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Improving Modern Agriculture Through Inter-cropping

Improving Modern Agriculture Through Inter-cropping
Farmers are shown how to use methods of inter-cropping effectively in the West,
October 02
09:30 2015

Cane farmers in the Western Division have been encouraged to consider the practice of inter-cropping with mechanisation.

This was said during a Technology Transfer Field Day conducted at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Legalega Research Station in Nadi.

Inter-cropping is the traditional agricultural practice of cultivating two or more crops in the same space at the same time.

Integrating traditional practices with modern mechanised agriculture is one way of improving yields and reducing the environmental impact associated with agriculture as well reduce labour costs.

Fiji Sugar Corporation Lautoka Mill general manager, Viliame Savou, said the event was beneficial to the cane farmers as they were able to witness and find out first-hand the benefits of embracing the practice of inter-cropping.

“There is enormous competition for the use of available land and a dire need to increase the productivity per unit area. Intercropping is one of the ways to increase the land productivity,” he said.

Mr Savou urged the cane farmers to take advantage of inter-cropping in order to increase farm profitability and also contribute to improving and sustaining the sugar cane production in Fiji.

“There is a need to start thinking of working collectively in a group where farmers can share the intercrops that can be planted and also the revenue that can be generated.”


Strategies developed

The Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF) developed three strategies to transfer technology of intercropping to farmers.

Principal Research Officer (Horticulture), Shalendra Prasad, said the Ministry is promoting the diversification of farming system from mono-cropping to inter-cropping and technology to sugarcane farmers.

“The three strategies includes intercropping of short term crops, utilisation of headlands to plant banana, cassava and mangoes and thirdly is the practice of crop-rotation with sugarcane basically rice,” Mr Prasad said.

Inter-cropping has not only increased the total crop production but helps improve soil health and fertility with no negative effect on sugarcane yield and quantity.

Ministry of Agriculture technical staff members later demonstrated to sugarcane farmers the use of mechanical planter for seeds.

Tavua farmer Balsant Singh said he has been practicing inter-cropping and has improved the fertility of his soil with planting of legumes.

As labour is becoming scarce as cost has increased, he believes the idea of mechanising inter-cropping will be of assistance.


What is Inter-Cropping?

Inter-cropping is the traditional agricultural practice of cultivating two or more crops in the same space at the same time.



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