• Sindh govt signs agreement with Green Corporate Initiative to hand over land in six cities for 20 years
• Initiative aims to ‘modernise agriculture and ensure food security’

KARACHI: Despite reservations and resistance from nationalist parties, the caretaker Sindh government on Friday formally entered into an agreement with an army-backed company to give it over 52,000 acres of land in six districts for corporate farming.

“After a successful pilot corporate agriculture farming project in Punjab, a government-to-government (G2G) Joint Venture Agreement was signed at Chief Minister House between the Sindh government and M/s Green Corporate Initiative (Private) Limited, a company under the umbrella of the Pakistan Army for corporate agriculture farming initiative for cultivating available barren land in all the provinces of the country,” said a press release issued by the CM House.

According to the agreement, the local administration in Sindh had identified approximately 52,713 acres of “barren” land — 28,000 acres in Khairpur, 10,000 acres in Tharparkar, 9,305 acres in Dadu, 1,000 acres in Thatta, 3,408 acres in Sujawal and 1,000 acres in Badin — to be handed over to the company for the next 20 years to execute its ‘Green Pakistan Initiative’, which is aimed at modernising agricultural practices by bringing the concept of corporate farming in the country.

“The barren land shall be handed over for 20 years after survey, demarcation and verification that such land is not located in prohibited areas, not under any pending litigations or court orders and also not included in any barrage land grants,” it said.

It said that a board of management had been established under the Sindh chief secretary and it would take all decisions regarding land management and issues.

Details of the major initiative were shared at a press conference held at the CM House.

Caretaker Revenue Minister Younus Dhaga, Law Minister Omar Soomro, Information Minister Ahmad Shah and Major General Shahid Nazeer told the media that the project was one of the initiatives under the umbrella of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

In July 2023, the then prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir launched the first corporate farm.

However, since the launch of the initiative, nationalist parties in Sindh have been raising serious reservations against it and called the project an ‘onslaught’ on the province.

However, the caretaker administration in the fresh details shared the terms and conditions to carry out the project while answering several questions removing multiple misconceptions.

“The land will not be granted as a title but will be given just for cultivation purposes,” said Minister Dhaga. “The ownership of land shall vest with the Sindh government. No local rights will be affected by the projects and no water rights of the local population shall be affected. The companies have to arrange for water resources through alternative modes rather than relying solely on irrigation channels.”

He further cited the terms for the project, which says that the ‘barren land’ will be handed over for 20 years after survey, demarcation and verification to ensure that such facility is not located in prohibited areas, not under any pending litigations or court orders and also not included in any barrage land grants.

Further, the ministers explained, it shall also be ensured that no land shall be considered for this initiative which falls within the limit of any villages, katchi abadi, locality, temporary shelters, grazing land, seasonal cultivation, range, any settlement, amenity, potential mining areas, already reserved land for any public purpose, motorways, superhighways, national highways, roads, jails, railway lines, irrigation channels, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, mountain ranges, heritage sites, religious sites, graveyards, forest land, including mangroves habitats and protected forests, wastelands, wetlands, ‘dhoras’/depressions, sea creeks, river deltas, inland waters, internal waters, historical waterways, vital security installations, port and seashore.

The company shall spend 20 per cent of the net profit on research and development in the local area while 40pc of the net profit will be paid to the Sindh government on an annual basis, said the terms of the agreement between the two sides.

However, the terms said, the remaining 40pc of the company share shall also be spent on local infrastructures, irrigation channels, solar-powered water supply schemes, schools, hospitals, development schemes and other facilities in areas where such projects will be executed in Sindh.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...
Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...