Monday, 5 March 2012

Farming fish in paddy fields!

I found this article some time back about intercropping in an original way.  Apparently there is a tradition in some Chinese rice growing regions to farm fish in flooded paddy fields.  The interesting part about this article is the report on the scientific research that was done to study the advantages to both rice and fish farming when compared to monoculture.  The results are stupendous.  It is one thing to have some cool innovation, but when the innovation renders such incredible results, the world ought to sit up and pay attention.

If you think fish in a pond you think insects being gobbled up from the water surface and you think lots of pooh-pooh at the bottom of the pond.  Well in the case of rice paddy this is good news.  The fish swim and bump into the rice stems which causes insect to drop in the water... insects that would otherwise eat the rice.  The fish waste product fertilises the rice.  the research showed that when compared to commercial rice cultivation, the intercrop rice needed a whopping 70% less pesticides and 30% less fertiliser to produce the same yield.  In case of organic rice, yield in intercrop paddy where higher than the monoculture equivalent.  As for the fish, the extra shade provided by all the rice stalks made for a cooler environment which was beneficial  to the growth of the fish during the hot season.   For more info on the scientific report, read here.

What an Idea I say!!