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ISLAMABAD: The Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL) has decided to provide loan to residents of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) on lowest mark-up rate for establishment of "Agri Tourists Orchards" where tourists can stay, enjoy and buy agriculture produce of farmers in real-time environment.

More than 1.6 million local and international tourists visit the scenic G-B valley every year. Under the programme, the ZTBL will pay Rs 1.5 million per borrower for establishment of Agri Tourist Outlets/Orchards where tourists can get fruits and vegetables, said a senior official of the bank.

The initiative will also eliminate role of middlemen and the benefits will be passed on to the poor farmers directly. The agri tourism business is a farm enterprise operated for the enjoyment and education of the public that also generates additional farm income by promoting products and experiences.

The agri tourism helps adding value to crop, livestock and the natural resources, and also offers an opportunity to build bridge between the agriculture community and the tourism industry. He said that all residents of G-B who have existing orchards, and intends to establish an agri-based outlet are eligible to apply for getting the loan on lowest mark-up in financial market.

Individuals applying for the loan should be within the limit of 18-60 years and the loan would be recovered within five years in yearly instalments with a grace period of one year, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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