Food insecurity feared as mushrooming housing societies eat up fertile lands

The fertile lands of Faisalabad — the second largest city and industrial centre of the Punjab province — are fast transforming into housing societies, exposing the country to food insecurity in near future, reports WealthPK.

There is a mushroom growth of legal/illegal housing societies in the city and its peripheries, with the land owners finding it hard to resist the lucrative rates offered by the real estate sector.

Ehtshamul Haq, a local resident who sold his land to a private housing colony, told WealthPK that the real sector was witnessing a decline these days though rich agricultural lands were purchased to launch new housing societies. He said so many other farmers in his village had also sold off their ancestral agricultural lands to the housing societies.

"We were not willing to sell our land but since the government is not extending any help to the farmers, who leave no stone unturned to get maximum yield from their lands, we decided to sell it. We were getting just wheat for one year after employing our financial and physical resources," Haq said. 

He said the other people would also start selling their agricultural lands whenever the real sector received a boom. Like Haq, Bilal also sold his agricultural land that produced the best quality wheat.

Talking to WealthPK, Bilal said his family was comfortable now after selling the land.
“We were spending our resources on keeping the land rich but in return we were getting a paltry amount of wheat. After selling the land, we have deposited our money in the bank and are getting a handsome profit,” he said.

He said the new generation had no inclination for cultivation owing to the indifferent attitude of the government towards the farmers.

A scientist from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, who identified him as Ahmed, said the residential societies were eating up the rich agricultural land, which would lead to a considerable decline in the land for farming. 

He said how they would serve the local community when it won’t have any land left for cultivation.
He said once they grew vegetables like turnip, carrot, cauliflower, spinach and others as fodder for animals but nowadays these vegetables were sold in the market at exorbitant rates.

He said the district was exposed to environmental issues due to the increasing deforestation. Scores of trees planted in the agricultural lands have been chopped with impunity.

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