Ancient Farming Practice Helps Preserve Environment and Benefits Local Community
Chinese farmers have been practicing for more than a thousand years raising fish in rice paddies which help preserve the environment but will also benefit local communities. The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Jose Graziano da Silva who recently visited Qingtian county, marks his first visit to an Asian site which is listed as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems. Here Da Silva praised China’s work in preserving agricultural heritage and to develop sustainable production.
The heritage site which preserve more than a thousand year old farming practice, where farmers raise fish in rice paddies has the unique symbiotic rice fish aquaculture system that allows rice plants to provide fish shelter from the sun and predators, then as a return the fish fertilize the rice and eat insect larvae and weeds that harm the rice. Da Silva calls the practice as a win-win situation where more rice and fish are produced in less land that if they were farmed separately using less fertilizers and pesticides, lesser cost and labor will be invested in the farming.
The green and healthy rice and fish are attracting tourists from nearby cities, thus providing farmers another way of earning extra money by putting up restaurants for visitors when they are not busy tending the farm. The farming practice not only preserves the environment and used in a sustainable way but generates benefits the local community. The farming system is another good way on hoe to use natural resources without depleting or destroying them.
The symbiotic rice fish aquaculture is listed among the five Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems in 2005, wherein China tops by having 11 out of 36 agricultural heritage systems. The Food and Agriculture Organization initiated program plans to share years of knowledge and management experience of nature an environment sustainability that is already proven by generations of farmers worldwide. Inheriting and to carry forward the farming culture is important today as traditional agriculture is being transformed to a modern one.