Complex rice systems in Indonesia combine rice production with the cultivation of fish, azolla and ducks, creating resilient system.
Complex rice systems (CRSs) are agricultural concepts that utilize combinations of plants, animals and their interactions as well as traditional and modern approaches to enhance ecological processes, enabling eliminations of agrochemicals in rice agro-ecosystems while improving high rice yields and whole farm productivity.
In the initial collaborative study between the Farming Systems Ecology group at Wageningen University and Research (FSE- WUR) and the Faculty of Agriculture, Brawijaya University (FA-UB), azolla, fish, ducks and border plants have been combined with rice plants to establish CRSs. As nitrogen (N) fixing plant, azolla provides nutrients for rice plants and feed for animals as well as a cover for soil and water surfaces to suppress weeds. Fish and ducks feed on weeds and pests above and below water surface. Border plants provide shelter for natural enemies that also produce food, feed and green manure. Consequently, elements provide improved diversity of food and increase income for farmers.
Uma Khumairoh PhD is a researcher and a lecturer in the Agricultural Faculty, University of Brawijaya (AF-UB), Indonesia. She is the coordinator of the community service programmes of the Integrated Organic Farming Systems Research Centre, (IORC AF- UB).