The allocation for the agriculture sector in the upcoming budget is likely to see a significant rise as the government has taken various initiatives for this vital sector to ensure food security, boost the incomes of farmers and create jobs and thus improve the lifestyle of the rural poor.
The total spending in this sector is projected to grow by 10 percent on average annually to Tk 377.07 billion in 2023-24 fiscal, according to a budgetary document obtained by UNB.
The allocation for this sector in the running 2021-22 fiscal is Tk 319.12 billion while the projection for the next 2022-23 fiscal is Tk 344.26 billion.
The allocation was Tk 239.17 billion, Tk 219.77 billion and Tk 297.25 billion in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscals respectively.
This agriculture sector covers the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ministry of Land and Ministry of Water Resources. The document states that agriculture is one of the top priority sectors of the government, as it plays a leading role in advancing the growth path of the economy by enhancing productivity and employment opportunities.
"So, addressing the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on agriculture was considered urgent."
As per the document, the share of agriculture to GDP in Bangladesh is currently more than 13 percent, and it is the main source of generating income and employment for the rural people, particularly the poor segment.
To achieve the SDGs and the targets of Vision 2041, 8th Five Year Plan and National Agricultural Policy 2018, the government has been implementing various programmes or projects by innovating and adopting appropriate technology and modern marketing techniques for poverty alleviation and food security.
In the medium term, the official document says, the Ministry of Agriculture has planned to implement several development activities towards increasing environment-friendly and cost-effective agricultural technologies, enhancing mechanisation of agriculture, increasing utilisation of renewable energy and agricultural land, ensuring women empowerment, introducing ICT in agriculture and familiarising genetically modified technology.
Besides, the document says, the government has declared a number of stimulus and incentives packages to enable this sector to weather the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. To enhance agricultural production and increase agricultural productivity, the government has been providing cash subsidies amounting to Tk 9,500 crore. To facilitate agricultural mechanisation, the government has taken a project of Tk 3020 crore and the implementation of which has begun in the 2020-21 fiscal, the document mentions. The farmers are getting agricultural machinery at a 50 percent to 70 percent subsidised rate on the actual sales price of those machinery.