of a pair of bullocks was crucial as he wanted funds for his sister’s wedding later this month. A cow and two calves, out of a total of 11 cattle in the family, had already been sold, along with three acres of land, for the ceremony. The bullocks would have fetched him about Rs. 1 lakh before the drought in Marathwada and the beef ban announced by the State government earlier in the year. But, now, the prices have fallen by half.

“It is the question of my sister’s wedding and I am willing to sell the cattle for less than Rs. 35,000 but there are no takers even at this price. It is becoming increasingly difficult to arrange even water and fodder for the cattle,” Mr. Pawar said, as he walked back without completing the sale in Pachod village.

Wasi Zaidi, who has taken a contract for the cattle market from the local gram panchayat, said the sale of cattle had fallen by 40 per cent on account of the beef ban. Of the 600 cattle put out for sale, only 150 deals were sealed on Sunday.

“Many of these farmers have requested me to facilitate sale even at half prices to fund their daughters’ marriage. Some do not have money even to feed the cattle. There is nothing anyone can do with beef export firms refusing to pick up cattle from these markets,” said Mr. Zaidi.

He added that the decision to extend the ban on cow slaughter to bullocks had hit the abattoirs and affected traders in general.

As many as 2,60,925 head of cattle are housed in the 262 camps of Beed district, but areas such as Paithan taluka in Aurangabad do not have a single cattle camp.

Hanif Bhai, who tried to unsuccessfully sell his pair of Khilari bullocks on Sunday, said: “It is painful to sell what we have raised with so much care, but now it is impossible to arrange fodder and water for them.”

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2020 10:22:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-farmers-resort-to-distress-sale-of-cattle/article8462993.ece

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