Farmers count losses as quelea birds invade rice farms in Argungu, Kebbi state

Farmers count losses as quelea birds invade rice farms in Argungu, Kebbi state

Rice farmers in Kebbi State say quelea bird invasions have caused severe damage to thousands of hectares of dry season rice farms in the state.

NTA news reported that about 75 thousand hectares of the rice farms were affected in the attack by Quelea birds in Argungu, Kebbi State, northwestern Nigeria.

An estimate of one hundred farmers have lost their farms already while the birds are still raging.

One of the affected farmers, Garba Umar Rabo, while speaking with Daily Trust, said in his over 20 years of rice cultivation, he has never seen a bird disaster as this latest one. “No matter how you push them away, they keep coming back. We have to harvest before time, to minimise the loss incurred”, he said.

Another rice planter, simply identified as Haruna, confessed: “The birds are too many to curtail. There are just too many, they are flying in thousands and by the time they land on a rice field within a few seconds, they will have finished it all”.

To prevent total damage to their agricultural efforts, some farmers said they were forced to prematurely harvest their rice as many of their colleagues continue to feel the terrible impact of the invasion.

The farmers said quelea birds’ attack on rice farms was part of major challenges farmers were facing annually and therefore called on the state and the federal government to come to their immediate rescue.

This is not the first time the birds will be attacking rice farms in Nigeria.

In 2021, many farmers in Jigawa State lost large expanses of rice farms to attacks by quelea birds.

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