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SOS SOILS : the mad rice…

While the French foundation to compensate carbon is teaching the world how to behave to avoid high carbon emissions in the atmosphere, with lots of communication and financial partners… A drama is taking place just under our eyes south of France… In Camargue the rice fields are being tilled and sunk under water, which is provoking the equivalent of a traffic jam under the Paris Arch of Triomphe for every acre… In Camargue we are talking of millions of acres which are releasing green house gazes which are participating in the global warming.


It seems here, like people are walking on their heads. Scientists tell Camargue is a place which will disappear under the sea level in 30 years… and they do everything to accelerate the process…

Organic or not they till the soil and sunk it under water … hopefully labour is costly here otherwise they would do like in Asia repiking the plantlets of rice… All this when the famous Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka has been saying for forty years that you don’t need to do this to cultivate rice. One can raise the crops of rice efficiently by cultivating the natural way. Please read his book « the one-straw revolution ».

The natural agriculture when it comes to rice consist in : sowing rice associated with grains of a leguminous plant (clover for example) in a field of high grass ; then cut the grass ten days later while spreading the grass cut on the field to create a mulch on the surface. Then ten days before harvesting sow the next crop also associated with a leguminous seed (barley together with alpha alpha or any other) ; never let the soil nude, always enrich by itself at each crop. Instead of leaving your field nude in winter you get another crop.
According to Fukuoka, the techniques of sinking the rice field under water and repicking rice has been created by the Japanese Shoguns to avoid peasants rebellions while putting them at hard work.

One question as important : where have disappeared all the carcasses and the animal flours of the mad cow scandal ?
In Camargue again… something even more perverse has been invented for the rice culture : since March, thousands of big 500kg bags are sitting along the rice fields waiting to be spread on hundred thousands acres of rice fields : organic fertilizer they call it according to a decree 2092/91 modified (interior law from the French ministry of agriculture)…  Here is what is becoming of the carcasses at the origin of the BSE problem ( Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis) better known as mad cow disease … These animal flours are now used to feed the rice, organic or not…

It was yet amazing to have organic rice cultivated with the water of the Rhone river at the same time when the river was forbidden to any fishing and swimming because of the excess of pathogenic PCBs for human beings.
So now you have the rice fed with animal flours, which is also labelled organic. Who knows if these animals have had any antibiotic or any compulsory anti parasite injection ? Still organic ?
Prions, are ultra resistant cells, pointed out as a cause of the mad cow scandal, are they really destroyed by the process used to make the fertilizer ?
Nothing seems really sure as they add the caption « do not let animal pasture the field 21 days after spraying » … don’t you remember about animals eating animal flours ?

Here in Camargue these huge sacs are everywhere, along the fields, near the houses, in the mid of the « Mas » the local farms… and it smells of cadaver… dogs and foxes have broken some sacs and ate a bit of the mixture… they don’t do it twice. Our little fox terrier almost died the other day after tasting it.

But the worst is not that this fertilizer is used in rice culture ; it is also very popular among a majority of organic vegetable producers… just imagine, it is labelled organic fertilizers.

But let us come back to reason. Once more we are spreading NPK fertilizer without knowing if the soil needs it. We are cultivating without before understanding the dynamic of the soil. We use standard recipes systematically without trying to know what nature is already purveying to help the farmer. Maybe one day somebody will listen to the old Japanese Wiseman who is having record crop after record crop while using the natural way, while here we are experiencing a decline of production year after year. Maybe it is time to think instead of repeating the same process everywhere. Save our soil for the future generation.


Oh, just one more action for the planet : the products for the fields here in Camargue are also sprayed by helicopter… the big mosquito of the Camargue which sprays the fields surrounding the houses, with a big cloud of toxic product.
In one house you hardly hear through the open window a baby crying …  I dont know if this helicopter is carbon compensated but I’d rather let you appreciate its’ agility. The pilot is probably one of the best in France, or at least the one who cumulates the more flying hours.

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