The Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Sayyadi Abba Ruma disclosed this while officially flagging off this year’s exercise in Nguru Local Government Area of Yobe state where the invasion of quelea birds is most felt because of the presence of wetlands which provide sanctuary to the invading pests. The exercise which has become an annual ritual involves aerial spray of about 228,000 metric tonnes of pesticides as well as ground monitoring using motorized and manual sprayers for effective control.
Ruma who was represented by Mrs. Florence Oninewu, Head Field Operation, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources expressed optimism that Nigeria would record a bumper harvest this year as a result of adequate rainfall and the measures put in place to curtail the activities of migratory pests which wreaks havoc on crops and account for about 40% of post harvest loss.
He also explained that plans are under way to construct over four hundred export conditioning centres and agro parks under the Federal Government new initiative, Raising Agricultural Income for Sustainable Environment (RAISE) programme to provide availability, affordability and accessibility to agro inputs for increased productivity.
Earlier in his remarks, Musa Maina Dumburi Yobe state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources who expressed happiness at the Federal Government prompt and timely intervention noted that farmers in the state and the entire sub-region have suffered great losses as a result of pest invasion which constitute threat to Food Security, an important part of Mr. President’s Seven Point Agenda.
The Commisssioner who was represented by Gambomi Gana Permanent Secretary in the Ministry told the Minister that Yobe state government has on its part set aside the sum of Fifty Million naira on the procurement of chemicals, sprayers and additional flying hours for the effective control of the invading pests.
Dumburi also stated that the state government has trained extension workers and farmers on the concept of integrated pest management for which a Handbook on Pest Control was developed for use by extension workers and farmers.