KARACHI - State Bank of Pakistan, in collaboration with provincial governments, launched Pilot Project Phase II from current Rabi season 2009-10 for enhancing outreach of agricultural financing in underserved districts of the country. Under Phase II, 14 districts of Punjab (Jhang, Kasur, Toba Tek Singh, Pakpattan, Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Vehari, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Okara & Sheikhupura), 9 of Sindh (Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Tando Allahyar, Sanghar, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Larkana, Noushehro Feroz & Matiari), 3 of North West Frontier Province (Mardan, Swabi & Mansehra) and 2 in Balochistan (Jafarabad & Nasirabad ) have been identified based on experience of phase I of project and in consultation with banks. It will help increase institutional credit flow on fast-track basis to underserved agri.-intensive areas of Punjab, Sindh NWFP & Balochistan. To increase awareness about project, SBP is also arranging workshops for stakeholders including regional business chiefs & regional agri. managers of participating banks, officials of revenue departments, post offices & agri. extension departments, SBP-BSC offices to discuss modalities on implementing project, One Window Operation, data reporting, monitoring, etc. The workshops will be held in Multan, Bahawalpur, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar. Phase I of project was launched in 7 districts of Sindh from last Kharif season 2009. It was mandatory for agri. lending banks operating in concerned districts to post at least one dedicated Agri. Financing Officer/Agri. Credit Officer in their agri. designated branches. These banks were assigned specific targets for disbursement, growth in outstanding portfolio & number of borrowers to each of its branches, concerned Branch Manager, Area Manager were responsible for implementing project under overall supervision of banks agri. heads. SBP Banking Services Corporation through its units in respective field offices closely monitored, supervised implementation at branch level and made necessary arrangements in consultation with banks for mass awareness of project through print, electronic media. Under phase I, banks disbursed Rs 3.9 billion during last Kharif crop 2009. In addition to disbursements to existing borrowers, over 13,000 new agri. borrows were also tapped by banks. Overall object is to stimulate and synergize banks agri. financing activities for improving farmers access to finance on fast track basis have largely been achieved. It provided learning opportunities to stakeholders to align lending policies, practices according to local requirements, repayment behaviour, crops/farming patterns, etc.