SHI farmers cultivating rice paddies are able to produce eight times the rice than that of traditional slash-and-burn rice. An SHI Field Trainer will bring a few farmers together on a family’s farm to create a rice paddy system, usually 4 to 8 paddies. SHI will then provide the initial seeds for the rice cultivation and the farmer will learn the techniques to establish a healthy crop. The farmers that provided assistance in digging the original rice paddy system will return to their farms with their portion of seeds. They have the knowledge and skills to construct their own rice paddies without the need for a field trainer to accompany them. With the support of other surrounding farmers, they are each able to build a rice paddy system on their farm and enjoy the nutritional and economic benefits these paddies provide. This approach requires minimal initial resources of tools and seeds, but will provide enough rice throughout the year to make slash-and-burn rice cultivation a much less desirable option for the farmers.
Farmers can also integrate fish into their rice paddies to help with nutrient cycling. The fish eat the insects and weeds while fertilizing the crop. The farmers stagger the planting throughout the year so the fish move through the system as needed. Once the fish become too big for the rice paddies, they become a protein and income source for the family. These systems are conducive to the organic farming practices promoted by SHI and are a great way to make degraded land productive for generations to come. They also provide the farmer, often for the first time, with enough rice to feed her family year-round and sell in the local markets for additional income.
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Integrated Aquaculture: Rice Paddy Success
Panama Program Update - Fall 2009
During the past fiscal year, SHI- Panamá expects to graduate 27 families in the communities of Bella Florida, Los Alonsos, La Cabuya, and La Mata, and begin incorporating new families into already participating communities.Staff have received several trainings in collaboration with APOCHI, a collective of organic producers in Chiriqui, and is introducing families to nutrient dense crops like amaranth (calaloo). Over the next several months, we will be working to integrate various projects according to nutrient flow in order to…Read more...
A Woman of Importance
The way we work with Sustainable Harvest in the community is as a collective unit. What this means is that we now help one another on our land, sharing ideas, harvests, successes and failures. From day to day and week to week, the groups of families perform rotations, whereby no one family plot is worked on more than twice in one week. During the planting and harvesting of crops, rotations are at their peak.Read more...
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