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Paddy-Cum-Fish Culture: Innovative idea for entrepreneurs in rural areas

Adita Sharma1 and Arpita Sharma2and Dr.Amita Saxena3

1M.F.Sc. Student , Dept. of Fishery Biology, College of Fisheries, 2Ph. D. Scholar, Dept. of Agricultural Communication, College of Agriculture , 3Professor, Dept. of Fishery Biology, College of Fisheries ,G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar– 263145 (Uttarakhand)


In areas where paddy fields remain water for 3 to 8 months in a year, paddy cum fish culture can provide an additional supply of fish crop. The culture of fish in fields, which remain flooded even after the paddy is harvested, might also serve as an off-shore occupation for farmers. In recent years, however, with the advent of high yielding verities of paddy, the use of insecticide, pesticide, weedicide and fungicide, many of which even in minute quantities are highly toxic to aquatic life, has become widely prevalent. Fish culture, therefore, is no more compatible with paddy farming wherever the latest high yielding verities of paddy are cultivated. Paddy-cum-fish culture is an old practice in several countries as Japan, Malaysia, Italy, China and India. In some north eastern states of India it is practiced to an appreciable extent. As paddy fields remain flooded with water for several months, fish can be grown there at low cost in addition to rice. Over 80 million ha of land produce the world’s supply of rice, and in favorable situations at the end of the season, paddy-cum fish culture yields 3 Kg. or more of fish per ha for an inundation period of 3 to 8 months.

The species of fish commonly reared in the paddy cum fish culture are

Cyprinus carpio (common carp)

  1. Cyprinus carpio var communis ( scale carp)

  2. Cyprinus carpio var specularis ( mirror carp) and

  3. Cyprinus carpio var nudus ( leather carp)

There is omnivorous bottom feeder spp and are characterized by deep bodied and short heads. The distinguishing features are small scale. Large shining and scattered scale and leather appearance due to absence of scales. The rice varieties cultivated in the plateau are not only posses strong roots but also withstand to floods. Hence, Paddy crops get not much disturbed in integrated culture with the fish. The fish farmers of the rural areas actively involved in fisheries activities to increase fish production.

Methodology for rice field preparation

Site selection: The site selection for paddy cum fish culture is low lying area where water flows easily and available at any time in needs. The soil of the paddy field is fertile organic manure and has highly water retaining capacity.

Preparation of paddy plots:

  1. Bundh construction: The plots selected for paddy cum fish culture are normally prepared in the month of February by raising their embankment all along the plots. The paddy fields are suitable for fish culture at the areas because of strong bundh, which prevent leakage of water to retain water upto desired depth and also guarded the escape of cultivated fishes during the floods. The dykes should be built strong enough to make up the height due to geographical and topographic location of the paddy field. The bamboo screen mating done at the base of the bundh for its support.

  2. Dressing of paddy field: after the completion of bundh construction the base of paddy fields are leveled with the help of spade and local made wooden plates called sampya. Manual weeding is done during the month of February folloed by construction of irrigated channel for easy passage, storage and draining of water. There are 2-3 channels constructed at the middle of paddy field for water management. That channel divides the paddy field perpendicular and horizontally bisect at a point. It is important to note that almost all paddy field have one or two inlets and more outlets. The former serve as entry of water required for the field and the later as outlets, one which remains at the bottom side of the dykes is meant for draining out the water for harvesting paddy crops and fishes. The remaining outlet constructed at the middle height of the dykes is meant for maintaining desirable water depth. Once the dressing work is over, the paddy field is ready for transplantation of rice seedling and fish seed stocking. However, the stocking of fish seed is done after 10-15 days of transplantation of rice seedling from its nursery bed.

Table 1: physicochemical characteristics of soil





85.71- 96.62(%)



3.12- 11.69(%)








Organic carbon (%)



Organic matter



Soil colour

Light brown, blackish


Total nitrogen

0.22- 2.54(%)


Texture class

Loamy soil, sandy


Available phosphorous

2.90-4.50 mg/100 gm

Management of water supply: The farmers of the areas have sound knowledge of trapping water for paddy field. They construct barricades using wooden/bamboo poles across the stream, rivulets etc to divert water to irrigational channel for the paddy fields. The irrigational channel varies from 0.5 to 2 metres in wide.

Source of fish seed: The progressive fish farmers who normally produce adequate size of fish seeds by rearing in small size ponds for a period of about 1-2 months and sell it to the farmers who grow them directly in paddy fields and farms.

Organic fertilization of paddy fields: The plots utilized for rice-cum-fish culture is mainly based on organic fertilization with a verities of animal excreta such as poultry dropping, pig excerta, cow dung and waste of plants such as rice husks, waste product of local beer and ashes from household brunt and remains of burnt straws after the harvest is over and compost fertilizer like decomposed straws, weeds and rice stalks etc.

Stocking of fish seeds: Before releasing of fish seed to paddy field the paddy transplantation from rice seed beds to main paddy fields is done in the month of April, and there after paddy is left for two weeks for strengthening of paddy roots, the fish seed @ 2500 nos./ha area is released. The fish rearing period varied from 3-6 months and the paddy rearing period is 5-7 months.

Harvesting: Gears use for harvesting fishes is simple bamboo made basket called cane/bamboo. The fish culture for the period of 3-4 months in rice field, a production of 200-300 Kgs/ha achieved and while fish grown for the period of 5-6 months; 400-500Kgs/ha yield has been reported in the same season. Methodology used for harvesting used for harvesting, first the water is drained through outlet pipe, and thus allowing fishes and water accumulated in mid channel of paddy field, thereby the fishes are caught with the help of tasing puda, hand picking etc. and then stocking in large plastic bucket in live condition. After completion of fish harvesting the paddy harvesting followed. Normally paddy harvesting is made last part of Sept. & Oct. The paddy production range from 3500-4500 Kgs/ha from the same plot of land.

Marketing: fish harvested from the paddy field are marketed at the local market a live or fresh condition because of high market demand, live fish sold @ Rs. 120/- per Kg and fresh fish @ 100/- per Kg. during the lean season, the market price fluctuates. Marginal fish farmer sell their produce in fish market or in the paddy field itself. During the peak season, the fish production from these paddy fields also reaches in the capital markets. During the due rearing period paddy and fish no chemical insecticide/ pesticide/ fertilizer apply in the entire paddy field.



Jhingran V.G. (1980), Fish culture in rice fields, Fish and Fisheries of India. 475-477.


mode Tage and ngilyang Pussang (2009). Paddy cum fish culture. National symposium on coldwater fisheries management. Pp.44-48.

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