Over 700 hectares of late planted wheat crop in the middle Sabi area continues to be threatened by quelea birds following a standoff between farmers and a local sugar cane farmer over aerial spraying of the birds’ breeding and resisting places.

Following calls for assistance by wheat farmers in the area to control the quelea birds, the Grain Millers Association intervened by hiring a plane to provide air spraying services bringing hope to farmers with a late crop.

However, hopes of a bumper wheat harvest continue to fade away after a stand-off with a local sugar cane farmer saw him block the move to spray his sugar cane fields that offer fertile breeding spaces for the quelea birds, saying he fears the chemicals might affect his canes.

Middle Sabi Farmers’Association Chairperson, Skumbuzo Tonhlana said the sad development that has seen an aeroplane staying for two days at the fields without spraying has left wheat farmers in quandary with many now considering not to grow the crop next season.

Wheat farmers in the Middle Sabi area with an early crop have already lost 20 percent of their production while those with a late crop hoped the harvest would increase following control measures being adopted on the quelea birds.