Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Farmers trade in pesticides for ducks

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A rice production plant in Tainan County is replacing pesticides with ducks, plant owner Huang Li-chin (黃麗琴) said yesterday.

Huang said the plant’s method allowed rice fields to be playgrounds for ducks, which eat insects and apple snails that harm rice plants, and whose excrement fertilizes the fields.

But since Fangjung Rice Plant (芳榮碾米廠) began promoting the program in 2006, only six farmers have adopted the method, with their combined farmland reaching only 3 hectares, Huang said.

Hoping that more farmers and consumers would support organic farming, Huang said she was still working to have produce from the program certified as organic.

She said she was confident this would be achieved within a year.

Huang said three years was the minimum waiting time for a farm’s produce to receive certification.

The six contract farmers using this method raise ducks beside their rice farms.

Three farmers who cultivate a 1.68 hectare plot of land together have raised about 500 ducks to help them with their organic efforts, Huang said.

“We experimented with animals like frogs and chickens to carry out the mission, but found that ducks were the most effective,” Huang said.

Huang said that while ducks eat rice too, they do this only if there are not many insects around and are still very beneficial for farmland.

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