The target for farm loan disbursement in the current fiscal year has been set at
Tk 14,595 crore, which is 3.30 percent higher than in the last fiscal year.
However, the target set for the current fiscal year is 0.49 percent lower than the actual disbursement last year.
Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman yesterday announced agricultural credit policy and the disbursement target for the current fiscal year at a meeting with the chief executives of all banks.
The banks have been asked to achieve the government’s budgetary target of agricultural loan disbursement, the BB governor told The Daily Star.
However, if any bank disburses more loan than its target, the BB will welcome it, Rahman said.
All banks, including the foreign and private ones, disbursed Tk 14,667 crore agricultural loans last year — the amount is 3 percent higher than the target of the year, and 12 percent more than the actual disbursement in the previous year.
The BB governor at the meeting said both disbursement and repayment went up in recent times.
The country was able to achieve a 6.26 percent GDP growth on average in the last four years due to the government’s development work, BB’s pragmatic monetary policy and a rise in agricultural loans, Rahman said.
Food production also rose by 20 percent in the last four years and 3.61 crore tonnes of food were produced last fiscal year that made the country almost self reliant in food.
According to the new loan disbursement policy, the banks failing to meet their target at the end of the fiscal year will have to deposit the undisbursed amount with the central bank for one year.
For this, the concerned bank will get interest at which the bank got the amount from the BB.
If a farmer is not a defaulter, he will be eligible to take various types of agricultural loans simultaneously, including those for producing lentil, oil seed, spice crops and maize, at a 4 percent interest.
To bring more transparency in disbursing farm loans, the banks will have to put focus on disbursing such loans openly at the union parishad level, the BB said.
If necessary, the banks will set up camps at village haats to spread loan-related information and disburse loans directly to the rural people, according to the BB policy.
In the new policy, Burmese grape (lotkon), lemon, hog-plum, sapota and malta have been included as new crops and farmers will get loans for producing these.
The meeting also discussed the overall scenario of agricultural loan disbursement last fiscal year.
A total of 4.46 lakh sharecroppers got Tk 1,106 crore in agricultural credit from banks last fiscal year and about 4.45 lakh female farmers received Tk 1,245 crore in agriculture and rural credit. Also, more than Tk 60 crore was disbursed at 5 percent interest among 21,904 tribal farmers in three Chittagong Hill Tracts districts through Bangladesh Krishi Bank.
The number of farmers’ accounts opened with an initial deposit of Tk 10 now stands at more than 97 lakh.
These accounts witnessed transaction of about Tk 294.12 crore, Tk 105.63 crore, Tk 47.81 crore and Tk 19.49 crore for credit disbursement, savings, and inward and outward remittances respectively.
Source: The Daily Star