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Bauchi State Allocates N45 Million to Combat Agricultural Pests Threatening Food Security

Bauchi allocates N45m to fight Grasshoppers and locust
Comissioner for agriculture, Professor Simon Madugu Yalams

Bauchi State government allocates N45 million to combat agricultural pests, including Quela birds, threatening food security, employing aerial spray and ground control measures.

In response to the recent outbreak of pests ravaging farmlands across Bauchi State, the government has approved a substantial sum of N45 million for the procurement of agrochemicals and other equipment to combat the menace. The pests, including Quela birds, locusts, and grasshoppers, have posed a significant threat to agricultural productivity in the state, prompting urgent intervention measures.

Speaking on behalf of the state government, the Commissioner of Agriculture, Professor Simon Madugu Yalams, emphasized the pivotal role of agriculture in the Bauchi economy, noting that the sector employs over 75% of the state’s population. Recognizing the importance of addressing the pest infestation, the government has allocated funds to enhance pest control efforts and safeguard food security for the citizens.

Governor Yalams highlighted the positive impact of the agricultural transformation policies implemented by the Federal Government, which have contributed to increased yield and production, particularly in grains. However, the surge in yield has attracted pests like the Quelea birds, posing a grave threat to crop production and food security in Bauchi State and other frontline states in Northern Nigeria.

Describing the Quelea bird as one of the most dangerous agricultural pests, the Governor emphasized the severity of its impact on crop production. With an estimated population of around 100 million, a flock of 2 million Quelea birds can destroy up to 20 tonnes of grains, including rice, millet, or wheat, in just one day. The annual devastation caused by these migratory birds results in substantial grain deficiency, exacerbating food insecurity challenges in the country.

To address the pest infestation effectively, the government plans to employ a combination of aerial spray of chemicals and ground control measures carried out by the State Ministry of Agriculture’s fumigation team. This integrated approach aims to target the pests at various stages of their lifecycle and minimize their impact on agricultural yields. The forthcoming aerial spray operation will involve low-flying planes equipped with specialized equipment to disperse the agrochemicals over affected areas.

While assuring communities about the safety of the aerial spray, Commissioner Yalams urged caution against consuming any dead birds resulting from the operation, as they may pose a poisoning risk. Community members are advised to follow safety guidelines and avoid contact with the chemicals used in pest control activities to prevent any adverse health effects.

In addition to the immediate response to the pest outbreak, the Bauchi State government is also exploring long-term strategies to strengthen agricultural resilience and mitigate future pest threats. This includes investments in research and development, farmer education programs, and infrastructure improvements to enhance pest monitoring and control capabilities across the state.

As the government mobilizes resources to combat the pest infestation, collaboration between policymakers, agricultural experts, and local communities will be crucial in implementing effective and sustainable solutions to safeguard agricultural productivity and ensure food security for all citizens of Bauchi State.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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