Production of fish in a rice field might sound strange, but historically it is a primitive way of agriculture that has existed for generations. In fact, producing fish seems to go hand by hand with rice culture itself. Rice farming with fish is a sort of duo farming system where the rice is normally seen as the farmer’s enterprise focus and then the fishes are simply taken to initiate an additional extra income.
Known as Rice-cum-fish culture it is practice in nearly all the major rice-growing belts of the world: China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India. The actual inventor of rearing fish in a rice paddy most likely comes from India. India has seen this practice in is coastal areas for centuries. Mostly because rice and fish are a staple food of the typical Indian diet, whereas other countries in the region do tend to eat more meat.
What happens is fish will be produced in a rice field that has been irrigated, as rice production requires the fields to be flooded. You can easily add in fish to your farming and it comes with a great benefit. Not only does it give a higher profitability for your farm, the fish help improve the soil fertility and soil health for the future.
This is seen by the number of rice-gum fish farms that increase much higher yields per unit per area. Rice farmers see it as a logical addition to their farming way of life, providing extra income and being an efficient use of labour. The cool thing also is this is seen as a very eco-friendly farming technique, which means it helps avoid forest degradation and also recycles resources.
The rich soil quality comes from the paddy field receiving a high amount of organic manure from the fish. Not every field is capable of holding fish though, farmers have to choose carefully to pick a field where water leakage will be extremely minimal. It is an amazing agricultural development in the area, as it helps reduce poverty for farmers.
This has seen many governments provide free training and information on how rice farmers can also include fish production into their yearly routines.