Climate Change

China to send 100,000 hungry ducks to battle Pakistan’s locust infestation

China plans to send 100,000-strong duck army to Pakistan to help fight the locusts swarms that are damaging crops across Pakistan.

The Ningbo Evening News had said the legion of lotus-eating waterfowl would be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang. But Chinese authorities have not yet officially confirmed it to the media.

Chinese agricultural experts said that a duck can eat more than 200 locusts a day, and that duck are even more effective than pesticides. Experts said China has earlier deployed ducks, whose natural diet includes insects, to fight a similar infestation in its Xinjiang region two decades ago.

As locusts are destroyed millions acres crops across in South Asia, as well as in East Africa, Pakistan, earlier this month, declared a state of emergency saying it was the worst attack in the country in two decades. The Chinese government announced this week that it will send a team of experts to Pakistan to develop a locust-based eradication program.

Lu Lizhi, a researcher from Xinjiang Agricultural Academy, says ducks are the ‘biological weapon’ in this case. They say that where the chickens eat only 70 locusts a day, a duck can eat more than 200 locusts.

The Chines Experts believe that since ducks like to live in a group, they are easier to handle. According to the Bloomberg News Agency, Lu Lizhi said an experimental project to eliminate ducks with the help of ducks in the Chinese province of Xinjiang will begin in the coming months. According to him, ducks will then be sent to locusts affected areas of Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan.

In 2000, China sent 30,000 ducks to Xinjiang from Zhejiang Province when the this desert insects attacked crops.

In January, the United Nations appealed for global assistance to deal with locust in East Africa. At present, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya have been victims of locust infestation
where it has destroyed several thousand acre crops.

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