Drones to be hired in Lower Kuja Irrigation to control Quelea bird menace

The Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme manager Kennedy Ouma

By MN Reporter

The Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme management is seeking an Indian investor to help acquire drones to control quelea bird menace in paddy rice fields.

The scheme manager Kennedy Ouma said they will partner with the investor to help scare the birds and spray their nesting nest during an invasion.

Ouma admitted that they were aware of the challenge the farmers were going throug.

He also said that a number of experts were currently carrying out research to see how the quelea birds can be eliminated.

Currently, about 700 acres are being worked on by farmers as some are preparing paddy seed beds in preparation of the September planting season.

The scheme hopes to put an additional 2,300 acres under production in the next two months.

Vincent Owaya who has two acres at Sagama area which is part of the irrigation scheme says that he only harvested six bags in the last season because of the birds menace.

Owaya says that despite employing three people to check on his rice field and paying each person Sh6, 000, the birds overwhelmed them and they were forced to abandon his farm after they saw that the birds had already eaten away much of his grown paddy.

“The people I placed in my farm got overwhelmed as the birds were too many and had to give up on my farm,” Owaya said. ‘

He lauded the drones call.

About 500 acres of rice farms were in the season destroyed by the small yellow weaver birds which target paddy that are at their flowering stage.

The quelea birds are known to fly in huge flocks in search of early maturing cereals, annual wild grasses and grains.