A quantitative study was conducted in the Eastern zone of Tanzania, from May to September 2012 to assess farmers’ knowledge, altitude and practice on the use of locally available plant materials for controlling rodent damage in maize fields and stores. Three villages in three districts were purposively selected with a total of 270 farmers randomly selected for the interview. A semi structured questionnaire was used to assess maize production constraints. Rodent pests were ranked higher (56%) than other pests with their crop losses estimated to be 64 and 36% in fields and stores, respectively. Use of rodenticides for rodent control was reported as the common single method. However, 85% of farmers use rodenticides with inadequate knowledge on application and their effects on the environment and health. It was further revealed that only 15% of the respondents reported to have attained training on how to apply rodenticides. With regard to the use of locally available plants, 4% of respondents reported to use them for rodent control, while 96% were not aware of any plant that was effective against rodents. However, most (97%) respondents expressed their willingness to use plant materials if provided with evidence that they are effective. Therefore, evaluation of plant materials and consequent development of plant products which can be safely used by poor resource farmers and subsequently reduce health and environmental risks associate with chemical rodenticides was recommended.
Key words: Rodents, plant materials, maize, Tanzania.
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