Chatham farmers want help as locusts destroy crops

Farmers from Chatham are crying out for help as swarms of locusts continue to feed off vast acreages of crops in the southwestern peninsula.

While the Ministry of Agriculture awaits funds to fix a wheel tractor used to spray the insects, farmers say they are losing thousands of dollars in crops.

Farmer Rishi Ramroop of Southern Main Road, Chatham said the swarm was so thick that within the space of a few days they gnawed away several acres of cassava, bodi, plantain and carailli."

Locusts spread in Chatham

Despite continuous spraying, thousands of locusts have now moved out of the forests of Cedros and are chomping down on fruit trees and vegetation in the southwestern peninsula.

Farmers have ramped up their domestic spraying and are calling on the Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat to immediately fix the dysfunctional spraying tractor and mobilize more spray teams.

So far about five men have been tasked with spraying fields in Chatham, Coromandel and Cap-de-Ville where swarms of locusts have been seen. 

Rains hamper spraying of locusts

Heavy rains put a damper on spray­ing op­er­a­tions at agri­cul­tur­al es­tates near Bun­see Trace, Pe­nal on Tues­day as farm­ers con­tin­ue to grap­ple with crop loss­es from an in­fes­ta­tion of lo­custs.

The lo­custs, which are about a cen­time­tre in length, have been gob­bling fields of cas­sa­va, peas, ochroes and bo­di near the forests of Morne Di­a­blo.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Clarence Ramb­harat said spray­ing start­ed since Sun­day.

How­ev­er, res­i­dents of Pe­nal Rock said not all the ar­eas are be­ing cov­ered.

Locust spraying hampered by heavy rain

Heavy rains put a damper on spraying operations inside the agricultural estates near Bunsee Trace, Penal on Tuesday as farmers continue to grapple with crop losses.

The locusts which are about a centimetre in length, have been gobbling down fields of cassava, peas, ochroes and bodi near the forests of Mon Diablo. Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said spraying started since Sunday.

However, residents of Penal Rock said not all the areas are being covered.

Locust infestation in Central Trinidad

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat has confirmed there is a locust infestation in several parts of the country. 

The Guardian Media team saw hundreds of locusts in the fields of Tortuga in Central Trinidad but Rambharat said the swarms are currently feeding high up in the forests and are posing no threats to farmers.

Asked whether there was an infestation, Rambharat said yes. He explained that the Ministry had reports of infestations at Tortuga, Caparo, Moruga, and Tabaquite. The insects inhabit areas close to forested areas, Rambharat added.

Locusts migrate to Chatham

Residents of Chatham Village, Point Fortin are complaining that the swarm of locusts that has been plaguing Strikers Village, has now spread into their community.

Malinda Chaitlal shared the above photo with CNC3 today.

She said: "And they made their way to Chatham Point Fortin. Why they (the authorities) don't get a helicopter and spray the place. It's not like its crawling insect it have wings and flies."