China to send 'duck army' to help Pakistan fight locusts

Published February 27, 2020
China deployed ducks, whose natural diet includes insects, to fight a similar infestation in its northwestern region of Xinjiang two decades ago. — Uzair Shah/Dawn
China deployed ducks, whose natural diet includes insects, to fight a similar infestation in its northwestern region of Xinjiang two decades ago. — Uzair Shah/Dawn

China is planning to dispatch a 100,000-strong army of ducks to help Pakistan combat a massive locust infestation, a local Chinese newspaper reported on Thursday.

The legion of lotus-eating waterfowl will be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang following the earlier dispatch of a team of Chinese experts to Pakistan to advise on a response to the infestation that is being called the worst in 20 years, the Ningbo Evening News said.

China deployed ducks, whose natural diet includes insects, to fight a similar infestation in its northwestern region of Xinjiang two decades ago, reportedly with considerable effectiveness. Their use is both much less expensive and environmentally damaging than the use of pesticides, the paper quoted Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Agricultural Technology researcher Lu Lizhi as saying.

Ducks are also more suited to the task than other poultry, such as chickens, Lu said.

“Ducks like to stay in a group, so they’re easier to manage than chickens,” he said. A duck is also capable of eating more than 200 locusts per day, compared to just 70 for a chicken, Lu said. “They have three-times the combat capability,” he added.

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

Pakistan was invaded by the locust swarm last year, which proceeded to lay waste to the country's cotton crop and is now menacing the wheat harvest.

Opinion

Civil liberties
23 Oct 2021

Civil liberties

The late I.A. Rehman is esteemed on both sides of the border.
The Hamza factor
Updated 23 Oct 2021

The Hamza factor

A new story is quietly unfolding inside the PML-N and there may yet be a surprise twist.
What should Imran Khan do?
Updated 23 Oct 2021

What should Imran Khan do?

Making a mishmash of religion and politics won’t turn Pakistan into a welfare state. Here’s what can.
Afghan health crises
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Afghan health crises

The condition and prospects of Afghanistan’s health sector are complex and grave.

Editorial

A final push
Updated 23 Oct 2021

A final push

PAKISTAN’S hopes of exiting the so-called FATF grey list have been shattered once again. The global money...
23 Oct 2021

Kabul visit

FOREIGN MINISTER Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s flying visit to Kabul on Thursday is the first official high-level...
23 Oct 2021

Baqir’s blooper

THE remarks made by State Bank governor Reza Baqir at a London press conference have hit a raw nerve in Pakistan. In...
Spate of attacks
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Spate of attacks

Following a near-constant decline since 2016, the year 2021 has witnessed a precipitous rise in violence-related fatalities in KP.
22 Oct 2021

Libel suits

THE outcome of two libel cases recently decided by courts in England should be edifying for the government — if it...
22 Oct 2021

Education losses

A NEW report on the education losses suffered by Pakistani children due to pandemic-induced school closures sheds...