The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Friday approved Rs33.4 billion worth of food security project to be financed by the World Bank to help the government mitigate crop damages on locust outbreak.
Total cost of the locust emergency and food security project (LEAFS) is estimated at $200 million and they intend to combat the locust threat in the country.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations warned that Iran and Pakistan are prone as locust breeding is taking place in these areas, also due to the wet winter this year.
“In Pakistan, 38 percent of the area (60 percent in Balochistan, 25 percent in Sindh and 15 percent in Punjab) are breeding grounds for the desert locust, whereas the entire country is under the threat of invasion if the desert locust is not contained in the breeding regions,” the FAO said in a report.
At a 25 percent level of damage, the FAO estimates total potential losses of about Rs353 billion for the rabi crops, and about Rs464 billion for kharif.
The LEAFS are the first federal agricultural project, which is to be financed by the World Bank. Food security ministry is responsible for overall project implementation with the support of provincial governments, Department of Plant Protection, National Locust Control Centre, FAO and National Disaster Management Authority.
The project will span out its activities all over the Pakistan focusing migratory, breeding and infestation routes of desert locust, besides it also encompasses capacity building of Department of Plant Protection) and includes compensation to farmers on account of losses due to locust, said the food security ministry.
It also includes livestock support program to mitigate negative impacts of desert locust on the livelihood protection and rehabilitation.
The specific project objectives will be embarked on control of the locust outbreak to mitigate negative social and economic impact associated with locust attack and to strengthen the national food security system.
The ministry has a coordination role of the project implementation through establishing a federal project steering committee responsible for approval of annual work plans, monitoring and reviewing financial reporting, third party validation in the project and re-allocation of funds.
A project management Unit under direct supervision of secretary with an independent national project director with support of needed staff was proposed. The FAO being technical agency and having the role of global management of locust will provide technical support and assistance to all partners.
The World Bank team will be responsible for effective implementation and monitoring support to the project.
Department of Plant Protection is responsible entity mandated to manage the locust outbreak in the country. DPP will make national locust surveillance and pest management plan, threat assessment, monitoring of locust population, breeding and swarms, strategic coordination and control operations based on locust cycle.
The provincial governments will lead project implementation in the affected areas and agriculture departments will set up provincial project implementation units under direct supervision of the secretary of agriculture.
The disaster management authorities will support logistics, contingency planning, crisis preparedness and response, at federal and provincial level.
Their involvement to the project will be triggered only when the locust crisis grows beyond DPP’s control, said the food security ministry. The financial benefits of the project are primarily a reduction in damages and losses due to the locust outbreak.
Originally published at The news international