Aid from China arrives in Pakistan to defeat locust

ISLAMABAD, Mar. 9 (INP): The first batch of aid from China to help Pakistan counter the locust disaster has arrived in a chartered flight on Monday.

The aid include 50,000 liters of malathion (50 tons) and 14 air-powered high-efficiency remote sprayers, and the rest and follow-up materials will be delivered to Pakistan soon.

In addition, although China has not yet completely conquered the novel coronavirus epidemic, it still provided Pakistan with 12,000 kits for novel coronavirus detection.

According to Gowadar Pro App, these kits arrived in Karachi with the chartered flight and have been handed over to the Pakistani side. China has already provided 1,000 kits previously to Pakistan in a hope that those kits will positively help Pakistan cope with the epidemic.

Chinese Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian, while receiving the aircraft at the Karachi airport, told Gwadar Pro that 70 drones used for pesticides spray and more other supplies would reach Pakistan through sea route.

He also hinted China would dispatch experts in this field to provide guidance for their Pakistani counterparts, as well as hold discussions on the feasibility of training Pakistani staff and establishing a joint-research mechanism.

“The Chinese experts team earlier visited Sindh, Balochistan and other areas to check the problem. After inspection, China decided to send the aid,” Li told the journalist.

Recently, the worst locust plague in 27 years in Pakistan has mainly affected Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh province.

The outbreak of the locust plague seriously damaged cotton, wheat and corn plants in the relevant producing areas as well as livestock pastures, causing severe threats to agriculture and food security of Pakistan.

Earlier this year, the Pakistani government submitted a request for locust control assistance to the Chinese government.

Despite that China is still stuck in an intense fight over the novel coronavirus epidemic nationwide, it has attached great importance to the request, and concerned departments have been repeatedly communicating and discussing with their Pakistani counterparts on the specific assistance program.

On February 23, a locust eradication working group from China arrived in Pakistan to conduct field survey on the locust disaster.

The working group consisting of officials and experts from various department was led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. Wang Fengle, chief expert of the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Center of China, was the team leader.

From February 24th to March 4th, the working group respectively visited Sindh, Balochistan, and Punjab province to conduct field inspections, together with officials of the Federal Government’s Ministry of Food Security and Research and the three provincial plant protection departments.

During their stay in Sindh province, the working group covered more than 800 kilometers one day. In Balochistan province, the working group went to the Chilgazi region and the Tobuk desert in Darbantin to collect locust specimens on site and conducted detailed investigations on the causes, characteristics, and actual local conditions of the locust plague in Pakistan.

After a series of discussions with the Pakistani side and through field inspections, the Chinese working group proposed several measures.

The proposed master control plan proposed by the Chinese working group has been highly commented by the Pakistani side.

The Chinese Embassy and Consulate General in Pakistan also attached great importance to the working group on exterminating locusts. Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, coordinated and guided the inspection work of the working group in Pakistan and listened to the work report.

Li Bijian, Consul General of China to Karachi, accompanied the working group throughout the visit in Sindh and Balochistan province.

Long Dingbin, Consul General of China to Lahore, met with the working group and attended the working group’s discussion with government of Punjab province.

As emphasised by Li Bijian, Consul General of China to Karachi, in the media briefing on February 27 that “in the critical moment when government and people of China are fully fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic, China took Pakistan’s crisis as its own issue and considered in advance what Pakistan may need.”

IINP/javed