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Quelea Outbreak Under Control, Agric Ministry Said



By Zvikomborero Machirori



The Ministry of Agriculture has embarked on a programme to fight the outbreak of Quelea Bird in some parts of Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Midland provinces.




In an interview with Sly Media Tv Shingirayi Nyamutukwa the acting director of Migratory Pests and Biosecurity Control department in the Ministry said that the department employed two main tactics for managing Quelea birds which are chemical sprays and physical netting.




“We have employed two main tactics for managing Quelea birds, chemical sprays and physical netting. With regards to chemical control, we’re using Fenthion 640 ULV applied using motorised backpack sprayers, vehicle mounted sprayers and of late aerial sprays” said Mr Nyamutukwa.





Nyamutukwa added “The recent outbreaks in Mashonaland West has seen the Ministry engaging aerial sprays to curb the outbreaks within a short period of time with great success. Such areas controlled had very high Quelea numbers running into millions”




“Darwendale and Selous aerial sprays have given a relief to our wheat farmers who were battling to avert Quelea damage by employing bird scaring tactics like using vuvuzelas or making noise in fields” he said.





Since the outbreak of Quelea birds the Migratory Pests and Biosecurity Control department has recorded 90% in curbing the outbreak.





“We have recorded 60-90 % control success in most operations but obviously birds visiting sprayed sites may be killed by residual chemicals even a few days after spray and that birds leaving a sprayed roosting site may die in sun’s heat during the days” he said.






“The only challenge we’ve been facing is windy conditions as we cannot spray when it’s windy. The chemical needs to be in the roost for an effective kill. Our teams have been forced to spent more days at one roosting site waiting for conducive condition for spray at the expense of several reports to be attended to.” He said.




Robert Tapfumaneyi