Invitation to Saudi company to invest in corporate farming pick up pace

Govt adamant to remove potential bottlenecks in process

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan looks to fast track the invitation process for corporate farming, especially to Saudi companies to invest in the country’s agriculture sector.

Sources revealed that the Special Investment Facilitation Center (SIFC) has asked the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for an update on the invitation sent to Al Marai of Saudi Arabia to invest in farming in Pakistan.

Almarai Company is a Saudi multinational dairy company which is listed on the Tadawul stock exchange, which is the principal securities exchange of Saudi Arabia. The company boasts a massive 65% market share in the dairy industry. It also specializes in food and beverage manufacturing and distribution. It is a market leader in its domain in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.

Al Marai currently boasts large scores of farmlands in Argentina and the United States. Earlier this year, Al Marai was caught in a controversy as their farming of alfalfa hay was seen as a reason for water drought in Arizona, US, as reported by the Washington Post. 

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has prepared short and medium term plans to bolster the agriculture sector.

Under the short term plans, the Ministry of NFS&R will prepare Terms of Reference (TORs) for legal experts with regard to legislation for corporate, small holder and contract farming. 

Similarly, the government also has a plan to streamline the seed certification process to reduce the time required for certification.

The government is also considering delisting dormant and underperforming seed companies. The use of the Land Information and Management System (LIMS) office for the quantification of the impact of LIMS is also on the cards.

Under the medium term, the government also has a plan to develop in-house quarantine facilities with detailed track-and-trace systems to facilitate export-oriented, agriculture-specific Special Economic Zones (SEZ) /Export Processing Zones, as reported previously by Profit.

Sources said that the Ministry of NFSR has also briefed the invitees about the farming potential on 50,000 acres in Cholistan. They have also included the intentions of establishing corporate dairy, feedlot and camel farms in the letter of intent. A food processing zone at Daraban, D.I Khan by Enertech Holding Company, is also in the relayed plans.

The government is also working to develop an irrigation network for water availability in the Cholistan area to cater to proposed corporate farming investment projects.

In a recent meeting, Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Sindh have also updated the SIFC about the cooperative farming models as well as horticulture, vegetation and development of essential infrastructure in the suburbs of Karachi.

Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. There was no need to create SIFC when other government bodies like the BOI already existed. Moreover, investors foreign and local see many aspects before committing investment. I wonder why many investors should be interested in investment in Pakistan during a caretaker government’s tenure in the country.

  2. This decision is a totally flawed one. SIFC is a cover to give more businesses to Army whose job is to protect the country’s physical boundaries. PERIOD!!
    All industries under Army control should be privatized through stock exchanges and DHA’s and Cantonment should be disbanded, nowhere in the world is Military running businesses or Real Estates.
    We should put the country on even keel and each organ of state should restrict itself to its primary jib ONLY!

  3. Today’s Dawn News says, 16Mega projects awarded to NLC and FWO without issuance of Tenders.
    Thus Civilian companies were left out. How shall they strengthen their experience.?
    How shall they win and execute large Projects in International Market.?
    we in Saudi Arabia watched Korean , Chinese, American, Lebanese , Turkish Japanese companies doing large projects. They earned reputation besides earning huge Foreign exchange for their countries.

    The real backbone of progress is Private sector. The whole world is before us and anyone can see.

    Pl involve private sector in Mega projects.
    This is True about these SIFC projects.

    In USA, even R&D work of DoD, Department of Defence, is awarded to Private companies.

    Wonder why our Honorable Ambassadors posted in GCC, EU, USA, Korea, China, Japan and elsewhere donot feed our Govt in Pakistan with such information?

    And if they do, why Govt does not streamline the issues.?!


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