Potential economic and nutritional benefits of complex rice systems for small-scale farmers in West Sumatra, Indonesia

Andre Sparta, Uma Khumairoh*, Diego Valbuena, Jeroen C.J. Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Small-scale farmers in South-East Asia face serious challenges in agricultural productivity, food security and environmental degradation. Complex Rice Systems (CRS) entail an integrated farming approach that combines new technologies with traditional practices and knowledge to sustainably increase agricultural productivity. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential of CRS by adding rice, fish, ducks and border crops to rice fields in Lima Puluh Kota (West Sumatra, Indonesia) to improve rice productivity and dietary nutrient supply. The treatments were: conventional rice (CON), organic rice (ORR), organic rice with border crops (ORB), organic rice with fish (ORF), organic rice with ducks (ORD), and organic rice with ducks, fish, and border crops (CRS). The experiment resulted in improvements in growth, development and yield of rice in CRS and ORD compared to other treatments. Despite elevated costs, treatments with ducks also resulted in a higher gross margin than the other treatments. CRS produced the most diverse nutritional composition, and higher nutritional value compared to ORD. It was concluded that CRS can contribute to higher rice yields, improved farm income and more diversified diets, and thus providing a comprehensive approach to improve livelihoods and food security of small-scale farmers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Agriculture and Horticulture
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2020


  • Diet
  • dietary diversity
  • food security
  • labour
  • nutrition
  • polycultures
  • revenues
  • rice productivity

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