SOLYMONE BLOG

VIETNAM’S ‘RAT KING’ HAULS RATS FOR MONEY. FOOD?

 
HANOI, Vietnam — Rice is an essential part of the Vietnamese economy. The communist country is the world’s second largest exporter of the staple grain.
“We used to have to accept the loss of large chunks of our paddies, the rats destroyed it. It made us wonder why we bothered working so hard,” explains 46-year-old farmer Hoang Thi Tuyet...Rodents can be a determined enemy.
“It’s hard to trap them, they’re clever, they move fast and in Vietnam there are 43 different species of rat to contend with,” Thieu says.
But in 1998, Thieu had a breakthrough — he invented a new kind of rat trap, more effective than anything farmers had previously tried, that worked without bait and relied on extremely strong springs. 
Thieu estimates his traps — and his unique rat hunting methods — have since killed millions of rats.At least 500,000 hectares of rice paddy is lost to rats each year, out of some 7.5 million hectares planted across Vietnam, said Nguyen Manh Hung of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences. 
  • Over the last few years, the rat population has exploded in Vietnam due to a decline in the population of their natural predators — snakes and cats. 
  • Both serpents and felines are popular delicacies in Vietnam, a country of some 90 million people and their widespread consumption, thanks in part to an increasingly affluent middle class, has allowed the rat population to grow unchecked.
Some of the rats captured by Thieu in his traps are sent to restaurants. Others are given to the farmers whose fields they were caught in, who either eat them or use them to feed their pigs or fish.
“For a long time we’ve eaten rat in Vietnam. Especially since the war, that was when people — mostly farmers — started eating them for want of other meat,” Thieu said.
Paddy rats — a healthier grain fed animal than their city cousins — are prepared in a variety of ways nationwide depending on the province, often grilled or steamed with lemongrass.
“Rat meat is very oily, like suckling pig, and very rich in protein,” said Do Van Phong, sitting in a Hanoi restaurant with two large paddy rats on a plate in front of him.

Source: Agency
 

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