Mosquito net on a farm as protection against grasshoppers
(THAT’S WHY) – Farmers in central Somalia are inventive using mosquito nets to protect their crops from voracious locusts, which continue to cause damage despite ongoing spraying.
Abdiqadir Yusuf Diriye, who owns a two-hectare farm in Salaam, 10 km north of Galkayo in the Mudug region, grows a variety of fruit trees, including lemons, mangoes, papayas, as well as watermelons, beans and vegetables.
“Most of my surviving lemon trees are the ones under the nets,” he told Radio Ergo. “The locusts are everywhere. Those who moved on the ground reached the crops under the net cover, but the nets effectively prevented attacks by the flying locusts. “
Abdulqadir, with a family of 12, lost everything he planted with $ 800 worth of investments in July and August. Despite the spraying efforts of the Puntland Environment Ministry, the locusts kept coming back.
With mosquito nets carefully placed so as not to hinder plant growth, he replanted in October. He trusts that a combination of the spraying, along with the farmers’ own ingenuity, will receive some reward.
“They sprayed the farms and the whole country as far as Tarro-Caddood near Ba’adwayn as far as Jehdin. There were spray planes and vehicles. At first, most of the locusts flew in the fields outside the farms. They have cut down, but they are still invading the farms. There is a wide area where the locusts are scattered, ”he said.
When the locusts first hit Salaam in July, the 150 farmers in the community tried all known methods, including hammering metal pans, smoking, and blowing vehicle horns to repel the locusts. But nothing worked.
Halimo Jama Ahmed, who owns a one-acre farm on the outskirts of Galkayo, lost a significant portion of the vegetables, corn, beans and melons she grew.
Her family of six depends on the farm for a living. She decided to cover the rest of the harvest with a mosquito net in the hopes of at least saving, if not a profit, the invested capital of $ 650.
“It’s like drowning in water and then reaching for a floating object to save yourself!” She said.
“This idea was in response to the destruction caused by the locusts, so that people with whatever was left would cover their crops with nets. These insects won’t go away in just a few days. You have done me great harm that I did not expect. “
The Puntland Ministry of the Environment, in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Unit (FAO), is leading the spraying efforts for grasshoppers in the area. Mohamed Nur Nageeye, head of the ministry’s agricultural protection division, said they would use a combination of ground and air sprayers.
“There is no report on this (effectiveness) yet, but we have at least split into 500 acres of land, including farmland and grazing land that were infested with locusts and where they attacked the farms. The work is still going on, ”he said.
He said their interviews with farmers during the spraying operations showed that 90 percent of the crops planted this time had survived.