Lack of value addition: Agricultural land shrinking in Punjab

Banks asked to give soft loans to farmers to promote new technology

Imran Rana February 06, 2017

FAISALABAD: Focused credit policies for promoting value addition coupled with maximisation of per acre yield for small landholders were imperative to make farming profitable, particularly in the backdrop of fast shrinking cultivable land around main cities of Punjab, said Engineer Ahmed Hassan, Vice President of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI).

He stated this at a review meeting of the Agriculture Credit Advisory Committee of the State Bank of Pakistan in Multan recently.

Hassan pointed out that Pakistan was predominantly an agrarian economy and was listed among top 10 producers of cotton, rice, sugarcane, maize, milk, fresh vegetables and many exotic varieties of fruits.

Despite the ecological diversity, he said, “we bitterly failed to add value to these important crops, which has led to the erosion of financial viability of small landholders in addition to encouraging migration from the rural to urban centres”.

Though the agriculture sector had great economic importance, it continued to face scores of problems including low crop yields, heavy wastage and low value addition due to the use of primitive technology and farming methods.

“Our banking sector needs to frame agriculture finance policies with the aim of achieving higher value addition and increased use of modern technology and practices,” he suggested.

Hassan called for providing special financial services and incentives for those farmers and entrepreneurs who were striving to adopt state-of-the-art technology and improve efficiency.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2017.

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