China deploys ‘duck troops’ to counter locust invasion

China deploys ‘duck troops’ to counter locust invasion

China is planning to dispatch over 1,00,000 ducks to help Pakistan deal with a massive infestation by locusts, a crop-eating grasshopper that entered the country in June a year ago.

The legion of lotus-eating waterfowl will be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang, reported a local newspaper.

Zhang - who is part of a team of Chinese experts that were sent to Pakistan to evaluate the situation and develop a solution - suggested the use of chemical or biological pesticides instead.

This method was used before when China shipped 30,000 ducks from its Zhejiang province to Xinjiang in 2000 to battle a locust infestation in the region, the BBC reports.

This is a time when farmers' crops begin to sprout, which could devastate East Africa's most important crop of the year, the United Nations officials said.

Furono also says that during the Ming Dynasty one duck was equivalent to one person and could eliminate up to 40,000 locusts, also reducing the amount of fodder required for the ducks.

'Ducks like to stay in a group, so they're easier to manage than chickens, ' he said.

Calls to the provincial government press office seeking confirmation of the report rang unanswered Thursday and a number provided for the publicity department at the agricultural sciences institute was constantly engaged.

Th locus swarm laid waste to Pakistan's cotton crop after invading a year ago and now threatens the wheat harvest.

The region is battling the worst outbreak of desert locusts in 70 years as hundreds of millions of the bugs reached Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti, and also spread into Tanzania, Uganda, and South Sudan last week.

The desert locusts, carried in part by the wind, arrived on the western shore of Lake Albert on Friday, marking the first time the voracious insects have been seen in the Central African country since 1944.

"These infestations represent a major threat to food security in Kenya and across the entire Horn of Africa, which is already reeling from floods and droughts", Bukar Tijani, FAO's Assistant Director-General said last month.

"I want to thank the European Union for its generosity and support as the Desert Locust threatens to provoke a humanitarian crisis in East Africa", Qu said.

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