$7225m required for agri development master plan

An investment of about $ 7,225 million is needed to implement the priority programmes of the Master Plan for Agriculture Development in the country’s southern region during the 2013-2021 period.

This was revealed at a presentation on the master plan to apprise the development partners at the NEC 2 at the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar on Sunday, reports UNB.

The government with technical support from FAO has prepared the master plan, aimed at sustainable food security, poverty reduction and livelihood development for the poor. This is a roadmap for integrated agricultural development in the country’s coastal zone.

pariza rice panicleFinance Minister AMA Muhith spoke on the occasion as the chief guest while Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury as a special guest. Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Md Mejbahuddin presided.

Agriculture Ministry Secretary Dr SM Nazmul Islam gave the vote of thanks.

Development partners, including the ambassadors of Japan and the Netherlands, representatives from FAO, ADB, USAID, UNDP made some suggestions over implementation of the plan.

Demonstrating some salient features of the plan through a power-point presentation, Nazmul Islam showed that the ADP allocation covers only $ 864 million of the master plan which accounts for only 10 percent of the total required while the highest allocation is in the water sector ($407 million), followed by nutrition (158.5 million) and crops (148.6 million).

The resource mapping exercise revealed that there still remains a wide deficit of 81 percent of fund required for implementation of the master plan.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the implementation of the master plan requires over $ 7 billion and there is a need for involving the private sector to manage this huge investment.

About the implementation of the identified projects in various thematic areas, Muhith hoped that some of them certainly would be implemented. “I don’t think all of them will be implemented and it’s impractical to think.”

The Finance Minister also indicated that there would be a provision in the next budget, likely in the form of grant, to start the process of implementation of this plan.

For the future of the country’s food security, Muhith said, the southern region is very important as he thinks that the northern region would be mostly industrialised.

Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury said it would have a huge impact on the lives of the one fifth of the country’s population when the master plan would be implemented.

“It’ll open up opportunities for the inhabitants of the coastal region for improving their lifestyle, better supply of food and nutrition as well as coming out of the vicious cycle of poverty,” she added.

Matia hoped that this plan would make the country’s southern region vibrant.

The master plan focuses on increasing agricultural productivity, improving water management and reviving productivity of degraded land, developing climate-resilient infrastructure and improving surface water irrigation system, improving productivity of brackish water shrimp and capture fisheries and promoting smallholder poultry and dairy development.

Highlighting some salient features of the plan, Agriculture Ministry Additional Secretary Mohammad Nazmul Islam in his power-point presentation also showed that the plan would be implemented in 14 districts of the southern region covering 39,617 square kilometer areas, about 63,82,000 number of households and about 2,98,62,000 population.

He showed the basic challenges in the south are high incidence of poverty, landlessness, weak economic integration, inefficient land use, high soil and water salinity, drainage congestion, dilapidated structures, cyclone and storm surge, sea level rise, climate change vulnerabilities while proximity to the sea added further vulnerabilities.

The master plan was launched in July 2013 by the then ministers of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Food, and Environment and Forests.