China launches $200 million fund to combat fall armyworms, locusts

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has allocated 1.4 billion yuan ($200 million) for the prevention and control of pests including fall armyworms and locusts to protect the country’s massive agriculture sector as food security becomes a major concern.

Fall armyworms, which first arrived in China in January 2019, spread over a million hectares of farmland last year and are expected to hit more crops this year including the key corn-growing region in the northeast.

The government has set aside 490 million yuan to combat fall armyworms in 21 provinces including Yunnan and Guangxi, according to a Ministry of Finance statement.

Beijing is also closely watching for potential locust invasions as neighboring countries India and Pakistan struggle with the ferocious insects.

It has distributed 30 million yuan for locust control efforts in 15 provinces including major wheat producers Shandong and Henan, the statement said.

The rest of the government funds will be used to crack down on pests damaging vegetables in Hubei province and other pests threatening grain output.

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