A short article about rodent management in Africa and Asia written by Dr Steve Belmain, of NRI's Agriculture, Health and Environment Group, has been judged the winning entry in the booklet "Did You Know...?" published by NR International. The publication features 17 international development projects funded by DFID and the European Commission. Steve's article was chosen as the most entertaining, interesting and informative by a team of young students from Rochester Grammar School in Kent, UK, and he has decided to donate his prize of £250 to the agricultural research charity, Farm Africa.
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The article includes key facts about rats and their interactions with human populations, and highlights the impact of recent research by Steve and fellow scientists in Bangladesh and South Africa. In Bangladesh, the research team has seen the benefits of their work as farmers and village communities have begun to change the way they store their livestock fodder to reduce rat numbers. In South Africa, communities have stopped using dangerous and illegal poisons, and have instead adopted improved traps that are now being manufactured locally.
Three other NRI-led projects are featured in the "Did You Know...?" booklet: our work on management of tomato leaf curl virus in India is described by project leader Dr John Colvin; and Ulrich Kleih reports on his project team's studies on fish marketing in coastal communities in Bangladesh, and also on his research with collaborators in Uganda on improving the use of draft animals for transporting farm produce to market. In addition, NRI staff are collaborators in four other projects described in the book: integrated pest management of potatoes in Bolivia; migrant pest forecasting in southern Africa; the horticultural industry in Kenya; and rural livelihood initiatives in India.