Pak Govt following Musharraf's corporate agriculture farming policy

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Islamabad, Sep. 14 (ANI): The Pakistan Government is virtually threatening the country's sovereignty by allowing Arab conglomerates to lease millions of acres of agricultural land and repatriate all produce and profits, The Dawn opines.

Although American drone attacks against the Taliban are routinely condemned as violations of national sovereignty. But there is little criticism of how our own government is threatening the country's territorial integrity by engineering the lease of millions of acres to foreign investors.

The federal ministry for investment has confirmed this move, and added that foreign-owned farms will also enjoy extended tax and rent holidays.

The so-called people-friendly administration has accepted the Musharraf regime's corporate agriculture farming (CAF) policy, which provides no long-term benefits, the editorial says.

This is a gross injustice to the people of Pakistan and stands in clear violation of the UN General Assembly resolution on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, it adds.

While the government will receive cash fuel its day-to-day extravagance, corporate farming is not going to generate employment and may well lead to an increase in rural poverty.

According to the editorial, no details have been provided of how the water and electricity needs of these huge farms are to be met.

Will water be diverted from the irrigation network, compounding the misery of small-scale farmers who are finding it hard as it is to make ends meet? Will water flows be depleted further to cater to these corporate farms that will not contribute a single grain to our food stocks? Has any thought been given to how reduced river flows will speed up sea intrusion, which has already devastated vast swathes of the coastline?

"Perhaps these mega farms will rely on an army of tube wells, in which case the water table in places like Balochistan will be lowered even further, much to the detriment of local farmers," the editorial concludes. (ANI)

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