Army Chief Gen Asim Munir jointly inaugurated Pakistan’s first-ever corporate farm, an innovative agricultural project covering 2,250 acres in Khanewal.
The aim of this venture is to revolutionize the agriculture sector in the country. It has been planned to expand this pioneering initiative to encompass a staggering one lac acres over the course of the next five years. The project was approved during a recent meeting of the Apex Committee, highlighting the commitment of both the government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army to collaborate under the FonGrow initiative. FonGrow is a mission to improve Pakistan’s Agriculture Industry by utilizing modern technology. This groundbreaking project aims to transform previously unproductive and barren lands into viable farming areas, with the initial focus being on Punjab, followed by a nationwide implementation.
Addressing to the audience, COAS said, “the Armed Forces are proud to serve the nation. We have decided that we will take Pakistan out of this economic distress by hook or by crook.” He asserted that, “Pakistan will become a nation of self-resilients. The Almighty has blessed Pakistan with every fortune. There is no power in the world that can hinder our success. We will make more such farms and spread this initiative to the whole country.”
The defense forces in Pakistan have taken a significant step in advancing the country’s agriculture sector with their cutting-edge corporate agriculture farming project. Aimed at ensuring national food security and exploring opportunities in the export market, this multi-billion-dollar initiative has garnered immense attention.
FonGrow, a subsidiary of Fauji Foundation and spearheaded by defense institutions, is at the forefront of this project. Maj Gen (Retd) Tahir Aslam, the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FonGrow, expressed the company’s commitment to take Pakistan’s agriculture to new heights. One of the main objectives of the project is import-substitution farming, whereby domestic production will eventually replace billions of dollars’ worth of imports.
FonGrow is poised to become a harbinger of completely mechanized and smart farming in Pakistan. It is part of the flagship project of the Green Pakistan Initiative, which was recently launched under the auspices of the Pakistan Army and attended by the Prime Minister and Chief of the Army Staff.
During a media visit to the 2,250-acre site of the country’s first corporate farm, Tahir Aslam shared his vision of creating a model that can be replicated by foreign investors in the future. The aim is to expand corporate farms to 100,000 acres, cultivating various crops such as wheat, cotton, oilseed crops, soybean, and sesame in different districts across the country. The overarching goal of the Green Initiative is to establish corporate farming on one million acres of land through partnerships with foreign and local players.
Importantly, Tahir Aslam emphasized that the project is not meant to compete with or undermine small-scale farmers. Rather, it aims to introduce best farming practices at different levels and contribute to the overall expansion of agriculture in Pakistan. Muhammad Zahid Aziz, Manager Farms at FonGrow, highlighted the need to increase the area under cultivation and enhance per-acre yield to further strengthen the country’s agriculture sector.
Resource conservation technology plays a pivotal role in FonGrow’s operations. Eng Mushtaq Ahmed Gill, the Irrigation Consultant, highlighted the high efficiency agriculture practices employed by the company. One such practice is center pivot irrigation, which enables water conservation of up to 90 percent. This represents a significant departure from conventional flood irrigation methods, where a considerable amount of water is lost before reaching the plants. In addition to the Porowal farm, FonGrow is also launching similar corporate farming projects in desert and semi-desert areas such as Bhakkar, Mankera, and Layyah.
The overarching aim of this initiative is to reduce dependence on foreign imports and promote enhanced local agricultural production. By leveraging modern technology, mechanization, and best farming practices, FonGrow is set on transforming Pakistan’s agricultural landscape and contributing to long-term food security and economic growth in the country.