QUETTA - The corporate farming in Pakistan is against the national interest and the government should immediately stop leasing out land to foreign countries or investors under the name of corporate farming. Experts, civil society and farmers demanded this during a seminar corporate farming and future of agriculture in Balochistan jointly organised by the PDI, Oxfam GB and European Commission in a local hotel here the other day. A large number of the representatives of growers, civil society, government officials, media and experts participated in the seminar. The chief guest, Provincial Revenue Minister Izamrak Khan Achakzai, said the present government was striving hard for the socio-economic development of the people of Balochistan. He further shared the data of small farmers of Balochistan and offered more land if they could afford the land development and water courses. While responding to the participants questions, he said if our indigenous growers could do small farming then why the government should lease out land to foreigners. He said the Arab people had been coming to Balochistan every year for hunting in different areas but now they wanted to purchase land. But, he said, the government was against any such sale to the Arab Shaikhs. Bahouddin Khan from the agriculture department said the common citizens of the Balochistan were facing food crisis and high-level of inflation and any initiative on the part of government to sell or lease out land for corporate farming would further push the people towards zero level tolerance. He said the government of Balochistan must take serious steps to establish small farming in the province and support small growers as they could improve their income through such initiatives. He said the government could agree to corporate farming with foreigners but with the condition of share of the local growers. Malik Muhammad Shamim, official of the food department, said by the initiatives of government to sell out land to foreigners, the people of Balochistan would face many challenges like food shortage in the province, as the socio economic condition of people was already weak and indigenous people would further get hand to mouth. Another speaker Mohammad Akbar Dumer said the soil of Balochistan had now become unfiltered due to heavy doses of fertilizers and pesticides to get extra yields. He said the poor women and men residing in rural areas should be given residential/household entitlement through registration and regularisation of existing villages and distribution of economically viable land. He said Pervez Mushrraf provided land to army officers in District Lasbella of Balochistan, adding the government had no state land in the province. He said if the foreign investors were coming to Pakistan for corporate farming they could not purchase land from the lay men directly without permission of local peoples/communities. Ms Khalida Brohi from PDI emphasised on the demand that the state should distribute land among the landless women and men farmers in the province.