Farmers need more farm credit
Monday, 23 June 2008

Two successive floods and deadly cyclone have made food situation in the country critical. Economists estimated losses in rice production due to floods and Sidr ranging between 21.39 lakh tons and 23.63 lakh tons. Stocks are being fast depleted as the government is running the Vulnerable Group Feeding programme vigorously. While imports of costly food grains to feed millions can never be a permanent solution, no time should now be lost by one and all in recouping the losses the natural calamities have caused to agriculture. Unless farmers, badly battered by floods and cyclone are given help right now in going for food production, the future days will really be fraught with grave dangers. Against this backdrop, the failure of private commercial banks to meet their commitment of agriculture credits to supplement the efforts of making up the loss should be dealt with very seriously.  The central bank governor expressed dissatisfaction over private commercial banks’ poor disbursement of agriculture credits compared to their voluntary commitment to contribute to the sector. The governor had earlier offered incentives to the private banks for contributing to the agriculture sector. In response, they had voluntarily committed to provide agriculture loans of around 1,300cr. taka during the current fiscal year.  Farmers need capital at this moment . The banks should immediately withdraw all certificate cases and warrants of arrests against defaulting farmers. They should reschedule old loans and start payment of new loans. They can provide loans for storage and marketing of agriculture products. The banks should make up their low return out of agriculture credit from other sectors.

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