Habib Bank Limited (HBL), a prominent private-sector commercial bank in Pakistan, has taken a significant step towards promoting sustainable agriculture in the country.
The bank has announced the establishment of HBL Zarai, an agriculture-specialized company aimed at building production capacity for small and medium-sized farmers.
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During the launch of the ‘Impact and Sustainability Report 2022’, HBL’s President & CEO, Muhammad Aurangzeb, shared that they have obtained permission from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to set up HBL Zarai.
They are currently awaiting approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to officially launch the subsidiary.
These services will include establishing and operating storage facilities for surplus produce, supplying agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, promoting water conservation practices, and providing market intelligence to help farmers secure better prices for their crops and livestock.
Recognizing the significance of the dairy and livestock sectors in agriculture, Aurangzeb highlighted that they make up approximately 60% of the industry but have often been neglected from a financing perspective.
Corporate entities, including banks, insurance firms, fertiliser manufacturers, and food companies, are now collaborating to support and enhance the agriculture sector.
In terms of corporate social responsibility, HBL has contributed over Rs4 billion in the past decade to support social uplift projects in Pakistan, with over Rs580 million contributed in 2022 alone.
Addressing Climate Challenges
HBL Chairman, Sultan Ali Allana, emphasized the urgency of addressing climate challenges, particularly in the aftermath of devastating floods that displaced millions and threatened livelihoods.
Allana urged collective action and a commitment to positive change, aligning with the ethos of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) that HBL upholds through good governance and CSR practices.
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The bank’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond charitable giving and encompasses responsible business practices and a dedicated focus on environmental and social well-being.