Ministry to intensify locust spraying from Tuesday

An intensification of locust spraying is set to begin today after the Ministry of Agriculture St Patrick Locust Unit finally received a refurbished wheel tractor which enables cluster spraying.

A source said the tractor was repaired but there were two minor mechanical issues to rectify. 

"Once these issues are addressed, we expect full spraying to resume today," the source said.

On Sunday farmer Rishi Ramroop said the locust swarms were so bad that the insects were now entering homes.

However, early yesterday the swarms left the residential areas at Southern Main Road

He said the swarm which was feeding on Southern Main Road, Chatham had migrated to other areas where there was more vegetation.

"The locusts are searching for food so they will not stay in houses or in residential areas. They will fly to areas where they could feed," he added.

Since February, locusts have been wreaking havoc on crops in the Cedros and Chatham areas.

The insects were concentrated at Chatham Beach Road, Cemetery Road, Kowlessar Trace, Ashford Trace and Carlyse Road. Last month the insects moved further inland.

A source said they were expected another swarm of locusts to show in the Santa Flora forests. This was not expected to affect agricultural areas as the swarm has been feeding mainly in the forested area.

The Locust Unit has been hardpressed to deal with the swarms this year because of the breakdown on the wheel tractor which needed a clutch which cost $14,000.

Calls are now being made for another wheel tractor to be purchased for the St Patrick region.

- by Radhica De Silva

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