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Budget reaction

Rights groups decry 'poor' allocation for agriculture

FE Report | June 12, 2018 00:00:00

Some rights groups have expressed their disappointment over 'inadequate' allocation for the agricultural sector in the proposed national budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY), 2018-19.

They also urged the government to review the allocation for the interest of farmers and development of agriculture of the country.

Some 12 local and national farmers' rights organisations jointly made the observation and the appeal at a press conference at the National Press Club on in the capital on Monday.

They said only 2.99 per cent of the total budgetary allocation has been proposed for the agriculture sector.

Around 46 per cent of the country's total labour force is engaged in the sector, they added.

Secretariat coordinator of Bangladesh Farmers Forum Mujibul Haque Munir presented the keynote paper in the press conference.

Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust moderated the programme.

Mr. Munir said the total size of the national budget for FY 19 has been increased by about 16 per cent.

But the proposed allocation for the agriculture sector has been cut by 0.41 per cent.

He opined that the budget needs to address various challenges (of the sector).

Besides, special allocation is also needed to enhance capacity (of the stakeholders) to face the challenges in future, he added.

Abdul Majid said the recent imposition of 28 per cent duty on rice import will not benefit the farmers.

As the farmers have already sold their produces, the step will ultimately benefit the middlemen, he added.

It is a matter of great surprise that the proposed budget has not mentioned anything about the formation of 'Price Commission', the speakers observed.

The farmers' rights organisations participating in the programme include Coastal Farmers' Association, Bangladesh Fish Workers Alliance, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, National Women Farmers and Workers Association, and Bangladesh Adibashi Samity.

Besides, Haor Farmers and Fishers Alliance, Gram Labour Resource Centre, Nolchira Pani Unnayan Somity, Dighon CIG, Kendriyo Krishak Moitree, Bangladesh Farmers' Forum, and COAST Trust were also among the organisations.

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