Seminar Series Presentations : Kato Jacob

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Academic institution: Makerere University
Research Topic: A bioacoustics Stimuli Technology to control birds away from Cereal grains [Rice] fields
Names: Kato Jacob
Supervisor(s): Dr. Drake Patrick Mirembe and Dr. Odong Stephen
Agriculture is the largest economic sector in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with 70% of rural households depending on it as a source of their livelihood, In 2003, the African Head of States signed a Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to promote agriculture in Africa [3]. and it was recommitted under the 2014 Malabo Declaration with an aim of achieving 6% of annual agricultural increment to reach 10 % agriculture share, eliminating hunger and halving poverty by 2025 [4], which is aligned in the Africa’s Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) respectively.
In Uganda, like in Africa, agriculture remains the major source of livelihood for the bigger portion of the population and the major challenge in African countries (Uganda inclusive) is under funding the sector with 5.4 % of budget allocation from 2009/10 – 2014/2015.
The major cereals crops grown in Africa include maize, sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, wheat, and rice, and they are major staple foods for the most population in Africa [2] and Maize is a major staple food crop grown in diverse agro-ecological zones and farming systems in SSA, followed by Sorghum, Millet, rice and wheat. Rice consumption in Africa has increased faster than that of any other food staple at about 5.5% per year and this increase is driven by urbanization, changes in eating habits, and population growth [11]. The demand for milled rice in Sub Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 30 Metric tons by 2035, equivalent to an increase of 130% in rice consumption [11].
Despite of the fact that Ugandan government through Uganda National Rice Development Strategy (UNRDS) is empowering farmers to increase on the rice production, farmers are still facing different challenges in the production [18]. The challenges farmers are currently facing during rice production in Uganda include, amongst others:
1. Land Tenure System- the cost of renting land for rice growing due to lack of collateral
2. Limited knowledge on rice production
3. Rice pests and diseases
4. Lack of proper post-harvest handling facilities
5. Inadequate equipment for rice farming and most Sub-counties do not even have a tractor for hire.
6. Unreliable weather patterns
7. Poor quality and expensive rice seeds given to farmers.
8. Difficulty in mobilizing the farmers for training/ farmer field schools
9. Lack of capital for inputs like seedlings, fertilizers,
10. Fake agro-inputs (particularly fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides) on the market.
11. Inadequate storage facilities and fluctuating rice prices
12. ‘Stubborn’ weeds: for example Echinocloa colona, which looks like rice
The research work will focus on bird pests since they destroy cereal crops massively during the milking stage. Rice pests include snails, worms, rats and birds; rice diseases include rice yellow mottle virus and rice blast fungus. If not controlled properly, these pests and diseases can destroy the crop while still in the field leading to severe pre-harvest losses. And the focus will be on red-billed Quelea is one of the most notorious pest bird species in the world that damage to various cereal crops such as rice, millet, sorghum and wheat [28] and they gather in flocks of million birds. They are considered as the most abundant birds worldwide with population totaling to about 1.5 billion at the end of the breeding season
Different bird deterrents methods have been developed and categorized as auditory methods (that cause a noise nuisance) and alternative methods (noise free). The auditory methods include gas cannons, pyrotechnics, bioacoustics, acoustics, ultrasound and high intensity sound while the alternative methods is further categorized as visual, chemical, exclusion, habitat modification and lethal techniques
Proposal This research proposal proposes a bioacoustics stimuli system that will control birds from causing damage to rice fields using voice recognition, micro camera, and sensors to detect the presence of birds with minimum noise produced.
The main objective of this research proposal is to study the behaviors of birds that feed on cereals specifically rice grains; and design and develop a low cost, and environment friendly bioacoustics stimuli system that will easily be adopted by farmers to scare birds away from the cereal crop fields.
The research work will be carried out in Eastern part of Uganda specifically in Butalega and Bugiri Districts and the focus will be on the most notorious grain eating birds called Quelea quelea birds in 10 rice farms.


Scheduled: 21 July 2021 from 12pm – 2pm.

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