Quelea outbreak contained

By Tapiwa Machemedze

GOVERNMENT has assured farmers of adequate chemicals to contain Quelea birds in wheat and traditional grains farming areas.

This comes after the containment of the menacing birds in Muzarabani.

Farmers expressed their joy of the containment saying, “We are happy because of this program to kill predators which were eating our crops. We were advised to grow small grains by our Agritex Officers but encountered problems because of quelea birds that ravage the crops when we grow them. These birds terrorised us for long and we discovered it late, then we had to use catapults to kill the birds, which is why you see me holding this catapult, so we want to thank the government of President Mnangagwa for sending the ministry of agriculture and Zim-parks officers to kill the birds.”

Shingirayi Nyamutukwa of the Plant Protection Unit in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, said the exercise which was conducted in conjunction with Zim-parks should give farmers confidence to continue producing wheat and traditional grains without fear of incurring losses.

“We have managed to reduce the burden farmers were experiencing and they are quite happy because they have witnessed a great opportunity to continue to grow small grains because birds were hampering production of small grains in this area…Let me also take this opportunity to assure the nation as the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development we have procured enough chemical and we are also in the process of procuring more chemical which we are going to use in reducing this population and in so doing we are going to be protecting our winter wheat crop,” said Nyamutukwa.

The plant protection unit has been equipped with adequate vehicles, motorised backpack sprayers and vehicle mounted sprayers.