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China's duck army not coming to rescue Pakistan from locust swarms
2/28/2020 2:17:38 PM
Chinese ducks are unlikely to help Pakistan combat swarms of locusts which have ravaged thousands of sacres of standing crop in the last few weeks. After China's Ningbo Evening News reported that an army of 1,00,000 ducks was on its way to Pakistan to tackle the locust menace, an expert claimed that no such proposal was being implemented.

China Agricultural University professor Zhang Long, who is in Pakistan as part of an expert delegation to help it deal with the locust problem, rejected that idea of the duck army coming to the rescue. According to Zhang, ducks are not suited for the climatic and geographical condition of Pakistan, which is dry and has warm deserts.

"Ducks rely on water, but in Pakistan’s desert areas, the temperature is very high," Zhang was quoted as saying by The Guardian news portal. He stated that chemical or biological pesticides would be able to do a better job than a 1 lakh-strong duck army from China.

Almost two decades back, China had used ducks to combat locusts ravaging the north-western Xinjiang region. Since ducks eat locusts, they can be used to deal with the problem facing Pakistan but its dry climate may prove to be a major impediment in executing the programme.

Several countries in Asia and Africa including India are battling large swarms of locusts who can strip the fields of standing crops within a few minutes leading to massive food shortage. Locust swarms have been reported to fly as much as 150 kilometres in a day and devour food which can feed 35,000 people.

The Ningbo Evening News had reported that China could send ducks to Pakistan by the second half of 2020 where they would be used a "biological weapon" to destroy the locusts swarms. The report mentioned Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Agricultural Technology researcher Lu Lizhi stating that "ducks were much less expensive and environmentally damaging than pesticides".
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