INTEGRATED RICE-DUCK FARMING AND VALUE CHAIN
About the Implementing organization
Name: Women Empowerment Movement-Rural Improvement Club (WEM-RIC), Inc., Province of Zamboanga del Sur
Year of establishment: 2013
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Community enterprise or business , Women’s association or organization
The integrated rice-duck farming system (IRDFS) is about growing rice and ducks together in an irrigated paddy field. The paddling movement of the ducks stimulates plant growth, while duck manure naturally fertilizes the soil. The ducks also eat the harmful insects and weeds, thus eliminating the need for pesticides and herbicides.
Based on the experience of more than 1000 rice-duck farms in the Philippines, IRDFS has increased rice productivity up to 9 tons per hectare (average is only 4.2 tons), while reducing the cost of production by 30%.
The IRDFS has also facilitated the growth of agrienterprises along an integrated rice and duck industry value chain such as rice-duck farms, duck breeder farms, hatcheries, duck meat and egg processing and retail, etc, all of which provide market-based solutions that increase the productivity, income, and overall quality of life of women and men farmers and other value chain players.
WEM-RIC is an advocate of the IRDFS and its related enterprises along the value chain, and facilitates technical assistance for farmers interested to learn and adopt the technology in their family or group farms. WEM-RIC also promotes the consumption of iron and iodine-rich duck meat, as well as duck eggs as an alternative to chicken. Duck eggs stay fresher longer, due to their thicker shell. They are also richer in albumen and contain more Omega-3 fatty acids. People who cannot eat chicken eggs due to allergies can often eat duck eggs.
Rivers / Grasslands
Type of Action
Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security
As a sustainable organic farming system, IRDFS eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides/herbicides. Due to the elimination of synthetic inputs, the physical and chemical properties of the soil are improved over time.
As much as 21% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide consist of methane gas that is released primarily by flooded rice fields. This is because flooding cuts off the oxygen supply to the soil and accelerates the decomposition of organic matter, releasing methane into the atmosphere. Studies in China show that ducks in the rice paddies effectively reduce the emission of the greenhouse gas methane, ultimately contributing to alleviate global warming.
While similar studies have yet to be conducted in the Philippines, it is highly probable that rice-duck farming is impacting Philippine rice paddies and its surrounding environment in the same positive manner.
Sustainable Development Impacts
About 10 WEM-RIC organizations are managing small-scale (100-150 heads) duck breeder farms. 80-90% of the mother ducks lay 1 egg each day, which are sold every 3-4 days. Egg sales are invested back to the farm to procure duck feeds and pay for labor. A portion of the sales is also set aside as income or savings of the organization. Fresh eggs can also be placed in an incubator to hatch after 28 days and sold to rice-duck farmers.
Other WEM-RIC organizations are engaged in duck egg retail. This enterprise is about procuring fresh eggs and adding value by processing them into balut (a popular street food) or salted eggs. Members take on different roles in processing, cooking, and selling the eggs.
Even duck manure can be a source of income. In some of the breeder farms, the liquid duck manure is collected and mixed with rice hull and sold as fertilizer. One women’s group has also experimented using the manure in a small biogas digester to produce natural fuel for cooking.
Rice production has always been important to the food supply of the country. Since the mid-1960s, the Philippine government has invested in the cultivation of high yielding rice varieties. It also undertook a major expansion of the nation’s irrigation systems, which grew from under 500,000 hectares to 1.5 million or almost half of the country’s potentially irrigable land in 2009. Despite these efforts, rice productivity remains low. Many farmers are in debt because of the rising prices of agricultural inputs, namely chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides, which are still widely used.
Rice-duck farming has great potential to solve these problems but it requires a robust duck industry. Fortunately, the high demand for balut and salted duck eggs has triggered the emergence of local duck industries in Luzon and Mindanao such as in Bukidnon Province. What is important too is for these industries to be inclusive, ensuring that small farmers are engaged and benefit from the value chain.
Developed by Japanese organic farmer Takao Furuno in 1988, the IRDFS was introduced in the Philippines in 1997 by Jose Apollo Pacamalan, a Filipino organic farming and rural development advocate and practitioner, who met Furuno in the Philippines and went to Japan to learn the technology. Other countries such as Korea, China, Nepal and Bangladesh have since adopted the IRDFS.
The proliferation of duck enterprises due to the high local demand for duck eggs (mainly because of balut), however, remains unique to the Philippines. While this rural development business model may not be applicable in other countries, others can explore other market-driven solutions that are more appropriate to their context. An example is the large demand for duck meat (Peking duck) in Japan and China.
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