Wednesday December 08, 2021

WB satisfied with Smart Agriculture programme

October 26, 2021

LAHORE: The World Bank has expressed satisfaction over the progress of the ongoing bank-funded Smart Agriculture Programme in the mid-term review meeting of the programme and proposed to extend its scope and completion period by two years.

This was disclosed by Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht while presiding over a cabinet committee meeting on Smart Agriculture Programme in the Committee Room of the Finance Department Monday.

The meeting was attended by Provincial Minister for Irrigation Mohsin Leghari, Provincial Minister for Livestock Hasnain Bahadur Dareshk, Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Ali Afzal, Secretary Finance Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, Secretary Planning and Development Mujahid Sher Dil and secretaries of other relevant departments.

The minister said that Punjab govt has been ensuring the capacity building of agricultural markets and implementation of the Rural Development Programme in collaboration with the World Bank for the last five years under Smart Agriculture Programme. The meeting also discussed the concerns and recommendations of the concerned departments on the suggestions of the World Bank to amend some targets of the programme.

The provincial finance minister directed the secretary planning and development board to review the indicators related to payments under the smart programme. He asked submission of the plan to achieve profitable goals by abandoning targets which are irrelevant and release the funds for the achievable targets. This will speed up and improve the performance of programme which was delayed due to lack of funds.

Further, he mentioned that the Punjab government was moving towards targeted subsidies to increase the purchasing power of low-income people. In the agricultural sector, increasing wheat production and reducing the price of flour is the top priority of the Punjab government.

The minister stressed the need for proper planning for reforms in the wheat market. For this purpose, reasonable estimates were also sought for the provision of additional funds from agriculture department. The meeting also discussed the proposal to use the Bank of Punjab scheme to make the proposed programme for providing incentives to farmers.