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The Bioeconomics of Controlling an African Rodent Pest Species

Listed author(s):
  • Anders Skonhoft


    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Nils Chr. Stenseth

    (Division of Zoology, Department of Biology, University of Oslo)

  • Herwig Leirs

    (Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory, Denmark, and University of Antwerp (RUCA), Department of Biology, Belgium)

  • Harry P. Andreassen

    (Division of Zoology, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, Norway)

  • Loth S.A. Mulungu

    (Rodent Research Project, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)

The paper treats the economy of controlling an African pest rodent, the multimammate rat, causing major damage in maize production. An ecological population model is presented and used as a basis for the economic analyses carried out at the village level using data from Tanzania. This model incorporates both density-dependent and density-independent (stochastic) factors. Rodents are controlled by applying poison, and the economic benefits depend on the income from maize production minus the costs for maize production, fertiliser and poison. We analyse how the net present value of maize production is affected by various rodent control strategies, by varying the duration and timing of rodenticide application. Our numerical results suggest that, in association with fertiliser, it is economically beneficial to control the rodent population. In general the most rewarding duration of controlling the rodent population is 3-4 months every year, and especially at the end of the dry season/beginning of rainy season. The paper demonstrates that changing from todays practice of symptomatic treatment when heavy rodent damage is noticed to a practice where the calendar is emphasised, may substantially improve the economic conditions for the maize producing farmers. This main conclusion is quite robust and not much affected by changing prices and costs of the maize production.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 3103.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jan 2003
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:3103
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