China to offer Pak 50 drones, pesticides to fight locusts

ISLAMABAD, Mar. 5 (INP) China will assist Pakistan in combating the menace of locust by providing 50 drones and 300,000 litres of pesticides to carry out spray in affected areas of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.

Gwadar Pro App, quoting a local media’s report stated that the first batch of drones will reach Pakistan on March 9.

The use of fixed and rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly called drones, are potential means of improving desert locust monitoring, early warning and rapid control, and reducing costs of survey and control operations.

The Chinese authorities would also send technical staff to carry out operation and train staff of the Plant Protection Department and concerned provincial departments.

The government is negotiating with a mission of the Chinese aviation industry for the supply of aircraft to carry out aerial spray in the locust-affected areas. The government would acquire six aircrafts on lease for three to four months to completely eliminate locusts from agricultural fields of the country.

According to preliminary assessment carried out by the agriculture department in Sindh and Balochistan, the locust attack has damaged crops cultivated on 80,000 hectares of land besides causing serious damage to grazing fields and forest areas.

A Chinese technical team completed its two-week mission to Pakistan and left for Beijing on Wednesday.

The team visited the locust-affected areas of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab and had final wrap-up meetings at the ministry of national food security and the national disaster management authority.

The Chinese assistance is part of strengthening the national action plan to combat the locust attack.

INP/JAVED