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ISLAMABAD: The Sindh government is expected to get a soft loan of $86 million from the World Bank for a project to boost agricultural growth in the province.

A World Bank document indicates that the loan from International Development Association (IDA) will be approved by the executive board by the end of March this year.

The Sindh government will contribute $12 million for the project which will cover sectors like animal production, crops, agro-industry, marketing and trade, agricultural extension and research.

The project will provide investment in value chains of horticulture, rice and dairy.

In addition, funds will also be provided to support farmers and producers with infrastructure and technology innovations support in the selected value chain.

Sindh has fertile irrigated agricultural lands and supports wheat and rice on the right bank of the Indus while wheat-cotton, and wheat-rice are cultivated on the left bank of the river.

Over the recent past, Sindh has also experienced heavy floods and rural population of Sindh suffered significantly due to standing floodwater.

A report on the project says that mango and banana are both economically valuable crops in Sindh and offer a moderate export potential if selection was improved. However, these crops are primarily grown by larger farmers, who are able to access the required investment capital for production units which are economically viable. Wheat, rice, sugarcane and cotton are the backbone of the Sindh agricultural economy, and to make an impact in these crops would need considerable amounts of investment, project document says.

Sindh produces fine quality fruits, including mango, banana and dates. Livestock rearing is also major activity in the area. Rural Sindh therefore presents agro-based environmental settings and project interventions could bring positive changes in them.