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From the Field: Lao farmers serve up fish with rice

Farmers in Laos are rediscovering ancient practices by cultivating rice and fish in the same field after more modern farming methods are failing to provide them with a liveable income.

A farmer in Lao holds up a bag of fresh fish that he has cultivated in his rice field.
A farmer in Lao holds up a bag of fresh fish that he has cultivated in his rice field., by © FAO/Xaykhame Manilasith

Rice-fish has a millennia old history in the landlocked South East Asian country, but the practice has fallen out or practice largely due to the intensification of rice production and the accompanying pesticide use.

However, a combination of population growth, deforestation and damage to the natural environment has led to a decline in food production and a growing inability of communities to sustain themselves.

But now, farmers are working with local authorities and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to diversify the range of aquatic species grown in rice fields, creating in the process a more productive and biologically diverse environment which is helping to reduce poverty.

 

Ahead of World Food Day, marked annually on 16 October, read more here about how farmers are serving up fish with rice.

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