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HomeIndia'Half of expected paddy harvest in Mizoram destroyed by rats last year'...

‘Half of expected paddy harvest in Mizoram destroyed by rats last year’ | Guwahati News

AIZAWL: At least 2,887 hectares of paddy fields belonging to 3,084 families in 91 villages across eight districts of Mizoram were ravaged by swarms of rats last year, state agriculture director James Lalsiamliana said on Wednesday.
Lalsiamliana said about half of the expected paddy harvest was ravaged by the rats, which multiplied rapidly due to the gregarious flowering of dendrocalamus longispathus, locally known as ‘Rawnal’.
Dendrocalamus longispathus, the long-sheath bamboo, is a species which grows up to 20m in height. It is native to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.
There has been no report of rats destroying paddy fields in Khawzawl, Kolasib and Saitual districts, Lalsiamliana said.
He further said the coordinated efforts of the state agriculture department officials and the farmers in undertaking mass poisoning of rats helped prevent further damage to the paddy fields.
Of the eight districts, the Mizoram-Bangladesh border district of Lunglei in the southern part of the state was the worst hit with more than 243 hectares of paddy fields belonging to 1,558 families in 34 villages being affected by the rat menace.
Mizoram suffers two kinds of famine every 48 years – Mautam and Thingtam. While Mautam is triggered by the flowering of the ‘Mautak’ (Melocanna baccifera) bamboo species, Thingtam follows the flowering of the ‘Rawthing’ (Bambusa tulda) species of bamboo. The last time the state was in the grip of Thingtam was in 1977, which puts the date for the next Thingtam at 2025. The cinnamon beetles thrive on the nectar of the bamboo flower, while rodents consume the bamboo fruits. “Male rats have a cannibalistic streak. But when they find sufficient food in the form of bamboo fruits, they do not eat the young ones. And there’s an explosion in the rat population,” Australian rodent specialist Ken Aplin, who had visited Mizoram during the last Mautam in 2007-08, had said. The multiplying rats and insects, in turn, ravage agricultural lands and destroy stocks of produce, causing a famine.

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