Aiming to ensure food security and prevent any possible food crisis in the post-corona world, the government has given the second highest priority to agriculture by proposing an allocation of Tk 22,489 crore, up by 1,005 crores from last year’s.
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on came up with the proposal while unveiling the national budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year in Parliament.
“I propose to allocate Tk. 22,489 crore for the agriculture sector in the next fiscal year, which was Tk. 21,484 in FY 2019-20,” he said in his budget speech.
The minister said agriculture is the government’s second highest priority sector. “To boost food production, we will lay emphasis on farm mechanisation, incentives for irrigation and seeds and rehabilitation of agriculture, and continue to provide subsidies on fertilizers.”
He said ensuring food and nutrition security for the large population in Bangladesh, and protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers, farm labourers and relevant others engaged in the agriculture sector are the main challenges now for the country given the prospect of food crisis in the post-corona world.
“We have been successful in sustaining self-sufficiency in rice production and maintaining a high growth rate in agriculture thanks to the relentless efforts of the present agriculture-friendly government and implementation of different programmes. Various steps will need to be taken for agricultural production and marketing and different other areas to tackle the imminent challenge of food scarcity,” Kamal said.
Mentioning that the Prime Minister has given directives to ensure that not even an inch of land is left without farming, he said the Ministry of Agriculture and its all attached departments will take necessary steps in this regard to ward off any possibility of food scarcity in the aftermath of COVID-19.
“The global coronavirus pandemic has affected the agriculture sector in Bangladesh, too. The COVID-19 has disrupted imports, exports and supply chains across the globe. Hence, we will have to put the highest emphasis on addressing the adverse effects on our domestic sectors,” the minister said.
Kamal said the government is encouraging farmers by providing necessary support in marketing of vegetables. “To effectively combat the effects of the novel coronavirus, this year we will continue our interventions, such as agricultural subsidies, incentives and support cards for fertilizers-seeds and other agricultural inputs, support for agricultural rehabilitation, special agriculture credit at low interest rates and easy terms, etc., at the required levels.”
Besides, the minister said, subsidies to farmers on procurement of agricultural equipment used in harvesting crops will continue.
Source: United News of Bangladesh