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Nation ready for possible locust invasion

By YANG WANLI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-03-03 07:25
A desert locust is seen feeding on a plantation in a grazing land on the outskirt of Dusamareb in Galmudug region, Somalia Dec 22, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

The national forestry authority recently issued a notice warning of possible threats from an invasion of desert locusts and called for greater preparations to be made as different parts of the world deal with the scourge.

Areas including Yunnan province and the Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, which border countries affected by the species, should be on high alert to the threat and set up monitoring stations, said a notice issued by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

"Cross-region communication and cooperation should be strengthened to further enhance exchanges on information and technologies on desert locust prevention and control," it said.

Starting in early 2020, the global desert locust situation deteriorated amid widespread breeding of the pest in East Africa, Southwest Asia and the area around the Red Sea. The situation is particularly worrisome in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

Two weeks ago, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations raised the alarm over the crisis.

Now the invasion has already spread to India and Pakistan. As a neighboring country, China is under threat, said the administration.

"Desert locust prevention and control work is crucial to China's grassland safety and food security. We should be highly aware of its importance. Forestry departments at all levels should perform their duty and take action," according to the notice.

According to the administration, an average of 10 million hectares of farmland suffer from locust plagues annually in China.

There are about 1,000 kinds of locusts in China, including more than 50 kinds that pose a serious threat to grain production and grasslands, according to Zhang Zehua, a researcher at the Institute of Plant Protection of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

China has formed a mature locust prevention and control response mechanism and has established a national four-tier locust monitoring and early warning system.

Zhang warned that desert locusts may threaten China's food security if adequate measures are not taken to bring the species under control.

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