Locusts : A seasonal treat for some
February 8, 2020 | 6:43 PM
by Times News Service
Photo supplied

Muscat: Although locusts are normally known for the damage they do to crops, some Omanis also consider them to be a delicacy and have not hesitated to catch them in their thousands, with locust swarms being seen in some governorates of the country.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) had previously published an update on locust activities in the country, and many have taken advantage of this to go to areas where the flying insects are reported to have been found, so that they can catch them, cook them, and eat them.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has, however, issued a statement on the measures they’ve taken to stop the spread of the swarms, including the use of insecticides to keep them at bay.

Raad Al Ghamam from Quriyat in Muscat Governorate told the Times of Oman how to collect and eat locusts.

“My family members and I go, along with our neighbours, in the early hours of the morning, before the sun rises, to search for locusts in those areas where the weather is cold, so that they cannot fly,” he explained. “The locusts are usually on trees called Semer, as well as some other trees and plants. We then proceed to make a carpet under the trees and we shake the tree or give it a light beating until the locusts fall onto the carpet. Then, we collect this and put it in a big bag, and we go home.”

“Once we are home, we then bring a large bowl for cooking, and fill the bowl with water up to halfway, after which we set up a fire and put this pot on the fire until the water boils,” added Al Ghamam. “We then add the locusts with some salt and leave it on the fire for a while. We then remove the locusts from the water and dry them under the sun for a day or two. Then, we eat it with dates, and this is mostly shared with members of our family.

He also added that some people preferred to roast the locusts. Raad confirmed that the eating of locusts in Oman is an old habit, one that is alive even today.

“Locust infestations continue to grow along both sides of the Red Sea where numerous hopper groups, bands and adult groups are forming,” said the FAO in its report, published on 3 February.

“A swarm formed on the coast near the Sudan/Egypt border, some have laid eggs near the Sudan/Eritrea border, and formed on the coast of Yemen, of which some have moved into the central highlands and to adjacent areas in southwest Saudi Arabia. At least one swarm appeared on the southern coast of Eritrea. Several swarms, presumably from the Indo-Pakistan border area, recently arrived on the eastern coast of Oman and moved south to Yemen.”

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