Can humans outsmart rodents? Learning to work collectively and strategically uri icon

abstract

  • Aims. To determine whether a multi-stakeholder partnership, facilitated through experiential learning and the use of existing social capital, can generate collective actions for strategic rodent management.
  • Conclusions. Humans can indeed outsmart rodents through the use of EBRM principles that rely on community actions. Sustainable community actions can be achieved through participatory approaches and a multi-stakeholder partnership built on existing social capital of the society and local communities. Overall, the adoption of EBRM meant better rice yields, higher economic returns for farmers, and reduced human health and environmental risks.
  • Context. Rodents are one of the major constraints in Asian rice production, both in pre- and post-harvest. Rodents are often perceived by farmers in developing countries to be consistently outsmarting humans - a belief that needs to be overcome. Ecologically based rodent management (EBRM) is a possible solution to manage rodent populations effectively, which in turn can help sustain food security in Asia. Well coordinated community action is necessary to effectively carry out EBRM. This paper considers the socio-cultural challenges of EBRM.
  • Implications. To address the problem of sustainable adoption by farmers of an agricultural technology for natural resource management, active participation of various stakeholders through a multi-stakeholder partnership is essential. This partnership should emanate from the social capital of the society, such as the networks of organisations across different scales, from the national to the village level, and the cultural norms and values adhered to by the members of the society and local communities.
  • Key results. The multi-stakeholder partnership and participatory approach effectively generated adoption of EBRM. The strong linkages between extension and political organisations generated diffusion of EBRM into neighbouring provinces. The adoption of EBRM reduced rodenticide use (50%), decreased rice areas with rodent damage (93%), increased rice yields (10-14%), increased economic returns for farmers (20%), strengthened farmers' collective actions, and changed farmers' perspectives on rodent management towards a biologically sustainable approach.
  • Methods. Participatory action research was employed in the implementation of EBRM in irrigated rice systems in the Red River Delta in Vietnam. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used including household surveys, focus group discussions and key informant interviews.
  • Rodents are one of the major constraints in Asian rice production, both in pre- and post-harvest. Rodents are often perceived by farmers in developing countries to be consistently outsmarting humans - a belief that needs to be overcome. Ecologically based rodent management (EBRM) is a possible solution to manage rodent populations effectively, which in turn can help sustain food security in Asia. Well coordinated community action is necessary to effectively carry out EBRM. This paper considers the socio-cultural challenges of EBRM

publication date

  • 2011
  • 2011
  • 2011
  • 2011