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Govt wants to uplift small farmers: minister

By Our Correspondent
October 23, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab government in collaboration with Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research organised a report launch event regarding “Creating Wealth in Smallholder farmers through efficient credit system in Pakistan” at local hotel.

Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial, Punjab Minister for Agriculture, participated as chief guest. The event was attended by Dr Yusuf Zafar, Chairman PARC, Dr John Steen, Project Coordinator University of Queensland Australia, Galib Nishtar, president Khushali Bank Agriculture Microfinance Outreach, Muhammad Rafiq Akhtar, Director Agriculture Information Punjab, along with other participants.

On this occasion, the minister said small farmers represent a major portion of farming households in Punjab and have previously had very little access to formal affordable finance. The credit available to these small farmers, mainly from informal sources, used to be of a very high cost which escalated their cost of production. The ultimate aim of the Agriculture department is to facilitate the farmer through the usage of mobile wallets. Also, we have a total of 55,000 active mobile wallet accounts, which eventually shows the success rate of this scheme. Current regime allocated budget of Rs93 billion for Agriculture Sector as compare to recent past which was Rs 81.30 billion in 2017-18, the minister said and added the government wanted to uplift small farmers in accordance to vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

For interest free loans, this government allocated Rs 15 billion during current financial year. Farming community was made a neglected sector during past regime, resultantly, we lack far behind in Agriculture Sector as compare to rest of the world. Other participants of this event also stress to devise ways for small landholders regarding availability of credit as it serves fresh air for farmers and they can buy input for agriculture, the minister said.