understanding (MoU) was signed on Wednesday between the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to reduce poverty by strengthening small-scale agri-businesses in Pakistan. The selective activities of the European Unionfunded project “Growth of Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP)” will be jointly implemented by Smeda and ITC in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mehmud, while speaking on the occasion, expressed hope that implementation of the GRASP project would help unlock the potential in the livestock, dairy and horticulture sectors.
The minister called for expanding the programme to the areas of south Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and erstwhile Fata as well. He said the project was expected to facilitate access to credit for the medium, small and micro rural enterprises through the relevant market actors in the ecosystem. It will also improve the business environment surrounding the SMEs.
“The project will help small and medium-sized enterprises in horticulture, livestock and dairy as Pakistan is the fifth largest milk producer in the world,” he added. The GRASP project is likely to be completed in six years at a cost of $1.8 million. It will ensure the provision of a congenial business environment to the small farmers, besides providing grants and technical assistance to improve the value chain, yield, quality, access to market information and standards.
Ministry of Industries and Production Secretary Imdadullah Bosal, officials of Smeda and ITC were present in the meeting.
Originally published at tribune.com.pk