CABINET has approved the establishment of the Migratory Pest Control Unit to be housed as a department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement to ensure surveillance of all important pests including quelea,locust and armyworm;.
The department will also be charged with training farmers on surveillance; react to outbreaks timely; coordinate stakeholder efforts; and mobilise resources for adequate and effective responses.
Currently the country IS witnessing the Quelea bird menace which is threatening the winter wheat crop. 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.
Government has provided bird shield chemical which can be accessed through GMB as well as using drones to complement knapsack spraying in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs as efforts to save the crop from the migratory birds continue.
Meanwhile the winter wheat crop is generally good across all provinces, and the major activities on the farms include spraying of chemicals for pest control, top dressing and routine irrigation.
There is adequate water in the dams for crop irrigation. Early planted wheat
is now at hard dough stage in most provinces.
Government expects to announce the producer price of wheat and from the 66 435. 86 hectares planted under thePresidential, NEAPS/Command/CBZ Agro-Yield and Private Sector schemesa yield level of 4.5 tonnes per hectare, the country expects 298 961 MT,against the national requirement of 360 000 MT.
Additionally GMB has commenced preparations for wheat intake, and has designated 18intake depots in that regard. The allocation of combine harvesters and transporters is being finalized by AFC and GMB.
Harvesting of the early-planted wheat is expected to start from mid-September onwards, and fuel for the contracted farmers will be made available on time.