THE Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says it will next year launch a two year project in three southern African countries that include Zimbabwe aimed at taming Queala birds that have ravished crops in the region.
Valued at US$300 000 the project will target Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique and will help growers of small grain and wheat to deter Quelea birds which have ravished fields in recent years.
According to FAO Agricultural Officer for Pesticide Risk Reduction Ivy Saunyama Falcon birds are to be introduced as an alternative to highly hazardous pesticides and dynamite currently used to deter Quelea birds.
The red-billed quelea is a small weaver bird native to sub-Saharan Africa and is the most numerous bird species in the world, with peak post-breeding population estimated at 1,5 billion.
“Quelea birds are a menace to farmers of small grains and wheat and they have caused problems in recent. So we observed a project in Botswana were commercial went into a partnership that supplied them with Falcon birds that are used as deterrents to the Quelea.
This is more sustainable than the current methods of using dynamite and fenthion which is likely to be banned soon.
The falcon birds are indigenous species and are natural predators which will be trained to deter the Quelea birds.
The project is expected to run for two years and provided opportunities for youths who shall train the birds”.
Saunyama said it was important that the impact of Quelea birds on small grain be minimized in light of the El Nino induced drought forecast for Southern Africa.