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home \ Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System, India

Kuttanad is a larger mosaic of fragmented landscape patches and varied ecosystems like coastal backwaters, rivers, vast stretches of paddy fields, marshes, ponds, garden lands, edges, corridors and remarkably networked water ways. It is a delta region of about 900 sq. km situated in the west coast of Kerala State, India.

It is the only region in India that practices rice cultivation below sea level. The Kuttanad Below Sea-level Farming System (KBSFS) is unique as flat stretches of rice fields in about 50,000 ha of mostly reclaimed delta swamps. The rice fields, which are popularly known as "Puncha Vayals" exist in three landscape elements: Karapadam (upland rice fields), Kayal (wetland rice fields) and Kari (land buried with black coal like materials).

The Kuttanad farmers have developed and mastered the spectacular technique of below sea level cultivation nearly 150 years ago and they made this system unique as it contributes remarkably well to the conservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem. The integrated rice and fish cultivation is the livelihood for local communities.