Tuesday August 16, 2022

Govt distributes Rs640 billion interest-free loans to farmers

February 03, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The government, under its flagship Agriculture Transformation Plan (ATP), disbursed around Rs640.6 billion interest-free loans to near 3.4 million farmers in all provinces while 0.88 million Kissan cards were distributed in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, officials informed on Wednesday.

A meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) of the Agriculture Transformation Plan was held and chaired by federal minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam.

The meeting was informed that the amount was paid out through Agriculture Credit Facility. Out of the total amount almost Rs517 billion were paid out in Punjab and Rs109 billion in Sindh. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs10 billion were disbursed, in AJK Rs2 billion, Gilgit-Baltistan Rs1.5 billion, and in Balochistan, Rs1.1 billion of loans were dished out among farmers.

Abid Qaiyum Suleri convened the meeting, which was also attended by secretary National Food Security and Research Tahir Khursheed, chief secretary Punjab, secretary Agriculture Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Balochistan, and other senior officials.

Fakhar Imam said that the current government prioritized the success of the farmer, adding that the Agriculture Transformation Plan was an ‘unprecedented’ program for development of the farmers of the country.

Talking on the occasion, Imam also appreciated the fast progress of Punjab with respect to disbursement of funds to the farmers via Kissan Card Scheme.

Secretary agriculture Punjab briefed the minister that 780,000 Kissan cards had been distributed, saying that their target was to disburse one million cards until end-June 2022. He further said Rs4.1 billion were paid out through the Kissan Card scheme in Punjab and over 5.5 million transactions were made.

Imam lauded the scheme saying, “never before such a system was developed where the farmers were given subsidy directly by the government.” Agriculture Secretary of KP said they had distributed 100,000 cards and disbursed Rs 475 million.

Imam said termed quality of seed as one of the primary factors that decide the productivity of a crop. He said to improve productivity of crops, the quality and provision of high-quality seed must be enhanced.

Almost 200 seed companies’ licenses were cancelled in last one year for being providing substandard seeds, which is more than the number combined for the last 20 years.

The minister appreciated the efforts of MD Punjab Seed Cooperation in providing quality seed to the farmers. He emphasized that the quality of seed is crucial to increasing overall production and productivity of any crop.

Meanwhile, Imam said collaboration with Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences could be a game changer for Pakistan.

He emphasized that the need to exchange expertise on mechanization, new variety development, and germplasm, saying that China leads the world in agriculture mechanization and Pakistan could catapult its agriculture sector through learning from their knowledge and experience.

Earlier, Dr Abid Suleri briefed the minister that in February, the NCC would complete its one year since its inception.

He briefed the participants that the committee would compile and present its one-year performance to the Prime Minister Imran Khan in February, 2022.