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Credit to farm sector up 11pc in July-April                                        

Banks improved their lending to agriculture sector but remained far behind the target during the first ten months of the current fiscal year.

Despite strong agriculture output in this season the credit flows remained restricted to just Rs174.8 billion during July-April, 2008-09, against Rs250 billion target fixed for the current year. Last year, the credit to agriculture sector exceeded by Rs12 billion from its original target of Rs200 billion. The State Bank set an increased target of Rs250 billion or 25 per cent higher than the last year.

The State Bank reported on Wednesday that the disbursement of credit to the agriculture sector by commercial and specialised banks increased by 10.92 per cent to Rs174.8 billion during the first ten months of the current fiscal year.

Agricultural credit disbursement, in absolute terms, rose by over Rs17.21 billion in July-April, 2009, when compared with disbursement of Rs157.566 billion during the same period of the last year.

Overall credit disbursements by five major commercial banks, including Allied Bank, Habib Bank, MCB Bank, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Ltd stood at Rs86.552 billion during the period under review compared with Rs74.328 billion same period last fiscal year, depicting an increase of over Rs12.22 billion or 16.45 per cent.

Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, the largest specialised bank, has disbursed Rs52.505 billion during the ten months up 14.71 per cent when compared with Rs45.773 billion of the corresponding period of last year.

The disbursement by Punjab Provincial Co-operative Bank stood at Rs3.610 billion compared with Rs3.983 billion. Besides, 14 domestic private banks also loaned a combined Rs32.111 billion compared with Rs33.482 billion disbursed in July-April, 2008 period.

Courtesy: The DAWN;

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