RAJAHMUNDRY: Despite several steps being taken by the Agriculture Department, rat menace continues to bother paddy farmers in East Godavari. It is estimated that almost 20 per cent of the paddy crop in the district is lost due to rat attacks. This translates into a whopping 22,000 metric tonnes of the produce.
The government supplied 2,430 kg of bromadiolone, an agent that kills rats, to the district in 2012. A small quantity of 10 g of it is mixed with rice and groundnut and is placed in the rat holes in an area of 1 hectare of paddy and once the rodents eat it, they die. The Agriculture Department says the number of rat holes on field bunds is directly proportional to the quantity of the produce lost. According to the department, paddy loss is high in the fields that have 50 or more rat holes. The loss is severe during the kharif season as it is also the breeding time for rats. The rodents make holes on the field bunds and stuff them with paddy leaves. Usually, the rat population increases during the floods.
The Agriculture department is planning to organise a massive rat eradication programme in the district. As part of the programme, it has embarked on wide publicity in the affected areas. The problem is severe in the Konaseema area and also in Kajuluru, Kuyyeru, Karapa and Tallarevu mandals.
A farmer, M Ramana Raju of Sitanagaram, said rats were causing a huge damage to the paddy crop, resulting in loss of at least five bags of paddy in every acre of land. Agriculture Department joint director S Vijay Kumar advised the farming community to identify rat holes and put the medicine in them. The rat killing agent would be supplied in the district till Sep 21.