ARUSHA, Tanzania, (Xinhua) --
Tanzania plans to conduct an aerial bird
control operation at Ndung’u Irrigation Scheme in the country’s
northern district of Same in an effort to wipe out quelea birds
in the area.
Same District Commissioner, said that the aircraft has been
leased from the Desert Locust Control Organization for East
The aircraft will be
used to spray the birds’ roosters and feeding grounds with an
The official said
that so far the birds have destroyed over 600 hectares of paddy
in the area located on the slopes of Pare Mountain ranges
located some kilometers from Mount Kilimanjaro-Africa’s highest
According to Sitaki,
the DLCO-EA plane landed in the area two days ago and is to
start its operation of killing the birds soon after the arrival
of experts from the Tanzania’s ministry of Agriculture,
Livestock, and Fisheries.
She said that the
new intervention is meant to rescue thousands of farmers who are
threatened by Quelea birds, which have stormed the area for the
past three weeks.
With 680 hectares
and over 2,500 smallholder farmers, Ndung’u irrigation scheme
produces thousands of tonnes of rice, to feed the northern part
of Tanzania and neighboring Kenya.
“Rice is the
lifeline for many people in the area as they depend on it for
income and food security. So, the birds’ invasion threatens the
survival of smallholder farmers in the area,” the official said.
It is estimated that
an average quelea bird eats around 10 grams of grain per
day—roughly half its body weight—and a flock of two million can
devour as much as 20 tonnes of grain in a single day.
With an estimated
adult breeding population of at least 1.5 billion, the UN Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates the agricultural
losses attributable to the quelea are in excess of 50 million
U.S. dollars annually.