Agronomic And Rodent Pests Management Practices By Maize Farmers In Ron Gal Division, (, '" Nakuru County

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ABSTRACT

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.

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APA

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

MLA 8th

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.

MLA7

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 >.

Chicago

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