Growers suffering for rat menace in Rajshahi
RAJSHAHI, Oct 29: To meet increasing food demand in the district, various crops are being cultivated every year.
But expected harvest is being hampered due to rat menace, according to growers and agriculture officials.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Rajshahi, rats are damaging crops worth about Tk 48 crore in the district per year. About 3-12 per cent of wheat and 5-8 per cent of paddy are being damaged. In total, 19,490 tonnes of crops including wheat and paddy are destroyed yearly.
According to livestock office, rat makes hole in the poultry farms. It devours poultry feed, egg and chick, causing an economic loss worth about Tk four crore annually.
District Livestock Officer Ismail Haque said rat can spread diseases in poultry farms.
According to Rajshahi DAE, rat makes hole in flood protection embankment and in irrigation drain. Their reproductive rate is very high. In congenial atmosphere, a pair of rats can produce about 3,000 babies in a year. They can give birth in every month. Each time, they can produce six to eight babies.
A female rat regains expectancy again within two days of the latest delivery. Baby rats become capable to give birth after only three months. The longevity of rats is two to three years.
There are 10 to 12 species of rats in Rajshahi. These rats destroy paddy, wheat, maize, nut, fruits, vegetables, coconut, guava, litchi, mango, bottle gourd, and sweet potato. They destroy four to five times of what they eat. Of 40 kg crops, five kg are eaten and the rest 35 kg are destroyed.
According to district DAE officials, rat prevention management system is the only solution to the rat menace. On it, professional rat killers, IFMC of Agriculture Department, IPM and club members are working.
Rat is the staple food for owl, wild lizard, mongoose, fox and cat. If these animals are protected, these will play significant role in containing harmful proliferation of rats in addition to protecting the environmental balance. But these species are disappearing day by day. Agriculture experts urged for concerted effort to protect these useful animals.
Rat attack is going on in all the upazilas of Rajshahi. But it is alarming in Tanore, Godagari, Puthia and Durgapur upazilas. It is because wheat and paddy grow in large scale in these areas.
A farmer Siddikur Rahman of Devipur area in Durgapur Upazila said, "I have cultivated Aman in 2.5-bigha land this year. But, rats have destroyed one bigha of the lands."
Another Saiful Islam said he could not contain the rat attack in his three-bigha Aman land despite applying various methods.
Farmer Mazedur Islam of Puthia Upazila said, "Rat damaged my huge wheat lands last year. This year, the rats have damaged Aman lands. Under the advice of the agriculture department, I am running rat killing activities in my lands. Almost all farmers in nine upazilas of Rajshahi are facing the problem."
Deputy Director of Rajshahi DAE Shamsul Haque said, "We conduct campaign every year to resist rat. Last year, a total of 87,241 rats died. All upazila offices submit rat killing reports after each 15 days. Every year, farmers are given advice on rat killing."