Qingtian's rice-fish system spurs rural rebound elsewhere

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Aug 9, 2022 L M S


Under the rice-fish co-culture system, fish are raised in rice paddies. [Photo/Zhejiang Daily]

Thanks to collaboration on poverty alleviation between the eastern and western regions of China, the special rice-fish co-culture system of Qingtian county – administered by Lishui city in East China's Zhejiang province – is now helping with the rural revitalization in Gulin county in Southwest China's Sichuan province.

The rice-fish co-culture system in Qingtian has a history of more than 1,300 years and was listed in the world's first group of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, or GIAHS, designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2005.

Since the start of the new round of East-West collaboration early last year, Qingtian county has introduced the rice-fish co-culture model into terraces in Gulin and has encouraged more than 410 farmers to try out the new cultivation method.

In Gulin's Fenghuang village, there is a co-culture pilot field covering 200 mu (13.33 hectares). In 2021, the rice yield of the pilot field reached 120,000 kilograms and the net income of rice per mu was 4,200 yuan ($621.85), higher than that earned by conventional rice farmers. In addition, the income from the fish raised in the field can increase earnings by 2,000 yuan per mu.

In order to enhance its technical support, Qingtian also invited experts to carry out on-site investigations in Gulin county and formulated a three-year plan for the county's rural revitalization.

Under the rice-fish co-culture system, the fish are raised in rice paddies – saving space and labor – so that the farmers can produce more crops and fish, while the rice plants also provide shade and bait for the fish.