“This season the rats ate almost half of the crop which was nearing maturity. I only managed to harvest 10 bags of rice instead of more than double the number,” said Dickson Kajange who is one of the farmers badly affected by the destructive rodents.
Kaijange who is an agri-trepeneur , said Kwamngumi rice farmers are at the mercy of marauding rats which have been left to terrorise farmers while district agriculture officers remain silent. The ward which has a state sponsored irrigation scheme, has seen rice production plummet to lowest volumes this year.
Another victim rice farmer from same ward, Zainab Hussein said the rodents have destroyed almost her entire one and a half hectare farm as she only harvested eight bags of the cereal.
“It’s very discouraging, I invested 500,000/- in total but with only eight bags, I stand to earn only 400,000/-, if authorities do nothing to stop these rats, I will not be cultivating rice next year,” she hinted bitterly.
Chairman of Kwamngumi Irrigation Association, Shabani Rajabu said as a victim of the rodents’ attacks, the worst may happen next season if no intervention is made to reverse the trend.
“I normally get 18 to 20 of bags from one acre but this year I got 10 only which is a big loss to us, we have reported the matter to the Agriculture Officer but nothing has been done so far,” Rajabu lamented.
An Agriculture Officer at Kwamngumi ward, Hamisi Mndeme acknowledged having received the complaints but noted that he reported the issue to Korogwe District Agriculture Office for possible intervention.
“Last season I visited their farms and we tried different kinds of chemical applications but they have not worked. But this season is worse, farmers seems to be losing hope in cultivating the crop next season because of the losses being incurred, my only hope is that the government will soon intervene,” Mndeme said.
Kwangumi Ward Executive Officer, Matthew Msanga seconded Mndeme’s observation saying an urgent solution is needed to save farmers from the rodent attacks.
“If this problem persists, we may face hunger next season,” Msanga warned while expressing confidence in Korogwe District Agriculture Officer to intervene and reverse the situation before farmers abandon rice cultivation.