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China deploys 100,000 ducks to counter locust invasion

ASIA
By Grace Ng'ang'a | February 24th 2020

The Chinese government has reportedly deployed 100,000 ducks in preparation for locust invasion arriving at its boarders from Africa.

According to the countries media outlets, the ducks have been dispatched to the Xinjiang border where China meets Pakistan and India as the locusts move eastwards.

On Sunday, February 2, the government of Pakistan declared a national emergency due to the food shortages caused by the locusts destroying their crops.

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, termed the menace as “the worst locust attack in decades”.

From a video shared by China’s state-run news site CGTN, one could see thousands of ducks marching towards Xinjiang to face the locusts.

According to the Chinese media, the birds dubbed “duck troops” can be more effective than pesticide.

The swarms first sighted in December, have already destroyed tens of thousands of farmland in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, threatening food supplies.

According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the invasion of locusts poses an unusual threat to food security in the entire sub region, where more than 19 million people in East Africa are already experiencing a high degree of food insecurity.

UN reports that a swarm of locust can vary from one square kilometer to several hundred square kilometers with up to 80 million adult locusts in each square kilometer of a swarm, and that the desert locusts can travel up to 95 miles in a day and can either eat their own body weight in plant material, meaning a small swarm can consume as much food as 35,000 people in a day.

The UN has however warned that an imminent second hatch of the insects could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region.

The locusts are however edible and are considered a delicacy in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

 

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