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[China Daily]China helps fight farm pests naturally

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  China will promote agricultural pest control technologies in more developing countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to help them fight threats and increase farm yields in an environmentally friendly way, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said.

  The academy is planning to build joint technology transfer centers and laboratories focused on agricultural cooperation along with these countries to facilitate cooperation with China, Wan Fanghao, chief scientist at the academy's Institute of Plant Protection, said on Monday.

  "We will transfer our technologies, including fighting pests with their natural enemies, to these countries. Together with local researchers, we will develop leading technologies, such as green bio-protection products and bio-pesticides, that are in line with local agricultural development," Wan said on the sidelines of the First International Congress of Biological Control, hosted by the academy in Beijing. The congress opened on Monday.

  More than 1,000 scientists from more than 40 countries and regions participated in the conference, which was designed to promote the "green" control of agricultural pests for sustainable development.

  China is a leading country in biological control technology, with various techniques applied in agriculture for pest control, including the use of pesticides sourced from plants, insects' natural enemies and artificial hormones that interfere with feeding and reproduction, said Qiu Dewen, deputy chief of the institute.

  Chen Julian, chief of international cooperation at the academy, said that through an international alliance, Chinese researchers have been cooperating with their counterparts in some Southeast Asian countries to use the trichogramma wasp - commonly used in China - for pest control.

  The academy has helped build seven labs for breeding the wasp in Myanmar, and another five in Laos. Chinese experts have been sent there to guide the program, she said.

  Wan, who is also in charge of the Belt and Road International Alliance for Plant Protection, said the trichogramma wasp - an egg-destroying insect that kills many pests that eat rice and corn - is greatly needed in some Southeast Asian countries where rice is a primary crop.

  "It does not pollute the environment and is cheaper than using synthetic pesticides," he said. "We will work with Vietnam and Cambodia to promote the technology, too."

  Since 2015, when the alliance was established, about 100 research institutes from 27 countries and regions involved with the Belt and Road Initiative have joined for cooperation in research in biosafety and technology transfers in areas such as biological control, Wan said.

  With China making efforts to reduce the use of chemical pesticides for sustainable agricultural development in recent years, research and applications in biological control have made rapid progress in China, said Tang Huajun, president of the science academy. The number of biological pesticide producers in China has exceeded 260, accounting for 10 percent of the total number of pesticide producers in the country, he said.

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