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KARACHI: As part of promoting agri-business in Sindh for overall economic development of the province, Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) in partnership with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) distributed Matching Grants worth Rs 79.5 million amongst 13 small and medium enterprises from 6 districts of Sindh namely Hyderabad, Khairpur, Sujawal, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tharparkar, and Matiari.

The distribution was held under the European Union (EU) funded Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project which is being implemented by International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with PPAF and Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The size of the grant varies from PKR 0.5 to 30 million based on the business plans shared by the SMEs and robust evaluation conducted under the project. The representatives of the partner organizations including RDF and TRDP were also present on the occasion.

Tameezuddin Khero, Secretary Livestock and Fisheries Department Sindh, distribute the Matching Grant awards to the grantees as a chief guest on this occasion.

While sharing his views during the ceremony, he said that the Government of Sindh is eager to uplift the living standards of the people across the province and bringing rural areas at par with the urban towns through integrated development.

He added further that the provincial government would support initiatives like GRASP as the rural development process could be strengthen through promoting agriculture sector which has a vast potential. EU funded GRASP project; therefore, is a unique initiative to achieve sustainable rural development, Khero added.

Nadir Gul Barech, PPAF COO, informed the participants that PPAF is serving the underserved regions of the country. He said that GRASP project is expected to be a game-changer as it will enable market growth in the economically vulnerable areas and thus, generate employment opportunities for the poorest communities.

“I am grateful to EU and the ITC for investing in the region to improve the business environment and strengthen agricultural value chains in the target districts,” he said and added further that the initiative will improve access to finance for agri-based SMEs and boost the trend of entrepreneurship in the far-flung areas in Sindh and Balochistan.”

Umer Arfi, SME Specialist and acting provincial head ITC, said that GRASP is aimed to enhance the competitiveness of existing SMEs working in the agri-sector under a focused approach of rural development. He said that the project has been conceived and being implemented with the close coordination of all concerned line departments of Sindh Government.

Previously on 13th August 2022 in Quetta, GRASP distributed matching grants worth PKR 27 million to uplift the business potential of 42 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Balochistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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