ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance, Shaukat Tarin on Saturday said the government was keen to develop the agriculture sector on modern lines to enhance per-acre output of all major and minor crops which would help curtail the increasing trend of food prices in the country. Addressing the post budget press conference here, Tarin said the government has proposed special initiatives for the development of the agriculture sector and prosperity of the farming community in the country, adding that special emphasis was put on small land holders up to 12.5 acres. He said the banking sector in the country was mobilized to extend credit facilities to far off areas and to provide cheap loans to growers, particularly small land holdings to enhance agriculture output and alleviate poverty. In this regard, he said every farming household would be provided Rs 250,000 interest free loan for purchasing agriculture inputs and Rs 200,000 for the purchasing of tractors and other machinery to bring innovation and technological advancement in the local agriculture sector. To discourage the role of middlemen and exploitation of farmers, marketing infrastructure would be developed and improved, he said, adding that incentives and support would be extended for farmers for establishing storage facilities that would also ensure proper rate of return to growers. Shaukat Tarin said that development of marketing services, cold storage facilities and building strategic reserves of food commodities will also help curb the menace of hoardings, artificial shortage of food commodities and practice of extra profiteering, adding that it would lead the country towards price stabilization in local markets. The minister said skill development programs will also be initiated in accordance to the need of respective areas for providing skilled workforce to local industry.