Rice farmers from two districts in Vietnam have successfully implemented a community action plan to thwart rodent damage to their crops thus reducing damage caused by the pests and giving them a 20% boost in income.
Every year, Vietnam loses 10% of its rice production to rats. In years of rat outbreaks, this rises to 20%.
"Farmers in many rice-growing countries see rats as one of their top three pests," says IRRI rodent expert Grant Singleton. "The situation is depressing especially for smallholder farmers in Asia who already depend on what limited harvest they can get from their land for their own food needs."
Rats cause hardship and food insecurity to farmers by eating grains or parts of the rice crop; spoiling grain through their droppings; bringing diseases to humans, poultry, or livestock; destroying personal possessions; or, sometimes in extreme cases, biting humans in their sleep.
"The key to outsmarting rodents is ecologically based rodent management, but, to be effective, it should be implemented strategically with community participation or collective action," says Singleton.
In a three-year project, Singleton and his team worked alongside village cooperatives and people's committees of two districts of Ha Nam Province in Vietnam, Binh Luc and Kim Bang, to implement ecologically based rodent management practices with the local community.
Ecologically based rodent management uses knowledge about when and where rats breed, and other ecological and biological information, to control rodents effectively without relying on rodenticides.
Practices adopted by the community included synchronized community planting (if crops are planted at different times, there is a continuous food source for rats that favors their breeding), timely community rat control campaigns, smart trapping systems, hunting female rats, and proper sanitation of fields. "These are all important steps a community must tak
|Contact: Bianca Ferrer|
International Rice Research Institute