Rice-fish aquaculture systems, China
The symbiotic rice-fish aquaculture system is an agriculture landscape in Qingtian County, Longxian Village, Zhejiang Province, China, which was listed by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations ) among the first five globally important agricultural heritage systems (GIAHS) in 2005.
The rice-fish farming, which could be traced back to 1200 years ago, builds a symbiotic relationship between fish and rice paddy. It is a sustainable system in which rice plants not only provide shelter for the fish but also organic vegetation and nutrients, while the fish waste and carbon dioxide produced by the fish are invaluable nutrition for the rice plants. Additionally, the fish will eat larvae and weeds that harm the crop which results in lower cost and farm labour. This ecological cycle greatly reduces the system’s dependence on external chemicals, and local biodiversity is increased.
The village of Longxian currently has over 26.5 hectares of rice fields. The symbiotic rice-fish aquaculture system is not only protecting the environment and producing food, but also attracts tourists from all over the world adding benefits for local economic development. Da Silva, the Director-General of the FAO, praising the practice said: ‘Not only is the environment preserved and used in a sustainable way, but also it generates benefits for the local community’ (www.chinadaily.co.cn).
+++ researched and written by our colleague Dong Chu +++
For further information see the website of the China Agricultural Museum.
Image: The Chinese symbiotic Rice-Fish Aquaculture System (source: National Agricultural Exhibition Centre & China Agricultural Museum 2019)