The birds are destroying rice farms.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has started the use of aircraft to tackle quelea birds that have been destroying rice farms in Bauchi State.
The North-East zonal coordinator, Quelea Birds Control, Johnson Waziri, stated this at the inauguration of the 2013 pest control programme on Saturday in Bauchi.
Mr. Waziri said the exercise was part of the Federal Government’s agricultural transformation agenda to boost local production of rice in the zone. He said the Federal Government was determined to save the money being spent on the importation of rice.
In its bid to boost local production of rice, the government decided to support about 12 northern states to combat the menace of quelea birds, grasshoppers and other pests, Mr. Waziri said.
“Nigeria can suffer from the infestation of quelea birds since they live in inaccessible places like forest and are also found locally; they also come to Nigeria through the various boarders.
“We cannot spray them on farmlands but only when they are sleeping, that is why the exercise will take place in the morning and evening,” he said.
Mr. Waziri urged those who send animals to graze to stay away for at least 74 hours, adding that all drinking water should be covered to avoid any contamination.
The coordinator also advised that dead birds should not be touched because of the contents of the insecticides.
He lauded the support of Bauchi State Government for the spraying exercise.
In his contribution, the Bauchi Commissioner for Agriculture, Tasiu Mohammed, said the state government had assisted the programme with about 750 litres of chemicals.
He said that the general public would be enlightened on the exercise through state televisions, community radio stations and other media organisations to avoid panic while the exercise lasts.
Mr. Mohammed said 11 local government areas would benefit from the exercise for which Global Apex Air would be using its aircraft.
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