The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved a Tk 172-crore project to boost country’s ongoing agricultural mechanization process through distributing nearly 32,000 modern agricultural equipments among the farmers.
The approval came from a meeting at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar this (Tuesday) afternoon with ECNEC chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Division Secretary Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam informed that seven development projects involving a total cost of Tk 747 crore were approved today (Tuesday).
He said of the total outlay, Tk 477 crore will come from the government exchequer while the remaining Tk 270 crore as project assistance.
Planning Ministry officials said that under the Tk 172 crore project titled ‘Increasing crop production through farm mechanization nearly 32,000 modern agricultural equipments will be distributed among the farmers with 25 percent government investment.
The second phase project was approved, after about 40,000 equipments were distributed in 35 districts under the first phase.
Recommending the second phase of the project, the Planning Commission has said the project has been formulated in order to make the equipments available to the farmers for land preparation, plantation, harvesting and crushing of crops in the face of acute labour crisis in the agriculture sector.
Officials said the project will help to reduce crop production cost, increase crop intensity and also reduce post harvest wastage to 5 percent from the existing 14 percent. Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) will implement the project.
The ECNEC meeting approved another project titled ‘Bangladesh Agriculture Infrastructure Development Programmes’ at a cost of Tk 142 crore. Under the project, some 40 markets and 80 collection centres will be constructed and 140 km rural roads will be developed to connect with markets.Besides, irrigation system for 2,000 hectors of land will also be developed.
Of the Tk 142 crore project, the USAID will provide Tk 126 crore as grant. Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) will implement the project in some selected districts of Khulna, Barisal and Dhaka divisions.
The other projects approved in the meeting are: Establishment of National Oceanographic Research Institute (Tk 102 crore-GoB); Construction of Pani Bhaban (Tk 56 crore-GoB); Karotoa river right Bank integrated flood control water extraction and irrigation project (Tk 26 crore-GoB); SASEC Road Connectivity Project: Improvement of Benapole and Burimari Land Port project (Tk 168crore,GoB-24 crore and PA-144 crore); and Rikabibazar-Rampal-Dhighirpar-BanglaBazar-Munshigonj Sadar-Nayagaon-Muktarpur Road Development project (Tk 80 crore-GoB).
ECNEC members Planning Minister AK Khandker and Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, concerned Ministers, Advisers to the Prime Minister, Members of the Planning Commission, Secretaries and officials concerned attended the meeting.