I am Deborah Majiwa, a Kenyan who is deaf. I am interested in growing crops such as sukuma wiki, sweet potatoes, cassava and maize but the problem is wild rats (fuko), which destroy them. Kindly advise on how to kill them.

I believe you are talking about mole rats, which destroy many types of crops and can be a serious menace if not controlled.

There are many methods of controlling them, the most effective and environment-friendly being use of traps, which though effective can be tedious and it also requires a lot of patience. You can use factory-made traps or locally-made traps.

The locally made trap is made by fixing a 1m stick on the ground and bending it to form a loop, tying a thin wire onto the stick and then placed over the burrow entrance.

Place some green leaves on the entrance too. As the mole comes to seal or eat the leaves, it will be trapped. Rodenticides can also be used, though not recommended.

There are many rodenticides with different trade names, some contain zinc phosphide and are used as baits while those that contain aluminium phosphide are used as fumigants mainly to fumigate the burrows and kill the moles.

The rodenticides should be applied by a qualified person. Another method of controlling moles is by use of a mixture of cow dung and pepper placed in the burrows and then burning it.

You can also pour cattle or pig urine (which has been stored for one week) into the burrows and the smell will chase away the moles.

Lastly, you can plant ‘fish-bean plant’ (Tephrosia vogelii) by intercropping it with your crops and also as a hedge.

Tephrosia is a good source of pollen and is also used to control ticks in livestock. The roots of Tephrosia emit a poisonous substance that chases away the moles.

Tephrosia is also a legume and thus it fixes nitrogen into the soil thus improving soil fertility. However, its leaves are poisonous to livestock and human beings.

According to the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, Tephrosia is a host for rootknot nematodes and, therefore, it should be uprooted after controlling the moles if it was intercropped with crops but if on the hedge it can be left.

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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https://i2.wp.com/farmerstrend.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/MOLE-RATS.jpg?fit=640%2C360&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/farmerstrend.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/MOLE-RATS.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1#FarmersTrendI am Deborah Majiwa, a Kenyan who is deaf. I am interested in growing crops such as sukuma wiki, sweet potatoes, cassava and maize but the problem is wild rats (fuko), which destroy them. Kindly advise on how to kill them. I believe you are talking about mole rats, which...New generation culture in agriculture