Bangladesh budget 2008-09, Food Security & Agriculture June 25, 2008Posted by bdoza in AGRICULTURE, BANGLADESH, Budget, ECONOMY, Food Security, GOVERNANCE.
Tags: Bangladesh budget 2008-09, Food Security
Budget states climate change calamities like drought, wildfire and floods have reduced the food production in many countries. Alternative use of crops to produce bio-fuels in the developed countries also reduced the food supply in the global food market. Besides the phenomenon growth in some densely populated countries has increased the aggregate demand of food. At the same time, due to overly cautious protectionist policy of the food-grain exporting countries, the price of food rises sharply. Due to hard work of our farmers along with the support of the government in the form of providing fertilizer and fuel, we had a bumper production of potato and wheat this year. This has largely reduced the vulnerability to food insecurity. In addition to overseas procurement by Food Directorate and BDR, efforts are continuing to import rice and wheat by incentivising the public sector.
Budget says that an incentive pricing system for domestic procurement of wheat and rice will encourage our farmers in the production of more rice and wheat. Combined with this, our planned assistance in providing fertilizer, irrigation, agriculture credit and seed can significantly mitigate the existing food gap. Government hopes to continue to building up an adequate stock by importing foods through advance planning.
In the next fiscal year, there is plan to procure a total of 32 lakh metric tons of food by the government which includes internal procurement and import of food grains including food aid. Against this, the budget proposes a comprehensive plan to distribute food to the tune of 30 lakh meteric tons through Open Market Sales(OMS) at a concessional price, Food for Work, Vulnerable group feeding, Vulnerable Group Development, Test Relief and Gratuitous Relief programs. By the end of FY 2008-09, the government will still have a stock of 10 lakh metric tons of food grains. Budget hopes this will enable us to tackle any food security related risks.
But the measures so far taken by the government could not mitigate hike of price of essential..
Government has taken necessary steps to keep the price and supply of essential food iutems like rice, wheat, edible oil, lentils, onions and garlic at a pormal level at all times and among the month of Ramadan.
To keep the poor and low income group safe from the fluctuations of price in the market, a national network of rationing system was suggested by many, but so far ignored by the government
Global food production has not increased commensurate with the scale of demand. This applies to Bangladesh as well. Anticipating this, last year budget proposes an Endowment Fund of 350 crore to strengthen research for increased agricultural productivity. The budget claims that the fund is already operational. But it does elaborate the port with any substantial evidence. Research in agriculture is an area where Bangladesh should concentrate more attention to solve our own problem.
Government is taking initiative to put in place a set of policies to maintain misuse of arable lands and to bring furrow lands under cultivation. Under this policy, steps will also be taken to build compact townships to ease the pressure on agricultural land arising from the growing population. It idea is rational but it make longer period than the tenure of the present government allows.
Budget claims that though, fuel price is not increased, cash subsidy has been provided to the farmers using diesel-powered irrigation pumps as an incentive. An amount of Tk. 250 crore has been successfully distributed among 65,93,872 farmers having land holding of 45,63,000 across 484 upazillas. Budget hopes that reaching the cash subsidy directly to the beneficiaries is by itself would be a remarkable achievement. In order to reduce the pressure of price increase of diesel, budget allocate Tk. 540 crore as cash subsidy in the next fiscal year.
Efforts are underway to formulate upazilla-based action plans for production of all kinds of crops. To bring about increased agricultural production, budget identifies that there is no alternative than to sustain efforts to innovate and apply HYV, ensure availability of quality seeds, introduce integrated crop management and widen irrigation facilities. To support this, government will take short-term and long-term measures. Apart from the regular allocation for agricultural extension and research, the budget proposes to allocate Tk. Tk. 273.35 crore in the development and non-development assistance and rehabilitation.
The target for disbursement of agricultural credit has been fixed at Tk. 9,000 crore for the next fiscal year. In the current fiscal year, Tk 500 crore and Tk. 200 crore have been provided by Bangladesh bank to Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan bank respectively to refinance their credit disbursements. The government has also allocated Tk. 383 crore to Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Sonali Bank ensure increased credit flows to the Sidr and flood affected aeas. Moreover, the government has spent Tk. 165 crore for agricultural rehabilitation in these areas. In addition government channeled an additional amount of Tk 130 crore to PKSP to disburse credit to small farmers and fishermen on highly concessional terms. Along with these measures, the government has given directives to the relevant agencies to reschedule the loans disbursed earlier and to introduce new loan products consistent with the requirement of the affected people. The measures taken by the government is praiseworthy but the recovery of the sidr affected people and rehabilitation of them is not clear from the description.
Budget identifies the important programs for fisheries development included stopping Jatka fishing , releasing dish fries, building fish sanctuaries and social fisheries management. In order to prevent the incidence of bird flu epidemic this year, over 15 lakh poultries had to be culled and 20 lakh eggs had to be destroyed. The affected farmers have been provided with a compensation of Tk. 16 crore so far. Facilities like tax holiday and duty exemption for implementation of equipment, medicine and vaccines have been extended to the farmers for development of livestock sub-sector. But the reports in the newspaper said large number of poultries are closing down as businessmen are abandoning the industry for fear of bird flu and the loss they have incurred in the past. The government should take more attention to divert this.
Budget acknowledges water resource management as an important program which supports our endeavors to revamp the economy. While we can increase our agricultural production by building irrigation infrastructure and embankments, we can also protect flood and prevent environmental pollution using these infrastructures. In the current year, irrigation coverage of agriculture land has been widened from existing 80% to 81.7% percent. In flood enrolled areas having drainage system, this coverage has been enhanced to 53.8% from 53.6% percent. In the areas risk from salinity, such coverage has been widened from 46.3 percent to 46.8%. But no allotment is cited for erection of embankment to prevent recurrent floods in Bangladesh.
An ordinary citizen