Peru’s Ayacucho makes best of pest


Like many other residents of this community in southern Peru’s Ayacucho department, Alejandro Oriundo grows corn, potatoes and carrots. No surprise there. But from June to January, he and his neighbors harvest something less orthodox—the locusts that attack their crops. In the early morning hours, while the locusts huddle on tree branches against the highland cold, villagers stalk the insects. A firm shake of the branch brings locusts falling to the ground like ripe fruit. Villagers gather the locusts, then boil them and spread them out to dry in the Andean sun. “There’s nothing locusts won’t eat. If we didn’t go out every day, they would finish us off completely,” says Oriundo, president of Maizhondo’s agrarian health committee. The dried locusts are often ground... [Log in to read more]

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