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Federal Government flags off aerial spray of quella birds in Bauchi, as state earmarks N45m to procure agrochemical, others

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Drums of chemicals and others to be used for the aerial spray

By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has assured farmers in the North-East subregion of adequate supply of pesticide in order to protect their produce from crops pests especially Quella birds.

The assurance was given by the Minister in charge of the Ministry, Senator Abubakar Kyari while flagging off aerial spray of Quella birds in Bauchi on Monday at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport (SATBIA).

Represented by the Zonal Director of the Ministry in Bauchi, Daniel Abarshi the Minister described Quella birds as the most destructive of the pests which if left unattended to can cause severe loss of farm produce to the farmers.

The Minister however said that the Ministry will always embark on preventive measures to ensure that farmers got the best of harvests of their crops at all times of the year.

Kyari stressed that the focus of the administration is to ensure availability of food and promote food security in the country.

According to him, the exercise which is a periodic one will tackle the menace of Quella birds which are destructive in nature stressing that the exercise will protect dry season farmers especially rice and other cereals.

He then urged the state government to complement the efforts by following up with the ground exercise after the aerial spray in order to make it very effective.

The Minister said that all the security agencies in the state have been briefed about the exercise while the registration number of aircraft has been given to them as a way of protection of the personnel.

He then appealed to the people not to see the dead birds as easy and free meal as it will be poisoning to eat them having been sprayed just as he also warned them against using the waters for the moment.

In his remarks, Bauchi State Governor, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir commended the Federal Government for the exercise saying that it will go a long way in encouraging farmers to do more in order to have bumper harvest.

Mohammed who was represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Prof Yalams said that his administration is focused on ensuring that agriculture which is the mainstay of the state was boosted.

He said that since 2019 when the administration came into power, there has been a lot of reformation of the agricultural sector through the provision of various needs of the farmers especially fertilizer and pesticides which has made the sector more attractive to the farmers.

The Governor assured that his administration will complement the efforts of the Federal Government by ensuring that ground exercise was done immediately the aerial spray was concluded.

Mohammed also appealed to people in the affected LGAs not to panic on sighting the sprayer aeroplane which will fly at a very low level in order to be able to spray the areas.

He said that already, officials of the Ministry had gone round the affected LGAs on sensitization exercise in order to prepare them for aerial spray which is for their benefit.

Mohammed also stated that N45,000,000.00 has been approved for the procurement of Agrochemical and other equipments in response to a recent outbreak of insects and pests in farmlands across some local government areas of the state.

He said that the move was to ensure timely and effective control of the outbreak due to its emergency need describing agriculture as the backbone of Bauchi economy, saying that the sector employs over 75% population of the State.

According to him, to that regard, his government has since inception, made a lot of efforts towards transforming the agricultural sector from being a way of life of the people to a business that will enhance the earning power of the teaming farming families.

The Governor added that the transformation has been carried out in order to attract investors, donor agencies and development partners both within and outside the country.

He said that the various agricultural intervention programmes in the State is meant to restructure the sector for the betterment of farmers and the entire citizens as well as create an enabling environment for investors.

The Governor added that the agricultural transformation policies of the Federal Government has made positive impact in the sector, trading to increased yield and production, especially grains.

Mohammed further explained that the yield increase has attracted Quelea birds and other pests in the 12 frontline States of Northern Nigeria including Bauchi State, saying the bird is one of the most dangerous agricultural pests devastating crop production, threatening food security not only in Nigeria but Africa in General.

He noted that scientists have estimated the number of Quelea birds at around 100 million, thus, a flock of 2 million Quelea birds can destroy 20 tonnes of rice, millet or wheat in one day.

The Governor revealed that the flocks of Quelea birds attack and destroy millions of hectares of agricultural farms and fields annually, leading to substantial grain deficiency in the country.

“These birds are migratory in nature, therefore, the only method of controlling these destructive pests is by aerial spray of chemicals as well as ground control by the State Ministry of Agriculture fumigation team”, the Governor emphasized.

While informing the affected communities where the aerial spray will take place, with the plane flying at a lower altitude not to panic, he also warned them against eating any of the dead birds because they are highly poisonous.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry appreciated the Governor for his continued support and prompt response to the agricultural sector, pledged the ministry’s total commitments to the Governor to enable him achieve his developmental objectives in the agricultural sector.

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