Picture: for illustration purposes

Tanzania Averts Crop Devastation by Culling 5 Million Quelea Birds

Published September 29, 2023
9 months ago

In a resounding display of agricultural fortitude, Tanzania has curtailed the risk of ruinous crop devastation by dispatching five million quelea birds in the Northern region of Manyara. Joseph Ndunguru, the acting director-general of the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA), confirmed the measures, stating "We killed swarms of five million destructive birds and now we are monitoring other zones."

Famed for their crop-ravaging tendencies and the ability to decimate more than 50 tonnes of food crops in a single day, these tiny, red-beaked birds move in large flocks, especially during the dry season in September and October. Known in certain circles as molecular or 'flying locusts', they pose a considerable threat to commercial farming operations.

With the use of drones, planes and targeted aerial spraying over a four-day period, the menace was successfully tackled. This strategic campaign eliminated the potential catastrophe without any negative impact to the paddy fields in Northern Tanzania.

Proactive surveillance and monitoring are continuing across other regions of Tanzania. As Ndunguru elaborated, "we are monitoring other zones" to prevent similar outbreaks. The Quelea, despite being the most numerous bird species globally, has met its match in Tanzania's decisive approach to preserving its agricultural sector.

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