Bangladesh allocates loans to support pandemic-hit fisheries sector
The government of Bangladesh has disbursed loans totaling BDT 260 million (USD 3 million, EUR 2.54 million) to help the fisheries sector overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loans, with an interest rate of four percent, were provided by several public and private banks to 1,326 fishermen and farmers in the country as of July, The Financial Express reported, citing Bangladesh Department of Fisheries Additional Director General and Chief Scientific Officer Ramzan Ali.
The financial support is part of a stimulus package worth BDT 50 billion (USD 578.5 million, EUR 488.3 million) that the government has introduced to aid the agriculture sector during the pandemic.
Additional loans under the program are expected to be allocated to fishermen and farmers in coming months, Ali said.
The fishermen and farmers have used the financial support to buy aquafeed and other inputs to boost their fish production.
In addition to providing loans, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has taken other measures to assist the local fisheries sector, including offering incentives for fish farmers, fishermen, and shrimp exporters to help them maintain their business operations.
The ministry has also asked the Department of Fisheries and other relevant agencies to make sure the supply chain in the fisheries sector is not disrupted during the COVID-19 crisis. A hotline has been launched by the ministry to provide fish farmers and fishermen with information and advice from the government.
The aquaculture output in Bangladesh accounts for 56 percent of fish production, which has achieved an average growth of 5.3 percent per year for the last 10 years.
The country exported 68,935 metric tons (MT) of fisheries products with the total value of USD 514 million (EUR 433.8 million) in its fiscal year 2017-2018, according to Department of Fisheries data.
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