4 Crop management
Pests and weeds
After the tsunami, rats and pigs were a problem because there were fewer people to control shrubland where the animals sheltered. Pest control for mice and rats requires coordination between farmers to make a difference (ACIAR 2001). Preventing and controlling pest and disease problems of crops was particularly difficult in Aceh because much knowledge was lost during the 30-year civil conflict in the province, which ended in 2005.
Many farmers commented on the changes in weed species after the tsunami. These changes possibly reflected increased salinity, changed nutrient status and lack of organic matter. Identification of the new weed species was useful because this could provide important information about soil nutrient status.
In one area, farmers did not weed peanuts once they flowered for fear of disturbing the roots, but the weeds competed with the crop for nutrients and moisture, reducing crop yields. Raised beds made it easier to weed between plant rows.