ISLAMABAD - The government has taken special measures for the development of agriculture sector and has introduced many schemes in the budget for the farmers, Ishaq Dar said.

He, while mentioning the government’s initiative taken for the agriculture sector and the farmers, said that it had introduced almost 8 schemes to benefit the farmers and ultimately the agriculture sector of the country.

First of all, the government has introduced Credit Guarantee Scheme for small and marginalised farmers. Under the scheme, the government is encouraging banks to finance the unbanked small farmers. The government under this scheme will provide guarantee to commercial, specialised and micro finance banks for up to 50 per cent loss sharing and the scheme will cover the farmers having 5 irrigated and 10 acres non-irrigated holdings.

Another important scheme introduced by the government in the budget is Reimbursement of Crop Loan Insurance. All farmers obtaining loans for production of 5 major crops are eligible to benefit from the aforementioned scheme and 700,000 farmers will benefit from this scheme. The total budget cost of the scheme has been proposed a sum of Rs 2.5 billion.

Another scheme is Livestock Insurance Scheme that will cover livestock insurance in case of calamity and disease and the scheme will benefit 100,000 livestock farmers. An allocation of Rs 300 million has been suggested for the scheme.

The government has also reduced sales tax on tractors. Ishaq Dar said that the previous government had levied sales tax on tractors that was 16 per cent and that adversely affected local buying of tractors. The government has proposed in the budget to reduce this sales tax to 10 per cent.

Other schemes introduced by the government include establishment of commodity warehouse/ receipt financing mechanism, agriculture credit, air freight subsidy and incentives for processing industries of special areas.

The government has suggested to bear 50 per cent cost of airfreight for horticulture produce from Gilgit Baltistan. Under the Agriculture Credit Scheme the government has decided to enhance overall credit to Rs 500 billion for the year 2014-15.