Philippines - Ducks in the rice fields to improve peasants’ lives

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The use of ducks in the rice fields is a real revolution for the Filipino peasants.

The method, imported from Japan, is simple: the ducks, who scratch at the soil with their beaks, aerate the water and allow for a stronger crop of rice. They live on the parasites in the fields, which are harmful to the young plants, and so are substitutes for pesticides. In addition, their droppings make excellent manure that supports the fertility of the soil.

In Leyte, in the Visayas region, Philnet-RDI leads campaigns to promote organic farming and to raise awareness about the dangers of farming with chemicals. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers, as well as being harmful to the environment (polluting the soil, water, and food), are very expensive. In Leyte, numerous peasants have had to take on debts in order to buy them. When they are unable to repay their accumulated debts, the poorest farmers must then give up their fields, their only source of revenue, to ruthless creditors. By concentrating its efforts on organic agriculture, Philnet-RDI gives the poor back the possibility of making a decent living from farming.

Update: Tuesday 3 March 2009