KARACHI: Karachi’s biggest cattle market has opened for business ahead of Eid-ul Azha but so far traders are glum.
The livestock industry was devastated by the floods with an estimated 300,000 big animals dead. It was therefore expected that prices would skyrocket.
Thus 2010 is going to be an unusual year for Asia’s largest livestock market, said traders. An indication of how lean it will be can be gauged by the numbers. The 1,000-acre Super Highway market can house 200,000 animals but on the first day of trading only 2,500 appeared.
“The number is definitely low compared to those of previous years,” acknowledged trader Hafiz Muir Ahmed. “We’ve paid our taxes, now let’s see what lies in store for us.” With a pinched supply and plenty of demand, prices are reflecting the extent of the tragedy. The minimum price for an animal is Rs40,000.
“In the past, the market used to be packed with animals all the way till block nine,” recalled annual customer Mohammad Tahir, who showed up this week to do his religious duty.
For its part, though the city administration decided that even if numbers were down, they would take pride in the security arrangements. “We wanted to ensure that buyers and sellers felt secure,” officials said. The market’s administrator Shahab Ali Ikram added that they had built 170 VIP plots for the more special customers. CCTV cameras have also been installed. “Learning from our past mistakes, we have made better arrangements this time.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2010.
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