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Govt planning mechanised farming, looking for outlets for rice export: Minister

Published : Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 158

The government has taken various steps to ensure farmer's interest and would provide incentives to farmers to purchase agricultural machineries, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said.  
 The government is very much concerned, he said over the low price of paddy, adding that rice millers have been asked to contact buyers in different countries to export rice. Razzaque made the observation after a meeting with visiting UAE minister of state for food security Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri at his secretariat office on Tuesday.
 When asked about the low price of paddy impacting farmers, the Agriculture Minister said, "We are trying to find out rice markets specially in African countries to dispose of our local stocks so that millers can buy more from the farmers.
Delegations from the Philippines and Sri Lanka will visit Bangladesh soon to explore buying of rice," he said.
 The government has taken various initiatives so that farmers could be benefited, he said. The proposed budget has earmarked Tk 9,000 crore for agricultural sector that also include incentives to farmers.
Moreover, Tk 6000- Tk 6500 crore will be used to provide subsidies for fertilizer. The remaining Tk 3,000 crore will be used for mechanisation of agriculture including buying power tillers as availability of labours is becoming difficult.
 For buying tilling machines the government will provide 70 per cent cash and farmers will have to bear the remaining amount for this purpose, Razzaque said in reply to a query.
 When asked about huge discrepancies between the prices of paddy and rice, the Agriculture Minister said, "Traders make around 70 per cent additional cost for shipping rice from Iswardi to Dhaka. I don't want to explain many other factors behind it."
 He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has advised increasing the government stock holding capacity for rice by setting up new paddy silos and other storage facilities.
He said the UAE government has expressed interest to import rice, fruits and vegetables from Bangladesh.

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