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KARACHI: To manage desert locust emergency, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, under the FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) Programme, on Saturday handed over 10 single cabin vehicles mounted with Ultra Low Volume (ULV) sprayers to the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), Government of Pakistan.

The ceremony was organised at the Department of Plant Protection, Karachi on 14 August 2021. The Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam attended the handing over ceremony as a Chief Guest. The ceremony was virtually participated by Commercial Minister Counsellor of Chinese Embassy to Pakistan, Xie Guoxiang.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam thanked FAO for their tremendous support for not only providing 10 vehicles, 100 eLocust3g devices and other equipment to DPP but also for their continuous technical support throughout the years. He also extended his thanks to the Peoples Republic of China for extending enormous material support of 600,000 litres of pesticides, 70 Airblast sprayers and drones to meet the crises. He said the way international community stood up with Pakistan is an example of great international cooperation. Many countries like United Kingdom, Republic of Korea and Japan came forward to help Pakistan to meet the crises. Moreover, the World Bank LEAFS Project worth US$ 200 million has come to operational to fill the gaps.

FAO representative in Pakistan Rebekah Bell said Pakistan faced two challenges at the same time in 2020: one was the desert locust and the other was Covid-19. However, with the good partnership at the global, regional, national and provincial levels along with the support of development partners, most prominently, the government of the People's Republic of China, the current outbreak has been controlled. This is because of the close collaboration of the partners who have worked together to build the capacity of institutions while providing technical support, she informed.

Commercial Minister Counsellor of Chinese Embassy to Pakistan, Xie Guoxiang said Government of China supports FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme through international organisations like FAO. Chinese Government will offer different modalities of capacity building activities for Pakistan, which involves sharing Chinese experiences on desert locust surveillance and control technologies and hands-on trainings for locust field officers, he informed.

Dr Muhammad Tariq Khan, Director General, Department of Plant Protection (DPP) welcomed all the participants for their presence especially Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister, MNFSR and Rebekah Bell for coming all over from Islamabad to greet this occasion. He thanked, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Japan and all other countries for their valuable support that enabled Pakistan to meet the crises. He mentioned that despite the fact that locust control is a mandate of DPP, the canvas of locust threat was much more than the available material and manpower resources in DPP. He expressed the need for the collaboration and cooperation in future as well to meet such problems.

Officials of NDMA and PDMA, researchers, high government officials and others, attended the event.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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