KARACHI (Web Desk) – Banks disbursed Rs 598.3 billion in agricultural credit almost meeting the target of Rs 600 billion set during 2015-16.

The amount is 16 percent higher when compared with the Rs 515.9 billion farm loans extended during FY15.

“The number of farmers served by banks also increased from 2.2 million to 2.4m,” said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) report.

It said that achieving agriculture credit disbursement target was an uphill task for the institutions due to various financing issues and challenges like low production of major cash crop especially cotton, climate change, price fluctuation of produce, market linkage gaps and high risk perception of banks about agriculture financing.

The detailed review of banks’ agriculture loan performance reveals that five major banks collectively disbursed Rs 311.4billion or 101.9 percent of their annual target of Rs 305.7 billion, which is higher by 18.4 percent from Rs 262.9 billion last year.

Amongst the five major banks, NBP, HBL, MCB surpassed their annual targets at 109.2 percent, 102 percent and 101 percent, respectively, UBL met 100 percent and ABL could achieve 87 percent of its target.

Under specialised banks, ZTBL disbursed Rs 90.97 billion, or 89 percent, of its annual target of Rs 102 billion while PPCBL disbursed Rs 10.3 billion, achieving 82 percentc in FY16.