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Monday 19 November 2018
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Tabaquite residents bracing for more locusts

RAVAGED: Very few leaves of this plant were left intact after a swarm of locusts invaded the Brasso Venado, Tabaquite area over the past few days.
RAVAGED: Very few leaves of this plant were left intact after a swarm of locusts invaded the Brasso Venado, Tabaquite area over the past few days.

FARMERS in the remote village of Brasso Venado, Tabaquite are breathing a sigh of relief as the locust invasion that destroyed thousands of dollars’ worth of their crops seems to be coming to an end.

However, with the prediction that the tiny plant-eating critters will swarm again in November, farmer Rudranath Ramrattan is preparing for the worse.

Ramrattan, 44, told Newsday that about five months ago, he began noticing swarms of locusts in the community. The tiny insects, which resemble grasshoppers, quickly moved in on the many agriculture fields on which the community makes its living.

“They take over whole fields, stripping the leaves off the plants. In all they cost me between $25,000 to $30,000.”

Workers from the Ministry of Agriculture were called in and they sprayed in an attempt to get rid of the locusts.

“They went into where the nest is but they said they can’t kill there, it is way too much.”

Over the past week, Ramrattan said, the locusts are leaving the community and retreating to the forest.

“The agriculture workers said the forest is covered with them but, for now, they are leaving our crops alone. They say if they have to kill them in the forest, they would need a helicopter to dump the poison on them and that is very costly.”

During a visit to the community, the locusts could be seen swarming at the Doppler weather radar facility but, for the most part, the residents are being left alone.

“I don’t know how much we will lose when they come back in November, but it doesn’t have anything we could do. Planting is what we live by up here, so we have to plant and just try to live with the loss,” Ramrattan said.

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