The disadvantages of using pesticides and its impact on the planet are persistent and not a new issue of discussion even if crucial one.
People all around the world are looking for reliable alternatives from farmer to scientists. Everyone is desperately finding ways to save the earth while maximizing the healthy crop production.
The health degradation such as deformities since birth has been an alarming issue due to regular consumption of pesticide-rich staples.
Countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Iran have been using an ancient technique to tackle this issue. They are using ducks to save the crops. It is the rice-duck farming system!
Ducks have proved to be a reliable solution for healthy rice paddies. Ducks are left open in the rice/ paddy fields where they roam around on their own eating up the insects and weed.
While these ducks eat these insects, they cause no damage to the paddy fields and rice plants are left unharmed.
The ducks also feed on the seed of weeds which means there will be less or no weed in the next harvest. Moreover, this helps plants to be more resistant to extreme weather and typhoons.
The ducks are also used in grape vines too. Indian runner ducks have been used in Asia for thousands of years as pest control technique. These ducks are now in South African vineyards too, eating snails in grape vineyards that damage the plants.
Vergenoegd Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa has about 1,000 Indian runner ducks. These ducks parade twice a day for about five hours every five days a week keeping the snails and pests away.
In a small village in Xiangyang, China the farmers are in the journey to revive this technique named as integrated rice-duck farming with the desire for high-quality food.
In 2012, Liu Shangwen, previously an environmentalist and now an entrepreneur, began his business of high-quality food. His business failed because of lack of supply of healthy food.
Following this, he began the integrated rice-duck farming system which is gaining popularity at present day. In 2012, only 7 farmers took part and now it is above 50 while there are many on the waiting list.
Integrating ducks into rice farming has helped farmers to cope with the effects of climate change in the area. The temperature in the hilly region of Xiangyang has risen in recent years making the crops prone to insect attack.
The use of pesticides has not been effective to produce healthy crops while it degrades the soil quality gradually. The use of ducks has saved the region from the insect attacks since ducks are very good at spotting insects and killing them.
The only issue with ducks is that they get fat. Few weeks old ducks are used in this rice-duck farming technique. Likewise, as the ducks grow up and field starts budding, they need to be kept away from the fields as they would be saviours-turned-predators.
Commercializing rice-duck farming is getting popular method of controlling pests. Nevertheless, this technique still requires a boost so that it is adopted widely not only in villages but most parts of the world.