BEIJING -The Chinese government will provide around 38 more agricultural drones to Pakistan in a few months to fight desert locust.

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs had donated the drones for prevention of desert locust to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research of Pakistan last month.

According to a report of the China Economic Net (CEN) on Monday, earlier in June, a leading Chinese company expressed willingness to set up an industrial unit in Pakistan to manufacture drones that can be used to protect crops and control locust.

“From factory construction, production, assembly, after-sales to personnel training, we can provide a full set of technical support to help Pakistan develop the drone manufacturing industry to quickly respond to various types of disasters,” said Du Jixiang, Chief Engineer, Beijing Andun Equipment Co. Ltd.

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.

An official of Pakistan’s Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that Pakistan wanted to lease six aircrafts from Chinese Ministry of Civil Aviation to conduct aerial spray into locust affected areas.

Although Pakistan is yet to deploy these drones to stop desert locusts, a wave of joy has been felt among Pakistani farmers. “It is indeed a piece of great news. China has provided drones to fight locust. It means we will be able to save our crops from locust soon, Ajmal Bhutta, a noted agriculturist based in Multan said over telephone.

Desert locust is an international trans-boundary concern with major economic, social and environmental implications.

As per estimate of officials of department of agriculture of Pakistan’s provinces of 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.

In February this year, Pakistan declared national emergency to eliminate the attacking swarms of desert locust.

“The farmers are very worried as they have seen their crops being destroyed in front of their eyes. These farmers should be compensated,” said Zahid Bhurguri, general secretary of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture.

“Almost all crops and non-crop plants are vulnerable and the insects are one of the biggest threats to food security,” he added.