Rice Paddy Research

RICE PADDY Techniques using Climate Analogues and Regenerative farming methods

Rice Paddy Aquaculture – for Sustainable Protein and Food Security utilizing all the ecological niches available in the rice pond paddy ecosystem. This integrated solution holds huge potential for Thailand. It is relevant and applicable to most rice fields, and the technologies and methods can be integrated to result in-
rice field infrastructure improvements; fish/fry rearing and fish/fry stocking; rice cultivation technologies and
support to the selection of the most applicable rice varieties for local climate and soil conditions;
high-yield hybrid rice with compact plant types and strong resistance to diseases and pests, reducing the need
for pesticides and fertilizers; effective field management practices; harvest, pond storage and marketing.
Rice Paddy Aquaculture
Rice Prawn and Rice Shrimp Aquaculture
Integrated rice and Carp Farming
G8 Rice Fish
Rice vegetable systems
Rice-Duck Farm (see below)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)


RICE- Duck and Rice -FISH Greater profits for the farm powered by symbiosis

CASE STUDY Shows organic farming 20%-50% higher yield and income

Size doesn’t matter on this Japanese rice farm, where an elegant symbiosis results in higher yields and greater profits.

A small-scale, organic farming system in Japan is currently providing a rice yield that exceeds  industrial rice systems’ harvests by 20-50%. The higher yield combined with the production of a variety of other food stuffs, grown synergistically with the rice, means that with just six acres, Japanese farmer Takao Furuno sometimes eclipses the gross income of a typical 600 acre rice farm in Texas.

Using none of the fossil fuel fertilizers and pesticides traditionally required to grow high-yield mono-culture crops, Furuno can  market his rice at a 20-30% premium over conventionally grown rice in Japan. The farm, which has been modeled on complex dynamic living systems, also produces an impressive range of additional food products, including duck eggs, fish, duck meat, vegetables, wheat and figs. This very successful, organic synergy now sees Furuno enjoy an annual income of USD 160,000, while his methods have been shared and employed by 75,000 small-scale farmers in Japan, as well as South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, India, Cuba and Bangladesh.

The complex multi-species system, which is completely independent of any outside farm inputs, first requires rice seedlings to be set into flooded rice paddies, before introducing a raft of ducklings. Insects that normally feed on the young rice plants, provide food for the ducklings. Mr Furuno then introduces loaches, which are a variety of easily cultivated fish (later sold to eat) and Azolla, a water fern, generally referred to as ‘paddy weed’. Azolla plays its role in the paddy ecosystem by fixing nitrogen from the air, which is important for the healthy growth of the rice, therefore providing a natural substitute for artificial fertilizers. Its growth is kept under control by the grazing ducks and fish. The fish and duck droppings provide additional nutrients that the rice needs to flourish. The ducks have proven to be such effective and efficient ‘weeders’, that farmers currently employing this method of farming avoid an estimated 240 person hours per hectare in manual weeding every year. As well as controlling the insects and weeds, the ducks’ paddling feet oxygenate the water, encouraging the roots of the rice plants to grow. The ducks remain in the paddy field until the rice plants form ears of grain – which they would eat – so they are removed from the field and kept in another part of the farm and fed on surplus rice grain.

As well as rice cultivation, Mr Furuno grows figs on the edges of his paddy fields and rotates his rice-duck initiative with vegetable crops and wheat, preventing the buildup of pests in the farm soil.

The enterprise is highly productive and Mr Furuno, whose work has been cited as a leading model for small-scale organic farming systems, now shares his knowledge and working processes with governments and agricultural organisations. Despite its acclaimed success, Furuno’s model still remains what some would describe as a ‘niche activity’. While simplified systems with cheap fertilisers and a comparatively low knowledge threshold are still predominant, hopefully the high productivity and returns to be gained  from his regenerative example, which mimics complex dynamic living ecosystems, and kinder farming, will become far more appealing and lure in the larger scale operations.

Additional Resources

Rice Fish Study Thailand

Rice Livestock System Study – India