Huge swarms of locusts are wreaking havoc on the Italian island of Sardinia, arriving a month earlier than in previous years.
The worst-affected area is the province of Nuoro, where the winged insects have decimated crops across 25,000 hectares (62,000 acres) of land, following swarms in 2019 said to be the worst in decades and further infestations in 2020 과 2021.
Leonardo Salis, the president of the Nuoro unit of Coldiretti, the Italian farmers’ association, said their passage destroyed the crops of an entire field, sending months of farmers’ work and investments “up in smoke”. The locusts are also wrecking vegetable gardens.
Salis said that after three years of complaints and proposals to authorities to tackle the insects, “we are shocked that we still find ourselves talking about the invasion of locusts”.
그는 덧붙였다: “Farmers are now disillusioned and this year some changed their crop plan in order to try and limit the damage because they knew nothing would change. Among other things, they have not yet received a euro to compensate for the damage suffered.”
Gabriella Murgia, the island’s councillor for agriculture, said on Monday that an anti-locust taskforce was working unabated. “There is no time to lose,” she told the local press, adding that the team, together with forestry workers, was identifying the worst-affected areas and accelerating pest control operations.
“The maximum collaboration of farmers and all other interested parties is required," 그녀가 말했다.
The infestation comes days after regional authorities approved €2m (£1.7m) in compensation to farmers whose crops were damaged by the insects in 2021.
Christian Solinas, the president of Sardinia, told L’Unione Sarda newspaper: “The invasion of locusts devastated the Nuoro countryside, bringing several companies to their knees. Compensation is essential to allow farmers to cope with a sharp decline in their income, guaranteeing concrete support in the face of an emergency that has added to their difficulties of recent years.”