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Social and cultural dimensions of rodent pest management

posted Aug 26, 2010, 8:16 PM by IRRC Coordination Unit   [ updated Oct 12, 2014, 8:44 PM by i.jhocson@irri.org ]

Abstract

Rice production in Vietnam is threatened by rodent pests, with a significant increase in impact reported from 1990 through to the early 21st century. Pre-harvest rice losses are typically 5–10%, with losses of >20% occurring in some years in some regions. Farmers’ rodent control practices are generally reactive and rely essentially on chemical and physical methods. Ecologically-based rodent pest management (EBRM) was developed in the late 1990s to manage rodents in rice-based farming systems in Vietnam and other parts of South-East Asia. EBRM combines both cultural and physical rodent management practices such as synchrony of cropping, short 2-week rat campaigns at key periods in key habitats, increasing general hygiene around villages, and use of a community trap-barrier system. Although EBRM has been reported to be economically profitable, the successful adoption of this set of technologies requires community participation. In this paper we address issues relating to the adoption and sustainability of EBRM in lowland irrigated rice fields in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. We particularly explore the social and cultural mechanisms involved in maintaining community participation to further understand the conditions under which EBRM works and does not work. Positive indications of sustained use of community- based EBRM include: a policy pronouncement from the prime minister directing the use of integrated rodent management; the use of existing cooperatives for developing community actions; budgetary allocation from provincial and local governments; diffusion of EBRM to provinces in the south and north that are not involved in farmer participatory field trials; and the adoption of EBRM by a non-governmental organization, World Vision Vietnam, in their area-development programs.

Keywords: community rodent management, cultural mechanisms, ecological rodent management, social mechanisms.

Citation: Palis FG, Singleton G, Sumalde Z, Hossain M. 2007. The social and cultural dimensions of rodent pest management. Integrative Zoology 2, 174-183.

Email: f.palis@cgiar.org
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