Vol. 5 Num 382 Fri. June 24, 2005  

Improve marketing system for agri commodities
Experts tell discussion

Experts at a discussion yesterday called for improving the marketing system for agricultural commodities to ensure that the farmers get the fair price of their produce.

They also called on the government to take effective measures so that the poor farmers can receive subsidies and loans.

They suggested forming a survey team to identify the factors responsible for mismanagement in the agricultural sector and find out ways to improve the marketing system.

The Bangladesh Agricultural Economists' Association (BAEA) organised the discussion on 'Agriculture sector in the new budget' at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in the city.

The agriculturists said the transport system should be developed so that the farmers can ferry their produce at a low cost.

Middlemen are the main obstacles to agricultural development, they said, adding that the government should take effective steps to eliminate these middlemen.

"It is very difficult to control the operators in the open market system. We have arranged a training programme for the farmers to make them aware of the marketing system and impart knowledge about improving their produce," said Agriculture Minister MK Anwar, who was the chief guest at the discussion.

Describing the development of agriculture as the key to progress, he said a total of 1.20 crore families in the country are directly involved in the agricultural arena.

"A total of Tk 2,213 crore is allocated for the agriculture sector in the proposed budget for 2005-06, which is 8.01 percent of the total budget," said Dr Jahangir Alam, former president of BAEA, while presenting a keynote paper.

He called on the government not to realise toll from the agricultural produce-laden vehicles crossing the Jumuna Bridge so that the farmers in northern districts can transport their produce at a low cost.

Agriculturists SM Elias, Firoz Shah Shikdar and SM Fakrul Islam took part in the discussion chaired by Education Minister Osman Farruk.