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Monday, June 12, 2017

Benefits of raising fish in rice fields.

Benefits of raising fish in rice fields. A Chinese study has confirmed the findings of Kenya's Yala Swamp rice farmers, with evidence that cultivating rice and fish together stops disease, ups yields, and cuts the need for both fertilizers and pesticides. The Yala Swamp farmers, near Lake Victoria, have for decades grown fish and rice in the same flooded paddy fields, and have discovered they never require fertilizers to grow their rice, which is also rarely attacked by common rice diseases such as rice sheath blast responsible for some 40 per cent of rice losses in the country. A six-year long study conducted in China found that when fish were introduced into flooded paddy fields, farmers were able to grow the same amount of grain as in conventional rice monocultures, but with more than two-thirds less pesticide and a quarter less fertiliser. Farmers could therefore make large savings on fertilisers and pesticides, which typically represent 60–70 per cent of the total cost of rice production. Scientists now say the rice-fish technique is good for both the fish and the rice. Safely hidden from birds, the fish thrive in the dense rice plants, while they in turn provide a source of fertilizer with their droppings, eat insect pests and help to circulate oxygen around the rice field. Farmers also claim that keeping fish in rice fields can increase rice yields by up to 10% – plus they have the additional supplies of fish. source