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September 20, 2019

UN body likely to review loan policy for Pakistan


September 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A United Nations-backed financial institution may review its agriculture loan policy that has balanced out ‘highly-concessional’ and other loans for Pakistan, its senior executive said on Thursday.

Donal Brown, associate vice president of the International Funds for Agriculture Development (IFAD) was responding to a request by the Pakistani authorities that IFAD might review its policy of shifting the country from highly-concessional loans to blend loans.

“The request will be forwarded to governing body for further comments,” Brown was quoted as saying in a statement after a meeting with the Minister for National Food Security and Research Mehboob Sultan. The minister was also invited to attend the IFAD’s next governing body meeting.

Brown is responsible for managing and developing the operations that IFAD supports through its loans and grants. He also worked for the UK’s Department for International Development.

IFAD has so far supported 27 programs and projects in Pakistan for total amount of $664.5 million, which directly benefitted 2.8 million households. IFAD’s current portfolio consists of four projects at a total cost of $380.390 million, which include Southern Punjab poverty alleviation project, Gwadar – Lasbella livelihood support project, economic transformation initiative in Gilgit Baltistan and national poverty graduation program.

Sultan said the government aims to bring revolutionary change in agriculture sector through Prime Minister’s agriculture emergency program especially in the rural areas.

“The government of Pakistan appreciates IFAD’s initiatives for sustainable rural development and wants to maintain this cooperation till achievement of objectives,” he said.

“We have initiated various schemes for achieving agricultural self-sufficiency. The collaboration of IFAD in this regard will be encouraging.” The country is amongst the world’s top producers of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, mango, dates, rice and oranges. Rural population is 60 percent of the total population.

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