Biodiversity and Soil Quality in ago-ecological traditional rice based farming systems in the Mekong Delta: Tu Viet “Lua Mua” Rice Farm in Chau Thanh District of Kien Giang Province, Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Researchers of Mekong Organics (Mekongorganics.com), RCRD (An Giang University), and Can Tho University undertook the first survey to evaluate the potential of traditional rice farming in terms of biodiversity and soil quality in Tu Viet farm and the neighboring farms, in Chau Thanh District of Kien Giang province. The farms are cultivating traditional rice (lua mua) which is not in demand for ago-chemical inputs in comparison to conventional high yielding variety (HYV) rice. Due to the natural and safe environment of traditional rice, it is expected to accommodate a great biodiversity, including the compositions of plants, fish, birds, and reptiles.

Fig.1. Canals surrounding traditional rice are used to raise fish, shrimps, and crabs.

Apart from rice production, the farmers are able to enhance income by integrating the traditional rice system with ducks, fish, shrimps, and crabs. Further, there is an enormous number of plants recorded which can be used as edible vegetables and medicinal herbs. With respect to soil quality, traditional rice systems are expected to protect the integrity of the soil, to enhance organic matter, and to conserve the diversity of microorganisms.

Fig.2. A farmer standing next to a duck cage is catching fish on traditional rice.
Fig.3. Some common plants and animals occurring in the traditional rice farming systems.

Written by Pham Tan Dat

The research of biodiversity in traditional rice farming systems is one of the components of the project (Nguyen Van Kien | The Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation).

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