KARACHI - The Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) has said that the corporate agriculture farming will dislocate peasants, causing serious threat to their food security and depriving them of water and other resources.
The SCOPE in its paper issued here on Saturday observed that instead of leasing out land to foreign investors, the government should rely on our own people by providing them facilities like electricity, water and other farm infrastructure through micro credit.
However, environment is another concern as deep tube well technologies, pesticides and chemical fertilizers will further deteriorate the environment.
The Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) to present this paper in a roundtable to be held today at local hotel in Karachi to discuss Corporate Agriculture Farming (CAF) in Pakistan.
The paper said that the agriculture is backbone of Pakistans economy, contributing 25% of GDP, employing 47% of labour force, contributing 49% to industrial production and accounting for 67% of export earning.
However, it has much more potential for improvement when compared to many other countries including some of our immediate neighbours, but unfortunately our government has now only one solution of Corporate Agriculture Farming (CAF).
The government claims that Corporate Agriculture Farming will enhance efficiency of production.
This is simply not possible unless efficiency means the rapaciously high profits that accrue exclusively to big investors and monopolists.
It takes only five units of inputs to produce 100 units of produce through multi-cropped traditional organic methods, while it takes 300 units through chemical monoculture to produce the same 100 units of crops.
According to an Abu Dhabi newspaper, some UAE firms have acquired about 16,187 hectares of land in Pakistans Balochistan province for an estimated $40 million to produce food for their population back home.
A delegation of their officials was in Pakistan in current month of October for talks on the deal and had a meeting with Chief Minister Baluchistan.
The delegation also met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to explore possible purchase of about 12,140 hectares in Shikarpur, Larkana, Sukker, Thatta & Badin.
The UAE imports about 85 per cent of its food from abroad at an estimated cost of $2.
9 billion, paper said.
Paper further said that a Bahrain company, Market Access Promotion (MAP) Services Group, says it will develop ten model dairy and livestock farms in Pakistan during in 2008-10.
A Qatari firm is reportedly eyeing the acquisition of Kollurkar farm in Punjab but Pakistan Farmers Forum says that the deal if inked may dislocate 25,000 villages.
The Saudi Fund for Development is creating a $566m special investment vehicle for buying land abroad for producing rice and wheat for the country.
The first investment will be made in Sudan, to be followed in Turkey and Pakistan, paper said, adding the Al Rabie Group is interested in buying land in Pakistan to develop dairy industry there and also to develop exports of tomato paste, citrus pulp and packed beans for the Saudi market.
In June 2009, the UAE government was in bilateral talks with Islamabad for purchase of $400-500m worth of farmland of 100,000-200,000 acres in large holdings in Punjab and Sindh provinces.
Details are being finalized.
But UAE investors want to purchase land directly in Pakistan and also want to get the lands exempted from any export restriction on the food produced there.
Abraaj Capital acquired some 800,000 acres of barren farmland last year to produce rice and wheat for export to UAE.
The paper recommended that instead of going for policies of leasing out land to foreign investors and Corporate Agriculture Farming, the Government of Pakistan must trust, rely and empower our own people and provide them facilities like electricity, water and other farm infrastructure through Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), micro credit banks or cooperative banks.