MNA National Desk: The government has allocated Tk 90 billion to subsidize farmers aiming to increase agricultural production amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“To meet the country’s food demand, different initiatives, including stimulus packages, have been taken and Tk 90 billion bas been allocated for boosting crop production amid the coronavirus outbreak,” Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdul Razzaque told a press briefing at the secretariat in Dhaka on Thursday.
He said the farmer-friendly government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has allocated Tk 90 billion to give subsidy to the growers.
Besides, the agriculture minister said the government has allocated Tk 1.20 billion for rehabilitation of farmers, while Tk 0.50 billion for the farmers affected by natural disasters and cooperatives agriculture, and Tk 0.75 billion for expansion of new crops and agriculture technology.
“Recently, Tk 2.0 billion has been allocated for distributing machineries and seeds among farmers as agriculture assistance. Tk 0.35 billion has been allocated for Aus seeds and fertilisers, while Tk 0.36 billion for irrigation,” he said.
Razzaque said the government has set a target of producing 24 million metric tonnes of paddy during the Boro season this year.
Considering the possible shortage of labourers during the harvesting period of Boro paddy amid coronavirus outbreak, he said, an allocation has been given to supply 180 combined harvesters and 137 reapers to the haor regions on emergency basis.
The agriculture minister said combined harvesters and reapers are also being sent to the farmers of haor areas from the country’s other regions.
Noting that Aman production will be increased, he said the government will procure paddy directly from farmers at Tk 26 per kg, while rice at Tk 36 per kg.
“We are going to approve a Tk 30 billion project. Once the project is implemented, the agriculture sector will be mechanised further,” he added.
In addition to this, Razzaque said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has allocated additional Tk 1.0 billion for mechanisation of agriculture.
From the amount, 800 combined harvesters and 400 reapers will be distributed among farmers soon, he said.
The agriculture minister said the government has given Tk 50 billion incentive to the agriculture sector and steps would be taken so that farmers can boost their agricultural outputs through the optimum utilisation of the incentive.
He directed all the agriculture officers to stay at their respective officers during the ongoing coronavirus crisis and stand by the farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Md Nasiruzzaman and senior officials of the ministry were present at the press briefing.