When the aubergine growers of the Aki region began their war against whitefly (see Aubergine Wars – Part 1) they had to import the predator insects from Holland. Now they’ve learnt how to grow their own stock of predators and their expertise is shared with other vegetable growers of the Kochi region. One such is Frenchman Matthieu who, with his Japanese wife and her family grow sweet peppers (which are smaller and tastier than the “traffic light” capiscums sold here) at their farm in Usa. They keep a small green house aside to grow the plants which attract the predators, such as the sago plant. This photo shows one of Matthieu’s neighbours collecting ladybirds and other whitefly-loving predators from a sago plant, having first shaken the leaves onto a board and then using a pipe to suck them into a jar.
Usa is dominated by pepper growers, much as Aki is by aubergine growers. After my tour of the aubergine farms of Aki we stopped off for refreshment at an ice-cream stall, where the selection included aubergine ice-cream. Delicious it is too. Matthieu’s eyes lit up when he saw it. I think he saw a marketing opportunity for his sweet peppers.