The synergy between fish and rice

No, this is not a sushi advertisement but the result of a scientific study reported by Nature.

In southern China, farmers have been cultivating fish and rice in the same fields for more than 1,200 years — with good reason, according to a group led by Xin Chen at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. Farming fish and rice together (co-culture) achieves the same rice yield as growing rice alone (monoculture), but uses 68% less pesticide and 24% less chemical fertilizer.

Both cultures ‘help’ each other and themselves. Rice benefits fish by providing shade and reducing water temperature during the hot season. Fish swimming among the rice plants bump into the stems, knocking off as many as one-quarter of pests called rice planthoppers. In addition, nitrogen from unconsumed fish feed is taken up by the rice plants, boosting yields.

There are probably plenty of other instances in which co-culture does as well if not better than technology.