ISLAMABAD (APP) - Agribusiness Support Fund's (ASF) has approved 46 grants amounting to Rs.17.12 million for different private sector agribusiness enterprises with a focus on reducing poverty in rural areas, especially in NWFP. According to a statement issued by ASF here on Tuesday, grants were approved for enterprises ranging from Farmer Groups to SMEs, from all over Pakistan for purchase of different BDS (Business Development Services) in its eleventh meeting of Appraisal Committee held in the head office of ASF. The grants will support Farmers Enterprise Groups (around 350 farmers including 94 women farmers in the groups) in establishment of low tunnels for cultivation of off season hybrid tomato, nurseries, growing mushrooms in controlled environment and production of 'desi ghee' and cheese on commercial level in form of Women Business Groups. To improve production by provision of extension services ASF panel approved 3 applications. 2 applications from Punjab and Sindh respectively envisaged extension services in use of High Efficiency Irrigation System (HEIS) for promotion of Water Conservation Technologies (WCT). The 3rd extension services provider from Chitral was supported in helping farmers apply Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) in vegetables seeds production. Agribusiness Enterprises were also supported in developing market linkages in export markets for mangoes. An enterprise from AJK was supported in establishment of a mini yoghurt production unit in Kotri AJK. Other initiatives supported included controlled nurseries establishment. The ASF was created under the auspices of the Rs. 4.1 Billion ADDP (Agribusiness Development & Diversification Project of MINFAL) with support from ADB. The aim of ASF is developing the agribusiness sector in Pakistan and thereby supporting economic growth & employment generation. ASF has been tasked with promoting the private sector agribusiness enterprises by providing matching grants for purchase of "Business Development Services" and also providing capacity building support to BDS Providers.