The FAMCare Blog

Nonprofits Take on the World's Food Supply

Posted by GVT Admin on Mar 20, 2024 10:50:02 AM

World Food Sustainability


  • In 1992, the Atlantic cod population on Canada's northeast coast collapsed under fierce fishing pressure to less than 1% of its historic biomass. This collapse was the largest fisheries collapse the world has ever seen.
  • Nearly 80% of the world's fisheries are already fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide, 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish, such as sharks, tuna, marlin, and swordfish, are already gone!
  • Greenpeace lists: “Atlantic Halibut, Monkfish, all sharks, and Blue Fin Tuna” as overfished species.
  • Globally, the share of fish stocks which are overexploited (we catch them faster than they can reproduce to sustain population levels) has more than doubled since the 1980s, and this means that current levels of wild fish catch are unsustainable.


Rice, a staple food for over half of the world’s population, also faces many challenges. It is estimated that the world's rice supply will decrease 20% by 2050. A leading driver of habitat and biodiversity loss in wetland forests, conventional rice farming significantly contributes to climate change, accounting for about 10% of global man-made methane emissions and consuming nearly 30% of the world's fresh water. The sustainability of rice is threatened and, with it, the world’s food supply.

Rice/Animal Co-Culture

Traditional intensive rice monocultures, prevalent in China and India, are not only susceptible to climate change-induced disruptions but also contribute significantly to environmental degradation.

  • However, an ancient yet underutilized practice offers a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to contemporary farming practices. Rice-animal co-culture (RAC) is an innovative agricultural practice that involves cultivating rice in paddies alongside various aquatic animals such as fish, shrimp, ducks, and crayfish. This symbiotic approach harnesses the synergies between rice crops and aquatic livestock.
  • The presence of ducks in rice paddies serves as an ingenious pest management solution. With their voracious appetite for insects, ducks provide natural, chemical-free pest control, reducing the need for harmful pesticides. This ecological balance safeguards both the rice crop and aquatic life. While foraging for insects, ducks also assist in weed control. Their paddling movements help churn the soil, disrupting weed growth and other unwanted vegetation.
  • Meanwhile, the incorporation of fish into rice paddies initiates a symbiotic relationship. Fish excreta is a natural fertilizer, enhancing the soil and providing essential nutrients for rice growth. This nutrient cycling, further enriched by the organic matter of ducks and crayfish, creates a dynamic ecosystem within the paddies. Integrating fish and crayfish into rice paddies diversifies the farm’s output by providing an additional source of protein and income for farmers while contributing to a more sustainable and economically viable rice farming model.
  • Another RAC benefit is that the shared use of water resources among rice, fish, ducks, and crayfish maximizes the efficiency of water use. Water circulates through the system, benefiting each component and reducing waste. This integrated approach minimizes the environmental footprint and optimizes the farm’s productivity.

Fish in the Fields

The Resource Renewal Institute's Fish in the Fields program integrates the practice of rice-fish co-cultivation into modern agricultural practices. It stemmed from the Nigiri Project, an initiative to restore threatened native salmon populations in California’s winter-flooded rice fields. The Nigiri Project demonstrated that these fields provided an abundant food source for salmon fingerlings. FIF launched in 2012 to create a sustainable alternative to threatened ocean forage fish and discovered that rice fields are 10 times more productive for raising fish than wild systems and require no additional expensive fish feed.

Thanks to Patagonia

Nonprofit funding from Patagonia played the pivotal role in urging a deeper exploration of the methane pollution associated with rice production. "The search for a solution led us to published research that documented the effect of small fish on methane emissions from a freshwater lake,” RRI President Deborah Moskowitz said. “Applying this research to our rice field plots we made an unprecedented scientific discovery—adding fish to fallow flooded rice fields naturally and dramatically reduces methane in the water column.”


Topics: Nonprofit General, social issues

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts





Search the Blog

  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.