Myrna A. Santelices | Teresita J. Avila | Minerva I. Morales | Jimmy T. Masagca | Aurora E. Araojo | Estrella T. Tribiana | Vicente G. Padilla | Eduardo Peña | Sonia A. Torio | Ma. Luz A. Floralde | Jennifer Berces
The Integrated Rice-Fish (IRF) farming system as FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) intends to diversify livelihood opportunities of fisherfolk and farmers, and also serves as in situ conservation of indigenous rice cultivars in the island province of Catanduanes. Ecological symbiosis exists in the traditional rice-fish agricultural system, wherein fish provides fertilizer to rice, regulates micro-climatic conditions, softens the soil, disturbs the water, and eats larvae and weeds in the flooded fields; rice provides shade and food for fish. Furthermore, multiple products and ecological services from the co-ecosystems are beneficial to local farmers and the environment. These can give farmers the options to increase income and in situ conservation of indigenous rice cultivars and other organisms. Mature technologies and sustainably adapted technologies on IRF are now readily available for fishermen and farmers in order to be infused in the system for increasing income and provide sources for them and to support the initiatives at Catanduanes State Colleges (CSU) on assisting fisherfolk and rice farmers to diversify their livelihoods and increase income through IRF farming. Baseline surveys conducted in four municipalities in Catanduanes on the status and acceptability of the farming system among officers and members of women organizations (Sto. Domingo Women Group, RI Women Group, K-4 plus and BHW) who were consulted showed keen interest and considered it important. Queries for possible livelihood trainings to be conducted on IRF by CSU were pursued during field work that resulted to the design of two models for implementation. Accelerating the implementation of IRF is needed and expected to yield fruitful results for upscaling throughout the province in support of the livelihood diversification approach (LDA) in food and human security initiatives of the CSU.