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Rice-cum-fish farming: opportunities in Nepal
08. October 2017 at 21:08
The practice of rearing fish along with paddy is as old as paddy farming. In the traditional farming practice the rice cum fish farming was mainly on capture basis. Rice is an agricultural crop cultivated in the largest land area of the world after wheat. The rice cum fish farming is in practice in several countries including China, Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand, Korea, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Fish catching is the main occupation of Pode, Majhi, Danuwar, Derai and Damar communities of Nepal. The country has great potential for the development of rice cum fish farming sector as Out of the total cultivated area of 3.091 million ha, rice cultivation occupies 47.91% and fish is favored food by several ethnic communities. If only rice cum fish farming practice is adopted properly in Nepal it can be way too helpful in reduction of protein energy malnutrition of the country.

Rice cum fish farming was introduced in1964 by Department of Fisheries in Nepal. Now rice cum fish farming has already been started in Bhaktapur, Kaski, Tanahu, Syanja, Dhanding, Gorkha, Chitwan and Makwanpur districts of Nepal .The farmers practicing rice cum fish farming are from different ethinic groups but Tharu community contribute the majority. In past the rice cum fish farming method was mainly capture method and now the culture method is in practice.

In the rice cum fish farming system rice is main enterprise and fishes are additional ways to earn extra income. Depending upon the suitability for culture under local conditions carps and tilapia are the main species reared by the farmers in the paddy field of Nepal. In rice cum fish farming practice rice is transplanted in June and fingerlings of carps or tilapia are stocked into the fields about a week after the paddy transplantation or after the rice is rooted and raised there. The fingerlings are supplied by silkworm pupae and bran at increasing rates until harvest. The harvesting is done in September/October just before the rice is harvested to drain off water. The farming of fish in trench of paddy field can be a successful method in the context of Nepal. Rice cum fish farming is an example of mutual benefit as fish fertilize the rice field through its fecal matter and acts as swimming fertilizer factory and it also supplies oxygen to the root of paddy and acts like a biological plough. Rice-cum-fish culture can play a prominent role in Nepal with the production of grain and animal protein on the same piece of land and at the same time can reduce the poverty problem of the country. This would definitely increase yields, enhancing socio-economic development in rural areas.

Though there is good scope of rice cum fish farming practice, In Nepal it has been practiced only small area of Nepal. The reasons behind the least development of rice cum fish farming or integrated farming can be the lack of knowledge among farmers and another major hindrance in rice cum fish farming is the use of pesticide in paddy cultivation that can be harmful to the fishes. For achieving food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable economic development, rice cum fish farming can be a good option.
Cite This Article As: Samita Paudel. "Rice-cum-fish farming: opportunities in Nepal." International Youth Journal, 08. October 2017.

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