HBL Zarai Services seeks to advance Pakistani agriculture

The Pakistani multinational bank HBL has launched HBL Zarai Services, a new company that aims to take a significant step forward in Pakistan’s agricultural development and food security. Located in Burewala, Punjab, the venture aligns with Pakistan’s strategic priorities and comes under the aegis of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). HBL Zarai Services, a fully owned subsidiary of HBL, said it intends to empower farmers and enhance their productivity, efficiency, and profitability throughout the agriculture value chain by providing access to essential resources and expertise. With a focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship, HBL Zarai Services will be seeking to promote responsible agricultural practices that ensure the long-term viability of farming communities and natural resources.

Ten more centers, similar to the one built in Burewala, will be established in Punjab this year, with another 55 in three years to facilitate small to medium-sized farmers nationwide. HBL Zarai Services announced the provision of urea, DAP, potash, and zinc fertilizers. The urea fertilizer will be available at a controlled rate by the government, in addition to advisory services, food for animals, seeds, pesticides, and modern heavy agricultural machinery on a rental basis, together with local and international agricultural expertise. Last year, HBL distributed an agriculture loans worth PKR70 billion rupees ($251mn).

Commenting on the launch of HBL Zarai, Sultan Ali Allana, the chairman of HBL, said: “We have been actively pursuing programs and introducing solutions for the growth and progress of the agricultural sector since the privatization of the bank in 2004. Today, HBL Group is the single largest institutional provider of financial services for this segment of the economy, directly impacting over 350,000 farmers. With the formation and launch of HBL Zarai, we will be able to host advisory and input services along with offtake and warehousing right at the farmer’s doorstep through Deras – dedicated distribution and service centers etched among the heart of the farmlands, thus ensuring food security and income enhancement for the farming communities throughout the country.”

Muhammad Aurangzeb, the president & CEO of HBL, emphasized the Bank’s commitment to sustainability, stating: “Pakistan’s agricultural landscape stands at a critical juncture. While agriculture remains the backbone of our economy, its potential to drive growth and prosperity has yet to be fully realized. HBL has long recognized the mutual relationship between economic progress, social development, and a thriving agricultural economy. HBL Zarai Services emerges as a beacon of hope, signaling our commitment to fostering positive change and promoting food security nationwide.”

Amer Aziz, the CEO of HBL Zarai Services, commented: “This unique venture positions HBL to lead in improving value chains across every economically significant sector, thus fostering sustainable agricultural practices and promoting food security nationwide. The prime values that HBL Zarai holds will remain to raise farm yields and empower farmers by increasing their income levels. Our vision of ‘We are who we serve’ will guide us.”

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