Army to assist in farming project, clarifies Punjab govt

The Punjab government has issued a clarification on a news regarding the allocation of more than 45,000 acres of land to the Pakistan Army for a farming project.

A senior government official, on the condition of anonymity, said: "From the onset, it should be clear that the ownership of the land remains with the Punjab government."

He said that “the Pakistan Army is only providing a management structure; the corporate sector and local farmers will also be involved in the cultivation process.”

He explained that the agreement between the provincial government and the army was over a joint venture for the cultivation of barren land.

“These lands have remained uncultivated for years and need a strong management system to make them fertile. The efforts required are beyond the capacity of a group of individuals — institutional support at multiple levels is required to make these huge swathes of land productive,” he maintained.

The official said that the most important feature of the agreement was that while the ownership of the land would remain with the Punjab government, the army would bear the project cost, along with the corporate sector as well as local and international investors.

“The project will be executed by local farmers and the army will only provide a management structure for the project.”

Another official revealed that the army’s inclusion in the project was a necessary move to maximise efficiency and productivity.

“The army will not take any proceeds from the revenues — 40% of the revenue will be given to the government of Punjab and 40% will be used for the expansion of the next cropping seasons. The remaining 20% of revenue will be spent on the research and evaluation by the relevant organisations and agriculture institutions,” he concluded.

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