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Increases Agricultural Production
Generally, intercropping is a way of making the most out of
limited resources by growing plants with complementary needs for light, water
and nutrients. It has been discovered from research that the more limited the
resources, the greater the advantage of intercropping.
intercropping, the risk of total crop failure is reduced. It has been found out
from research that the possibility of disastrous failure of sorghum and the shrub
like legume pigeon pea is five to seven time less when they are grown together
than if they are grown apart.
is a traditional practice in much of Africa. In the past, many development projects
have done their best to replace it with mono-cropping. However, recent research
has shown that the peasants were right all along. It is because intercropping provides
a high and more stable output and conserves the soil better. Moreover, it
provides a denser cover of vegetation, augments the infiltration of water,
reduces erosion, keeps weeds down and slows the spread of pests and disease.
A research has
shown that when farmers grow the tall cereal sorghum and the low lying legume
ground nut together, the combined yield is 25% greater than if the crops are
grown separately on the same area. Intercropping cowpea and millet gives a
production 50% higher than mono-cropping. One can get high benefit when no
legume is involved. Likewise, when cassava is grown together with maize, the
maize which shoots up first often yields as much as when it is grown alone. Actually,
the cassava gets its head after the maize is harvested, and its output of 9 to
19 tons per hectare comes as a poor bonus.
important is the fact that intercropping is more stable from year to year, so
the farmers’ risk of crop failure is low. Farmers in the southern Sahel often
intercrop millet and sorghum as an insurance against drought.
population growth is higher than agricultural growth in many countries,
especially in developing and least developed ones. Consequently, hunger has
become a grave problem, intercropping can play a meaningful role.