Farm lending on a roll | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 02, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 02, 2010

Farm lending on a roll

Farm loan disbursement rose 18.42 percent to Tk 9,888.97 crore in the first 11 months of the immediate past fiscal year from Tk 8,350.10 crore a year ago, thanks to the central bank’s monitoring and interest shown by commercial banks to lend more to farmers.
Bankers observed that the rise in farm credit is the result of a Bangladesh Bank policy to boost agricultural production. This policy also aimed to create employment through enhanced finance to the rural economy.
“Real farmers have got finance from banks after a long time,” said Atiur Rahman, governor of Bangladesh Bank.
He also thinks monitoring by his organisation and supports from commercial banks have contributed to such credit growth.
The bulk of the amount has gone to the hands of small, medium farmers and sharecroppers. Farmers in sub-sectors of agriculture like poultry and fisheries were also awarded finance, according to the central bank chief.
“It appears that banks are realising that lending to agriculture is a good business,” said Rahman.
Data show that the July-May recovery of farm loans also rose 21.49 percent to Tk 9,041.67 crore, up from the amount recovered in the whole fiscal 2009.
Atiur Rahman observed that a rise in the price of rice has raised farmers' repayment capacity.
“Normally, small farmers' repayment records are better, if not they become victim to natural disasters,” said Krishi Bank Chairman Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled.
He said the central bank move has made the access of finance easier to farmers.
“Banks have become more active in lending,” Khaled added
The July-May loan disbursement achieved 86 percent of the Tk 11,512 crore target for FY 2010.
Expecting an over 90 percent target achievement, the central bank chief laid bare his plan to fix a target of farm credit disbursement for banks at more than Tk 12,000 crore for FY 2010-11.
“We're redesigning agricultural credit policy for the new fiscal by focusing on lending to value added agricultural produces such as Baukul, Apple kul and strawberry.”

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