Senate committee expresses concerns over non-availability of agri-credit

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ISLAMABAD

Senate’s Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research here on Wednesday expressed its concerns over the non-availability of credit for the agriculture sector of the country.

The committee which met here with Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah in the chair, also noted that agriculture disbursement was higher in non-agricultural areas as compared to the agricultural areas of the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari said that the non-availability of agriculture credit was the biggest hurdle in growth and development of the agri-sector.

He informed that Islamabad had received more agriculture credit as compared to the rest of the different major crop producing districts of the country.

He said that despite higher markup rates, Zarai Taraqiati Bank (ZTBL) was unable to fulfil the credit requirements of farming community, particularly small land holders.

He called upon the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for formulating a comprehensive credit policy in order to ensure availability of agriculture loans for small farmers.

Meanwhile, a sub-committee was formed and assigned a task to find the issues and challenges being faced in agriculture credit disbursement.

The committee also asked for compiling a report on the agriculture credit disbursement targets and achievements so far, from ZTBL and other banks, and submit its report to the standing committee within 60 days.

The committee also asked Ministry of National Food Security and research federal secretary to submit a report on the restriction on the transportation of fertilizer to the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

The committee also asked for taking appropriate measures in collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure fertilizer supply to these provinces for the development of agri-sector of the country.  The Senators Leghari, Hamza and Sardar Azam Khan attended the meeting.

Besides, senior officials of ZTBL, SBP, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, representatives of provincial food departments also attended the meeting.