Kirinyaga County Government has started a three-day bird-elimination exercise aimed at saving 72, 000Kgs of rice from destruction daily.
The county government in conjunction with the national government on Thursday, October 31, began the exercise targeting eight million quelea birds.
The birds, in their millions, have been feeding on rice crop daily, consequently, denying farmers of expected produce and profits.
The county government said the birds will be killed through spraying.
The county’s deputy governor, Peter Ndambiri, said at least eight million quelea birds, who fly in flocks, have thus far wreaked havoc on rice paddies in the area.
“An aircraft will be used to spray the birds in their nests in the 3-day exercise [that begins on Thursday],” said Ndambiri.
“Once the birds are eliminated, our farmers will be able to get bumper harvests,” added the deputy governor.
Rice farmers, who spoke to K24 Digital, said it has been costing them an arm and a leg to keep the destructive birds at bay.
“I have been spending Ksh1, 000 daily on hiring people to manually chase the birds away,” said Muriuki Ngaruiya, a rice farmer in Mwea.
Kirinyaga DG, Ndambiri, urged the National Government to prohibit the importation of rice, saying the country, particularly Mwea, Kirinyaga, has the potential of providing sufficient supply.
“A kilogram of rice today goes for Ksh60. In 2018, one kilogram would fetch Ksh80 or Ksh100. I attribute the drop in market prices to the influx of imported rice in the country,” he said.
“The State can buy our rice to feed the soldiers and those in training camps,” added Ndambiri.