June 28, 2022, 12:00 am

Siyam Hoque

2020-04-12 17:00:45 BdST

Experts welcome agri stimulus, stress on proper distribution

Appreciating the government's move to provide Tk 50 billion loan to farmers at low interest rate, experts put emphasis on its proper distribution.

They also recommended direct cash subsidies for farmers in some affected sub sectors to boost production.

Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina on Sunday declared to form a Tk 50 billion scheme for small and medium scale farmers who could get loan at 5.0 per cent interest rate.

The decision came following an upcoming probable food crisis across the globe due to the virus pandemic.

While declaring the scheme, she said the government will provide the incentives so that no land can remain uncultivated. Farmers will be able to continue their production to avoid any kind of food shortage in the country.

Poultry, agricultural farm, spice, fruits and other food crop producers could get the loan facility, she added.

The Bangladesh Bank will form the new scheme for the farm sector, she said.

Prof Golam Hafeez Kennedy, vice president of Bangladesh Agricultural Economists Association, said it is a timely announcement for farmers who have been counting huge losses due to the lockdown.

But the targeted farmers should get the facility, he said.

Past experiences concerned to such incentives is not so good for marginal and small farmers, he added.

He said poultry, dairy, vegetable, onion, fruits and even maize, wheat and rice farmers have witnessed severe losses this year amid the lockdown.

List of the farmers should be made involving local agriculture extension office (DAE) and the civil administration.

Condition for attaining the loan should be flexible for small and marginal farmers.

"And transportation of farm produce should be smoother to get the real benefit," he added.

Chairman of Agrarian Research Foundation, Bangladesh (ARF) Dr Abdul Hamid, said apart from the loan incentives, farmers in some sub sectors should get cash subsidy immediately.

He said poultry, dairy, vegetable, fruit, cultured fisheries and salt farmers witnessed unbearable losses in last four weeks.

Wheat and maize farmers are not getting customers due to the country-wise shut, he said.

He said farmers in haor and other areas are counting Boro crop losses due to shortage of labourers. They should get direct cash subsidy depending on their losses so that they could continue farming.

Rice farmers should be involved in the government's rice procurement. Major portion of the cereal should be procured in paddy form to help the farmers, he said.

Procurement should be started earlier in Haor region so that farmers could get some profits there, he added.

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