The government has proposed slightly higher budgetary allocation for agriculture sector in the upcoming fiscal compared to the outgoing fiscal.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday proposed Tk14,049 crore for the Ministry of Agriculture which is 2.69 percent of the total budget.The percentage of total proposed budget has decreased than the proposed and revised budget in FY 2018-19.
In FY 2019-20 proposed budget, the government has earmarked Tk 14,053.40.00 crore while it was only Tk 12792.51crore in the revised budget of FY2018-19.
At the same time, the government has earmarked Tk 9,000 crore as subsidies and incentives in the proposed budget while in the revised budget of 2018-19, accumulated subsidies were Tk 8,070crore. The Ministry of Agriculture was given Tk 13,910crore in FY 2018-19 which was 2.99 percent, but the revised budget was Tk 12,788 crore and the percentage was 2.89.
The finance minister said agriculture is vital to our national economy; 40.62 percent of total labour force is employed in this sector. Despite a gradual reduction in cultivable land, the average growth of agriculture sector stood at 3.7 percent over the last 10 years owing to sincere efforts of the government and relentless hard work of the farmers, he said.
Today, Bangladesh has secured fourth position in rice production and third position in vegetable production. In addition, we are in seventh position in mango production and eighth in potato production, the minister stated.
“We’ll continue successful interventions, such as agricultural subsidies, other agricultural input incentives and support cards, including those for fertilisers and seeds, support for agricultural rehabilitation and agriculture credit at easy terms, et cetera.”“For agricultural development, a 20 percent cash incentive for export of agricultural products is being provided in addition to general investment made for agricultural development, and a 20 percent rebate on electricity bills is provided for use of electricity in irrigation pumps.”
As many as 15 new varieties of different crops and 10 climate-resilient technology have been innovated in the current fiscal. A total of 329 high-yielding varieties of different crops tolerant to salinity and water submergence have been innovated since 2009, the minister said.
Activities for innovation of crop varieties tolerant to flood, drought, salinity and high temperature by conducting applied research will get priority in the next fiscal year in order to adapt to adverse effects of climate change.
Providing subsidies to control price of fertilisers in agriculture has been in practice for many years, and this has contributed to price stability of agriculture produce through reduction in costs of production.