Ministries continue to be poor performers
Yasir Wardad, FE: Allocation for the agriculture sector is set to rise by 10 per cent in the development budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2020-21.
The basic objective behind earmarking higher allocation for the agriculture is to help boost the sector’s capacity to ensure better food security during the Covid-19 pandemic, said officials.
A total of Tk 83.82 billion is likely to be allocated in the ADP (Annual Development Programme) for the sector that covers crop, fisheries, livestock sub-sectors, according to planning ministry sources.
The allocation was Tk 76.16 billion in the original ADP for the outgoing FY’19.
However, the likely ADP allocation for the agriculture sector in the next ADP is 26.5 per cent higher than the revised one in the ADP in FY’20. The revised allocation for the current FY is Tk 66.24 billion.
Additional secretary of the agriculture ministry Md Hasanuzzaman Kallol told the FE that the government had taken initiative to use every inch of potential land for farming for better food security of the country.
He said fallow land surrounding homesteads will also be used for vegetable farming and the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE)will distribute seed, fertiliser and other inputs at free of cost for that.
The agriculture ministry has initiated a programme worth Tk 31 billion for farm mechanisation, he added.
Mr Hasanuzzaman said farmers have got benefits from the farm mechanisation programme during harvesting of Boro this year.
He said relief package worth Tk 190 billion has been announced for the broader agriculture sector and the farmers can avail loan at only 4.0 per cent rate of interest.
Agro economist Prof Golam Hafeez Kennedy said the key challenge remains to be the proper implementation of ADP.
The rate of implementation of developmental allocations by ministries like fisheries, livestock and food has been very disappointing, he added.
Mr Kennedy said the agriculture ministry also will have to improve its performance further as far as implementation of ADP is concerned.
According to the finance ministry, the agriculture ministry was able to spend 44 per cent of its ADP allocation during the July-March period of the outgoing fiscal year.
It was 28.4 per cent for the ministry of fisheries and livestock and only 17.55 per cent for the food ministry.
The size of the proposed developmental allocation for the agriculture sector in the FY’21 might be equivalent to 1.49 per cent of the total budget.
It was 1.45 per cent in the budget for the outgoing FY’19, according to the finance ministry.