Government acquires drones to fight quelea birds
Harare (New Ziana) -The Zimbabwe government has acquired nine drones for use in fighting qualia birds in an effort to increase production of cereal crops in the country.
Addressing guests in the capital on Monday at the unveiling ceremony, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr John Basera said the acquisition of the drones was a step in the right direction as the country moves a gear up in modernising and mechanising the agriculture sector.
The drones, which can each carry 40 litres of chemicals, will be distributed in all the eight rural provinces as well as at the head office in the capital.
Basera said the migratory quelea birds have become the biggest threat to wheat production in the country with estimated yield losses exceeding 95 percent when uncontrolled.
“On many accounts and fronts, the Ministry has chanted and emphasised that every grain counts. The fight for grain self-sufficiency entails safeguarding and preventing avoidable losses,” he said.
“Today ladies and gentlemen, it is testimony to how serious as a Ministry we are in making sure that every grain counts as we target to export wheat and other cereal crops such as traditional grains regionally.”
He emphasised the need to mechanise, modernise and aero-mechanise agriculture, saying it was the only way to build the much-needed production efficiencies as well as building competitiveness, which enables the country to compete with its regional and global peers.
Over the years, quelea birds have proved to be a menace not only in the wheat production sub-space, but in the general cereal sub-space, hence the need to guard against them.