Agriculture borrowing enhanced in country: Senate Body told

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD :The Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research here on Tuesday was informed that agriculture sector borrowings have registered significant increase during current fiscal year as over 51 institutions were providing agriculture lending facilities in the country.

The committee met here with Senator Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari was briefed about the current status of agriculture credit availability and issues and challenges faced by the sector.

Senior officials of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) informed the meeting that government had set agri-credit disbursement targets at  Rs. 1,001 billion for financial year 2017-18, adding that am action plane was devised to meet the set target for current fiscal year.

He said that an amount of Rs 705 billion were disbursed during last financial year as against the set targets of Rs. 700 billion, hence showing an increase of 5 percent.

It was informed that about 75 percent of the total disbursement targets set for current financial year was achieved so far, where as the the total numbers of agriculture borrowers were increased to 3.187 billion during the fiscal year 2017-18.

He said that non-farm borrowing had also registered positive growth as compared with the farm sector borrowing.

The SBP official told the committee that the banking sector of the country was also directed to open 20 percent bank branches in rural ares by 2020 to enhance easy access to credit facilities for the rural farming communities.

Meanwhile, the representative of Zarai Taraqiatie Bank Limited informed the committee that the bank was providing two types of climate remedy to safeguard the farmers of the country, adding that it was charging about 14.8 percent on development loans and 12.5 percent on non-development loans.

The National Bank of Pakistan told the committee that 107 billion was disbursed among 300,000 borrowers as about 1000 bank branches were dedicated for agriculture lending to facilitate the farmers of the country.

The Chairman of the Committee Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari directed the banks to ensure easy excess to credit facility for rural farmers in order to safe them from the exploitation of middle men and promote the agri-sector of the country.

Senators, Hamza and Muhammad Zafarullah Khan Dhandla attended the meeting, where as senior officials of SBP, ZTBL, Habib Bank Limited and National Bank of Pakistan attended the meeting.