LAHORE - Representatives from the Punjab Enabling Environment Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and National Rural Support Program Microfinance Bank Limited have signed a memorandum of understanding to mutually promote the agriculture and livestock sectors of Punjab.

“The MoU signed today (Friday) highlights the US government’s commitment to support small farmers through financial inclusion in the agricultural economy of Punjab,” USAID Agriculture Specialist for Punjab Asad Ullah Khan said.

“The Punjab Enabling Environment Project and NRSP Microfinance Bank will work together to promote policy reforms, investment, growth, and facilitate access to finance in the livestock sector of Punjab,” he added.

Through the Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) Program – one of PEEP’s facilitation tools – the project is assisting NRSP Microfinance Bank Limited to develop a microenterprise lending portfolio for livestock fattening farmers in south Punjab. 

The programme offers a series of financial, technical, commercial, and legal advisory services for potential investors through project-contracted service provider KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co.

Speaking at the ceremony, NRSP Microfinance Bank President Zahoor Hussain Khan said, “The collective efforts and combination of resources from both organizations will help create a conducive business environment by encouraging livestock feedlot farmers to utilize the microfinance products for addressing meat quality and yield related issues.”

Building on the bank’s presence in southern Punjab, TAS will mobilize start-up investments worth USD 1 million (Rs 100 million approximately) directly by the bank. The investments will focus on small loans for livestock enterprises with matching leveraging by the private sector value chain partners.

USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project is a five-year, $15 million project to improve the business environment in the livestock, dairy, and horticulture sectors of Punjab.

NRSP Microfinance Bank Limited, established in 2011, is currently operating with 67 branches across 25 districts of Pakistan. The bank offers a range of financial services to financially underserved individuals including landless and small rural farmers.