Rats and mole rats occasionally feed on sweet potato storage roots either by digging through the ridges or accessing the exposed roots. They often spoil more roots than they actually eat. Rats and mice breed in burrows, destruction of these burrows can help reduce populations. Rodents like to hide in vegetation and rubbish, as they do not like crossing open spaces where they may be seen and exposed to predation, keeping the field and surrounding areas clean should reduce damage.
- Some farmers dig a deep ditch around the perimeter of their field to deter rodents from digging tunnels straight into their fields.
- Traps can be set but care must be taken to ensure they are placed in locations where livestock and children will not interfere or get hurt by them.
- In areas of Tanzania farmers reported spreading the leaves of the local shrub 'intwinti' as a repellent.
- In Western Kenya a mixture of cow dung and pepper is made, placed in the burrows and then burnt to smoke the rodents out.
- Experiments showed that mole rat damage to cassava could be reduced by planting on mounds rather than ridges, and by planting the deep rooted, poisonous shrub Tephrosia vogelii in the field (CIP, the VITAA Partnership).
- Farmers in Wangige, Kenya chase away mole rats by pouring fermented cattle urine (one week old) into their burrowing holes. They report this method as being very effective.
- Do not kill mongoose, snakes, owls and other birds as they are very good predators of rats.