Farmers on high alert for Quealea Bird outbreak

By Tendai Munengwa

THE early planted winter wheat crop has reached flowering stage, with farmers and agriculture authorities now on high alert for a possible Quelea bird outbreak.

A visit to various farms reveals that the early planted winter wheat has reached flowering stage.

The situation however shows that the crop could soon be targeted by the marauding quelea birds as has been the case in the past.

We are wary of quelea birds, but the other pests to watch out for are the aphids, these can also be so destructive that the farmer can loose the big chunk of the wheat. So the flowering is stage is so critical that every day we scout and spray the aphids,” said Tinashe Chauke, a farmer.

The Migratory Pests and Biosecurity Control Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has already embarked on surveillance operations to detect quelea bird breeding grounds.

We are encouraging farmers to report any Quealea birds roost so that we can move on a destroy them. We have had reports from some provinces of where this roost are, so we have created a command centre for farmers to report as soon as they discover such roost, said ,Shingirai Nyamutukwa- Acting Director Migratory Pests and Biosecurity Control Department.

With the final wheat crop assessment showing that 78 000 hectares have been put under the cereal crop, farmers are now expected to guard against the menacing quelea birds to ensure maximum yields.