Speaking during the flag off of the aerial spray exercise in Gombe, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Dahiru Buba-Biri, said the birds have already attacked rice plantation and have started destroying them when the state government alerted the federal government on the need for the spray.
He commended the federal government for its timely response in not only attacking and killing the birds but also in its support to the state in boosting agriculture through the provision of fertilizer, seeds and other inputs.
He said the state government will complement the efforts of the federal government in fighting the bird menace by paying for more hours of the spray time to ensure that the birds are totally destroyed thereby saving farmers in the state from incurring much loss.
Buba-Biri also commended the federal government for the allocation of three rice mills for the state, saying that will encourage rice farmers in the state to engage in mass production of rice.
Speaking earlier, the North-east Zonal Coordinator of the Quelea Birds Control Program, Mr Johnson Waziri said the production of both paddy and rain-fed rice has been under great threat of trans-boundary pests in the area following the menace of quelea birds, locusts, grasshoppers and others.
“They move from one country to the other, they move from one state to the other, from one local government to the other. In other words, they do not have boundaries and because of that their control has been very difficult. The most devastating of all these trans-boundary birds have been the quelea birds. These birds originate from the various neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroun,” he said.