New Delhi (Sputnik) — Licensed opium farmers in the state of Madhya Pradesh are facing the menace of drug-addicted parakeets right at the time when crops are at the stage of ripening, the ANI news agency reports.
The farmers are still reeling from damages to their standing crops arising from adverse weather conditions. Now they are being forced to contend with addicted parrots stealing their produce.
These parrots hover over fields from day to night, and when an opportunity presents itself, they suck out the opium sap from the crops. Some brazen bird even pluck off poppy pods and fly away with them, causing permanent loss to farmers.
"The opium yield from one poppy flower is around 20-25 grams. But these parrots feed on them some 30-40 times in a day reducing productivity. Some even fly away with pods. We are already dealing with the aftereffects of uneven rain and now we have to bear the loss from these parrots," the media report said, quoting a poppy cultivator.
Farmers have urged district officials to deal with the addicted parrots but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears, said the report.
The farmers have already taken several steps within their means to put an end to, or at least curtail, the parakeet hazard, but so far to little avail. Family members take turns to watch over the crops and lay traps, burst fireworks and make loud noises to scare off the birds.