BSS, Dhaka : Lending to import alternative crops increased by 38 percent in the first seven months of the current 2013-14 financial year (FY14), according to data available from Bangladesh Bank (BB). The data from the Agriculture Credit and Financial Inclusion Department of the central bank showed the increase over the amount disbursed in the same period of the previous 2012-13 financial year (FY13). All scheduled banks including the foreign banks operating in the country disbursed taka 34.88 crore in July-January of FY14, which was taka 25.34 crore in the corresponding period of FY13. “Loan disbursement to import alternative crops has been increasing mainly because of active participation of private banks,” BB’s Executive Director Prabhash Chandra Mollik told BSS. He said BB encouraged all banks to support import alternative crops like pulses, oil seeds, spices and maize at a concessional rate of 4.0 percent when prices of these commodities increased substantially in 2010. “The major objective of such lending is to lowering import dependency by helping farmers grow more of these crops,” he said. The central targeted disbursement of taka 90.93 crore to import alternative crops in the current fiscal year, which is higher from taka 78 crore of the previous financial year. The BB official said the loan disbursement target would be achieved in the remaining five months of the current financial year.