Maximum resources ensured for anti-locust operation

ISLAMABAD: Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Omer Hamid Khan informed the meeting of the National Locust Control Center that government was ensuring maximum financing for anti-locusts operation in order to mitigate the locust attacks. The meeting of NLCC held here under chairmanship of Federal Minister Syed Fakhar Imam and Engineer-in-Chief Lt. Gen. Moazzam Ijaz, says a press release.

Omer Hamid Khan while the meeting said that World Bank (WB) has promised to provide USD 200 million and ADB USD 200 million.

The promised WB finance will be considered under Locusts Emergency and Food Security Project (LEAFS), he said adding that the PC-I has also been prepared and will be submitted in upcoming meeting of CDWP.

LEAFS is the first federal agricultural project financed by the World Bank in Pakistan, he added

This is a direct response to the consensus that MNFS&R’s policy function and coordination role across provinces should be significantly strengthened, he added.

MNFS&R is responsible for overall project implementation, he said adding that the project cost envelope is USD 200 million.

Emergency and Food Security (LEAFS) project will comprise of 4 main components, including surveillance and control measures to limit the growth and spread of current desert locust populations, while mitigating the risks on human health and environment, he said adding that second component is livelihood protection and rehabilitation to provide a robust protection scheme that ensures immediate relief to affected farmers and livestock owners.

Third, he said is early warning preparedness and food security to strengthen national capacity for early warning and early response, linking these efforts to regional (outside of Pakistan) and provincial (domestic) existing locust surveillance and control networks .

The fourth component is project management, and monitoring and evaluation to support the Project Management Unit’s (PMU) capacity to ensure high quality project implementation, he informed.

Later on DG Meteorological Department briefed about upcoming monsoon season. During briefing Balochistan mentioned that there are premature adult locusts in 26 districts of province.

There is an urgent need of deployment of teams in Chaghi, Panjgur and Gawadar as there is a threat of locusts from Iran.

A representative of the Ministry of Information Technology suggested that a database be created at the federal level for locust data.

A representative from Punjab mentioned that in last 24 jours, locust operation was conducted in Cholistan and Rajanpur. In Punjab,15,609 mouza level locusts control committees are present.

Dr. Mubarak, FAO, described the latest situation of locust and said that there is expected migration of locusts from Horn of Africa. Ministry of NFS&R also briefed that bio compost can be made out of locusts, adding that locust collection will be incentivized through community mobilization to control locust at grass root level. - APP