Population of our planet is constantly growing. The threat of insufficient food supply in the near future encourages intensification of the search for more productive agricultural technics. At Natural Habitats, we believe that well-planned intercropping is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to increase agricultural productivity.
Intercropping, as well as other forms of multiple cropping, is an ancient method of intensive agriculture that involves cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field. It has been practiced in many parts of the world as a way to maximize land productivity. The idea behind the technic is that crops that differ in their growth requirements and are complementary to each other make a better overall use of available resources. According to Dr. Stephen Gliessman’s research , University of California, “In areas of the world where multiple cropping is a common aspect of agroecosystem management, productivity generally is more stable and constant in the long term.”
Our agronomists believe that intercropping technic can also be beneficial for oil palm plantations. Palms are relatively tall trees that cast shade on vegetation below. However, the fact that weeds still widely grow around them suggests that there is a sufficient light penetration. Therefore, Natural Habitats initiated a research on intercropping for oil palm in Ecuador. Martijn Reus, an MSc student at Wageningen UR and ISARA Lyon, is currently investigating the effectiveness of combining palm with cacao. There are several reasons for choosing this combination of crops. First of all, cacao naturally grows well in a shade. Second, root systems of palm and cacao crops are complementary: cacao roots go deep down, and palm roots stay shallow. Therefore, the cultivation of cacao together with oil palm could be a good alternative to the wild weeds that usually surround the trees. The research is still in the process, but the results seem promising.
Yet, the intercropping technic has many advantages, many agronomists rightfully highlight the possible negative effects of the method: competition for light, water or nutrients is a plausible outcome of the practice. However, the fact that advantageous mixtures do exist demonstrates the need for an extensive research into intercropping. For instance, scientific evidence suggests that for temperate climate, the total yield from an agroforestry system (intercropping with trees) is 1.29 times higher than if they were grown as monocrops on the same area. Our organic agronomists are confident that this method of agriculture will help to maximize land productivity in a natural and sustainable way.
Half of an avocado
250 ml fresh orange juice.
Natural Products Expo is largest and the most important trade show on the east coast and Natural Habitats is delighted to be a part of it;
Natural Habitats is eager to meet, connect and engage with like-minded businesses and customers that share our credo of sustainable and organic production for a more responsible and social world;
Natural Habitats is excited to see the mixture of different cultures at the Natural Products Expo and learn more about their heritage and typical products;
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