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Call to Ease Pressure on Bangladesh Farmers

by 5m Editor
22 April 2009, at 8:52a.m.

BANGLADESH - The central bank has asked commercial banks to re-schedule loans to poultry farmers without down-payment, a move welcomed by the industry association.

The central bank of Bangladesh has asked eight state-owned commercial banks and financial institutions to reschedule classified loans outstanding with the poultry farmers without any down payment, officials told All Headline News (AHN).

The banks and financial institutions have been instructed that the poultry sector loans will be treated as agricultural sub-sector credit instead of commercial loans.

The Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association (BPIA) welcomed the central bank's latest moves, saying that measure will greatly help the bird-flu stricken poultry sector.

"We've taken the measure for the bird flu-hit poultry farms to facilitate their rehabilitation," a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country's central bank, told AHN in Dhaka.

He also said the interest rates on lending in the poultry sector will come down as the sector has been recognized as an agricultural sub-sector instead of commercial.

Under the new provisions, the interest rates on lending in the poultry sector will come down to 8-11 per cent from the existing 13-14 per cent, the market operators said.

The eight state-owned banks and financial institutions are: Sonali Bank Limited, Janata Bank Limited, Agrani Bank Limited, Rupali Bank Limited, Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB), Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB), Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) and Bangladesh Samabaya Bank Limited (BSBL).

"We want re-financing facility for reviving the affected poultry farms across the country," BPIA president, Syed Abu Siddique, told AHN, adding that nearly 40 per cent of the country's 150,000 poultry farms have already closed down following the outbreak of bird flu, leaving around two million people jobless.

The country's poultry farm owners earlier sought the government's initiative to make low-cost fresh credit available to them and rescheduling of bank loans for salvaging the US$ 2.17 billion (BDT 150-billion) industry.