ISLAMABAD, (APP): The Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research Wednesday was informed that an amount of Rs 1,300 billion was required to fulfil the domestic requirements of agriculture credit as Rs 705 billion was disbursed by the banks and financial institutions during last year.
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.
The meeting was informed that the rest of required agriculture credit was fulfilled with unconventional means, which were exploiting the farming community of the country.
Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) informed the committee that government had set agri-credit disbursement targets at Rs. 1,001 billion for the financial year 2017-18, adding that an action plan was devised to meet the set target for the current fiscal year.
It was informed that agri-sector borrowings have registered significant increase during the current fiscal year as over 51 institutions were providing agriculture lending facilities in the country, whereas 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, adding that the banking sector was also directed to open 20 percent bank branches in rural areas by 2020 to enhance easy access to credit facilities for the rural farming communities.
Meanwhile, Chairman Akhwat Foundation informed that committee that the foundation was providing interest-free loans for small-scale farmers as well as microfinance to alleviate poverty in the country.
He said that an amount of Rs 50 billion interest-free loans was provided to 2.2 million families, which was benefiting 1.5 billion poor of the poorest people across the country.
The Chairman of the Committee Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari said that the aim and objective of the committee were to prepare an action plane by taking the all stakeholders on board to enhance easy access to agri-credit for the development of agriculture sector of the country.
He said that the recommendation of the committee would be submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research.
Senator Hamza and senior officials of SBP, ZTBL, Habib Bank Limited and National Bank of Pakistan attended the meeting.