Punjab says army to only provide management structure for agricultural project

LAHORE: The caretaker government of Mohsin Naqvi in Punjab has issued a clarification regarding the allocation of 45,000 acres of agricultural land to the military for a corporate farming project following criticism.

Citing a government official The News reported the land would remain under the ownership of the Punjab government and that the Pakistan Army was only providing a management structure for the project.

The official argued that institutional support was needed to make the uncultivated lands productive and that the army, along with the corporate sector and local and international investors, would bear the project’s cost.

The project would be executed by local farmers, and the official cited China’s success in enhancing agricultural productivity through the cultivation of barren land as a model for Pakistan to follow.

“The Chinese model of cultivating barren land for food security involves a combination of government policies, private investments and technological innovations,” the official said.

“A key strategy adopted by China in cultivating barren land was the use of modern technology — including the use of irrigation systems, mechanised farming equipment and high-yield crop varieties. These technologies have helped increase agricultural productivity and make it possible to grow crops on previously barren land.

“The Chinese government also encouraged private investment in agriculture, particularly in the development of barren land. This includes tax incentives, subsidies, and support for smallholder farmers. Through these policies, the government has created a favourable environment for private investment, which has contributed to the development of barren land and increased agricultural productivity,” he explained.

According to the official, China’s success in enhancing agricultural productivity through barren land cultivation has been attributed to its focus on sustainable agriculture practices. The Chinese government has encouraged the use of organic farming practices and sustainable farming systems to promote soil conservation and biodiversity, he observed.

“This approach has minimised the environmental impact of agricultural activities and ensured the long-term viability of barren land cultivation,” he said.


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