LAHORE: Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF) has approved grants worth Rs40 million for agribusiness sector of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) including support to a project by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) for provision of extension services for value addition and marketing of pine nuts in Balochistan.
According to a press release issued here on Thursday grants for SMEs approved by ASF Appraisal Panel in its 19th meeting for a variety of projects spread all over Pakistan. The project supported included World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan (WWF-P) initiative for provision of Extension Services for value addition & marketing of pine nuts (Chilghoza) in Balochistan and Applied Research on adaptability of peat moss mass application for recovery of uncultivable wastelands in Punjab.
Other SMEs will be supported in attaining international certifications including GlobalGAP, BRC & ISO 22000. SMEs were also supported in obtaining customized expert inputs in running floriculture farms, conducting a market survey & creation of a marketing plan, participation in marketing exhibition and improving supply chain for producing apricot oil.
SMEs were provided assistance in setting up nurseries, establishing a dairy farm, and setting up grapes drying units. Two trade associations were supported in building their capacity to serve their members via different interventions including development of market information systems, training of members in quality control & developing new products. Private sector extension service providers will be supported in initiatives, which will reduce post harvest losses via improved packaging for potatoes & onions, enhance production via improved storage techniques, increase yield of seed potatoes via tissue culture production.
The funding was also approved for capacity building of Business Development Service Providers (BDSP) in providing trainings in tunnel farming, gaining BRC third party lead auditor course and training entrepreneurs in medicinal plants planting & harvesting and processing these plants to create high quality herbal medicines as well as other products.