ICCI for curbing housing societies on agricultural land to avoid food insecurity

  • October 13, 2009
Rising food prices and low purchasing power were leading to increased food insecurity in Pakistan’s growing cities and towns while one of the many reasons of this situation was the mushrooming construction of housing societies on agricultural land. Therefore, government should discourage building of housing societies on agricultural land to avoid any food threat to the country in future.

This was said by Zahid Maqbool, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in a statement. He said most of the countries were discouraging construction of housing societies on agricultural land to meet their food needs and lamented that in Pakistan no attention was being paid to arrest the rising trend of building housing societies on agricultural land which could trigger the problem of food scarcity in the country.

He also showed reservations over Government’s moves to lease or sell land to foreign investors and stressed that this sensitive issue should be fully debated in the parliament to build consensus and to arrive at a decision which should not challenge the food security of the country.

Zahid Maqbool said that without protecting the interests of the country and removing all contentious issues, leasing land to foreigners would aggravate food insecurity, especially, in case the entire farm produce from our land was exported to their countries to meet their food needs.

He said the best option for Pakistan was that instead of leasing land to foreigners, Government should encourage foreign investors in the field of manufacturing or processing of agriculture produce for improving value-addition and exports so that sustainable and equitable agricultural uplift and national food sovereignty were not undermined.

He said Government should also try to persuade foreign investors to transfer modern farm technology and technical know-how to Pakistan and help local farmers to improve productivity. This would not only raise farm produce and meet increasing local needs but would also boost exports of our agro-products.