African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6669

Full Length Research Paper

Pre-harvest Loss Assessment of Maize crop in Semi-arid Areas in Tanzania Due to Rodent pests

Emmanuel C. M. Mlyashimbi
  • Emmanuel C. M. Mlyashimbi
  • Department of Crop Science and Horticulture, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3005, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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Didas N. Kimaro
  • Didas N. Kimaro
  • Department of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3003, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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Akwilin J. P. Tarimo
  • Akwilin J. P. Tarimo
  • Department of Crop Science and Horticulture, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3005, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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Robert S. Machang’u
  • Robert S. Machang’u
  • Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3110, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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Moses Isabirye
  • Moses Isabirye
  • Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Busitema University, P. O. Box 236, Tororo, Uganda.
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Rhodes H. Makundi
  • Rhodes H. Makundi
  • Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3110, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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Herwig Leirs
  • Herwig Leirs
  • Evolutionary Ecology Group, Universiteit Antwerpen, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen, Belgium.
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Apia W. Massawe
  • Apia W. Massawe
  • Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3110, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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Mashaka E. Mdangi
  • Mashaka E. Mdangi
  • Directorate of Training, Ministry of Agriculture, Dodoma, Tanzania.
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Steven R. Belmain
  • Steven R. Belmain
  • Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Chatham Maritime, Kent, United Kingdom,
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Loth S. Mulungu
  • Loth S. Mulungu
  • Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3110, Morogoro, Tanzania.
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  •  Received: 31 January 2019
  •  Accepted: 12 March 2019
  •  Published: 30 June 2022

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted, first was to estimate maize seedling damage in farmers’ fields and a simulation experiment. This study aim to investigate the impact of rodent pest species, damage to maize crop in semi-arid areas at pre-harvest, with a view to provide farmers with appropriate information on rodent pest management interventions. In farmers’ fields, damage assessment was done by counting the number of damaged or removed seedlings at each planting hole while yield loss was determined from simulation experiment at five damage levels, viz; 0, 10, 25, 50, and 75% by removing seedlings per plot. Variation of damaged maize seedlings was compared between soil type and fields. The fields with black clay soils had higher damage of maize seedling (mean = 59.201±1.714) as compared to sandy loam soils (means = 49.742±1.714). The damage ranged from 30.17 to 71.91% in different fields. However, no effect was observed between interactions of maize fields and soil types. Results from simulation experiment showed no significant difference (p = 0.2357) among maize damage levels, although relatively higher yield losses were observed at 75%, while lowest yield losses in the control (0%). The increased seedling damage has an impact on final harvest; therefore, ecologically-based rodent management strategies appear to be good solution for reducing crop damage and should be encouraged to improve food security for smallholder farmers.

Key words: Damage, habitats, M. natalensis, rodent pest, semi-arid.