Fighting quelea birds in Kisumu rice fields

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The Department of Crop Protection and Safety from Nairobi have been dispatched to Kisumu to start a massive campaign to fight quelea birds in rice fields through spraying.

According to Kisumu County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Kenneth Onyango, the bird population in the county stands at 5.8 Million.

Onyango said the county has managed to locate 9 areas where the birds stay at night where the spraying will be directed.

He said Nyando has the highest population of the birds at 2,000,000 followed by Nyakach with 800,000 and Muhoroni with 500,000.

The CEC said the farmers in West Kano and Ahero Irrigation schemes in recent days have been invaded by the destructive quelea birds in rice fields.

“After an extensive surveillance, we wish to confirm that there is an outbreak of Quelea birds in Kisumu County, with the two rice schemes being worst affected,” he said.

He noted that experts from the County Department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries have confirmed that some 300 acres of rice fields have been destroyed by the birds with 2000 more acres under threat.

“This means our farmers have incurred huge losses, the department has identified the possible reasons for the invasion,” he said.

Onyango said the last crop protection was done in March 2022 noting that it was because there was little crop in the field to warrant effective control.

He further noted that growing of sorghum in the area which easily attracts birds has resulted in the high number of birds being witnessed in the area.

He went further to announce that most of the birds have migrated to Okana Irrigation scheme from Kisumu East Sub- County.

“Upon receiving reports from field officers, the County Government of Kisumu engaged the national government for help and help is now coming,” he said.

Onyango said the team from Kilimo has proceeded to the fields and will strike at night, targeting areas where the birds stay at night.

“They will inspect the affected areas today and start spraying tomorrow. Our operation will cover the National Irrigation Authority area in Muhoroni, Awach Kano, Ogange, Amboo, Okana, Ogongo, Kudho, Haro and Alara,” he said.

He announced that the county staff will work closely with the staff from the National office to completely secure the rice fields noting that because of their migratory nature, the task of controlling the birds rests with the National government.

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