Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buying Fertile Land In Pakistan

In Pakistan, currently over 6 million families work on 50 million acres of land; 94% of the farmers are considered "Survival Formers"  and occupy less then an average of 12. acres. These farmers work on large private holdings or government land and have been farming for generations. Recently the Government of Pakistan has put fertile land on sale to encourage foreign investment.
The United Arab Emirates(UAE) has purchased 324,000 hectares (800,000 acres) in Punjab while Saudia Arab and China have also expressed their interest to buy fertile land. Foreign firms investing in Pakistan fertile land have been offered 50 year leases, renewable for another 40 years; investors will retain 100% proprietary rights, while enjoying a tax holiday for 10 years.
To safe guard the interests of small farmers, here are some suggestions which the Government should consider:
1) No land should be sold to foreign buyers which may have oil or other mineral reserves.
2) Barren land only should offered for foreign investments, in which the equity of the Government should be 51%; foreign buyer(s) should be asked to raise 49% of the value of land according to open market rates for development purposes.
3) Local farmers should be trained modern technology methods aimed at making barren land fertile thus giving them the means to continue to earn a livelihood.
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