By Muhammad Luqman
In a bid to help Pakistan overcome the attack of locusts, the United Kingdom has provided 20 state of the art pesticide sprayers.
“They are the first 20 of 50 sprayers as part of a UK aid package of £1m to support the Government of Pakistan tackle to outbreak, which has been declared a national emergency,” said British High Commissioner in Pakistan, Dr. Christian Turner said at a ceremony held in the capital, Islamabad.
The sprayers are from UK-based company, Micron Sprayers Ltd that has over 50 years of industry experience.
Underlining the close trading relationship between the UK and Pakistan, Micron Sprayers Ltd is also working on a separate agreement to supply 83 sprayers to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in Pakistan.
UK aid has given £1 million to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to tackle swarms of locusts up until 30 September 2020, as part of our help support food security in Pakistan.
“Make no mistake, this locust outbreak is a big challenge. That is why the UK, through aid to FAO, has worked to ensure these UK-manufactured crop sprayers get to Pakistan as soon as possible, ” Dr Christian Turner British High Commissioner to Pakistan said.
The handing over ceremony was also attended by Syed Fakhr Imam, Federal Secretary, Omar Hamid Khan from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research; and Mina Dowlatchahi, Country Representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, alongside DFID Pakistan Director Annabel Gerry,
The desert locust is considered the most harmful migratory pest in the world. Scientists say just a single square kilometre of swarm can contain up to 80 million adults, with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.
The Pakistan Global Humanitarian response Plan (GHRP) estimates that around 1.5 million people are affected by the infestation
Climate conditions in 2019 and 2020 combined to make 2020 likely to be one of the worst on record for severe desert locust impacts.
“UK aid will strengthen Government of Pakistan and farmers’ ability to manage the situation, by strengthening surveillance and monitoring capabilities which will provide information on the level of threat and inform decision making,” High Commissioner, Dr. Christian Turner said.
By Muhammad Luqman