The Federal Government has embarked on a massive aerial spray of Quelea birds in six Local Government Areas of Kano State, an official said on Sunday.
Alhaji Muhammad Shehu-Adamu, Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Kano, said the destructive birds have the capacity to travel over 100 kilometers in a day and can destroy hundreds of hectares of cereal crops, especially rice within few minutes.
Shehu-Adamu while briefing newsmen on Sunday in Kano, explained that the birds which were trans-border pests flew in their thousands from across various countries into Nigeria.
He said the action by the ministry followed the complaint on the arrival of birds from farmers in various communities in Kura, Garun Malam, Bebeji, Bagwai, Makoda, and Bunkure local government areas.
“Immediately I received the complaint, I forwarded the same to the Headquarters where the aircraft was immediately sent to embark on the spray of the chemical before they destroy the farms.
“As you can see the aircraft waiting for the time when the birds normally sleep before the pilot and the crew can start the spraying.
“They normally fly to the affected areas through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) as early as five to seven in the morning before the birds go out and also towards evening time when they are back’’, he said.
The coordinator explained that the immediate action by the federal government was necessary to avoid loss to the farmers.
He said that Kano was one of the frontline states the birds attack, adding that the farmers had always used traditional means to scare them away.
According to him, before the commencement of the operation, the ministry had sensitized the farmers through their associations and also the residents of those areas to avoid eating the birds whenever they found them dead.
The Kano State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Faruq Rabiu-Mudi, commended the federal government over the proactive intervention. (NAN)