The Indian opium industry is already suffering because of poor weather conditions, and farmers say the sudden surge of ‘opium addicted’ parrots could be the final straw for them.
Speaking to Indian news agency ANI opium farmer Nandkishore, from Madhya Pradesh, said that poppy cultivators have asked district officials for hep several times, but their pleas have been ignored.
“One poppy flower gives around 20-25 grams of opium. But a large group of parrots feed on these plants around 30-40 times a day and some even fly away with poppy pods, thereby reducing the produce.
“These opium-addicted parrots are wreaking havoc.
“These opium-addicted parrots are wreaking havoc”
Poppy farmer Nandkishore
The Indian government contracts farmers to deliver a set amount of opium annually for use in medicines.
Opium farmers are finding it difficult to meet their quotas because – according to local opium cultivator Sobharam Rathod, the drug-crazed parrots are stealing up to 10 per cent of their crop.
The farmers have mounted 24-hour guard over their fields, and try to scare the birds away when they arrive but still the junkie parrots manage to steal away the poppies.
The phenomenon of parrots stealing opium poppies appears to have started in 2015 in poppy fields near the city of Chittorgarh.
Farmer Nandkishore said: “We are already suffering because of uneven rain, and now this. Nobody is listening to our woes. Who will compensate for our losses?”
“We have tried making loud sounds and even use firecrackers to scare the birds. But nothing has helped.”