Traditional methods for fighting locusts in Madagascar

Traditional methods for fighting locusts in Madagascar

24/10/2014

From the helicopter, the survey team spots a flight of locusts. The helicopter lands, the engine is switched off and the team alights to determine the characteristics of the locust population and to talk with the peasant farmers.

To disturb and push back the locusts even more: the sound of a stick hitting a plate / Pour déranger les criquets encore plus: le bruit d’un bâton frappant une tôle

Just as they are leaving the helicopter, the team hears shouting. Despite a quick look around the area, it is impossible to tell where the shouts are coming from.

As they make their way a few metres into the locust flight, rice fields emerge, as do the peasant farmers in Madagascar. They are using any means they can to drive off the locusts, running in every direction in the rice fields and shouting to prevent the locusts from landing there. It is not enough… They gather small bundles of branches and set light to them. This, at least, perturbs the locusts and they avoid the smoke.

Once the fires are lit, the tireless peasant farmers continue their frantic fight. To make even more noise, they hit sheets of metal with sticks, adding yet another sound to the prevailing din.  In spite of all these attempts to keep the locusts away from the bright green rice fields, the almost imperturbable insects continue to settle and to fly with a faint hum of wings.

Resignation sets in, and despite the locusts, the peasant farmers return to their usual labours in the fields, but as they work, they sing – songs about locusts (valala in Malagasy).