Control of rodent pests in maize cultivation: the case of Africa

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Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited


Rodents cause serious problems to human communities in Africa as a result of their involvement in the spread of diseases (Katakweba et al. 2012) and in the losses of crops through direct consumption (Mulungu et al. 2003; Bekele et al. 2003) and spoilage (Mdangi et al. 2013). For example, Taylor (1968) reported 20% damage to maize crop after the outbreak of rodents in Western Kenya. Earlier reports (Taylor 1968) on economic losses due to rodents in Kenya indicated 20–30% damage to maize crops, and a 34–100% loss during rodent outbreaks. In Ethiopia, it has been estimated that rodents consume up to 26.4% of maize crop in most years (Bekele et al. 2003). In Northern Ethiopia, surveyed farmers estimated 9–44% pre-harvest yield losses in annual production of cereal crops due to rodent attacks (Meheretu et al. 2010), while Central Ethiopia showed 26.4% loss of yield in maize (Bekele et al. 2003). In Tanzania, rodents are estimated to cause on average 15% yield loss (Makundi et al. 1991), which would mean the loss of around 382 673 tonnes per year of the actual yield (FAO statistics 2014). This amount of maize, with an estimated value of US$42.5 million (at US$11.1 per 100 kg bag of maize), would be enough to feed 2.1 million people for a whole year (at about 0.5 kg/day/person). However, in many parts of Africa, this figure has risen dramatically over the last few years, most noticeably in places where rodent outbreaks occur (Mwanjabe et al. 2002; Taylor and Green 1968, 1976). Today



Rodent pests, Maize cultivation, Human communities, Maize crops