The government is on high alert for quelea bird and fall armyworm outbreaks as the wheat season progresses.

Early planted wheat is now around six weeks old with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development activating extensions officers and farmers to be on high alert for pests and diseases.
The Agriculture Minister, Dr Joseph Made predicts the likelihood of quelea birds attacking crops is greater this season considering climatic conditions.

“We are on alert for all plant diseases especially fall armyworm. We had outbreak in a crop in Matabeleland North but that has been contained. Most importantly is quelea birds. We are monitoring. As you know we had good rains so quelea is out there,” he said.

The quelea bird is one of the major threats to wheat farmers, while fall armyworm is new pest to Zimbabwe and it devastated maize in the summer season.

Wheat production is higher this year owing to availability of funding under the command programme and the Agriculture Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has planted over 2000 hectares already.