Banks lag behind in farm loan disbursement targetAKM Zamir Uddin
Banks disbursed only 66.59 per cent of their annual target of agricultural loans in the first nine months of the current financial year.
According to the latest provisional data released by Bangladesh Bank on Thursday, state-owned, private and foreign commercial banks, and the specialised banks from July to March of FY2011-12 collectively disbursed Tk 9,189.49 crore in farm loans against the annual disbursement target of Tk 13,800 crore.
Agricultural loans disbursed by the banks in the same period of previous financial year totalled Tk 9,154.69 crore, 72.56 per cent of the annual target of Tk 12,617.40 crore in agriculture credit.
BB data, however, showed that the agricultural credit disbursement from July to March of the FY2011-12 slightly increased by 0.38 per cent from that of the same period of the previous financial year.
A BB official told New Age that banks usually disburse large amounts of agricultural loans during Boro season.
For this reason, the agriculture loan disbursement significantly increased in the pervious month than that of the other months of the current financial year, he said.
Moreover, the private and foreign commercial banks also increased their targeted loan disbursement in the period due to pressure from the central bank.
He said a large number of farmers earlier had not taken loans from banking source. But they were now getting interested because of campaigns in print and electronic media taken by the BB.
Another BB official said that a significant number of farmers were forced to take bank loans as the price of agriculture equipment recently increased due to a high inflation.
Farmers are not capable to maintain the total expenses of the harvesting process from their own sources, he pointed out.
BB data showed that the state-owned commercial banks — Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali and the two specialised banks — Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank — in the first nine months of the current financial year had disbursed Tk 6,144.68 crore in farm loans or 72.21 per cent of their annual disbursement target of Tk 8,510 crore.
The PCBs and the FCBs in the period disbursed Tk 3,044.82 crore in agricultural loans, which was 57.56 per cent of their total annual disbursement target of Tk 5,290 crore.
In the same period of the previous financial year, they disbursed 59.06 per cent of their annual target of the agricultural lending.
Nirmal Chandra Bhakta, general manager of BB agricultural credit and financial inclusion department, said farm loan disbursement by the banks in March this year increased than that of the previous few months.
Loan disbursement for crops, livestock and fisheries ventures has recently increased because of strong monitoring by the BB, he said.
Besides, banks disbursed agricultural credits of Tk 155.90 crore from July to March of the FY2011-12 under the refinance scheme of the central bank.
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