Crippled by the long predicted El Nino drought, farmers in the Philippines have taken to eating rats due to acute food shortage owing to crop loss.
Reports claim that farmers in the Philippines, who are the first ones to suffer the effects of El Nino, are facing severe food shortage as their rice crops since February have been damaged and have now taken to hunting rats for their flesh.
In the Philippines, the rat's tail can exchanged for rice, as part of a government programme to eradicate vermin that damage crops.
"Sometimes we roast them, sometimes we cook them as adobo (a popular simmered stew)," a Bloomberg report citing a local farmer said. "We cut the tails, dry them and exchange them for rice," the farmer added.
Local farmers, armed with bows and arrows, have been spending late nights in the fields to hunt down the vermin.
The Philippines already has started to feel the effects of El Nino, which occurs once in every two to seven years. "We've already been hit by a three-month dry spell. We could not plant anything since January. All of us here in Taculen are praying for more rains," Benny Ramos, a rice farmer in North Cotabato in southern Philippines told Reuters.
A natural weather cycle, El Nino starts with warming the Pacific Ocean and soon ends up distorting the weather pattern across the globe.
Back in April, American scientists had announced that El Nino had arrived, but they had then claimed that it was still "weak".
This week Australia has sounded an alert. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology now has predicted that El Nino could become a 'substantial' event by September, bringing severe droughts and floods in the regions coming under its influence.
The most crippling effect of El Nino was felt in 2009 when it destroyed wheat fields in Australia and damaged crops across Asia, leading a surge in food prices globally. In India, it brought one of the worst droughts that it had suffered in four decades.
Experts are bracing for the worst as a strong El Nino will severely cripple economies heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly countries such as India which are already facing the brunt of bad weather.
A severe drought condition would also send the supply chains of commodities, such as rice, corn and palm oil reeling. In India, many farmers have committed suicide owing to their crop loss.