The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mustapha Gajirima, Yobe, has revealed that the increasing population of Queala birds in Nguru, Ngeji and Ngalda wetlands is threatening bumper harvests in five local government areas of the state.
Gajirima told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Damaturu that the birds were threatening rice and millet plantations in Nguru, Jakusko, Bade, Karasuwa and Fika Local Government Areas.
According to him, the state government lacks the capacity to undertake aerial spray to destroy the birds.
“Yobe state is appealing to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for early aerial spray before the swarm strike on the farmlands.
“The quelea birds are very destructive, they move in large numbers and invade farms, eating up the farms completely in few minutes.
“There are indications of good yields of rice and millet this season but the swarm constitute serious threat to the expected harvest.
“We therefore appeal to the federal government to act fast to save the farms,” he said.
On locusts, Gajirima said the state government had sprayed farmlands in Damaturu, Yunusari, Bursari, Yusufari, Giedam and Machina Local Government Areas.
“The state Ministry of Agriculture and Environment acted promptly by embarking on motorized and manual spray of farms in the affected local government areas.”
The commissioner said the early response had saved many farmlands in the affected areas.
“We are happy with the good results and promising harvests.”
The commissioner disclosed that the government had placed border communities in the state on red alert, to monitor and report movement of pests in their localities.
“There are reports of expected influx of pests into Nigeria through Niger Republic, we have placed our people on standby to monitor and report pest movements in their areas for quick response,” Gajirima said.