K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand (Read: Princess Sirindhorn) performed the traditional rice harvesting ceremony in a rice field where ecological engineering was applied. Flowers and vegetables were grown on the bunds to increase biodiversity to increase ecosystem services as well as provide vegetables. Earlier in October, HRH the Princess planted some of the yellow flowers on the bunds. The fields were insecticide-free, the pests were low and natural enemies appreciably higher. The ceremony was conducted in the rice field of the Chulachomkloa Royal Military Academy in Nakhon Nayok. The Rice Planthopper book published by IRRI was presented to HRH the princess.
The plants on the bunds around the rice fields were mainly to increase biodiversity anresources for natural enemies, particularly hymenopteran parasitoids. In addition selected plants, like the sesame, gourds, okra and pumpkin can also generate extra income. Data collected by scientists have shown that fields surrounded by sesame have increased parasitoids (Read: Rice with sesame). In discussions with Rice Department staff, HRH the princess urged researchers to develop ecologically sustainable methods that will provide farmers with a diversity of income sources.