China sends locust extermination team to Pakistan

China is sending a team of locust extermination experts to Pakistan this week to help the country end the ongoing locust outbreak there. China possesses world-leading technologies in locust control, and can provide pesticide and machines that are much needed in Pakistan, officials said.
The Chinese team will set up a targeted solution and deal with this challenge with Pakistan together, said Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing on Tuesday in a meeting with Pakistani Minister for National Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, according to a statement of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan.
Bakhtiar said China has world-leading technologies in locust control, and he hopes to use Chinese knowledge to deal with the locust outbreak. China’s support for Pakistan amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in China showed the deep relationship between the two countries, he said.
“As our top trading partner and time-tested friend, China would be a natural choice to source remedial measures according to well-established principles,” Pakistani Ambassador to China Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi told the Global Times on Thursday, when asked if Pakistan will import insecticide from China.
“Using insecticide is one possible approach that is being considered to deal with this,” Hashmi said.
Pakistan has declared a national emergency over its worst locust plague in two decades, which has battered 40 percent of the country’s crops, Pakistani news website nation.com.pk reported on Wednesday.
Chinese machines are also expected to be used to aid Pakistan, nation.com.pk reported.
Qu Dongyu, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said the situation could become worse in April if not contained in time, Chinese news website ce.cn reported on Wednesday.
China has sufficient reserves of pesticide and related machines for locust control, which are the tools Pakistan lacks and is in urgent need of, media reports said.
Fungal biocides and antagonist colonization developed by China could be deployed in countries hit by the locust outbreak, said Kang Le, an entomologist with the Beijing Institutes of Life Science, the China Science Daily reported on Saturday.
According to a notice released by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in 2017, in the event that a locust outbreak happens in China, large insecticide spreading machines including aircraft will be used to contain the plague.
Originating in Africa, the plague of desert locusts crossed over the Red Sea into Europe and Asia earlier this year. This species of grasshopper usually lives a solitary life, but will form massive swarms if conditions including climate are met that promote breeding, reports said.
(source: Global Times)
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