Just read this article on the net. Patriotism apart, wonder what the ppl of Pk feel on the subject of their land being leased out to aliens to cultivate. Also, given the water shotages that exist, will those who ' pay' for the land leased out by GOP not ' demand' their share of water ?
If any of what has been written below stands superseded by changes in Govt policy - this may pls be disregarded.
Civil society against land lease to aliens
Published: October 11, 2009
KARACHI - The international experts and representatives of civil society have demanded an end to land leasing to foreign investors and countries.
However, they emphasised that an immediate moratorium should be placed on the use and production of genetically modified seeds and crops. Instead, the government should promote bio-diversity based ecological farming methods which would not only secure livelihood to the landless and small farmers but also ensure food security and sovereignty of the Pakistani people.
Dr Michael Hansen Senior Scientist Consumer Union of United States of America, Dr Azra Talat Sayeed Executive Director Roots for Equity and Abdul Sattar a peasant leader from Punjab addressing to a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Saturday said that Pakistan has allowed foreign investors to lease agricultural land through the Corporate Farming Ordinance 2001. As the name suggests, the ordinance was passed under military rule, and stands for one of the worst dictatorial policies of the Musharaf regime, they said, adding that now nearly a decade later the ordinance is bearing fruit.
Investors from foreign countries are looming over Pakistan wanting to lease thousands of acres of land
in a county which is facing a continuing food production and consumption crisis, they claimed and reminded that only a month ago, during Ramzan, 16 women were crushed to death in a stampede where people were vying to get access to free flour distribution.
They said that Pakistan is facing acute irrigation water shortage; there is an ongoing dispute between two major agricultural provinces Sindh and Punjab. With only Saudi Arabia being promised more than 500,000 acres of land, and rumors circulating that nearly 6 million acres of agricultural land has been promised for cultivation, the country has left itself open to a huge food production crisis, they said.In the current financial climate, investment firms such as Schroeder and Global Agri Cap are fully conscious of land and water resource gap and are estimating that investment portfolios in agricultural commodities will be one of the most profitable sectors. This factor is one of the key reasons that investors are leasing agricultural land to rake in tomorrow’s profits from growing food and agricultural commodities, they said, adding that Pakistan is not able to grow enough food for its people, is turning a blind eye to the increasing hunger and food deficits in the country.
of all Pakistan is not willing to give land to the people of this country. Second
, it is taking away the ability of Pakistani to grow food for themselves given that there are acute shortages of water and other resources. Third
the result is going to be even worse food shortages and price hikes than have been seen in the past few years, they maintained.
It is clear that the government is fully aware of the mass riots and political unrest that may arise by allowing foreign governments to take away food from the country. Media is reporting that government has shown willingness to provide more than a 100,000 security guard to protect the assets of foreign investors.
At the same time, the government is allowing corporate agricultural production further support through changing the Seed Act of Pakistan and promoting cultivation of genetically modified crops, particularly Bt Cotton.
This is in face of the fact that the same strain of Bt Cotton grown in India and China has been unsuccessful and has led to immense loss of Bt Cotton crops in these countries, they recalled, adding that Bt crops have shown various forms of allergic reactions to humans and has also proven toxic to animals in Germany and India. Even more importantly, the promotion of GM seeds basically means that the control of genetic material is being handed over to the agri-corporate sector, instead of keeping it as a collective property of peasants and farmers.
They further said that a particular agri-chemical TNC is Monsanto, which has been pressuring the Pakistan Government to make changes in the Seed Act which would not allow farmers the right to save seeds.
Moreover, the TRIPs agreement of the WTO has been heavily contested on this issue, claiming that genetic resources are the collective property of farmers, particularly third world farmers, who have been responsible for the collection, preservation of seeds over many millennia, they concluded.