Senior agriculture officials have urged banks to prioritise agriculture cards or certificates issued by local agriculture officers instead of collateral when giving agricultural loans.
At a meeting at the agriculture ministry on Wednesday, speakers said if institutional credit facilities could be made easier for farmers, it would be possible to increase production by utilising the potential of agriculture.
Senior officials of the agriculture ministry, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, the Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, and Department of Agricultural Extension were present at the meeting.
Senior Secretary to the agriculture ministry Md Mesbahul Islam said farmers' needs would be met if institutional loan facilities could be made easier for them.
Bangladesh Krishi Bank Chairman Md Nasiruzzaman said the agriculture ministry is working to establish family nutrition gardens across the country, which is a very good initiative.
"Farmers who are interested in setting up these gardens but do not get government facilities and who have at least one decimal of land will be given a loan of Tk5,000 each without any collateral from our bank," he said.
The meeting discussed the role that the agriculture ministry, the Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank could play in increasing institutional loan assistance for farmers.
The meeting was informed that agricultural loan disbursement is increasing. In 2001, disbursement target was Tk3,020 crore, which increased to Tk26,292 crore in the fiscal year 2020-21.
But the amount of agricultural loans has decreased in proportion to the total loans given by banks. In 2001, agricultural loan was 4.68% of total loans, which decreased to 2.6% in the fiscal year 2020-21.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 26% of farmers get institutional agricultural credit facilities. On the other hand, according to the 2015 data of the International Food Policy Research Institute, only 12.5% of farmers get such facilities.