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A: Protect your fruit from bats and thieves


HOST: Do you have a problem with bats in your fruit trees? In Thailand, bats fly into trees at night and feed on the ripe fruit. Farmers solve this problem by scaring the bats away. They do this in two ways. To protect fruit in trees which are near the house, they hang a large tin can in one of the trees. They put two or three stones in the can and tie one end of a long cord to the can. The other end of the cord leads into the house and can be pulled whenever the bats are flying. This makes the stones rattle in the can and scares the bats away.

Thai farmers who keep geese have another solution. They build a goose cage up in one of the fruit trees and every night they put a goose up in the cage. Whenever bats or thieves come after their fruit, the goose makes so much noise, it scares them away.

B: Trapping baboons


HOST: In some African countries, farmers and baboons do not get along. This is because baboons like to eat crops that the farmers grow. In southeastern Africa, Zulu farmers have a way of dealing with this problem. Their solution is based upon the fact that baboons are incredibly greedy animals. George McPherson of the BBC radio program “The Farming World” talks about a method of trapping baboons:

“The Zulu farmers find a gourd with a neck just big enough so that a baboon can put his hand down inside the gourd. They dig a hole in the ground and bury the gourd deep enough so that the neck sticks up just a little above the ground. They make sure that the gourd is well-anchored down in the ground. They then half fill the gourd with grain that baboons like to eat and they spill a little on the ground beside the neck of the gourd.

“A baboon comes along, discovers the grain on the ground, eats it, and then puts his hand down into the gourd to get some more. He gets a handful in his fist, but the neck of the gourd isn’t big enough so he can’t get his hand out; and the baboon will not let go. It would rather die than let go of that grain. So the farmer can then come along and deal with the baboon that has trapped itself because of its sheer greediness.”

C: Trapping crabs in the rice paddy


HOST: Do crabs attack your newly transplanted rice seedlings? If so, here’s information that may be helpful to you. According to Day-cha Siri Patra of the Appropriate Technology Association, farmers in Thailand have a method for trapping crabs. When they transplant their seedlings, they take rice cooking pots out into the paddy field. The pots are about 20 centimetres (8 inches) deep and 15 centimetres (6 inches) across the top. They choose places in the paddy field which are not flooded, for example, at the edges of the field or on the bunds. There they dig holes in the soil the same depth as the pots. Then they set the pots down in the holes so that the top of each pot is at ground level, with soil filled in all around it. The farmers put some bait in the bottom of each pot. A small piece of rotten fish is really good because the crabs can smell it when they are swimming around in the water in the rice paddy. If they don’t have any bad smelling fish, a little rice cooked in fat has a smell that crabs like, so that also makes good bait.

The crabs become active at night; they smell the bait, go down into the pot to get it, and cannot get out of the pot. Next morning, the farmers go into the paddy field and take out the trapped crabs. They are good to eat, or can be fed to pigs or ducks.

Information collected by George Atkins in Thailand.