21 September 2019

Govt treating farmers unfairly, says Debapriya

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya. File photo. -

Centre for Policy Dialogue’s distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya on Tuesday accused the government of treating the farmers unfairly in recent time, reports UNB.

“The government didn’t stop rice import at the proper time and didn’t fix the [paddy] collection target either. It didn’t even give the matter a though at that time,” he told a media briefing on ‘State of the Bangladesh Economy and the Budget Challenges’ at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka.

He also lamented the delay in hiking rice import tariff.

Debapriya said that the terms of trade between Industries and agriculture has gone against the farmers. The surplus of rural economy has come to the city and from there, it goes abroad.

“Continuation of this transmission process of surplus will make it tough for farmers to survive,” he said, ruing the treatment of farmers in recent time.

Farmers can demand subsidy from the government, he said. Around Tk 9,400 crore can be given through banks to 18 million card holder farmers as subsidy. “We think it’s economically logical,” he added.

The macroeconomist pointed out that five percent incentive is demanded for export-oriented industries amounting to Tk20,000 crore.

“We don’t see any problem in giving farmers around Tk9,500 crore. If the subsidy isn’t given, then the farmers’ problems won’t be resolved,” he noted.

Towfiqul Islam Khan, Senior Research Fellow of CPD, said that the government should pay attention to the agriculture sector and buy paddy directly from farmers.

“The Boro production cost has increased by 7.5 percent while the price has declined by 24 percent,” he said quoting a CPD survey on farmers. “Low price, limited or no buyers affected farmers in a number of ways.”

CPD Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem suggested providing a one-time cash incentive of Tk 5,000 to every farmer who incurred losses because of low paddy prices.

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