Rat infestation reported in Northern Samar-A A +A
Monday, April 2, 2012
CATARMAN, Northern Samar – Farmers reported rat infestation in rice fields in many towns of this province.
Northern Samar assistant provincial agriculturist Neciforo Rubenecia Jr. said up to more than 30 percent of the rice harvests are affected.
Rubenecia said the traditional farming called “payatak” system contributed a lot to the rat infestation.
He said the crude land preparation practiced by the payatak system does not destroy and eliminate the rat sanctuaries, nests or shelters in rice fields wherein they can easily breed and multiply.
He said the traditional rice farming does not practice farm maintenance and weeding or the removing of unwanted or wild plants in rice fields.
As a result, the rat population in rice fields is not checked, he said.
The rat infestation was lesser in the areas covered by the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP) because many farmers have abandoned payatak and practiced the modern rice growing, Rubenecia said.
He said thorough land preparation of rice fields, farm maintenance and the removing of the unwanted plants in rice fields help drive away the pests.
Engr. Amadeo Montejo, Northern Samar provincial irrigation officer and HCAAP project manager, said about 25 percent of the 4,550 hectares covered by HCAAP has been developed already and nearly one-fourth of the 1,303 farmer-beneficiaries of the project have already practiced modern rice growing and have increased their farm harvests by 300 to 400 percent.
Montejo disclosed that his men in the field, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and other concerned government agencies, have been organizing the farmer-beneficiaries of the project and conducting farmers’ field schools to teach the farmers about the modern way of rice farming.
He said HCAAP is one of the biggest irrigation projects in Eastern Visayas, covering the towns of Catubig and Las Navas, both of Northern Samar. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)