Farmer’s perceptions of rodents as crop pests : Knowl- edge, attitudes and practices in rodent pest management in Tanzania and Ethiopia


A study was conducted using a structured questionnaire to obtain information about the nature and extent of rodent damage to crops, farmer’s perceptions of crop pests and their knowledge, attitudes and practices to their management in Tanzania and Ethiopia. The study was carried out in five localities (Makuyu -Central Tanzania; Chunya-Southwest Tanzania; Ziway and Adami Tulu (south of Addis Ababa) and Gumer/Limmo-South-west of Addis Ababa, both in Central Ethiopia). In Tanzania, maize is the major crop, both for food and sale. Other crops are sorghum, rice, simsim, groundnuts and millet. In Central Ethiopia, farmers grow maize, sorghum, teff, beans, barley, wheat, potatoes and enset. The study showed that farmers in Tanzania and Ethiopia are well aware of rodent problems and considered them to be number one pest. Rodent problems are regular and maize is the most affected crop in Tanzania. In Ethiopia, maize, enset and potatoes are the most affected crops. Maize in Ethiopia and Tanzania is susceptible to rodent damage, most seriously at planting and seedling stage. Although different rodent control techniques are practiced in Tanzania, farmers prefer using rodenticides (68.7%) to other strategies. In Ethiopia, trap- ping, hunting and rodenticides are the most practised techniques for rodent control. Farmer’s attempts to control rodents in both countries are based on economic reasons and generally, rodent control is not undertaken when there are no crops in the fields. Farmers are responsible for rodent control activities in their individual fields. The study shows that farmers in Tanzania and Ethiopia are concerned with rodent infestation and are also aware of the critical growth stage when the crops are most susceptible. A lack of multiple rodent management methods and inadequate knowledge of appropriate and sustainable techniques appeared to be the main reasons for the over dependence on rodenticides, particularly in Tanzania. Therefore, this suggests that farmers require a strong extension input to man- age rodent problems


Belg. J. Zool., 135 (supplement) : 153-157


Rodent management, Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices, Tanzania, Ethiopia.