Pakistan sharing weekly data on locust control with Iran, India & Afghanistan

Pakistan sharing weekly data on locust control with Iran, India & Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD-Pakistan was sharing data on locust control operations with bordering Iran, India and Afghanistan on weekly basis in its efforts to overcome the country’s worst pest outbreak in 25 years, National Locust Control Centre (NLCC) said Thursday.

In a briefing to the members of diplomatic community here, it was informed that locusts were migrating towards Pakistan from countries in the region as well as from Horn of Africa and the Red Sea area.

Leading the briefing, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam lauded the role of the governments of China, the United Kingdom and Japan for joining hands with Pakistan in thwarting the threat of desert locust.

The minister also acknowledged the contribution of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in extending support to Pakistan.

The National Plan of Action, devised in consultation with the provincial governments, was an illustration of the whole-of-government approach and was delivering substantive results, he said.

Deputy Coordinator NLCC Maj. Gen. Saeed briefed the participants on the structure and working of the NLCC, while Secretary National Food Security and Research Omar Hamid Khan outlined financial and technical resources allocated to the national effort. National Coordinator NLCC and Engineer-in-Chief Lt. General Moazzam Ejaz was present on the occasion.

The briefing to members of the diplomatic community and international partners was part of the on-going efforts led by Prime Minister Imran Khan to mitigate the threat of desert locust since the declaration of National Emergency on January 31, 2020.

The briefing provided an opportunity to inform them of the multi-dimensional challenges posed by locusts amid simultaneous efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

It was underlined that strong regional and international cooperative mechanisms were vital to addressing the serious threat posed by desert locusts to the food security of Pakistan and the region.

 The participants were also informed of strong support and cooperation extended by Pakistan to the relevant regional countries under the FAO’s Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC).

In the spirit of enhancing international cooperation, Pakistan had also reached out to 17 African countries including Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Tunisia, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda) as well as several Middle Eastern States including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen and Oman, to enhance bilateral cooperation in defeating desert locust.

The event was attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners and representatives from China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Oman, Kenya, Sudan, Yemen, Japan, Afghanistan, Australia, Italy, European Commission, Turkmenistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Germany and France. Heads of UN agencies and International Financial Institutions as well as members of the print and electronic media also attended.