ISLAMABAD: Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations (FAO) Mr Qu Dongyu, who is on a visit to Pakistan, on Saturday called on the Minister for National Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar.
The federal minister welcomed DG FAO to Pakistan and appreciated the contribution of FAO for the development of the agriculture sector. Pakistan and FAO have a long history of collaboration which may further be strengthened by developing new cooperation mechanism policy, particularly for locust control.
The minister further apprised that the government of Pakistan has declared a national emergency for controlling locust. FAO is an important development partner and it can provide assistance for surveillance of locust especially mapping out the situation intra-regional and regional situation.
Mr Qu Dongyu thanked the minister for a warm reception and acknowledged Pakistan as an important member of FAO. He affirmed to consider the provision of support to complement the efforts of the Government of Pakistan for controlling locust. He apprised that locust has delivered a serious disaster in eastern Africa and FAO is mobilising its resources in collaboration with its development partners to cope with this emergency situation.
Bakhtiar underlined that the government is likely to launch a massive operation for locust control shortly for which the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), provincial governments and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will jointly be engaged. In this regard, the technical support of FAO would be extremely important to curb the menace of locust in an effective and timely manner. A coordination cell is being established at the Ministry of National Food Security & Research for this purpose.
The minister and the DG FAO agreed to jointly develop a roadmap for locust control. Bakhtiar also appreciated that DG FAO has undertaken locust control as an emergency project and has scheduled an exhaustive visit tomorrow to some areas in Multan and Depalpur to witness the locust situation.
At the end of the meeting, the minister and the DG FAO also witnessed the signing of a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) Agreement for locust control. Later the minister presented a souvenir to the DG FAO and his team as a gesture of hospitality and also hosted a lunch for the visiting delegation.