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Pakistan

AFP
February 23, 2020

China to help Pakistan fight locust crisis by sending experts for inspection

Pakistan

AFP
Sun, Feb 23, 2020
Locusts swarms are threatening food supplies in East Africa, where 12 million are already going hungry. AFP/Sumy Sadurni

The Consulate General of China in Karachi confirmed in a press release it was sending a team of experts to Pakistan on Sunday to analyse the severity of an ongoing locust crisis in the country by going to the affected areas.

The statement noted that the team was arriving in Pakistan at Islamabad's invitation and that it would "visit the relevant areas in Sindh, Balochistan provinces etc. from February 23 to March 4, to inspect the locust crisis situation".

They would hold discussions with the relevant authorities and Pakistani experts and draw up specific plans to deal with the crisis, Consul General Li Bijian said and added that he would accompany the team throughout their assessment including a visit to Quetta.

"Right now, the government and people of China are fighting a war against the COVID-2019. From the very beginning of the outbreak of the epidemic, government and people of Pakistan have been firmly standing together with China to fight the epidemic," the statement continued.

"Pakistan is now facing the locust crisis. The government and people of China take the locust crisis of their own and will work closely with the Pakistan side to deal with it by providing whatever assistance they can.

"There exists firm and strong confidence that China and Pakistan will win the two front battles against the epidemic and locust crisis with joint efforts," it added.

China wants exports eased out

Last week, China had announced it was considering aerial and pesticide support to help combat a locust swarm in Pakistan as the food ministry raised alarm over urgent mitigation requirements. Chinese ambassador Yao Jing has said his government was considering supplying pesticides and spraying equipment to Pakistan as an emergency project.

"The Chinese side will send a delegation of technical experts next week to Pakistan to further deliberate on aerial management of locust," Yao had said after a meeting with Food Security Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar. "The delegation will also visit locust-affected areas."

The Chinese envoy added that Beijing was interested in increasing import of agricultural products from Pakistan, including onion, potato and meat.

"China wants to ease out the export of these products before the high-level visit expected in May 2020," he had said.

Bakhtiar had apprised the ambassador about the requirement of pesticides and aerial support to control the locust swarm in Pakistan, particularly Sindh and Balochistan. The participants of the meeting were informed about the current situation of affected areas and how the locust is spreading there.

The minister had also underlined the importance of the measures taken by neighbouring countries to control locust swarms.

Bakhtiar had informed the ambassador about the requirement of aerial support from China to curtail the reproduction of locusts in vulnerable areas.