This article is from ECHO Asia Note #4

Does rice straw have any value? Looking at the practices of most farmers, it seems not! The burning of rice straw is a common sight during the harvest period in many parts of Asia. Yet a number of farmers think otherwise. One of them is Isidro Prado from Alba in the municipality of Tago, Surigao del Sur, Philippines. He does not consider rice straw as open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API ECHO Website In This Issue The Amazing Effects of Rice Straw Preserving Bamboo with Borates ECHO Agricultural Conference for Northeast India Contact Us ECHO Asia Regional Office P.O. Box 64 Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand e choasia@e chone Quick Links ECHO Agricultural Conference 2010 Dec. 7-9 Fort Myers, FL trash to be disposed of in the easiest way. Instead he recognizes rice straw as essential for maintaining the fertility of his rice field. About eight years ago, he learned that returning the rice straw could help to overcome the problem of zinc deficiency that was prevalent in his rice field at that time.

Prado, now 69 years old, started cultivating the rice field he inherited from his parents in 1969. For about 15 years he cultivated his rice field like most farmers: using high yielding varieties (HYV), fertilizers and pesticides. Although he considered a yield of about 40 cavans (one cavan equals 50 kg or 110 lbs.) from his 0.38 hectare (0.94 acre) field acceptable, he felt lucky to have even five sacks of palay (unhusked rice) left over for consumption; barely enough to last his family a few months. Unfortunately, most of his produce went to the money lender who asked up to 10 cavans as payment for each 1,000 Philippine pesos (1 US dollar = P 47.2) of borrowed capital.