Examine the primary modern methods of producing crops, livestock, and fish used to increase the production of food. Determine a specific health risk associated with the production of each of these food sources, giving an example of each, and suggest an improvement to the method of production that would help prevent these health risks.
The fish cultivated and the general farming practices are amenable to easy integration, the grass carp feeds on grass and other vegetable matter which can be grown on the dikes and adjacent agricultural land. They also feed on aquatic plants which can be raised in canals and other adjacent water bodies. Aquatic plants such as Pistia stratiotes, Eichhornia crassipes, Alternanthera phyloxorides and duck weeds, are grown for feeding fish or pigs and poultry on land. Sugar cane, corn and bananas are some of the other crops grown in association with fish farms the leaves, stalks or other waste products are chopped or crushed and fed directly to the fish or composted to be used as fertilizer. Silver carp and big head feed on plankton which can be grown by the application of organic manures provided by pigs, cattle, and chicken raised by the side of fish farms. As mentioned, pigsties are often built on pond dikes, facilitating the application of manure, either directly or after fermentation. Duck farming in association with fish, is also reported to be practiced in a few places. In areas where silk production is prevalent, mulberries are planted on the pond dikes. The silkworm pupae and other wastes are used to feed the fish. Fish pond silt is an excellent fertilizer for land crops and is commonly used by farmers. In areas without adequate irrigation, pond water may also be used for irrigating crops, when necessary. The commune or production brigade members can also be considered as an element in this type of integration and recycling, as they eat fish and other farm products and human wastes are used to fertilize ponds and crop land.
The allocation of land and water for fish, crops and livestock varies. For example, in one state farm, about 60 percent of the land was devoted to fish culture, 14 percent to pigs and cattle, 14 percent to cultivation of fodder and 10 percent to growing rice and wheat.
The advantages of integration are obvious. As far as fish production is concerned, it serves the major purpose of providing cheap feedstuffs and organic manure for the fish ponds, thereby reducing the cost and need for providing compounded fish feeds and chemical fertilizers. By reducing the cost of fertilizers and feedstuffs the overall cost of fish production is reduced and profits increased. The study group was told that the profit from fish culture is often increased 30-40 percent as a result of integration. Secondly, the overall income is increased by adding pig and/or poultry raising, grain and vegetable farming, etc., which supplement the income from fish farming. Thirdly, by producing grain, vegetables, fish and livestock products, the community becomes self-sufficient in regard to food and this contributes to a high degree of self-reliance. Fourthly, the silt from the ponds which is used to fertilize crops increases the yield of crops at a lower cost and the need to buy chemical fertilizer is greatly reduced. It is estimated that about one third of all the fertilizer required for farming in the country comes from fish ponds. The production of freshwater pearls in fish ponds provides one more additional source of income.
As pointed out earlier, the main motivation for integrated farming is the accepted national policy of all-round development, where the economic benefits of individual operations do not figure very prominently. The social and political milieu of the country is highly favorable for such development. From the limited experience in some other countries also, it appears that the introduction of integrated farming can play a major role in rural development in developing countries. However, the study group does not believe that the Chinese system can be transplanted as such to other countries. Species of fish, crops and livestock to be raised will have to be selected on the basis of local conditions and requirements. In most other developing countries the objectives of integrated farming will have to be heavily oriented to economic, social and nutritional benefits. Farmer cooperatives or other associations may have to be built up to meet the manpower requirements for economically viable units. Suitable pilot projects will have to be designed and implemented to test the systems and based on the results of such projects, further development will have to be planned.
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