Following is the text of press note issued by State Bank of
The Acting Governor, State Bank of
(i) The launch of
(ii) Launch of country-wide Internship Program for 100 top agri. Graduates to be funded under the
(iii) Upward revision in the provisional agri. disbursement target of
(iv) Banks to be assigned targets for outstanding agri. portfolio and number of borrowers to have high impact of agri. financing at grass root level from the current year;
(v) SBP to make agricultural finance a key indicator of performance of banks, including Islamic banks, which will be reflected in their supervisory ratings; and
(vi) Formulation of a
Referring to the potential of agriculture sector in the economic development of
Mr. Wathra said that agri. finance is close to his heart as he comes from an agriculturist background. 'Hence it has become one of his top priorities since he joined it (SBP)', he added.
He also urged the farmers' representatives and government departments to contribute in the efforts of banks and address the demand side bottlenecks including low yield, proper marketing and storage, water efficiencies, land record management, adoption of modern techniques, mechanization and other agri. innovations.
Mr. Wathra said that despite structural shift towards industrialization, agriculture sector continues to remain the vital sector of our economy with its backward and forward linkages with other sectors of the economy having strong socio-economic implications. 'It is the second largest sector, accounting for over 21% of GDP', he added.
He shared with the audience some of the key initiatives taken recently by SBP. State Bank of
Mr. Wathra said that SBP had just revised the per acre indicative credit limit for crops, orchards and forestry which were previously set in 2008. This should facilitate to meet the enhanced credit requirements of farmers and also increase the agri credit portfolio of banks manifold, he said, adding that the SBP has introduced a Livestock Insurance Scheme for borrowers to mitigate risk of loss of livestock due to disease, natural calamities and accidents. 'Moreover, Government has been approached to provide premium subsidy for small farmers as is being done in case of crop loan insurance' he said.
The central bank in collaboration with the NIBAF is implementing a training program for agri. credit officers of commercial/microfinance banks to train them in the dynamics of agri. financing, he said, adding that the SBP's Farmers' financial literacy program has been in operation to increase awareness at the grass roots and around 400 agri. credit officers have been trained on methodology of conducting farmer financial literacy sessions.
Mr. Wathra said that these initiatives had paid dividends in the form of robust increase in agri. credit disbursement to
Representatives of the farming community hailed the address of the Acting Governor in Urdu instead of English as the farmers easily understood the national language.
Mr. Wathra assured the banks and the farmers' representatives that all their genuine grievances would be looked into and resolved them in collaboration with other stakeholders. He advised the banks to become a strong player in the economic development of
The meeting was attended, among others, by the Deputy Governor, State Bank of
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