MP Bob Seely has today (Thursday 23 July) welcomed Secretary of State for International Development, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, to the Isle of Wight as she announced a UK aid package to the tune of £18 million to help control millions of locusts attacking crops across East Africa, Yemen and South West Asia.

Ms Trevelyan announced the package of support during a visit to the British company Micron Group based on the Isle of Wight, which supplies pesticide sprayers to locust-affected countries.

Funded by UK aid, locust-affected countries are using Micron Group’s pesticide sprayers across Africa and Asia. Swarms of millions of insects can cover areas up to 100 square miles or more and these sprayers are able to cover large areas with pesticide.

Speaking during the visit, Ms Trevelyan said: “Vulnerable communities are on the brink of starvation because of the biggest locust outbreak in decades, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

“British expertise is playing an important role in equipping companies with the right tools to combat the swarms and track where they will go next.

“But unless other countries also step up and act now, this crisis will spread and cause even more devastation.”

During the visit, the International Development Secretary met with the directors from Micron Group to discuss how their sprayers have been key to tackling locusts in highly affected areas across the world. She also saw how the sprayers are assembled at the Isle of Wight factory and took part in a demonstration on how they work in the field.

Anthony Outlaw, Micron Group Operations Manager, said: “Micron are proud to support the world on the fight against locusts through supplying cutting-edge equipment for the FAO. We have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to meet this demand. The whole team understand the importance of tackling this outbreak and the impact on food security it has for millions of people.”

Mr Seely said: “It was great to welcome the Secretary of State to the Island and showcase what we have to offer the world here on the Island.

“The swarms of locusts in Africa and Asia are decimating crops and threatening livelihoods and we have one of the world leaders in spray application technology here on the Island who can help.

“I’m delighted Ms Trevelyan took the time to visit the Isle of Wight and I’m grateful that she is using a British company to assist with the crisis.”