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Quelea Birds Wreak Havoc In Mat North

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


QUELEA birds are wreaking havoc in Nyamandlovu and Bubi commercial farming areas in Matabeleland North where they are feasting on ripe small grains such as sorghum.

Some farmers are now spending the entire day clanging metal objects and shouting at top of their voices in a desperate bid to save their crop from the tiny marauding birds.

There are fears that the outbreak of the birds could wipe out most of the expected harvest in the two districts.

“I lost almost a quarter of my crop to quelea birds. I was contracted to grow the sorghum by a local beer brewing company. The outbreak of the birds is going to leave a lot of farmers with a crop deficit,” Titus Nyoni, a farmer in Nyamandlovu, told NewZimbabwe.com.

Another farmer, Gladys Moyo said this year, she decided to grow small grains after failing to harvest adequate maize crop due to successive droughts in the past.

“After taking climate change advice from agricultural extension workers, this year, I ventured into small grain farming. I have now realised that I made a mistake because the crop has got a lot of risks. So far, I have lost almost a third of a hectare to the birds. Next season I revert back to growing maize,” a dejected Moyo, said.

However, Matabeleland North provincial Agritex officer Dumisani Nyoni could not be reached for comment.

Quelea birds, whose population is estimated to be 1, 8 billion in 25 countries cause extensive damage to cereal grains, especially wheat, rice, barely, sorghum and millets.