Publish: 17 Nov 2020, 12:21 pm
In the next five years, the government will come up with a massive 1.5 trillion Tk investment plan for the agriculture sector, as corona has increased the value of the sector as a tool to help the economy in any crisis, reports media.
The money will be spent in annual budgets by four relevant ministries dealing with the sector under the upcoming 8th Five-Year Plan, according to Planning Commission Sources.
The plan has been revealed in a government study called 'Agriculture, Water Resource, Land and Environment and Climate Change.'
The General Economics Division (GED) prepared a report to help formulate a new mid-term government strategy detailing potential challenges and a path forward for the post-Corona agriculture market.
“The agriculture sector came to our rescue during the Covid-19 pandemic when industry and service sectors nearly came to a halt. At that time, agriculture was our main point of hope and the yield was also good,” GED Member Dr Shamsul Alam said.
“More importance is being attached to the agriculture sector for ensuring food security, nutrition and keeping the wheels of rural economy running,” he added.
The new expenditure goal is twice the amount invested in the four ministries over the last five years, Dr. Shamsul Alam said.
The Seventh Five-Year Plan expired in June of this year but the creation of the next Mid-Year Plan was hindered by Covid-19.
Currently, GED is working on the preparation of the final draft plan and can receive approval from the highest authority by this month, according to the planning commission sources.
The agriculture sector is considered to be very important in terms of its contribution to GDP growth and improving the rural economy.
Some 35.2 percent of the country’s total labour force is engaged with the sector, the report said, adding that an agriculture-dependent economy is an independent economy.
While the country's economy has now experienced some diversification with the increased participation of industry and service sectors in recent years, agriculture has remained a key sector in the pandemic situation. The country did not face any food shortages during the pandemic, and in the last few years it has almost achieved food autarchy through supportive government policies.
In the 7th Five-Year Plan, the Government set a target of 3.3 per cent average growth per year by 2020. The government finally achieved 3.5 per cent of average growth against this goal.
Under the new investment strategy, the government looks to spend Tk 1.116.80 billion through the Ministry of Water Resource, Tk 244.50 billion through the Ministry of Agriculture, Tk 65.90 billion through the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and Tk 52 billion through the Ministry of Land by 2024-25 fiscal year.
Besides revealing the investment plan, the report also identified some potential challenges of the agriculture sector in the next five years.
The challenges include the corona pandemic, the impacts of climate change, the reliance on groundwater for irrigation, the decrease in cultivable land, the shortage of storage facilities and the lack of commercialization in the agriculture sector, among others. Several problems have also been listed for local fisheries and livestock sectors.