Today in a press conference held in the National Press Club in Dhaka, 10 farmers’ and rights based organizations termed the proposed budget for the year of 2015-16 as businessmen friendly who use agriculture for making profit, this budget is not farmers’ friendly, they added.
They said that, the allocation for agriculture in the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is inadequate and suicidal for future self-sufficiency in food. They also urge to establish a National Price Commission to ensure fair price for the agricultural products to save the local farmers.
The press conference titled “National Budget 2014-15: Farmers’ expectations and reality. Inadequate budget for agriculture is suicidal for future self-sufficiency in food” was jointly organized by Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Labour Resource Center, Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Bangladesh Krishak Federation (JI) , Bangladesh Adibasi Somity, COAST Trust and EquityBD.
The press conference was moderated by Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, while the key note was presented by Md. Mujibul haiq Munir of COAST Trust. Among others Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Jayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Golam Sarwar of Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Aluaddin Shikder of Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Biswanath Sing of Bangladesh Adibasi Somity, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust also spoke at the occasion.
Md Mujibul Haque Munir said, size of the national budget has been increased by 23,13% compared to the last year budget, but allocation for agriculture has been increased only by 3.43%. Last year budget for the agriculture ministry was 5.12%, for 2015-16 it is only 4.30% of the total budget. Proportionately it is the lowest allocation in last five years. Allocation for agriculture is declining in a regular basis. Only 1.9% of the Annual Development Plan (ADP) is allocated for agriculture ministry, it is the same as the last year allocation. Agricultural subsidy of 90 billion Taka remains unchanged from last year but its affect will be decreased due to projected 6.2% rate of inflation. Increased price of fuel and water will affect it as well. It will cause more food import in the coming years..
From the press conference farmers organizations placed some specific demand such as: allocation for agriculture should be increased compared to the size of the total budget, subsidy should be increased and effective utilization of it should be ensured, national Price Commission is must to ensure just price for farmers, import of harmful foreign seeds must be stopped, jute should be given special priority to regain its golden era.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, Still 2.62 crore people of Bangladesh are suffering from hunger. Bangladesh is still to achieve food sufficiency. Time will come when we will not be able to collect food from others even with our money, if we cannot emphasize in achieving the real food sufficiency by promoting our agriculture.
Subal Sarkar said, this budget is meant to ensure various facilities for the people who are doing business with agriculture and farmers. This budget is not farmers’ friendly rather it will benefit the middlemen and businessmen. Jayed Iqbal Khan said, the Agriculture Minister demands that, farmers are getting just price for their products. This is in fact far from the reality. But government does not see any problem with this. That is why ensuring just price for farmers is not in the priority list of the government for the next two years.
Aminu Rasul Babul said, all sectors related with agriculture should be given special rebate. Vehicles carrying agricultural product should be allowed to use bridges and roads tool free.
Golam Sarwar said, control of seeds must be with the farmers. Government should facilitate that. If the sector is controlled by multinational companies it will suicidal for us.