Script 35.9


Reduce your weed and insect problems by keeping fish in your paddy fields. Fish feed on small weeds and insects that live in the field. Fish manure fertilizes rice and increases rice yield. And fish is a nutritious and tasty food for the family.

It does not cost you much to keep fish in your paddies. You may even save money because keeping fish in your rice paddies reduces the need for expensive pesticides and fertilizers. Keeping fish in rice paddies is not a new idea. Fish such as catfish or mudfish used to live naturally in rice paddies. Your grandparents may even remember catching them.

Fish grow quickly. They are ready to eat in two or three months. Fish is a good protein food. Protein is especially good for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, but we all need protein to stay strong and healthy. Sometimes farmers end up with extra fish to sell at the market.

If you are considering raising fish with rice, you will have to think about whether the water is safe for them. Fish depend on water; they are born in it, live in it, and get their food from it. So you must be careful not to contaminate the water with pesticides. Even small amounts of pesticides can poison fish. Keep pesticides away from any paddy that has fish in it. Don’t spray pesticides on fields next to your paddy. Also, don’t let animals that have been dusted with chemicals go into the water. Remember, fish eat many rice pests and fertilize rice at the same time. So you don’t need to use so many chemicals.

So fish are good for your rice crop and good for you. And you can make money by selling the extras. For more information about how to raise fish and where to get fish, listen for the next two programs in this series on rice and fish.


  • This script is based on “Rice fish culture”, pages 69 71 in 101 Technologies from the South for the South, 1992, published and available free of charge in English and French from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), P.O. Box 8500, Ottawa, Canada, K1G 3H9. This booklet features technological innovations in agriculture, forestry, energy, and health that were developed in the south and researched with funds from IDRC.
  • The production of this script and others from 101 Technologies was funded by the International Development Research Centre.
  • This script was written by Sarah Nettleton, Researcher/Writer, Guelph, Canada. It was reviewed by Dr. Saidu Koala, Senior Program Officer, Environment and Natural Resources Division, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada.

Information Sources

  • Farmer proven integrated agriculture aquaculture: a technology information kit, 1992, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Silang, Cavite, Philippines, and International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, (ICLARM), MCPO Box 2631, 0718 Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.
  • Low external input rice production technology information kit. The Information Service Unit, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
  • Rice fish culture, Greg Chapman and John Sollows, The Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 1, March 1990, 16 pages. CUSO, 17 Phahonyothin Golf Village, Phahonyothin Road, Bangkhen, Bangkok, 10900, Thailand.
  • A hatchery manual for the common, Chinese and Indian major carps, V.G. Jhingran and R.S.V. Pullin, 1985, 191 pages. Asian Development Bank and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, Manila, Philippines.
  • Fish farming, 1982, 72 pages. Inades Formation, 08 B.P. Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
  • Rice fish research and development in Asia, Catalino R. de la Cruz, 1992, 400 pages, ICLARM Conference Proceedings 24. Farming Systems Research Institute, Department of Agriculture, Bangkhen, Bangkok 10900, Thailand.
  • Sukamandi Research Institute for Food Crops, JI Kakya 9, Sukamandi, Subang, West Java, Indonesia.