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SBP plan to boost agriculture

Karachi: The State Bank on Monday announced six-point action plan to boost agricultural financing.

State Bank Acting Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra chairing the meeting of Agricultural Credit Advisory Committee (ACAC) asked the stakeholders to support this plan.

The plan includes the launch of Financial Innovation Challenge Fund (FICF) for rural areas to foster innovation, test new markets, streamlining systems and procedures to provide more efficient ways of meeting the larger demands of farming community.

It also includes launching of country-wide Internship Programme for 100 top graduates in agriculture to be funded under the ADB’s Improving Access to Financial Services Endowment Fund.

Further, there is a plan for upward revision in the provisional agriculture disbursement target of Rs360 billion to Rs380bn for 2013-14 in the light of banks’ encouraging performance in the last two years.

The target is 13 per cent higher from Rs336bn disbursed in 2012-13.

Banks will be assigned targets for outstanding agriculture portfolio and number of borrowers to have high impact of financing at grass roots level from the current year.

The SBP is to make agricultural finance a key indicator of performance of banks, including Islamic banks, which will be reflected in their supervisory ratings.

 “Similarly, Pakistan is ranked one of the top 10th largest producers in minor agriculture commodities. Pakistan ranks 8th worldwide in farm output.”

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