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China Proposing to Export Ducks to Pakistan to Destroy Locusts


In what may be regarded as an exercise in hairbrained diplomacy, officials in China are investigating the feasibility of exporting 100,000 ducks to Pakistan to destroy locust swarms.


The question is whether ducks would survive under desert like conditions in Sindh and Punjab provinces.  A second problem will be that China will effectively export a range of avian influenza viruses by transporting ducks to the affected areas.  Locusts swarms comprising millions of insects move rapidly possibly as much as 30 miles in a day depending on wind and air currents.  Waddling ducks will not be able to keep up. 


The problem of locust infestation in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa is a consequence of unseasonal rains due to cyclonic conditions in 2019. This resulted in massive multiplication of locusts that initially were not controlled due to lack of coordination among affected nations. 


Depredation caused by locusts adds to the problems of COVID-19 in poverty-stricken areas in the Middle East and Africa.  Ducks may provide required protein when eaten by Pakistanis but certainly a population of 100,000 ducks from China will make no impression on the locust population and the damage they cause.