AGRICULTURE NEWS

INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES ARE INEVITABLE FOR SUSTAINED FOOD SECURITY IN PAKISTAN: SYED FAKHAR IMAM

Federal Minister, MNFSR – Syed Fakhar Imam virtually joined a two-day international webinar arranged by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) through Department of Plant Protection (DPP). The main topic of the webinar was global best practices experience sharing and preparedness for response to desert locust attacks in future. Mr. Yong Ye ADB country Representative in Pakistan. The event was also virtually participated by Noriko Sato, Senior Natural Resources Specialist of ADB, Dr. Munawar R. Kazmi, Country Manager Pakistan, Dr. Babar E. Bajwa Senior Regional Director Asia (CABI), Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC), Centre for International Agricultural Research, and other dignitaries. The Federal Minister thanked ADB, APLC, CABI and DPP and told attendees that Locust attacked the country after 27 years and described the key steps taken by the federal Government during and after the Locust attack. He mentioned that Pakistan is ranked among 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change. The minister added that the support of international community with Pakistan is an example of great international cooperation. Moreover, the upcoming World Bank Locust Emergency And Food Security (LEAFS) Project is in pipeline, which shows the commitment of the Government of Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan, which took up the challenge on war footing grounds and declared a “National Emergency” to meet the crises. A National Action Plan (NAP) was developed and implemented in all the provinces through National Locust Control Centre (NLCC). The Pakistan Army, NDMA, PDMA and all the Provincial Agricultural Departments participated and were actively engaged. ADB representative warned that locust may again up-surge whenever the weather conditions will be conducive. He shared that other countries are adopting twenty-first century pest management systems for ensuring high quality safe agricultural products and increasingly our export sector must meet the latest standards if our products are to be welcomed in world markets. Improvements in regulatory environment, laboratory capacities and border management were presented in detail. Dr. Muhammad Tariq Khan, DG, DPP thanked the international experts for sharing new techniques and recommendations for the locust management in future. He expressed the need for the collaboration and cooperation in future as well to meet such problems. He lauded the support from MNFSR to strengthen relevant departments. The strategies agreed during international webinar will prove a step to move forward in right direction for the preparedness and early warning for locust and other trans-boundary or invasive pests but it will also help the Pakistan to move in right direction to strengthen the national Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) system for enhanced trade with international partners.