By Tafara Chikumira
GOVERNMENT has come up with a roadmap to deal with the marauding quelea birds that are wreaking havoc in the Midlands Province.
Officials from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement touched down in Kwekwe’s Sherwood block, which is one of the areas ravaged by quelea birds to assess the extent of damage the birds have caused on the crop and come up with solutions.
Led by the responsible Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, the team immediately spelt out the roadmap towards saving the wheat crop from the birds.
“Government had a problem with the supplier of chemicals who was supposed to do the job. At first the supplier came with the right product as a sample only to bring a fake product which proved ineffective after testing by our scientists. This was purely an act of sabotage. However, I must say that we have since managed to procure some chemicals from China which shall be in the country by next week. We have also tested some of the expired chemicals in our wares which scientists say they are still very effective which will be rolled out soon,” he said
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority- Regional Manager, Mrs Sharon Musakwa gave a breakdown of the rollout plan to be effected in some of the most affected areas.
“We are going to start spraying the birds using a drone this evening. The birds are usually a menace at night and as such we will be trying to get them evening and early morning. We have also dispatched a team of extension workers to be on the ground and advise and coordinate the emergency spraying exercise,” she said.
Failure to target the birds at their incubation centres has also been blamed for to the multiplication of the birds this season, with officials saying the problem will be dealt with in future.
“This is an annual problem we usual deal with. However this season, it is true that we also failed to spray the birds during the preseason period. We usually target them at the hibernation centres which make it difficult for them to multiply at such phenomenon rate. We are glad that this has been a learning cave and going forward we are ready to rectify the problems,” said Dr Dumisani Katiyo, Acting Chief Director Research Specialist Services- Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
The intervention of government is critical in saving crops of farmers most of whom were likely to lose about 30 percent of their crop to the menacing birds.
By Tafara Chikumira