DFID, FAO to provide £1m more to fight locust upsurge

Published April 20, 2020
This is in addition to the £1m provided for the fight against locust. — Dawn/File
This is in addition to the £1m provided for the fight against locust. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: The UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations virtually signed on Sunday an amendment agreement regarding the project ‘Building Disaster Resilience in Pakistan’ for an additional allocation of £1m to continue efforts to contain desert locust upsurge in parts of the country.

The British government approved the assistance on Saturday, under which, the FAO will work in close collaboration with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Department of Plant Protection, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) to build capacities of the relevant government departments and local farming communities living in locust-prone and affected areas.

The activities supported by DFID will help strengthen the government and farmers’ capacities in surveillance and monitoring of the locust, for identification of the threat and evaluation of risk for informed decisions and to combat desert locust infestation and improve locust management in Pakistan.

The agreement was virtually signed by the head of DFID in Pakistan, Anabel Gerry, and the FAO representative in Pakistan, Mina Dowlatchahi.

Speaking on the occasion, the DFID Pakistan head stated that DFID was proud of supporting Pakistan in these testing times with the urgent need of controlling desert locusts in affected areas. “This timely intervention will enable food security and sustainable agriculture for over 18,000 vulnerable farmers,” said Anabel Gerry.

“It is great that we were able to work with FAO to rapidly respond to the devastating situation and save crops and livelihoods especially during the Covid-19 crisis,” the DFID head said.

The renewed commitment and collaboration between DFID and FAO will contribute towards efforts for effective surveillance and timely control operations of the desert locust outbreak amid challenges and constraints already posed by Covid-19 to livelihoods of vulnerable small farmers.

“While surveillance and control operations are well under way in Pakistan, this contribution is timely in helping equip the government and farmers for an effective response to the largest locust infestation over the last 25 years with upgraded equipment for control operations, technology for surveillance and knowledge for analysis and decision-making,” said the FAO Representative, Mina Dowlatchahi.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2020

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