Pakistan joins hands with Chinese experts to fight locust outbreak

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After receiving 300 tons of locust control pesticide and 50 vehicle-mounted sprayers from China as part of locust assistance package, Pakistan again sent requisition of around 225 tons of pesticide and 80 sets of plant protection equipment to China.

The operation mode of Malathion, a pesticide to kill insects on agricultural crops, remains doubtful in Pakistan, according to several insiders privy to the country’s request.

“Massive locust swarms need to be killed by pesticides with strong ability of sudden killing and knockdown,” Hu Yijun, Deputy Manager of SAL’s raw pesticide department, told the China Economic Net.

“The price of Malathion, the designated pesticide for air control operation, set at 30,000 yuan per ton, is very affordable. It breaks down after exposure to light and will be all right in two or three days. But except in extreme cases, there is no case of direct use of its raw pesticide in China,” Yijun added.

Earlier in February, a delegation from China came to Pakistan to assess the condition in the fields.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistan is facing its worst locust attack amid COVID-19 outbreak, raising concerns over ensuring food security. Also, favourable weather conditions have helped the locusts breed and destroy crop areas on a large scale. Notably, the desert locusts arrived from Iran in June.

The agriculture sector accounts for nearly 20% of Pakistan’s GDP. According to analysts, the locust attack could cut the nation’s economic growth to less than 2% in this fiscal year.