China to deploy chickens to combat locust plague
Beijing: China is planning to form a new army of chickens to combat the menace of locust plague.
China's northwest province Gansu will sent about 100,000 chickens to pastureland in nine cities and counties, including the Tibetan counties of Xiahe and Tianzhu, this month to combat a locust plague, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
At least 1.33 million hectares of pastureland in Gansu are affected by the insect every year, the provincial agricultural and stockbreeding department said in a statement.
"Locust plagues in particular threaten the farming and herding industries and deteriorates the pasture's ecology," Liu Zhimin, deputy chief of the agriculture and stockbreeding said.
He said that the province first tried to raise chickens on locust plagued pastureland in Sunan county in 2010.
"Ten herding families joined the pilot programme and raised 1,000 chickens each," he said.
The 10,000 chickens proved successful in combating locusts on some 6,667 hectares of pastureland and each family earned an average of USD 4,713 US dollars that year by chicken farming, Liu said.
Last year, 85,000 chickens were kept on the pastureland of 10 counties in southern Gansu. The direct economic benefits totalled 6 million yuan USD 950,000, the report said.
Gansu has about 18 million hectares of pastureland, which covers 40 per cent of its territory, it said.