LAHORE - The Appraisal Panel of Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF), in its 19th meeting, has approved grants for 56 Projects worth Rs12.3m for Farmers Enterprise Groups (FEG). These FEGs contain around 560 farmers throughout Pakistan. FEGs are rural micro enterprises set up with the aim of reducing poverty in rural areas of Pakistan. These FEGs are provided grants aimed to set up value adding enterprises and thus increase revenues of farmers at grass root level. Grants were given for establishing 20 dehydration units for drying fruits and vegetables (16 in Chitral, 4 in Skardu). It is worth-mentioning here that previous dehydration units established by Farmer Groups with the support of ASF in rest of the country have proved extremely useful. The drying time in these units has been reduced by almost 50 per cent. In addition, the quality of products dried in these units has improved, as the products are free from the adverse impacts of rain, dust and other contaminants. Plus the product looks good as fading of color of the products has completely vanished. The result of all this is higher prices for their products and thus increased revenues for the farmers. Milk collection, chilling and marketing center in Tehsil Bela, District Lasbela Balochistan is being supported. The farmers are planning to market their milk in Karachi and it is expected that milk collection and chilling center will help them to increase the shelf life of milk for transportation to Karachi. The price per litre of milk in Karachi is expected to be up to 30pc than that in the local market. Vegetables grading, washing, packing and marketing centers will be established in Punjab. These centers will help the farmers supplying vegetables in bulk quantities to the market after proper grading, washing and packing. The expected result of this intervention is higher prices for the farmers, as they would be selling their produce in premier category. Finally grants were provided for establishment of 13 tunnels for raising vegetables (11 in District Larkana Sindh and one each in Chitral and Sheikhupura), while eight (08) grants were approved for preventive vaccinations for livestock in District Larkana, Sindh. ASF was created under the auspices of the Rs 4.1 billion ADDP (Agribusiness Development and Diversification Project of MINFA) with support from ADB. The aim of ASF is developing the agribusiness sector in Pakistan and thereby supporting economic growth and 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.