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Rice-fish culture Integrating rice and fish farming systems

Rice-Fish System Boosts Profits, Enhances Lowland Land Use for Food Security and Prosperity

Rice-fish co-culture ensures food and nutrition security by synergistically cultivating rice and fish. This sustainable method boosts small farmers' income through rice and fish sales while maintaining environmental safety by eliminating agrochemical use. Overall, it's an innovative and efficient approach to enhance food security, economic stability, and environmental sustainability.

This technology is pre-validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 9/9; level of use 7/9

Cost: $$$ 5,428 USD

Initial Cost per Ha

ROI: $$$ 115 %


3,016 USD

Operating Cost

18,188 USD/ha



Open source / open access


  1. Food and Nutrition Insecurity:

    • Insufficient access to a diverse and nutritious food supply.
    • Lack of dietary variety leading to nutritional deficiencies.
  2. Market Vulnerability for Smallholder Rice Farmers:

    • Dependency on a single crop (rice) makes farmers susceptible to market fluctuations.
    • Limited income diversification options contribute to economic instability.
  3. Environmental Pollution from Agrochemical Use:

    • Excessive application of agrochemicals contributes to soil and water pollution.
    • Negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystem health due to chemical runoff.


  1. Enhanced Profitability:

    • Increased economic viability with a higher benefit-to-cost ratio (2.2) compared to sole rice cropping (1.6).
    • Addresses the problem of widespread food and nutrition insecurity by improving economic returns.
  2. Market Resilience for Farmers:

    • Rice-fish farmers demonstrate greater resilience to market shocks, mitigating vulnerability.
    • Diversified income sources from both rice and fish sales contribute to economic stability.
  3. Nutrition Security through Fish Consumption:

    • Fish consumption directly addresses the challenge of nutritional deficiencies.
    • Enhances food security by incorporating a more diverse and nutritious diet.

Key points to design your business plan

Rice-fish co-culture technology offers a multitude of benefits, including increased profitability, diversified income streams, improved food security, and enhanced climate resilience. By integrating fish farming with rice cultivation, users can achieve higher economic returns, ensure a more diverse diet, and minimize environmental impact.

Considering the cost structure, it's essential to note the initial investment, which amounts to US$ 5,428 per hectare. This includes expenses for land preparation, seed procurement, rice netting, fish protection measures, and irrigation infrastructure. Additionally, operational costs are estimated at US$ 3,016 per hectare.

Training plays a crucial role in the successful implementation of this technology. A dedicated team of trainers can provide the necessary guidance and support during business installation, ensuring efficient operation and maintenance.

Collaboration with key partners, such as fish farmers (fry sellers) and veterinarians, is imperative for the seamless integration of rice-fish co-culture technology.

With the potential to generate a profit of USD 18,188 per hectare, this technology boasts a remarkable return on investment of 115%, making it a lucrative opportunity for users seeking sustainable agricultural solutions.


Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive high
Under 18
Positive high
Positive high

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps a lot
It helps them grow and thrive
Carbon footprint
It reduces emissions a little
It makes a big difference
Soil quality
It makes the soil healthier and more fertile

Negative or unknown impact

Water usage
It uses more water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Ethiopia Not tested Adopted
Ghana Tested Adopted
Liberia Not tested Adopted
Mali Not tested Adopted
Nigeria Not tested Adopted
Senegal Not tested Adopted
Sierra Leone Not tested Adopted
Uganda Not tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 3: good health and well-being
Goal 3: good health and well-being
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 13: climate action
Goal 13: climate action
Sustainable Development Goal 1: no poverty
Goal 1: no poverty

  1. Field Preparation:

    • Ploughing and leveling the rice field while constructing bunds for water retention.
  2. Pond Refuge Construction:

    • Building a pond refuge across the field's width to provide water for fish during reduced water levels.
  3. Predator Protection:

    • Installing a welded wire mesh fence around the field to safeguard fish from predators like snakes.
  4. Rice Transplanting:

    • Transplanting rice seedlings into the prepared field.
  5. Irrigation:

    • Providing irrigation to maintain optimal water levels in the field.
  6. Fish Stocking:

    • Introducing fingerlings into the field for the establishment of the fish component.
  7. Bird Protection:

    • Covering the entire field with nets to prevent predatory birds from affecting fish and rice crops.

Last updated on 30 April 2024