শনিবার, 28 মার্চ 2015 00:00

Agri sector counts Tk 300b losses on turmoil: INCIDIN

The Financial Express || The broad agriculture sector incurred losses worth Tk 300 billion due to the political turmoil that is continuing since January this year, INCIDIN Bangladesh, an organisation dealing with development issues, said on Wednesday at a press conference.Speakers at the press meet demanded allocation for the farmers affected by political dismay in the budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16.
The demand was made at the press conference styled "Political turmoil, volatile market and vulnerability of farmers: a civil proposal for compensation and state's help" held at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the city.Citing from their ongoing study, advocacy chief of INCIDIN Nasimul Ahsan said the broad agriculture sector including rice, other crops, fisheries and livestock incurred losses worth Tk 300 billion in last two and a half months. He said the poultry farmers, growers of potato, tomato and other vegetables, the frozen fish businesses and the dairy farmers have suffered huge losses this year for the political turmoil which has almost paralysed normal economic activities.
Due to disruption in transportation, prices of crops, poultry birds, egg, milk declined drastically at growers' end as farmers failed to send those to distant places, he said.He said potato price plunged to just Tk 1-1.5 per kg this year at farm level against a production cost of Tk 5-6 per kg. He said poultry sector incurred losses worth Tk 20 billion, frozen fish sector Tk 1.5 billion, rice sector Tk 11.25 billion vegetable growers and traders witnessed Tk 10 billion during the period. He said if the present condition continues, the farmers will face another blow in the Boro harvesting season going to start from next month.

Executive director of INCIDIN A K M Masud Ali said the manufacturing industries, transport businesses are raising their demands for incentives, loan facility and they have a strong hold with the government.But the farmers are the worst victims of the turmoil as they have no capital at hand.He said vegetable farmers incurred nearly Tk 500 million per day in January-February which is the peak period for vegetable harvesting. He said nearly 35,000-40,000 tonnes of vegetables were wasted per day during the period.However, INCIDIN demanded special allocation for the farmers in the upcoming budget for the FY'16.
Drawing attention of the finance minister and the Bangladesh Bank governor, INCIDIN also placed a number of proposals to save the farmers from the political disaster.The proposals include short-term and long-term policy measures to help farmers.The short-term measure includes providing cash incentive immediately to the affected farmers.The incentive could be provided through the banks from where farmers could withdraw money using their farmers' card (fair price card).
The long-term proposal includes agriculture insurance, rail transport facility for agro produce, land reform and increase in incentives.Development analyst Rafiqul Islam Alam, among others, also spoke on the occasion.