After the outbreak of the largest locust plague in Pakistan in the past 27 years, on February 24, the Chinese government sent a locust infestation control work team consisting of top Chinese locust control experts to Karachi on a field visit, to discuss locust control measures and the support program.
Xu Yubo, director of the Asia Africa Division of the International Cooperation Department of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the team leader of the Chinese locust control work team, said the work team has come up with a plan to support Pakistan in the prevention and control of desert locusts. China has rich experience in locust prevention and control, and can provide Pakistan with good references in digital farming, the application of modern technology, pesticide application, the expert development and monitoring platform.
Pakistan’s food production accounts for 18.5% of its GDP, which is being threatened by a serious locust plague. Since the locust infestation in March last year, Pakistan took to both ground and aerial control action. However, since this year, the rainfall in the Indian Pakistan desert has provided desert locusts with a good living environment, therefore the locust plague could continue, resulting in huge losses to agricultural production. Pakistan’s current prevention and control technique mainly relies on chemicals, where no microbiological prevention and control technique is available.
At present, China’s locust control measures are mainly ecological control measures, particularly the use of microbial pesticides to control the quantity of locusts, which not only resists the next generation of locusts, but also protects the environment. The work team will later visit the locust habitat to study the possibility of the biological control of the locust plague in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the team will help establish an emergency control mechanism to control the propagation and growth of the next generation of locusts.