South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem) has called giving farmers for interest-free loan, rather than a 4 percent interest loan for them.
"It must also be ensured that only genuine farmers who need it have access to the loan," it said.
Sanem Executive Director Dr Selim Raihan presented a four-point suggestion for the agricultural sector of Bangladesh in the present context of COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.
In the second proposal, he said only disbursement of loans is not enough. "The supply chain of agricultural materials has been disrupted due to the current crisis and ongoing lockdown. Thus, the farmers’ access to agricultural materials and tools must be ensured," he said.
Dr Raihan in his third proposal said Sanem has been pointing out that due to the lockdown the internal mobility of agricultural workers has been curtailed.
“To address the issue of the supply chain of agricultural materials and mobility of agricultural workers, we have been suggesting inter-ministry collaboration among the Health, Agriculture, Home and Road Transport ministries,” he added.
"The local administration, local businessmen and network of agricultural workers also need to collaborate in this regard. Specific health protocol for agricultural workers should be developed," the Sanem chief said.
In the last proposal, he mentioned that for years, farmers are not getting the fair price for their crops and middlemen are depriving farmers of their rightful share.
Even, he said, in the case of a price hike of paddy and rice, mill owners become the beneficiary, not the farmers. In the context of the current crisis, we believe, this problem must be addressed.
"Since the local administration is now very active at the grassroots level during the ongoing crisis, in collaboration with the local administration it is necessary to increase substantially the amount of government procurement of paddy directly from the farmers at a fair price," Dr Raihan said.
In this regard, he suggested that the government warehouses are utilised to the maximum. “If the government warehouses fall short, then private warehousesshould be rented by the government.”
Dr Raihan said the ongoing crisis demands putting highest priority to agriculture and food security.
Coca-Cola in Bangladesh has committed an initial support package worth TK 11.5 crores (115 million) towards propping up the healthcare system and helping communities through distribution of food packages and beverages to combat the local outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The relief programs initiated by Coca-Cola in Bangladesh (CCB) aim at benefitting and positively impacting over 50 lakh lives across the country, said a press release.
CCB has adopted a purpose-driven approach to ensure immediate support to the enhancement of the country’s health infrastructure, including the contribution towards PPEs and other vital health kits for health workers.
It is partnering with Care Bangladesh, local chapter of the global NGO, to implement its support initiative.
It is also committed to support the frontline workers including Doctors, Nurses, Police & other law enforcers in performing their duties by catering to their hydration needs through its beverages.
PRAN Dairy Limited has continued to collect milk from its contractual dairy farmers at a time when the farmers are facing difficulties to sell milk due to ongoing general holidays across the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The organization is collecting more than 2 lac liters of milk every day from its farmers, said a press release.
Rakibur Rahman, Chief Extension Officer at PRAN Dairy, said dairy farmers cannot sell milk as hotel, sweet shop and tea stall are now closed and many customers stop purchasing milk. But PRAN dairy has continued to collect milk from its farmers despite many hurdles.
“We are collecting the same amount of milk what we collect in normal time.”
“PRAN has five hubs located at Chatmohar of Pabna, Gurudaspur of Natore, Shahjadpur and Baghabari of Sirajganj and Rangpur. There are 101 collection and chilling centers under the hubs. Farmers are supplying milk at the collection and chilling centers maintaining social distance and following health guidelines. We are purchasing milk from the farmers at Tk 38 to Tk 45 per liter depending the amount of fat in the milk,” he said.
A new timetable has been set for Karwan Bazar Wholesale Market for buying and selling essential commodities as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus.
According to the new timetable, all goods have to be unloaded from vehicles from 6pm to 6am and wholesalers will have to leave the market after purchasing their products within this timeframe.
The decision was taken at a joint meeting of representatives of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), Armed Forces Division and members of Kawran Bazar Wholesale Market Shop Owners’ Association on Thursday.
The meeting also urged sellers, their assistants (maximum one) and buyers to wear masks and gloves all the time and maintain a safe distance.
It also decided that the owners' association will ensure adequate soap and hand wash for all buyers, sellers and those involved in the transportation of goods.
The meeting decided that the association will recruit adequate number of volunteers at the market for ensuring that buyers and sellers follow health guidelines.
The market committee will arrange separate entrances and exits so that everyone maintains social distancing and a person does not come in contact with another.
Besides, no hawker or van will be allowed to sell food or commodity in the market area or footpaths.
The schedule of retail markets will remain the same from 6am to 2pm every day.
The fish wholesale market will run their activities from 3am to 9am as usual.
In the current situation, the DMP is ready to cooperate with other wholesale markets in the metropolitan area to start such arrangement, its Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman said, seeking sincere cooperation from all to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
All the banks in commercial areas of Motijheel and Dilkhusha in Dhaka and Khatunganj and Agrabad in Chattogram will operate transaction from 10 am to 2pm from Sunday next to facilitate export-import business.
A Bangladesh Bank circular, issued by the Department of Off-site Supervision on Thursday, said banking transaction hours in the mentioned areas have been reset and banks will remain open during the working days and conduct their operations from 10 am to 2 pm until further order.
They can operate until 3:30 pm to conduct their other activities, the circular said.
Earlier, the Bangladesh Bank had set banking transaction hours from 10 am to 12:30 pm and then extended that up to 1 pm and ordered limited operation of the branches considering their needs in different areas.
The circular said the earlier set timetable for banking transactions in other areas will remain unchanged until further order.