Rats destroy rice fields in Cotabato town | Inquirer News
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Rats destroy rice fields in Cotabato town

/ 12:56 PM February 26, 2022

KIDAPAWAN CITY — The declining number of the venomous snake king cobra has swelled the rat population in Matalam town, Cotabato province, wreaking havoc on at least 400 hectares of ricefields.

According to Dr. Wilfredo Joloya, Jr., Matalam municipal agriculturist, the rat infestation affected 15 of the town’s 32 villages.

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Joloya said their technicians are still assessing the extent of the damage, although an initial report showed that the rodent attack ruined rice crops in 200 hectares each in Barangay Minamaing and Santa Maria.

Rogaya Acoy, coordinator of the provincial government’s integrated pest management program, said that aside from Matalam, they received reports that the rice farms of Carmen, Kabacan, Tulunan and Mlang towns were also attacked by rodents.

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Barangay Minamaing councilor Melvin Padagas said that in his one-hectare farm, he was able to salvage 19 sacks of palay out of the expected 90 sacks to be harvested.

Padagas said they initially estimated damage in the village at P2 million.

Joloya said their office has distributed rodenticides to fight the rats.

In addition, the local government has offered a reward of 10 kilos rice for every 10 rats killed by farmers, in a bid to intensify the war against the rodents.

Armed with bolos, the farmers roamed their farms, searching for rats and their hiding places.

Acoy said they encouraged farmers to conduct synchronized planting to lessen the effect of rodents which attack when rice is already in the fruiting stage.

She also said that farmers should always maintain cleanliness to prevent the rodents from building hideouts within their farms.

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Acoy explained that the killing of king cobras, commonly known among farmers as “banakon,” has led to the sudden increase in the population of rats.

King cobra is a known predator of rats.

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TAGS: Cotabato, Rats, rice
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