karachi -

Agricultural credit disbursement by banks surged by 17 per cent on year-on-year basis to Rs 231.04 billion in the first nine months (July-March) of the current fiscal year (2012-13). “In absolute terms, disbursement of credit to the agriculture sector increased by over Rs 33.7 billion in July-March, FY 2013 when compared with the total disbursement of Rs 197.3 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year” a statement of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday said.

The central bank added that overall credit disbursement by five major commercial banks including Allied Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Limited stood at Rs 123.7 billion as compared with Rs 107.6 billion disbursed in July-March, FY 2012 depicting an increase of 14.9 percent. Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), the largest specialized bank, disbursed a total of Rs 37.9 billion in July-March, FY 2013 as compared with Rs 37.8 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year.

The Punjab Provincial Co-operative Bank Limited (PPCBL) disbursed Rs 5.4 billion in July-March, FY 2013 when compared with Rs 6 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year.

Fourteen domestic private banks also loaned a combined amount of Rs 51.0 billion in July-March, FY 2013 as compared to Rs 37.3 billion disbursed during the same period last year. Five MiBanks including Khushhali Bank Ltd., NRSP Microfinance Bank Ltd., The First Microfinance Bank Ltd., Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Ltd. and Tameer Microfinance Bank Ltd. disbursed agri.loans amounting to Rs 12.9 billion during July-March, FY 2013 as compared to 8.5 billion during the same period last year. It may be pointed out that the State Bank has provisionally set an indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs 315 billion to banks for the current fiscal year.

NNI adds: Caretaker Sindh Minister for Agriculture N.K. Lohana has said that farmers are the backbone of our national economy and it is the result of their efforts that barren lands convert into cultivated lands.  This he said while addressing a meeting with the small scale farmers at his office. Caretaker Minister also said that agriculture sector would be set to the modern standards and farmers would be given trainings with latest information regarding cultivation methods for which Agriculture Department is making adequate planning and transferring the knowledge to the ground level through public advertisements and awareness campaigns.

On this occasion, a delegation of farmers informed the Minister about their problems and hurdles for which Agriculture Minister NK. Lohana assured them that their issues would be resolved on priority basis and directed Secretary Agriculture to look into the matter and take measures regarding the problems of farmers as soon as possible.