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Photographer's Note

Woman weeding her rice field

Rice is most often grown in flooded rice paddies. The flooding of rice fields is the most effective method of weed control. Flooding to a depth of 10 cm prevents germination of most weed seeds and kills the majority of weed seedlings. But rice can also be grown on dry soil. The term "upland rice" is commonly used for the cultivation of rain-fed rice on well drained, non-irrigated fields. Around the world, almost 100 million people depend on upland rice as their staple, including some of the world's poorest farmers. Upland rice is grown in diverse systems, ranging from shifting cultivation to relatively intensive systems, utilizing hand, animal or mechanized tillage and rotations with other crops, including cotton, legumes and other cereals. A wide range of weeds infest upland rice, many of which being pan-tropical. The most common method of weed control is by hand, often with the aid of hoes or machetes. Upland rice is typically grown with few, if any, purchased inputs.

The photo shows a Karen woman weeding her upland rice field near Soppong, northern Thailand. She told us that upland rice was much more work compared with flooded rice, and that changing field every second or third year (necessary rotation with other crops) was bringing its share of troubles. But she seemed to be content: her field should yield enough food for her family for the entire year, perhaps more. Behind her is the shelter they use while working in the field, a common feature of the rice cultivation landscape. Useful for keeping stuff dry, cooking, eating, relaxing, etc. And in some rare cases, it can even accommodate strangers from far away looking for a comfy place to eat their lunch! Thanks again.

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Additional Photos by Claude Belanger (cebe) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 155 W: 13 N: 294] (1491)
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