Site selection: where to culture fish with rice'
1. Does the family have a particular area in mind? Whatever the
answer, try to visit either the specific plot or the general area with one or
more family members.
2. If the family already has an area in mind, ask what they like
about the area and take these into account in considering the following points.
3. Water (most important)
The field must hold water continuously for several months; the
longer, the better, from the point of view of the fish. For best results, the
field should be covered to a depth of about 30 cm, but if some areas are
shallower or deeper than this, there is no serious problem.
Does the farmer think he can achieve this? The higher-lying the
field, the less water it is likely to catch. However, dikes and field boundaries
must be above maximum flood level. The lower-lying the field, the more
flood-prone it becomes. At what level does the farmer feel sure he can control
4. Clay will hold water better than sand. Where does the farmer
feel water will stand longest?
If the field must be placed on a sandy area, generous manuring
throughout the season will improve its waterholding capacity. How much manure
can the farmer add?
Form a compact ball from a handful of soil and drop it half a
meter to your other hand. If the ball does not break, the soil holds water well.
Successful culture is possible in poor soils, but faces more limitations.
5. How close to the farmer's house or "working shelter" can the
field be placed? This makes checking the ricefield and feeding the fish less
time-consuming. It also helps to discourage thieves.
6. Preparing the ricefield for fish culture is a lot of work.
How can the farmer take advantage of existing conditions on his land to save
manpower? Some examples are given below:
· A small knoll or
termite nest can help provide part of the boundary for the field. This will
reduce the length of the dike needed around the field.
· If the land slopes, a high
dike on the uphill side at the field is usually not needed. The lay of the land
will help confine the fish.
· Does the farmer have a pond
within the richfield already? If he can include the pond in his system, he may
no longer need to dig a trench or pond.
· If the ricefield is
basin-shaped, this can rave a lot of work. The middle of the field is the
deepest point and little effort should be needed to raise dikes.
7. Is there any chance poisonous chemicals (industrial wastes,
pesticides, etc.) will run into the field? Try to make sure this doesn't happen,
since these poisons may kill all the fish.
8. The earlier a field is transplanted, the sooner it will be
ready for fish. This means the fish may have a longer growing period.
9. The farmer may want to integrate his fish culture operation
with his livestock, vegetable garden or other operations. In such a case, the
site he selects may not be best for fish, but may be good for the whole
10. Can the placement of the pond cause neighboring fields any
The placement of the pond cause
neighboring fields any problem
11. Any other considerations? Ask the farmer!
Prepared by:JOHN SOLLOWS
FARMER-PROVEN INTEGRATED AGRICULTURE-AQUACULTURE