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February 19, 2020

China to help Pakistan combat locust outbreak

Business

February 19, 2020

Islamabad: China on Tuesday said it is considering aerial and pesticide supports to help Pakistan combat locust outbreak as the food ministry raised alarm over urgent mitigation requirements.

Ambassador of China Yao Jing said Chinese government is considering supplying pesticides and spraying equipment to Pakistan as an emergency project.

“Chinese side will send a delegation of technical experts during next week to Pakistan to further deliberate on aerial management of locust,” the Jing said. “The delegation will also visit the locust affected areas.”

The ambassador called on Minister for National Food Security and Research Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, according to an official statement. Chinese ambassador said China is also interested to increase 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.”

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

The minister also underlined the importance of the measures taken by neighbouring countries to control locust as these insects keep on moving on vast areas. Bakhtiar informed the ambassador about the requirement of aerial support from China to curtail the production of locust in vulnerable areas.

Food minister underscored the urgent need of aerial support with pesticide for aerial spray to contain the locust in the desert area. Locust outbreak assumed a grave proportion across the country with the crop-destructive insects pose threat to production of agriculture sector, which contributes around 20 percent to GDP. Agriculture growth sharply decelerated to 0.8 percent during the last fiscal year in contrast to 3.9 percent a year earlier, the State Bank of Pakistan said in a report.

Food minister acknowledged the pro-activeness of China to support Pakistan for locust issue. “It shows the strength of Pak-China relationship,” he said, hailing the Chinese interest in the import of agricultural products.

Earlier this week, United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization also vowed support to help the country map out locust-infected areas and extend technical cooperation in controlling the menace.

Chairman National Disaster Management Authority Muhammad Afzal, Secretary National Food Security and Research Hashim Popalzai, Food Security Commissioner Waseem ul Hasssan and Animal Husbandry Commissioner Khurshid Ahmed attended the meeting.