The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday began the second phase of aerial spraying against quelea birds in Bauchi State.
Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf, a director in the state Ministry of Agriculture, said the 2013 North East Quelea Birds Control Programme was designed to check the menace of the birds on farms.
He said that the major objectives of the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) were to ensure food security and improve the income of the rural poor.
According to him, these noble objectives cannot be achieved without effective pest control measures, especially quelea birds which has the capacity to destroy huge hectares of land.
The Federal Government, through ATA, is heavily intervening in the agriculture sector to boost agricultural productivity under its Growth Enhancement Support scheme (GES).
Agricultural enterprise like any other business, is surrounded by risks and uncertainty. If the population of these birds is not brought under control, it will render the Federal Government’s ATA ineffective.
This is why every year, we carry out this task, to control the population of these birds, as a way of supporting farmers to reduce damage and enhance productivity.”
Mr. Johnson Waziri, the ministry’s North East Zonal Coordinator of the programme, explained that the spraying was carried out twice a year because of dry and wet season farming.
Because of our knowledge of the behavior of the quelea birds, we have designed the control programmed to benefit each area that suffers from the menace of the birds.”
Waziri said that the aerial spraying would check-mate egg hatching, reduce the activities of the adult birds as well as prevent them from moving from one state to the other.
He explained that the pesticide was formulated not to have any effect on vegetation, grazing livestock as well as human beings.
He advised people living in the sprayed areas to cover their drinking water, food items and keep animals from grazing in sprayed areas for at least three days.
In his remark, the Bauchi State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Tasiu Mohammed, commended the Federal Government for the support.
He said that the state had also supported the programmed with 750 liters of pesticide to cover 11 local government areas in the state. (NAN)