‘Agriculture key to addressing woes’

SBP deputy governor announces central bank’s new project to support small farmers


Our Correspondent February 24, 2024
PBF Vice President Jahan Ara Wattoo emphasised that foreign direct investment (FDI) in corporate farming had the potential to greatly benefit the agriculture sector. PHOTO: FILE

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KARACHI:

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Deputy Governor, Saleem Ullah has stated that the share of agricultural products in Pakistan’s imports is $10 billion. If agriculture, livestock, and fisheries are developed, $8 to $9 billion can be easily saved, while keeping prices at a reasonable level to reduce inflation.

He stressed that the development of agriculture is the solution to many economic problems faced by Pakistan. The SBP is fostering its role in promoting and developing the agriculture sector.

Under this project, the provision of financing to small farmers will be facilitated and their productivity will also be improved, he said.

As a special guest at the opening ceremony of the four-day DALFA (Dairy, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Advanced Technology) Cattle Show, held from Feb 22 to 25 at Karachi Expo Centre, Saleem Ullah commended the organisers for the successful conduct of the show. However, he noted that unfortunately, the agriculture sector in Pakistan has not received the attention it deserves

Read Steps proposed to achieve 5% annual agri-growth

The deputy governor stated that the development of the agriculture sector could address several crucial problems in Pakistan’s economy, including limited economic development growth, inflation, unemployment, and food security.

The SBP, with a special focus on agriculture development, is working on a new project set to be introduced in the next two to three months. This project aims to facilitate access to financial facilities for small farmers, 75% of whom often resort to non-traditional methods due to stringent conditions imposed by traditional financial services.

In the new agriculture development plan, increasing the productivity of small farmers is the second priority. Collaboration with various stakeholders will facilitate the supply of agricultural inputs, recognising that small farmers lack the ability to pay market prices, resulting in lower productivity compared to national averages. Progressive farmers, on the other hand, exhibit nearly double the productivity.

He urged other institutions to collaborate with the SBP and financial institutions to collectively address the challenges faced by small farmers.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2024.

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