May 192019

Bangladesh Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Sunday said that the government would restrict import of rice and try to export it abroad to give relief to farmers.

“From the government we’ll restrict import of rice and we’ll definitely take steps in this regard. Import of rice can’t be banned and it will not go to the banned items’ list. We’ll do that through fiscal and monetary measures and I believe our Prime Minister will actively consider this,” he said.

The Finance Minister said this when country’s renowned agriculture development and media personality Shykh Seraj placed a set of recommendations before the Finance Minister at his ERD office on agriculture and its sub-sectors for considering those in the national budget for FY20.

He said the government would have to save the farmers on the whole as they are the lifeline of the country since they supply food to the countrymen.

Kamal said the country unusually witnessed huge food grains production including paddy in this year side by side the neighboring countries also witnessed huge production. “That’s why there is no such demand of rice in the neighboring countries, but we’ll definitely try to go for export,” he said.

Citing that supply of paddy is now much higher compared to the demand, Kamal said for this, the farmers are not getting their proper price and in some cases, they are not getting the cost of production itself.

The Finance Minister said that the production of vegetables in the country has increased significantly due to the government’s steps to export vegetables through giving subsidy and now Bangladesh has became 4th in the world in vegetables production.

He also suggested that the government export rice through giving subsidy adding that steps would be taken in this regard after consultation with the Prime Minister.

Kamal said not only vegetables, the government could go for export of those food grains and items which would be in excess production as it will help reduce the mismatch between demand and supply and thus the farmers would get the just price of their produce.

About the use of agricultural machinery, the Finance Minister said massive awareness has to be created so that the farmers use modern agricultural machinery in their farming and harvesting which would ultimately reduce their production cost and enhance productivity.

He also spoke of introducing insurance in the poultry sector to help protect this sector from sudden collapse side by side with reducing import duty on agricultural machinery to reach them to farmers with ease, comfort and with less cost.

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