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Bank of Punjab, Karandaaz Pakistan join forces to digitize agriculture lending

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ISLAMABAD – The Bank of Punjab (BOP) and Karandaaz Pakistan join a strategic alliance to revolutionise Pakistan’s Agriculture Sector under Karandaaz’s inaugural Digital Financing for Agriculture (DFA) Challenge 2023. 

The landmark Agreement, inked on April 1, 2024, signals the commencement of a pioneering initiative geared towards enhancing digital agriculture loans and fostering financial inclusion nationwide.

The agreement signing, held at the Marriott Hotel Islamabad, was performed by Mr. Zafar Masud, President & CEO of The Bank of Punjab, and Mr. Waqas ul Hassan, CEO of Karandaaz Pakistan. Other notable attendees included Mr Sharjeel Murtaza, Director DFS Karandaaz, Mr Asif Riaz, Group Head Consumer Banking, Mr Nadeem Khanzada, Senior Joint Director of SBP and Mr Qasim Javed, representing Techlogix alongside other senior management of BOP, Karandaaz, Agri, and Fintech Sector.

Mr. Zafar Masud, President & CEO of The Bank of Punjab, opined that the collaboration aims to overcome farmers’ financial hurdles. It aims to improve productivity and address the challenge of loan securitization by offering collateral-free financing. By easing out the loan process and leveraging innovative solutions, such as real-time loan disbursement based on predictive AI assessments, the initiative is poised to empower the farming community across the country, foster resilience and bring prosperity to the marginalized agriculturists. Mr. Masud thanked Karandaaz Pakistan, the State Bank of Pakistan, Techlogix and all other stakeholders for their unwavering support. 

Mr. Waqas ul Hassan, CEO of Karandaaz Pakistan, expressed his enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “Banks are one of the most suited partners to address farmers’ access-to-credit challenges. The collaboration between Karandaaz Pakistan and the Bank of Punjab represents a significant opportunity for demonstrating an increase in the productivity of the agricultural value chains through digital inclusion of small farmers.”

Mr. Masud highlighted how Karandaaz’s Digital Agriculture Finance Challenge 2023 spurred innovation. Utilizing technology, the bank will provide digitally processed Crops/Livestock /Dairy loans aggregating approximately Rs 5 billion. The aim is to enhance financial inclusion and access to credit, help increase yield, reduce poverty and create employment. This initiative, supported by a Rs 50 million grant, shall promote sustainability, innovation and productivity through advisory services and digitalization. Partnering with Techlogix for their Digital Platform and the Country’s top AgriTechs for Agronomy scores and advisory, BOP and Karandaaz are poised to revolutionize agricultural financing, benefiting farming communities across Pakistan.

 The Director of Digital Financial Services (DFS) at Karandaaz apprised, “Through this partnership with Bank of Punjab, Karandaaz aims to establish a comprehensive digital lending platform, featuring a dynamic credit scorecard complimented by instant approval and disbursement mechanisms for timely access to finance. This platform will act as the rails for delivering a range of financial products currently out of reach for smallholder farmers nationwide.”

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