KARACHI - To facilitate farmers in boosting agricultural output, the mainstay and the backbone of economy, Sindh Bank has drawn and developed a unique 'Benazir Zarai Card scheme in line with the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to help the poor and small farmers of the country in general and of Sindh in particular, says a press release. Sindh Bank headed by Muhammad Bilal Shaikh was established four months ago to generate employment opportunities by meeting the financial needs of the small farmers, small and medium size enterprises and women entrepreneurs in the country with main focus in Sindh. The Bank would also provide corporate finance and participate in syndicated financing under the lead of major Commercial Banks. This pioneering and innovative scheme which was launched by the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari on April 4, 2011 at Naudero, provides for a pre-approved credit limit of up to Rs. 100,000/- per farmer. The scheme allows the farmer to avail up to 20pc in cash through any branch of Sindh Bank to meet the transportation and labour expenses and balance 80pc for purchase of commodities like fertilizers, seeds and pesticides, etc. As a first step, these cards have been distributed to 10 farmers. The facility would be extended to 10,000 farmers by the end of this year. During the card launching ceremony, the President also directed the management of the Bank to develop a similar scheme for the poor students to complete their graduate studies. The financial assistance, he stressed, should be disbursed directly to the universities/ colleges and the progress of the student be monitored via internet.