LAHORE - Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF) has approved grants worth 40 million for Agribusiness Sector Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) including support to a project by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) for provision of extension services for value addition and marketing of Pine Nuts (Chilghosa) in Baluchistan. Grants for SMEs approved by ASF Appraisal Panel in its 19th meeting for a variety of projects spread all over Pakistan, ASF spokesman said here on Thursday. The Project supported included World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan (WWF-P) initiative for provision of Extension Services for value addition & marketing of Pine Nuts (Chilghoza) in Baluchistan and Applied Research on adaptability of peat moss mass application for recovery of uncultivable wastelands in Punjab clubbed with introduction of off season summer cropping countrywide. Other SMEs will be supported in attaining international certifications including GlobalGAP, BRC & ISO 22000. SMEs were also supported in obtaining customized expert inputs in running Floriculture Farms, conducting a market survey & creation of a marketing plan, participation in marketing exhibition and improving supply chain for producing apricot oil. SMEs were provided assistance in setting up Nurseries, establishing a Dairy Farm, and setting up grapes drying units. Trade Associations were supported in building their capacity to serve their members via different interventions including development of Market Information Systems, Training of Members in quality control & developing new products. Private Sector Extension Service Providers will be supported in initiatives, which will reduce post harvest losses via improved packaging for potatoes & onions, enhance production via improved storage techniques, increase yield of seed potatoes via tissue culture production and Funding was also approved for capacity building of Business Development Service Providers (BDSP) in providing trainings in Tunnel Farming, gaining BRC Third Party Lead Auditor Course and Training Entrepreneurs in Medicinal Plants planting & harvesting and processing these plants to create high quality Herbal Medicines as well as other products. A BDSP was also supported in setting up a Training Wing and providing Technical Training in HACCP. Finally the Appraisal Panel approved grants for Mango Orchards Owners in order to undertake initiatives, which will increase the yield of Orchards and reduce losses at farm level. These initiatives involve implementation of best practices in pre & post harvest techniques. The Enterprises were also supported in establishment of mini pack houses at farm level and in creation of skilled workers. In addition, the Orchard Owners were also supported in entering export markets by attaining GlobalGAP Certification. ASF was created under the auspices of the Rs. 4.1 Billion ADDP (Agribusiness Development & Diversification Project of MINFA) 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.