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Massive Harvesting of Helpful Bug Hurting Indian Farmers

July 21st, 2015

Massive Harvesting of Helpful Bug Hurting Indian Farmers

For hundreds of years Indian farmers have relied on a small red creature known as Arudra Purugulu to help keep soil free of harmful pests.  Arudra is round and bright red, somewhat resembling a tiny raspberry, and now they are being scooped up wherever they are found for shipment to a mysterious market.

The bug is commonly called a red velvet mite, and is also used in traditional (Ayurvedic) medicine to treat paralysis.  They are also considered aphrodisiacs, yet until recently their main purpose was to maintain soil fertility and control pests.

Speculation is that foreign markets may be using them for aphrodisiac qualities, but the high demand is not known.  For laborers who earn so little from crops, it has created an opportunity to instead search the fields for the bugs.

Most farmers are concerned about this trend as they need the bugs to bring healthy crops to market.  Agents of what is called “the mafia” have taken up residence in villages to supervise the operations of collecting the bugs, paying handsomely to laborers who are lining up for the lucrative work.

Farmers have appealed to the government to intervene with the criminal element that is taking over their fields.

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