London, Oct 1 (ANI): A Bangladeshi farmer is said to have killed 83,450 rats over nine months in Gazipur, near the capital, Dhaka, and has now launched a nationwide campaign to kill millions more.
Mokhairul Islam, 40, who collected the rats' tails as proof, was awarded a television by the government for his efforts in protecting crops, and reducing the need for food imports.
"I am so happy to get this honour," the Independent quoted him as saying upon receiving the set amid cheers at a ceremony attended by 500 farmers and officials.
"I had no idea the government gives prizes for this," he stated.
Officials say that the impoverished nation imports three million tonnes of food a year.
The Agriculture Ministry estimates that rodents destroy 1.5 million to two million tonnes of food a year.
"We can cut the import of food by at least half if we can succeed in this year's campaign," Wais Kabir, the executive chairman of the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council, said.
He asked everyone, especially farmers, to take up the killing mission, and the government has said it will train farmers and students for this year's campaign.
"Killing rats is not that easy, it needs training," Kabir said.
Islam, who had mainly used poison to kill the rats at his poultry farm, has already signed up for the new war on rats.
"I will continue to kill them," he vowed.
"Previously, I needed 33 sacks of poultry feed per week. Now I need less than 30," he said.
Fakhrul Haque Akanda, a farmer from northern Bangladesh who won the second prize in the government rat-killing competition, killed 37,450 rats mostly with traps.
"These bloody rats are my enemy. They destroy my gardens," he said.
"Please pray for me so that I can continue my mission and teach and motivate others to join me," he added. (ANI)