ISLAMABAD: Financial assistance of up to Rs200,000 per borrower is being provided by Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) under the Khawateen Rozgar Scheme to empower rural women, said ZTBL President Sheikh Amanullah.
Briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Friday, he pointed out that besides that facility, women could also acquire loans under the general credit schemes offered by the bank.
The committee, headed by Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan, was told that under the Rozgar scheme, loans were extended to women for setting up cottage units, mushroom cultivation, poultry farming, goat/sheep farming, floriculture, ostrich farming, bee keeping and vegetable cultivation.
It was also briefed that ZTBL was providing financial assistance of up to Rs100,000 per borrower within a five-day time period under the Kissan Dost Scheme while up to Rs1.5 million per borrower was being provided under the Tahafuz-e-Ajnas Scheme.
The ZTBL chairman said the bank had launched its own ATM/debit card as an alternative delivery channel and had installed 30 ATM machines in different areas while installation of an additional 200 ATM machines was also under way to facilitate farmers.
“ZTBL has established a call centre for providing guidance and technical advice to the farming community pertaining to the entire cropping cycle,” revealed Amanullah. “In addition to this, the bank has established a farmers’ portal, which is at the ZTBL’s website and agri-technology website.”
This portal offers SMS, interactive voice response (IVR) and call centre-based services, especially tailoured to meet the needs of farmers.
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The committee directed ZTBL to further enhance the Khawateen Rozgar Scheme besides easing the procedure in order to provide benefits to maximum number of women.
The committee, at the outset, instructed the authorities to properly advertise and highlight the schemes to educate the farmers about different facilities.
Its members were of the view that people related to agriculture mainly lived in remote areas and due to a lack of information, they were unable to avail these facilities.
On the occasion, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) briefed the committee about the facilities being provided to the agriculture, dairy farming and livestock sectors.
It said Smeda, in collaboration with different partners, was providing assistance and technical support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The committee urged Smeda to play its due role in capacity building, facilitating and educating farmers and recommended to initiate programmes related to value addition of agricultural products.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2019.
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