It's an experiment in unused fish ponds: rice cultivation in Brandenburg. An agricultural company has now started its first harvest in Linum in Ruppiner Seeland - north of Berlin. The initiator of the project, Guido Leutenegger, spoke of a success and announced that he wanted to increase the area fivefold in the coming year.
The entrepreneur told the German Press Agency: "We are euphoric that the harvest worked." According to him, four to six tons are harvested from almost 10,000 square meters. "It's okay on the surface."
After planting the seedlings and starting cultivation in May, the harvest began on Friday. After a break due to unsettled weather, it is expected to be completed next week.
“It could have been, it’s all going to shit,” said Leutenegger, whose business in Linum mainly breeds carp. "There was a lot of skepticism as to whether it would even be possible to produce larger quantities of rice." He is convinced that rice cultivation is "a viable option" for the pond area, where all fish ponds are no longer needed. Now we should analyze what could be improved. In May, Leutenegger had already said: “I can just imagine that this will be a niche product.”
But the “hardness test” is still pending, namely whether the rice tastes good, as the entrepreneur said. His plan: The Linumer Teich rice should be sold in farm shops in the future and go into the catering industry.
The price will not be able to compete with rice from Asia, such as that found on supermarket shelves, but it will also not become an unaffordable luxury product. It should cost a maximum of 30 percent more, said Leutenegger.
The entrepreneur was confident that rice cultivation in the Linum pond area will continue next year. The grains will then grow on an area of 5 hectares.
From the perspective of experts, rice cultivation is new territory in Germany. There are still large rice fields in Italy, a comparatively far north growing region for the grain from Asia.
From the perspective of the fishing association, flooded rice fields are not an alternative for pond farming. In May, association managing director Lars Dettmann was curious about the results of the cultivation trial.