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Banks disburse Rs516bn in agri credit

Banks disburse Rs516bn in agri credit

KARACHI: Banks disbursed Rs515.90 billion to agriculture sector in 2014-15 against the target of Rs500bn, an increase of 31.81 per cent from Rs391.40bn distributed a year ago, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Friday.

The agriculture outstanding portfolio also increased to Rs335.20bn from Rs290.30bn in the previous year, an increase of Rs45bn (15.50pc), according to the SBP.

Five major banks collectively distributed Rs262.90bn (104.1pc) against their combined target of Rs252.5bn, an increase of 34.50pc from Rs195.5bn disbursed in the preceding year.

HBL achieved 113pc, MCB 102.6pc, UBL 101.4pc, ABL 101.2pc and NBP achieved 100.1pc of their individual annual targets.

Among specialised banks, ZTBL disbursed Rs95.8bn (106.5pc) against its annual target of Rs90bn, while PPCBL disbursed Rs10.5bn (91.2pc) against its target of Rs11.5bn. Fifteen domestic private banks as a group achieved 94.1pc of their collective target.

The target set for agri. credit disbursement in FY15 was ambitious by any standards, given the higher risk perception of banks about agri. financing and volatility in the prices of produce.

“The SBP adopted a multipronged strategy for achieving the target which included; sensitising banks to adopt agri. financing as a viable business line, diversification of agri. lending portfolio of banks, increase in per acre credit limits and extending the scope of eligible items, development of new product eco-system including value chain financing, and inclusion of microfinance and Islamic banks for small and faith sensitive clients,” said an SBP report.

For deepening financing outreach, ‘Fast Track Lending Programme’ was launched for farm and non-farm activities in selected districts of the country. In addition, financial literacy programmes for farmers were conducted at grass root level.

Since FY12, banks have continuously been exceeding the targets for farm loan disbursement, which grew at an average rate of 10.8pc during the period.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2015

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