KARACHI:,,, The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved the Sindh Agricultural Growth Project in the amount of US$ 76.4 million. The project aims to improve the productivity and market access of small and medium producers in important commodity value chains. The project would benefit approximately 112,000 farmers covering over 66,000 hectares.
The project intends to achieve this objective by investing in knowledge and technology for producers and sub-sectors of crops and livestock, and strengthening public sector institutions to enhance the enabling environment for sustained sectoral growth.
“The project is envisaged to be a significant investment towards inclusive growth by prioritizing support to small and medium sized producers who are trying to compete in horticulture markets”, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “Investing in horticulture offers the best potential for increased small producer incomes, new employment opportunities in production and processing, improved resource productivity, and enhanced micronutrient availability in the market.”
The project focuses on horticulture and milk production as they have a small farmer focus, have significant involvement of women in production and processing, and, from a national perspective, Sindh enjoys the greatest competitive advantage in these pro-poor production value chains. Capacity building, technical assistance and strategic planning for sector growth will also be provided through this project.
The project will also promote the private sector participation in the agricultural development and sector growth through public-private models for agribusiness development and support services. The Government of Pakistan and Government of Sindh have both highlighted commercial agriculture and market linkages as priority investments for the sector.
The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s grant and low-interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.