Located in the suburbs, of Nghi Kim commune, Vinh city, Nghe An is a semi-agricultural commune with a market
In the wasteland full of mounds, elephant holes, and potholes, locust catchers like circus performers perform “flying motorcycles” throughout the field. The work requires ingenuity and a bit of risk in return for millions of dollars per day.
Locust hunting in Nghe An has existed for a long time, but people who really live in this profession are mainly concentrated in Hoang Mai town and Quynh Luu district.
From May to October every year, grasshopper hunters are present all over the fields from Nghe An to Ha Tinh to practice.
If locust hunters live on casuarina trees with a racket or other hand tools, locust hunters who specialize in living in rice fields or grasslands have a method of catching by motorbike. The worker only needs a car with a strong engine and a custom-made fork set, and 2 net bags for racquets.
The steel frame is firmly connected to the rear wheel axle of the motorcycle, adding a large bag into a “trap” to attract locusts. The bag must use a thick, strong mesh to be able to withstand the impact from impact, friction and pressure against the wind, it needs to be airy enough to be easily moved without affecting the health of the grasshoppers when collected. .
When moving, under the speed of the car, the mesh bag becomes inflated. The net mouth is reinforced with a wide open steel frame, becoming a large bag that “sucks” grasshoppers in the field.
“If catching grasshoppers in the rice field needs to be careful so as not to affect the yield, it is easier to catch them in the grassland. This season the rice is newly planted, the locusts are few, so the hunters fly shrimp we mainly catch in the grasslands. “, Mr. Le Van Tan (resident in Hoang Mai town, Nghe An) said.
From 5am, he and his colleagues got up, loaded tools in the car, moved to Vinh city (Nghe An) to catch grasshoppers. Today, his “hunting ground” is an abandoned field located near Bac Vinh industrial zone (Vinh city).
In abandoned fields, the field surface is uneven, forming many mounds of grass, potholes, and elephant holes. The concave terrain hidden under the thick grass is a challenge for the locust catchers.
On the bumpy, bumpy field, Mr. Ho Duc Tien (resident in Hoang Mai town, Nghe An) had to drive in a standing position, with both hands firmly on the handlebars to steer the car through the mounds or mounds. increase control force, avoid collision…
However, the “traps” hidden under the dense grass make him “measure the ground” many times if the steering wheel is not strong enough and inexperienced in handling. “There were also times when I fell into the field, my knees were bruised, but fortunately no serious situation happened,” Tien said.
It is estimated that the number of grasshoppers in the racket is much, so he went ashore to pour into another bag. Small grasshoppers the size of a chopstick head mixed with dry grass, Mr. Tien had to shake off the grass and “separate” the grasshoppers. This stage requires ingenuity and agility to avoid the locusts “crossing the border” and fleeing.
This method of fishing ensures that the grasshoppers are healthy, not broken or broken. “On average, I catch 10-15kg of locusts every day. All of the locusts are collected by traders outside of Hanoi to supply to restaurants as bait or agents specializing in providing bird food.” , Mr. Tien said.
After picking up dry grass, garbage…, the grasshoppers will be poured into another mesh bag with thinner eyes for preservation.
Mr. Tien shared: “This job does not require too many skills, just work hard. The price of locusts imported for dealers is currently at 110,000 VND/kg. My daily income is about 1,500,000 VND, At the end of the season, it’s only about 700,000-800,000 VND/day. A lot of days make up for a few days, roughly calculate, minus the cost of petrol and car, the daily income is 1,000,000 VND”.($1=24,000 VND)
Nghe An farmers live by catching grasshoppers like circus artists or great racers in the fields.
Photo: Internet (Vinlove.net)