The agriculture minister said though the allocation for agriculture declined in terms of percentage, it did fall in amount. The amount of agriculture loans was Tk 140 billion (14,000 crore) to Tk 150 billion (15,000 crore) in the past, which has increased at some Tk 220 billion (22,000 crore) in the upcoming fiscal year during the corona-period. And the interest rate of the loans was lowered, he said.

He said the government had given the highest priority to agriculture also during its first tenure after assuming power in 2009.

Abdur Razzaque said the agriculture production has significantly increased. "So, now the goals of the government are to sustain productivity and to boost production further," he said.

Since Bangladesh attained self-sufficiency in food, now another goal of the government is to expedite agricultural mechanisation and commercialisation of agricultural products through promoting food-processing industry in the country, he said.

"The production in all the agricultural sub-sectors went up. Now we'll go for processing the agricultural products in mills and factories and then supply to local market and export to international market. Such measures have been taken in this budget," said the minister.

He said the agriculture ministry started implementation of a Tk 30 billion (3000 crore) project for agricultural mechanisation to reduce the production cost amid the high wages of agricultural workers as the farmer do not make profit in many cases now.

In this budget, Tk 6.8 billion (680 crore) has been allocated for the project implementation in the upcoming fiscal year, he said.

"The budgetary allocation for agriculture is good enough. There will be no problem with (this allocation)," he said.

If needed, there is an instruction of the prime minister to allocate more funds to agriculture from any other sector except health, said the agriculture minister.

Planning minister MA Mannan, PM's economic affair Mashiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir, senior secretary of finance division Abdur Rouf Talukder, National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, among others, spoke at the conference.

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