Succesful kick-off of project on reducing harvest losses by rodents in Bangladesh

23 January 2015

At 21 January 2015, an International workshop of the Food and Business Applied Research Fund project 'Assessment of rodenticide use and rodenticide resistance in Bangladesh in order to reduce post-harvest losses' of Dr R.B. Shafali took place.

Picture: Rokeya Begum Shafali

About 200 participants, besides 100 MSc and PhD students and 50 university teachers, also representatives from the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Rodenticide Business Company, seed business companies, NGOs and media, were present. The workshop took place at the Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  

Keynote presentations were given by Professor Steven R. Belmain (NRI, University of Greenwich, UK), Dr Bastiaan Meerburg ( Wageningen University, Netherlands). During the workshop professor Belmain elaborated on the damage caused by rodents in Bangladesh. Bastiaan Meerburg spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of the use of rodenticides, in controlling the risk of the occurrence of genetic resistance of the rodents against these toxins. He also discussed the possible poisoning of other species, like birds of prey. An animated discussion took place, which made clear that the problem in Bangladesh (as in other countries in Asia) is large, and that participants are very eager to think about and work on a solution. 

The participants expressed their appreciation that this type of project will be executed for the first time in Bangladesh. They welcomed the project team warmly. They also mentioned that they are eager to assist in the implementation phase of the project. The students enjoyed the presentations and asked a lot of questions

Research project

This project focuses on the economic impact caused by rodents under post-harvest conditions in Bangladesh, because huge losses and rodent-borne diseases can be catastrophic to the livelihoods of the poor. Post-harvest losses by rodents form a major problem in Bangladesh, it is estimated that about 15 per cent of the harvest in storage is eaten and is will be lost after all. Moreover, a major drawback consists of the fact that predation by rats and mice may lead to further damage by insects. However, we have no reliable figures available of this. In this project we try to get those numbers  and also look how the extent of the negative impact of rodents can be reduced. We try to do this by using a chain approach: both small farmers at home, as well as at larger stores of traders and millers. The project even has a mill (SME) as project partner, and the main applicant (AID-Comilla) is a respected NGO, which has extensive experience in knowledge sharing.

The aim of the project is to develop strategies for prevention of post-harvest losses by rodents from farm to fork, ensuring that stakeholders throughout the food chain (smallholder farmers, traders, millers), policy makers and extension specialists are provided with appropriate tools and information to manage post-harvest losses caused by rodents using cost-effective, sustainable and ecologically-based strategies. This will lead to a significant reduction of spoilt food and less environmental damage. By directly involving a local SME, this project not only generates information in terms of ecology of rodents and reliable calculations of post-harvest losses, possible interventions and new information on sociological aspects of rodent control, but also put its results into practice.

Applied Research Fund

The Food & Business Applied Research Fund provides grants to applied research contributing to innovation for food security and private sector development in the fifteen partner countries of Dutch development cooperation. Proposals may be submitted by consortia consisting of at least one private or public practitioners organisation active in the partner countries and one research or higher education organisation. One Dutch partner is required.

Research projects should evolve through co-creation: a concerted effort of practitioners and research and/or higher education organisations. Projects should contribute to improving sustainable and inclusive access to sufficient and healthy food and an inclusive business climate for the most vulnerable people in the Dutch partner countries. Projects must show applicability of the newly developed or adjusted knowledge, insights, technologies, tools, products, services or policies. Since a strong local/regional private sector is important in reaching local/regional food security, research projects that aim at improving local/regional entrepreneurship are included.

The Applied Research Fund is now open for applications. The next deadline is 12 May 2015.

Source: NWO