Aizawl: In an effort to encourage farmers to kill rats and contribute in lessening the rodent population, the Mizoram government has begun purchasing over five lakhs rat tails which began on 1 October last, according to records available with agriculture department officials in the eight districts.
Lawngtlai district agriculture office has collected 1,20,219 rat tails and Aizawl district has purchased and burnt 1,01,674 rodent tails while only 15,207 rat tails have been collected from Mizoram-Myanmar border Champhai district which had experienced destruction of crops, especially paddy by rats since last year.
Mautam, a local term for gregarious flowering of bamboo (melocanna baccifera) triggered population explosion of rodents as bamboo seeds provided staple and nutritious food for the vermins. As an effort to minimise the rodent population the government has decided to encourage farmers to deposit rat tails. “The more rats get killed, the more tails will be deposited to the government till December 15 and the farmers will get financial benefits,” an official said.
Southern Mizoram’s Lunglei and Saiha districts have collected more than 90,000 and 16,828 rat tails respectively while rodent tail collection was more than 74,000 in Mizoram-Assam border district Kolasib and 63,269 in Mizoram-Tripura border district of Mamit.
Thousands of farmers have been affected by the rodent menace and state Agriculture Minister H. Rammawi predicted that the harvest this year would plummet by 99 per cent comparing to the yesteryears.
James Lalsiamliana, a plant protection expert in the state agriculture department told PTI today over phone from Sairang village that rodents have begun devouring banana plants after almost completely ravaging jhum and wet rice cultivation areas.