FAO seeks more funds to deal with locusts in Pakistan
UNITED NATIONS: After making significant gains in dealing with the upsurge of desert locusts in East Africa and Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) plans to launch a revised appeal for funding in the coming weeks to generate additional resources for Pakistan and Iran, which are also facing locust infestations.
An appeal from the Rome-based UN agency was launched in January which netted $130 million. It said that the funding had been largely concentrated on locust control activities, therefore, more support for livelihoods is needed.
“Governments have been working with the FAO to design, monitor and implement control operations,” it said, adding that the agency had also been providing pesticides, bio-pesticides, equipment, aircraft and training.
Given the favourable conditions for locust reproduction, the agency called for sustained efforts and more resources for Iran and Pakistan – which are facing locust attacks – and for scaling up efforts in the Sahel region, which risked being affected.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges, the FAO said, with its support an estimated 720,000 tonnes of cereal was saved from the swarms of migratory pests across 10 countries in East Africa and Yemen which was enough to feed 5 million people a year.
“However, more action is still needed to avert a food security crisis as the ongoing rainy season, which benefits farmers and pastoralists, also provides favourable conditions for locusts to breed,” agency chief Qu Dongyu stressed. - APP