Banks to give farmers agri loan for producing 31 types of seedsAKM Zamir Uddin
Bangladesh Bank has taken a decision to disburse short-term agriculture loans to produce 31 types of seeds at the farmers’ level, avoiding the seeds production companies, said officials of the central bank.
They said that BB governor Atiur Rahman had signed the new policy on Tuesday and the central bank would issue a fresh circular to scheduled banks today in this regard.
As per the existing rules of the BB, the banks cannot now disburse farm loans with interest rate of 13 per cent to the farmers to produce seeds, as the local and multinational seeds production companies might take the opportunity of availing the lower rate of interest.
A BB official told New Age on Tuesday that the central bank had so far not brought the issue under its Agriculture and Rural Credit Policy and Programme considering that the banks might disburse more loans to the seeds production companies than the farmers.
Some local and foreign seeds producing companies lobbied with the central bank for a long time so that they get bank loans with 13 per cent rate of interest, he said.
But the BB has rejected the application of the companies as such opportunity would hamper the main goal of the farm loan policy, he said.
He said that the BB had earlier requested the Department of Agriculture Extension to make a separate loan policy for seed production by the farmers.
As part of the BB direction, the Department of Agriculture Extension has framed a separate policy in which it selected 31 types of seeds and set separate loan ceilings.
According to the new rules, the farmers would get farm loans with interest rate of 13 per cent to produce seeds including aman, boro, wheat, chilly, onion, garlic, bean, edible leaf, gourd, reddish, aubergine, bitter-gourd, okra, potato, mustard, sunflower, gram and red lentil.
The farmers will get the loan to produce seeds for maximum one-year.
The banks will disburse loans to produce seeds of wheat, chilly, edible leaf, sunflower for one acre and that of potato for 2.5 acres.
Farmers will be able to get maximum loan of Tk 2,50,800 to produce boro seeds, Tk 3,02,950 for aman, Tk 2,66,850 for wheat, Tk 37,595 for chilly, Tk 80,600 for onion, Tk 3,73,700 for garlic, Tk 43,810 for bean, Tk 43,465 for gourd, Tk 28,138 for reddish, Tk 28,710 for aubergine, Tk 40,700 for bitter gourd, Tk 25,190 for okra, Tk 1,47,390 for mustered, Tk 29,310 for sunflower, Tk 1,08,100 for gram, and Tk 1,16,410 for red lentil.
According to the existing Agriculture and Rural Credit Policy and Programme of the BB, the banks have to disburse majority portion of farm loans in six sectors, which are crops, irrigation equipment, agriculture equipment, live-stock and poultry firm, fisheries, and grain storage and marketing.
The BB in its latest farm loan policy for fiscal year 2013-14 set a disbursement target of Tk 14,595 crore.
Another BB official said that the farmers’ dependence on the seed production companies would decrease in the coming months as they (farmers) will get loans from the banks with a lower interest rate to produce seeds.
Besides, seeds production at the farmers’ level will also get a tempo which will help them to be self-reliant, he said.
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