I love innovations that are simple, few are simpler than this one!
I am working on a Local Economic Development initiative over the next two weeks in the Philippines and I learned about this fascinating practice called “Integrated Rice Duck Farming” IRDF for growing organic rice.
Organic Rice Farming with Ducks
Essentially the farmer does away with sprays and weeding labour costs by letting the duck do all the work. The duck wades through the rice paddies and eats the weeds, leaves it’s droppings behind which fertilize the the crop and voila you have integrated rice duck farming and organic rice. Yields can increase by 20% or more. The practice is not without it’s challenges, but they are working on refining some of the issues.
Value Add Marketing Opportunity
When I heard this I kind of went crazy. If this story got out properly under a well branded, premium label and marketing initiative and sold to places like Whole Foods and President’s Choice I think the product would do extremely well. Actually, I think if they could package and market this story correctly it could put this part of the Philippines on the map, sell more rice and likely create an agri-tourism opportunity, to grow a much broader economy – including selling the “IP” and training others in IRDF. That’s where I think there is a powerful economic development opportunity.
Overcoming Gaps for Prosperity
However, one of the missing links I am learning about in economic development in the Philippines and something I discovered back home is that farmers in general are really good at farming few are good at marketing.
I am hopeful that some of these rural innovations with incredible potential to create prosperity in the Philippines country-side find their way to market and raise the standard of living in the community.
Dan pioneered the practice of Creative Rural Economy, Economic Development in Prince Edward County, Ontario for 10 years until 2011. Now he is the President and CEO of the Greater Peterborough Economic Development Commission and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Clusterwhere his role has expanded to include both urban and rural creative economy work. Dan also speaks regularly to groups, organizations and conferences in order to help them grow their economies.
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P.S. I know of a similar practice in vineyards where they get sheep to do the same kind of work… graze for weeds, fertilize the field and create a wonderful grape growing environment. Do you know of any similar practices and or have links to videos or on-line resources? If so please share.