Moshi District Council has completed a special operation to kill about 5.6 million quelea quelea birds which had invaded 2,135 hectares of paddy in three irrigation schemes in Moshi Rural District.
Moshi District Council Executive Director, Butamo Ndalahwa, confirmed here yesterday that the exercise was successful despite some minor challenges. He said farmers were happy and they expect bumper harvest.
The government, he said, acted fast to avert loss of yield as the red-billed weavers had proved destructive. The Moshi council secured 325 litres of poison from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in Dar es Salaam to contain the destructive birds.
On October 3, Ndalahwa consulted the coordinator of the Arusha Plant Health Centre as well as Kilimo Anga Arusha manager to get an airplane from Nairobi.
The world’s most abundant wild bird species have been destroying paddy at the 440-hectare Lower Moshi Scheme, the 270-hectare Mandaka Mnono Scheme and the 1,425-hectare Mawala Scheme. Agricultural experts had found out there were four beddings situated at TPC Company sugarcane plantations as well as in nearby places.
The birds were usually seen during the morning and evening hours feeding on paddy while spending nights at their beddings in sugarcane plantations. The red-billed diochs have an estimated adult breeding population of 1.5 billion pairs.
The overall world population is expected to be as large as 10 billion. They are found in sub-Saharan Africa but are absent from thickly forested regions and the southern reaches of South Africa.