Rice-fish culture is a model which enables raising fish and planting rice in one common ecological system by using the rice field. It has contributed to the fulfilment of the objectives of agriculture development in China by enhancing rice and fish yields, increasing farmers’ income, creating an ecological agriculture system, protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable development of agriculture. Since 2003, it has been introduced in Nigeria and Sierra Leone by Chinese agricultural experts through South-South Cooperation (SSC). Applied by African farmers, it has become an effective way to increase rice production and farmers’ income, reduce poverty for beneficiaries in rural communities, thus improving living standards, and provide high quality fresh protein for local consumers.
Ministry of Agriculture, P.R.China (MOA) - ChinaLead applicant
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rurual Development of Nigeria - NigeriaInitiative partner
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - ChinaInitiative partner
Rice-Fish Culture: An Exchange between China and Nigeria under South-South Cooperation Programme
Fish culture in rice fields can be concurrent (mixed) or rotational with the rice crop, and it can be practiced at different intensities. Rice-fish culture (RFC) systems use one habitat to produce both an important grain and a protein source. Rice plants provide shade for fish, while fish nourish rice plants, soften the soil and oxygenate the water. The systems minimize risks for resource-poor farmers and increase the net income of these smallholders.
The rice fish culture technology has been introduced to Nigeria by Chinese aquaculture experts under the SSC programme, supported by FAO and the National Special Programme for Food Security (NSPFS) in Nigeria during 2002 to 2005 according to the tripartite agreement between China, Nigeria and FAO, and it was later replicated in additional countries in Africa, such as Sierra Leone and Mali.
- Rice-fish culture technology has been successfully implemented in over 10 000 hectares in Nigeria through 35 demonstrations with different models, patterns and fish species.
- Low-cost, high-yield rice-fish culture has been widely accepted by farmers.
- The model helped to save water and labour as well as improve the quality of production, as fish reduced pests and weeds for rice field and fish waste served as organic fertilizer.
- Rice and fish are simultaneously produced in the rice-fish systems with increased production to help ensure food security and nutrition in the region.
- Capacity development activities were organized to share the knowledge and experience and strengthen the capacity of Nigerians.
- Employment opportunities were created under this model, both for men and women.
- Following the successful uptake in Nigeria, RFC was spread to Sierra Leone and Mali.
The project addressed the needs of beneficiaries in rural communities of Nigeria tageted under the China-FAO-Nigeria South-South Cooperation Programme, including improved quality of rice and fish production, strengthened capacity development, introduction of low-cost and enviormental-friendly technologies in rural communities, increased income and employment opportunities, etc.
The project was performed by Chinese experts and technicians under the China-Nigeria-FAO South-South Cooperation Programme
Key Expert: Mr. Wang Yibin
By reducing the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers RFC is environmentally sustainable and promotes climate change mitigation, water conservation and biodiversity.
The rice-fish model promotes the sustainable use of environmental resources and the replications of the model in a wide range of areas in Nigeria as well as in other African countries under SSC and state-owned programmes have proved its feasibility and sustainability.
Dissemination of the technology and results through China-Nigeria-FAO SSC Programme phanse one and two.