GILGIT, 10 August: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) formally kicked off the expansion of their joint pest management project into Gilgit-Baltistan alongside provincial government representatives, said a press release issued here on Wednesday.
“Gilgit-Baltistan produces high-value produce such as apricots and apples, but pest populations jeopardize the quality and volume of harvests,” USDA Plant Health Advisor Lottie Erikson said. “Strengthening pest management systems will help farmers in Gilgit Baltistan control harmful insects, increase their incomes, and create a safer food supply.”
This pest management project is part of the ongoing USDA/CABI Phytosanitary Risk Management Program, which engages provincial and federal government officials, universities, farmers, and industry stakeholders in Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, and now Gilgit-Baltistan to improve pest management.
These efforts aim to increase farmer incomes and agricultural trade opportunities. To date, the program has focused on developing and implementing low-cost methods for pest control at farms, improving post-harvest pest management practices, and building the Government of Pakistan’s capacity to conduct risk assessments and certify exports of agricultural commodities based on international standards.
“Through implementation of the Phytosanitary Risk Management Program in Gilgit-Baltistan, farmers will have a better understanding of pest management and at the same time the department will have a baseline for future endeavour in pest control,” said Gilgit-Baltistan Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Khadim Hussain Saleem.