Corporate agriculture.

 Pakistan is considering corporate agriculture. The agreement is individuals continue to own the land. The corporate leases the land from the owners to grow vegetables, which is to be exported to their countries. Tax holidays are offered to the investors. Middle East and gulf already has land stakes in Pakistan. How would this affect us I wonder? As for corporate agriculture it is loosely a business of agriculture it includes the entire chain—i.e. seed supply, agro chemicals, food processing, machinery, storage, transport distribution, marketing advertising and retail sale. Contract farming works in a slight different manner, in the sense the buyer has already paid X-amount to the farmer with the commitment that X-volume of output is given to him. This provides financial security and improves the small farmer, without eating him up. The onus of risk is still with the farmer. This risk gets eliminated by corporate farming since most corporate houses are either retrenching investments or growing their raw product. The government touts (both India and Pakistan) corporate farming as solution to the problems of the agrigarian, this will set them free to focus on technocracy where the cut backs are greater. Some laws are also modified to accommodate this concept. But the farmer will be required to plant the contractor’s crop, on his land, harvest and deliver. The equation being Contractor (material input, technical advice) – farmer (land and labour) PepsiCo came up with corporate farming in 1989 at hoshiarpur, for its tomato farm; subsequently it has entered basmati, groundnut oil and spices. Many farmers feel this tells on the natural ecology and resource balance of the terrain. To the corporate profit is the only focus and does not see any reason why it should coincide with ecological requirement of the region. Other issues are dropping price agreed upon quoting inferior quality as an issue. Farmers in Paksitan are quite skeptic due to massive bureaucracy involvement. Their observation on Pakistan’s general trend of things and India’s experience with corporate houses is that the small and middle level farmers get hit. The corporate come with hidden costs. One option that a farmer from west Punjab is that the farmers form a co-operative more along the lines of Amul. And localized strains of grains and cereals should be alternated as per the traditional pattern. May be it is time that a citizen’s charter took note of this.

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