Thu, 11 Mar 1999

Rats attack South Kalimantan

BANJARMASIN, South Kalimantan: Thousands of hectares of ricefields set to be harvested in Benua Lima here have been attacked by rats, Antara reported Wednesday.

"In this village alone more than 100 hectares have been affected," Syarkawi, a farmer in Bangkal village of Hulu Sungai Tengah regency said.

Benua Lima is in the north of the province.

Syarkawi said in one night the pests, numbering hundreds, attacked plants over some 170 square meters in one location alone.

Residents had hunted the rodents for days to no avail, he said.

Farmers were racing with the rats to harvest their crops, the agency said.

Some farmers blamed the attack of the pests on themselves, namely their failure to plant simultaneously.

But one of them, Asnawi, from Angkinang village in Hulu Sungai Selatan regency, said this was impossible.

"Fertilizers are scarce and costly and there has been so much rain in some areas and little in others," he said.