The central bank set an agriculture credit target of Tk 241.24 billion for the banks to disburse during the current fiscal year (FY) of 2020.
The amount has been estimated to be 10.66 per cent higher than that of the last fiscal year's target, according to officials.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) unveiled the agriculture and rural credit policy and programme for the FY'20 at a press conference at its headquarters in the capital on Tuesday.
Of the target, eight state-owned banks have been asked to disburse Tk 103.75 billion in the current fiscal while the targets for private commercial banks (PCBs) and foreign commercial banks (FCBs) are Tk 137.49 billion combined.
Meanwhile, the disbursement of farm credit exceeded the target in the last fiscal year.
All the banks have achieved 108.33 per cent of their total annual agriculture loan disbursement target of Tk 218 billion for the FY '19.
The disbursement of farm credit grew by more than 10 per cent to Tk 236.16 billion in the FY '19 from Tk 213.93 billion a year earlier, the BB data showed.
Credit for cashew nut cultivation, rambutan and potato cultivation in double-bed system has also been added to the new policy to ensure the food security of the people while developing a sustainable agricultural credit system, they added.
The central bank asked the banks to increase credit disbursement through their own network and agent banking channels and decrease the disbursement using microfinance institutions (MFIs) gradually.
"We've announced the policy to achieve the prime objectives of sustainable development goals (SDGs), including eradication of poverty, ensuring safe and nutritious food and maintaining good health for the people of the country," BB deputy governor SM Moniruzzaman said while announcing the policy.
He also said the central bank will provide policy support to develop own networks and agent banking channels of the banks.
However, the deputy governor ruled out the possibility of revisiting the priority lending ceiling for the agriculture sector considering the overall loan and advance situation of the country.
"We're not thinking right now about revisiting the priority lending ceiling for the agriculture sector," the deputy governor said.
Currently, the banks must disburse a minimum 2.0 per of their total loan portfolios for the agriculture sector.
The central bank is going to take punitive measures against eight banks, which missed the farm loan disbursement targets in the outgoing fiscal year, he added.
Among others, Ashok Kumar Dey, BB executive director and Habibur Rahman, general manager of the agriculture credit department of the central bank, spoke on the occasion.
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