Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Nueva Ecija Towns Get Timely Help from Government
Timely government intervention has effectively minimized the ill effects of rat infestation in Nueva Ecija’s rice-producing towns, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said over the weekend.
The department cited the massive campaign against rats in the towns of Talavera and Sta. Rosa.
Director Redentor Gatus of the department’s regional field unit (DA-RFU) in Central Luzon said the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and Municipal Agricultural Offices in Nueva Ecija have jointly carried out Oplan Pain using zinc phosphide, a rat poision to control infestation in the towns.
The latest ”Rat Situation Report“ by Andres Padilla, Provincial Integrated Pest Management and Crop Protection coordinator of Nueva Ecija, stated that, on average, 4.34 percent of the rice fields in 16 municipalities of the province were plagued by rats, he said.
Virginia Ferrer, municipal agriculturist of Talavera, reported that rats infested only 2 percent to 5 percent of the total rice lands in the town.
Barangay La Torre in Talavera, where rat-infestation cases were said to be severe, is traversed by the Mabaloslos creek and NIA subirrigation canals, which are breeding grounds for rats.
Rats frequently inhabit creeks and canals because of the abundance of water and food the vermin consume, such as frogs and snails.
According to Aida Santos, agricultural technician of Talavera, a united community effort is essential to eradicate rats, which could be manifested through proper sanitation (removing all straw piles in the paddies after harvest), synchronous planting (planting within the month of the regular planting time) and synchronous extermination of the rodents (massive application of acute rodenticide).
Besides providing farmers with zinc phosphide, Gatus said agriculture experts of the DA also educated them on the various procedures on how to eliminate rats.
These include narrowing the size of dikes and levies to six inches in height and eight inches in width so as to preclude rats from living in them and digging the holes and burrows found in their farms, he said.
Farmers were also advised, he said, to circumfuse rice fields with plastic sheets through the Total Rat Barrier System, one month before the regular planting. Its entry points are designed to trap rats attempting to penetrate the fenced area which houses rice plants intended to lure the rodents inside the blockade, he added.
Besides Central Luzon, the DA has also extended assistance to farmers in Bicol and Cagayan Valley affected by flashfloods and rat infestations.
Earlier, DA regional executive director for Bicol Jose Dayao reported to Yap that the Department has already distributed over 9,900 sacks of certified seeds to affected farmers in January in Bicol alone.
By Business Mirror
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