But they are now in trouble with bank loans and their croplands, gardens and farms are up for auction. Some are in hiding with arrest warrants having failed to repay the loans while some others have got their lives ruined due to the obligations to appear before the courts regularly in the cases filed over non-repayment of the loans.

Self-educated farmer Siddiqur Rahman alias Moyez Uddin had been successful in increasing the pollination of flowers in his plum orchard through a special technique. It increased the fruit production to a great extent and earned him familiarity as ‘Kul Moyez.’

He received the Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award in 2014 as recognition of his success. After receiving the award, a large amount of bank loan was provided to him for setting up a cattle farm.

He had no prior experience in farm management, though he reared cows at home earlier. Apart from this, he could not market the milk properly due to political unrest, strikes and siege programmes between 2012 and 2014. The bank filed a case against him over the defaulted loan in 2013. He requested the bank to reschedule the loan in an application, but it was refused.

Abdul Jalil is one of the farmers who are the frontrunners in commercial litchi production in Ishwardi. He received the national award in 2009 for his success in litchi cultivation. Later, a bank lured him into taking a project loan for a farm of 200 cows.

But the bank finally sanctioned a loan of 100-cow farm for him after he had set up the farm as per his previous plan. Even, the loan was disbursed late and in installments. Also, his application for rescheduling the loan remained unresponded at the bank. The litchi orchard that once earned him a national award is now in the process of being auctioned.

All four farmers, including Siddiqur and Jalil, made remarkable contributions to agriculture through their innovative power and hard work. After receiving the award, the banks gave them huge loans to start cattle farming or work in a project where they had no experience.

In this case, it was not considered at all whether the entrepreneur has the capacity or not and whether the sector is promising or not. This unwise decision not only brought disaster to their lives, but also deprived other farmers of enriching themselves from their experience. Can the banks avoid the responsibility?

It is time to change the course of our agricultural development in line with the rest of the world with food security at the center. It is not possible to change the fortunes of farmers only with loans, the medal winning farmers are a great example. An integrated strategy should be formulated for the development of agriculture and farmers by solving problems such as training, insurance, market.