ISLAMABAD - A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and International Trade Centre (ITC) to reduce poverty by strengthening small-scale agribusinesses in Pakistan here on Wednesday.

The selective activities of the European Union funded project ‘growth of rural advancement and sustainable progress (GRASP)’ will be jointly implemented by SMEDA and ITC in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, said a press release issued here. The GRASP project is likely to complete in six years at the cost of 1.8 million dollars and ensure the provision of a congenial business environment to small farmers, besides providing grants and technical assistance to improve value chain, yield, quality, access to market information and improvement in standards.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Syed Murtaza Mehmud expressed hope that with the implementation of GRASP project will help unlock the potential in livestock, dairy and horticulture sectors and urged to expand the programme to the other areas of south Punjab, KPK and Fata. He said the project is expected to facilitate access to credit for medium, small, and micro rural enterprises through relevant market actors in the ecosystem and contribute to the betterment of business environment surrounding SME’s. The project will help small and medium-sized enterprises in horticulture, livestock and dairy as Pakistan is the 5th largest milk producer country in the world, he added. Federal Secretary of Ministry of Industries and Production, Imadadullah Bosal, officials of SMEDA and ITC were also present in the meeting.