Beijing, July 7 (IANS) An army of chickens will be employed by the administration of a Chinese province to fight locusts in its pastureland.
Gansu province in northwest China will send about 100,000 chickens to pastureland in nine cities and counties, including the Tibetan regions of Xiahe and Tianzhu, to combat a locust plague, Xinhua reported citing the provincial agricultural and stockbreeding department.
The insects affect at least 1.33 million hectares of pastureland in Gansu every year.
Locusts threaten the farming and herding industries and deteriorates the pasture's ecology, said Liu Zhimin, the department's deputy chief.
He said the province first tried to raise chickens on locust-plagued pastureland in Sunan county in 2010.
Ten herding families joined a pilot programme and raised 1,000 chickens each. The 10,000 chickens proved successful in combating locusts on some 6,700 hectares of pastureland.
Each family earned an average of 30,000 yuan (around $4,700) that year by chicken farming, the official said.
Last year, 85,000 chickens were kept on the pastureland of 10 counties in Gansu. The economic benefit totalled six million yuan.
Gansu has about 18 million hectares of pastureland, which covers 40 percent of its territory.