January 25, 2021, 11:17 pm
Md Shahadat Hossain: Agriculture is still the source of income for 87% of the rural people of the country.Two-thirds of their families depend on both agricultural and non-agricultural income.Even among urban dwellers,11 percent are directly involved in agriculture.
The World Bank survey is giving such information.The government is also emphasizing on agriculture to compensate for the loss of global corona.In the current situation,an incentive fund of five thousand rupees has been announced for this sector.
The Department of Agriculture has arranged an incentive of Tk 12 crore for 1.5 lakh farmers in five districts of the agricultural region in Chittagong.So far, 80 per cent of the money has been handed over to the farmers through various programs,officials said. But marginal farmers say they have not received any government money.
So where is the incentive money for the agricultural sector?
According to the information received from Chittagong Agricultural Region,1.5 lakh farmers of 45 upazilas of Chittagong,Cox’s Bazar,Noakhali,Feni and Laxmipur are being given incentives of Tk 11 crore 86 lakh 62 thousand 200 in various programs.
Its main objectives are to plant high yielding (Ufshi) aus paddy,free aus seed support,family nutrition orchards,rehabilitation and compensation programs and increase the production of various summer crops.This incentive is being distributed among the listed farmers in phases from November 22.
In the first phase,27 thousand farmers of 37 upazilas of five districts of Chittagong were given Taka 2 crore 95 lakh 50 thousand for cultivation of Ufshi Aus paddy.Later,in the second phase of the same program,63 lakh 75 thousand taka was given to seven and a half thousand farmers of 25 upazilas.In these two phases, the farmer is given five kg of seeds, various types of fertilizers and other materials worth a total of Tk 850.
The third phase of incentives is currently underway.For this,the field level officials of the Department of Agriculture are keeping in touch with the local representatives keeping in mind the issue of crop damage due to winter fog.In this phase,financial assistance will be given to 2,200 farmers in 36 upazilas to increase aus production.At the same time each farmer will be provided Bri-48 variety of rice seeds at the rate of 5 kg.
Agriculture officials said the incentive package has been determined with the drought season in mind.In this case,3 crore 75 lakh 22 thousand 400 tk has been allocated for 13 thousand 500 farmers of 42 upazilas of Chittagong agricultural region to cultivate vegetables under family agriculture.
Besides,in the current financial year,the process of giving incentive of Tk 2 crore 2 lakh 81 thousand 400 to 20 thousand farmers of Noakhali and Laxmipur districts who are facing loss due to natural calamities will also be started.Each farmer will be given seeds, saplings, fertilizers, care and fencing at the rate of Tk 2,635.Of this,1 crore 39 lakh 77 thousand 400 tk will be given to the farmers of Laxmipur and 63 lakh 4 thousand tk will be given to the farmers of Noakhali.
In the current season,boro paddy,wheat, maize, mustard, sunflower, peanut,winter mung bean,onion and for the next kharif season,25 thousand farmers in 27 upazilas of Chittagong agricultural region will be allocated Tk 3 crore 8 lakh 29 thousand 400.
The farmers are hoping that this incentive will increase the production of paddy and other crops in Chittagong. Farmers, however, say that they have received various types of fertilizers and seeds with government money but have not received them yet.
Some have again pointed the finger of blame at agriculture officials and public representatives.They are killing the money of the poor farmers through conspiracy.Raozan Upazila Gahira Union Kotowali Ghona farmer said.
Solaiman said,‘Even though the government was supposed to pay for the farmers,I have not yet received a number of people I know.However, only 2 packets of seed paddy were given by the agriculture office a few months ago.
After cultivating that paddy,insects attack the field.After saying this many times,an agricultural officer came and saw it.However,he did not say anything. Today I have lost everything by cultivating that seed.
Morshed Alam,a farmer from Sreepur area of Boalkhali upazila said,’Agriculture is mixed with our blood.We are cultivating in the midst of various adversities.But so far the government has not received any grant or help.
If you go to the agriculture office from time to time with various problems, no one can be found there. Chittagong Agricultural Extension Department Additional Director of Agriculture.Manjurul Huda said,”80 percent of the allocation has already been given for the development of agriculture and increase in crop production.
“In the third phase,the rest of the incentive money will be delivered to the farmers with the help of local people’s representatives. Regarding the various complaints of the farmers,he said,”Incentive money is being distributed after adequate screening from the very beginning.
Work is underway to distribute the money in several stages through various programs. Agriculture officials are coordinating with local representatives.