Rodent damage to maize and other cereal crops is a chronic problem to Kenyan
farmers and occasional outbreaks are reported. According to a report by the
Ministry of Agriculture in the year 2008, damage of between 1 and 5 % are
common but damages of 20-100 % have also been recorded. In this study, a
survey was carried out in Rongai Division, a cereal growing region in the
Kenyan Rift Valley, to identify the general crop husbandry and farm
enterprises, knowledge on problem rodents, farmers' perception of the rodent
pest problem and their management practices amongst the small-holders. The
data was collected using a structured questionnaire administered to 278 farmers
in RongaiDivision, Nakuru District. The structured questionnaire was based
on three broad areas including agronomic practices, rodent pest problems and
their control and farmer background information. Slightly over half (56.6%) of
the farming population owned less than 5 acres and only 14 (5.1%) of the
interviewed farmers owned more than 20 acres. The age of the respondents
ranged between 18 and 90 years and averaged 43 years. Maize was grown by
over 91 % of the farmers either for subsistence (48.8%) or for both subsistence
and cash (49.~%). Weeding was manually done (92.4%) and 62.2% of the
respondents weeded twice before harvesting the crop. The main mode of
harvesting maize was cutting and 'stooking' (68.5%). Farmers described the
rodent pests problem as a regular (65.7%) or an occasional (30.6%)
phenomenon. Maize was damaged at all phenological stages and most damage
occurred in the fields 53.6% and stores 39.2%. Control was done individually
(94.2%) by use of chemicals (26.6%), cats and dogs (63%) and varying
combination of other methods (10.4%). Control measures were undertaken
only when rodent signs were seen (41.8%) or when damage was obvious
(21.7%). Acute rodenticides were used because of the perceived efficacy
(58.1%). Rodent control was considered as a very important (49%) or just
important (45.2%) practice, Farmers preferred to continue controlling the
rodents individually (46.5%) although some suggested group (21.9%) control.
Information on rodent control was largely obtained from the neighbours
(44.2%). The agro-vet stockists (20.9%), radio (14.0%) and agricultural
extension agents (11.6%), respectively, also contributed to such knowledge.
Perceived maize crop losses to rodents was moderate (65.1%) to very severe
(22.3%) yet some (12.6%) farmers reported they experienced no loss.
However, there was no significant difference in severity of losses with different
methods of harvesting maize (X2 = 5.320, P = 0.256). Occurrences of damage
of ripened crop were more frequent (66.1%) under cut and 'stook' than other
modes of harvest. Rodents were also ranked high (75%) as pests amongst the
farmers who were using the cut and stook method. Thus, other modes of
harvest (e.g. Cut and curry, direct removal of cobs) should be encouraged.
Most farmers expressed need for control to be a continuous process, protecting
the crop at all stages. Thus, there is a need to train farmers on an integrated
approach to rodent pests control. It is also important to conduct research on
some of the control methods identified by the farmers to check for possibility of recommending and up-scaling the same.
Research, S. & MUKUNY, M (2021). Agronomic And Rodent Pests Management Practices By Maize Farmers In Ron Gal Division, (, '" Nakuru County. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/agronomic-and-rodent-pests-management-practices-by-maize-farmers-in-ron-gal-division-nakuru-county
Research, SSA, and MUTINDA MUKUNY "Agronomic And Rodent Pests Management Practices By Maize Farmers In Ron Gal Division, (, '" Nakuru County" Afribary. Afribary, 26 May. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/agronomic-and-rodent-pests-management-practices-by-maize-farmers-in-ron-gal-division-nakuru-county. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.
Research, SSA, and MUTINDA MUKUNY . "Agronomic And Rodent Pests Management Practices By Maize Farmers In Ron Gal Division, (, '" Nakuru County". Afribary, Afribary, 26 May. 2021. Web. 24 Sep. 2022. < https://afribary.com/works/agronomic-and-rodent-pests-management-practices-by-maize-farmers-in-ron-gal-division-nakuru-county >.
Research, SSA and MUKUNY, MUTINDA . "Agronomic And Rodent Pests Management Practices By Maize Farmers In Ron Gal Division, (, '" Nakuru County" Afribary (2021). Accessed September 24, 2022. https://afribary.com/works/agronomic-and-rodent-pests-management-practices-by-maize-farmers-in-ron-gal-division-nakuru-county