From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has warned of imminent attack of dreaded locust grasshoppers and quelea birds, saying proactive steps must be taken urgently to nip the pests in the bud.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the disclosure in a meeting with commissioners of agriculture from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said government would work with the Niger-Nigeria Joint Commission to tackle the pests said to be ravaging crops in the neighbouring Niger Republic.
Commissioners of agriculture from Jigawa, Yobe, Sokoto, Zamfara and a few others have, however, reported that the pests were already ravaging different crops in their states. The meeting was also told that a pest called ‘leave miners’ were also destroying cocoa plantations in Cross River State.
Ogbeh stated that the meeting must come up with strategy that would be submitted to President Muhammad Buhari, who he said had directed that the ministry liaised with the states for effective action.
The minister gave assurance that the Federal Government would provide the funds and materials required to curb this menace.
Ogbeh said: “We already have food shortage; severe shortage of maize. People are very angry now; we hear of people stealing pots of soup. The poultry farms are already suffering. We need to make the chemicals available in the states for the control of locust and army worm.