Uganda and Tanzania are set to receive a grant of $6 million, (about Shs20.7b) to help them carry out research in the fight against rodents which have been a threat to food production and security in the two East African countries.
The grant for the 5-year research project which will begin in July this year is being offered by the World Bank through the African Centres of Excellence Project.
Speaking during an experts' brain storming session held at the National Fisheries Research and Resource Institute (NaFIRRI) in Jinja last week, Prof Victor Ochwo of Busitema University said the money is to be channelled through the Morogoro Sokoine Agriculture University in Tanzania, Busitema University in Uganda as well as Mekele University in Ethiopia.
"Students on the Masters' Degree and Phd programmes will be sponsored to carry out research in the different ways of controlling the rodents, which are increasingly becoming a menace to farmers," Mr Ochwo, who is also the head of Graduate Studies at Busitema Univeristy, said.
Rodents that are being targeted include rats, mice, and moles, which destroy crops in both the fields and in storage facilities.
"I am a rice farmer but I lost five acres of rice to rodents. We hope this research will help," he said.
Knowledge from the research is expected to be passed on to the farmers for remedial action against the rodents.
According to statistics from the Integrated Pest Management (SP-IPM), a global partnership, rodents account for at least 10 per cent of post-harvest losses. They also cause immeasurable damage by attacking crops in the fields.
Source: The Monitor