PM urges entrepreneurs to increase milk, fish production

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Dhaka, Jan 13: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged the private sector entrepreneurs to increase milk and fish production and export abroad after meeting local demand.

The Prime Minister underscored the need for preserving as well as processing milk to help flourish the milk-processing industries and thus diversify the milk byproducts like butter, ghee and cheese.

“These have huge local market and we can also export those abroad keeping in mind nearly 80-90 lakh Bangladeshi expatriates to earn more foreign currencies,” the Prime Minister said while inaugurating the loan distribution programme 2016 at five percent to make Bangladesh self-reliant in milk production at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh auditorium in the city’s Khamarbari area.

The Department of Livestock Services arranged the function with Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Md Maksudul Hasan Khan in the chair.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister Mohammad Sayedul Haque, State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda and Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman were present as special guests, while Bank and Financial Institution Secretary Dr M Aslam Alam delivered the welcome address.

Wishing the success of the Tk-200 crore loan distribution programme 2016 at five percent, Sheikh Hasina said through this loan programme, the marginal farmers will be more encouraged in rearing cows and producing milk.

She said the country will be self-reliant in milk production strengthening the national economy further.

Citing her government’s bid to establish some 100 economic zones, Sheikh Hasina said agro and agro-processing industries would be given preference in those economic zones to boost the export basket apart form meeting local demands.

Not only the milk and meat, she said, the country could also enhance production of leather and leather products and thus boost the foreign currency reserve through increasing exports.

Referring to the growing demand for halal meat in Muslim countries across the globe, Hasina said Bangladesh could tap such opportunity to a great extent through increasing farming and rearing of cows, black goats, buffaloes, process those and thus exporting abroad.

Two beneficiaries of the programme — one from Badarganj of Rangpur another from Tungipara of Gopalganj — also spoke at the function.

She mentioned 69 lakh 70 thousand metric tonnes of liquid milk were produced in the last 2014-2015 fiscal which was 8 lakh 80 thousand metric tons more than the previous fiscal and three times greater that the amount produced in 2001.

Spelling out different government steps for increasing milk production, the Prime Minister said the government approved a new project to construct bull station and laboratory for developing species through research.

The Tk 200 crore refinancing scheme has been formed by the Bangladesh Bank for providing loans to the farmers for milk production and artificial insemination for five years. Each farmer will be able to take this loan amounting maximum Tk two lakh for procuring and raring highest four calves.

The loan will be provided through 13 banks and financial institutions at a rate of highest five percent. The 13 banks and financial institutions will get such refinancing facility from the Bangladesh Bank at bank rate (now five percent) interest while these banks and financial institutions would get the additional five percent interest against their loans as loss or subsidy from the government.

The female and marginal farmers will get preference for receiving loans from such refinancing facility while the loan recipient farmers will get the highest 54 months’ time, including 14 months of grace period, to adjust their loans with the interest.

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