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Rice-cum-Fish Farming: A Complete Guidance

KJ Staff
KJ Staff
Plants of rice and fishes

Production of fish in rice fields is almost as primitive as the practice of rice culture itself. Rice farming with- fish culture is a type of duo culture farming system in which rice is the sole enterprise and fishes are taken to initiate additional for extra income. Rice-cum fish culture is practiced in many rice-growing belts of the world including China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India. Rearing of fish along with paddy is an older farming practice adopted in India. It has largely been practiced in a traditional primitive way in the coastal areas of the country.

Rice and fish are the staple food of India whereas India is an agro- based developed country. The future development of the country is very much related with the agricultural sector. As an socio-economic activity fisheries ranks second in the world to agriculture sector. Fishery as on the major sub-sectors has been playing a significant vital role in terms of nutrition, employment, foreign exchange earnings, good supply and more importantly socio-economic stability in the rural areas.

With various rivers, India is a water-rich country with rivers, reservoirs, ditches, lakes, ponds, flood plains, and enormous amounts of rice fields, among other natural water resources. Rice-fish farming is a culture that involves growing rice and fish at the same time in irrigated rice fields in order to produce fish in addition to rice.

 

The main objective of this sustainable farming practice is

i. To determine whether rice-cum-fish cultivation is more profitable than rice monoculture.

ii. To see how the rice-cum-fish culture affects yields, overall costs, fish consumption, and labour employment in comparison to monoculture.

iii. To identify the primary issues that arise when performing integrated rice-fish farming and to propose solutions.

iv. To see how different fish combinations affect fish productivity in a rice-cum-fish culture system, with the goal of suggesting the results to potential rice/fish farmers.

Benefits of Integrated Farming or rice cum fish culture system

1. Increases soil fertility and health.

2. Increasing the economic output per square metre of land.

3. Cost-cutting in the manufacturing process.

4. Reduces the amount of farm input required.

5. Diverse sources of income

6. Financial assistance to the family.

7. Efficient use of household labor.

8.Reduction in the amount of food that animals need to eat.

9. Reduce the usage of chemical fertilizers as much as possible.

10. Provides farmers with a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

11. Biogas is used to solve energy concerns.

12. Prevents forest deterioration.

13. Increase the number of jobs created.

14. There is no pollution in the environment.

15. Resource recycling.

16. Enhances the farmer's position and livelihood.

Practices or technology in rice cum fish farming 

Site selection:

The site selection for rice cum fish farming is low lying area where water flows easily and available at any time in needs.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of the fish in the pond was monitored by randomly arching them with a hand net. The fish were weighed and measured on time, and then returned to the trenches. Feeding rates were changed as a result. Before each sub-sampling, the fish were lured in with food. The mean growth rates (MGR) for the fish species were computed using Wayne and Davis' approach (1977).

Pond construction

For paddy cum brackish water aquaculture, the paddy plots should be well renovated. Water retention as well as keeping the fish and shrimp during the aquaculture process necessitate the construction of an earthen dyke around the paddy plot. The dyke height must be maintained between 50 and 100 cm, depending on the topography of the plot and the tidal amplitude at the location.

For paddy cum brackish water aquaculture, the paddy plots should be renovated effectively. Water retention and keeping the fish and shrimp throughout the aquaculture process necessitate the construction of an earthen dyke around the paddy plot. The dyke height should be maintained between 50 and 100 cm depending on the topography of the plot and the tidal amplitude at the area.

Flooding and Weeding of Paddy

After transplanting, the paddy fields were flooded. The water level was kept at 30 -50 cm deep until the rice matured, with care taken to keep it at a minimum of 5cm to facilitate adequate filtration. Weed management methods were implemented using a manual method that involved uprooting weeds on both sides of cultivated rice plots twice/or thrice a week. Chemical weed control methods were eliminated or avoided to guarantee that materials or agents capable of polluting ponds or causing fish death were avoided to the greatest extent possible.

Fertilization of Rice Fields

The plots used for rice-cum-fish culture are primarily based on organic fertilization with a variety of animal excreta such as poultry droppings, pig excerta, cow dung, and plant waste such as rice husks, waste product of local beer, ashes from household brunt, and remains of burnt straws after the harvest is over, as well as compost fertiliser such as decomposed straws, weeds, and rice stalks, among other things. The paddy rice crop was primarily fertilised with cow dung at a rate of 10 kg/50 m2 biweekly. This was accomplished by equally spreading fertilizer throughout the fields from various points along the dykes.

Source of fish seed

The progressive fish farmers who normally produce adequate size of fish seeds by rearing in small size ponds for a period of about 1-2 months and sell it to the farmers who grow them directly in paddy fields and farms.

Stocking of fish seeds

Prior to the release of fish seed to paddy fields, paddy is transplanted from rice seed beds to major paddy fields in April, and then paddy is left for two weeks to strengthen paddy roots before the release of fish seed @ 2500 nos./ha area. The paddy rearing period is 5-7 months, while the fish raising period is 3-6 months.

Stocking of Fish Fingerlings

The fish fingerlings initially of mean weights upto 20g- 35g respectively were stocked at 200 fish / 50m2 paddy respectively after flooding.

Water Quality Monitoring

The water quality parameter was monitored on a monthly basis. At the refuge trench, turbidity was measured using a seechi disc. A pH metre with a temperature probe was used to determine the pH. A multi-range conductivity metre was used to measure the water's conductivity. A dissolved oxygen metre was used to determine the amount of dissolved oxygen (DO). The densities of plankton populations in water were determined using the APHA's established techniques (1980).

Feeding of stocked fingerlings: Feeding of stocked fingerlings in the paddies began immediately after stocking at designated feeding locations. Once a day, the fish were fed. The fingerlings had to be given the required proximate composition and quantity of feed ingredients at the appropriate time.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of the fish in the pond was monitored by randomly arching them with a hand net. The fish were weighed and measured on time, and then returned to the trenches. Feeding rates were changed as a result. Before each sub-sampling, the fish were lured in with food. The mean growth rates (MGR) for the fish species were computed using Wayne and Davis' approach (1977).

Harvesting

Harvesting fish is done with a simple bamboo basket known as cane/bamboo. On the same season, fish cultured in rice fields for 3-4 months yielded 200-300 kg/ha, whereas fish grown for 5-6 months yielded 400-500 kg/ha.

For harvesting, initially the water is drained through an outlet pipe, allowing fishes and water to accumulate in the paddy field's mid channel, where the fishes are captured using tasing puda, hand picking, and other methods, and then stocking in large plastic buckets in live condition. Following the completion of the fish harvest, paddy harvesting began. Paddy harvesting is usually done in the last few weeks of September and October. From the same plot of land, paddy production ranges from 3500-4500 Kgs/ha.

Marketing

Because of high market demand, fish collected from paddy fields are sold live or fresh in the local market, with live fish selling for Rs.150-200 per kg and fresh fish selling for Rs.100-120 per kg. The market price changes during the lean season. Marginal fish farmers sell their catch at a fish market or directly from the paddy field. The fish produced in these paddy fields enters the capital markets during the peak season. During the paddy and fish rearing period, no chemical insecticides, pesticides, or fertilizers are applied to the entire paddy field.

Conclusion

Rice-fish culture is an innovative farming system in which rice is the primary crop and fish fingerlings are used as a secondary source of income. Farmers' poverty is reduced as a result of rice-fish farming, which improves yield, creates jobs, and increases nutritional consumption, resulting in food security. Farmers who are youthful, have a larger farm size, and stronger infrastructure are able to make higher money, according to the farm-specific characteristics used to explain income.

Farmers will be encouraged to practice rice-fish culture on a broad scale by proper policy and planning, positive attitudes of administrators and extension workers, free access to information/training facilities for farmers, and required size of fingerlings at reasonable prices at the appropriate time.

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