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Qingtian to hold GIAHS conference in July

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: February 22, 2022 L M S


Farmers shoulder baskets of fish they harvested in the paddy fields. [Photo/WeChat account: qingtianfabu]

The first Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems Conference will be held in Qingtian county – administered by Lishui city in East China's Zhejiang province in July.

The conference will be organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The concept of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, or GIAHS, was brought out by the FAO in 2002. A GIAHS is a living, evolving system of human communities with an intricate relationship with their territory, cultural or agricultural landscape, or biophysical and wider social environment.

Thus far, the FAO has designated 62 systems in 22 countries as agricultural heritage sites.


Dancers perform the fish-lantern dance, an artistic, historical, and cultural valuable practice for the study of Qingtian's rice-fish system. [Photo/WeChat account: qingtianfabu]

The rice-fish system of Qingtian was recognized as a GIAHS in 2005, becoming the first GIAHS in China.

The rice-fish system is an aquaculture system that integrates growing fish in flooded rice paddy fields. In this system, rice provides shelter and organic food for fish, while fish maintain the fields with functions such as weeding, fertilizing, oxygenating the water, and eating pests.

The ecological cycle greatly reduces the dependence on external chemicals and significantly increases the biodiversity of the system.

Over the past 1,200 year, Qingtian's rice-fish system has yielded a brilliant rice and fish culture, including the unique fish-lantern dance which was performed during festivals.