Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Monday rolled out the agriculture and rural credit policy for the financial year 2015-16 (FY16), setting a target of disbursing farm credit of Taka 16,400 crore in the next 12 months.
Governor Dr Atiur Rahman unveiled the credit policy at the central bank's headquarters in the capital city with a projection of 5.5 percent rise in the loan disbursement target for the current financial year. The disbursement target for the immediate past 2014-15 financial year (FY15) was Taka 15,500 crore, reports BSS.
The actual disbursement, however, was 3.0 percent higher than target when 47.6 percent of the total disbursed credit had gone to crop sector.
"The policy for the FY16 incorporated some new issues and strategies like expanding the coverage of farm and rural credits, taking strategic steps to spread out rural banking, bringing farmers under the institutional financial services, encouraging production of export-substitute crops and emphasising development of fisheries and livestock," said the governor.
He said all the banks including public, private and foreign-owned ones have been asked to disburse at least 2.5 percent of their loan portfolio to the farm and rural sector when the nine new banks were advised to disburse 5.0 percent.
"The undisbursed amounts should be deposited by the respective banks to the BB's block accounts at the end of the financial year," he said.
Like previous years, the central bank in the new policy kept focusing on driving agriculture growth providing farmers with necessary financial support from institutional sources. The credit policy also asked for special attention of banks and financial institutions to protect farmers from the adverse impact of climate change.
Dr Rahman said the credit policy would encourage use of natural fertilizer instead of chemical ones when producing compost would get cheap financing from the BB's refinancing scheme.
He said all the banks would also upload the loan application form on their website besides publishing those in the newspapers.
The governor also listed some of the major achievements in the farm loan disbursement last year. According to the him, 52 lakh 43 thousand small and marginal farmers received Taka 11 thousand 203 crore or 70 percent, 56 thousand sharecroppers got Taka 914 crore or 5.72 percent and 66 thousand women were given Taka 900 crore 92 thousand or 5.64 of the total loan disbursement.
Besides, non-government organisations (NGOs) disbursed Taka 450 crore among 1 lakh 60 thousand sharecroppers under a special programme of the central bank.
Dr Rahman said the loan recovery was 70.0 percent last year, but banks should be more active and sincere in their loan recovery drives.