Agroforestry with coconuts and other tropical plantation crops

TitleAgroforestry with coconuts and other tropical plantation crops
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1983
AuthorsNair, PKR
EditorHuxley, PA
Secondary TitlePlant Research and Agroforestry: Proceedings of a consultative meeting held in Nairobi, 8 to 15 April 1981
Date Published1983
PublisherInternational Council for Research in Agroforestry
Conference LocationNairobi, Kenya
Keywordsagroforestry; coconuts

The perennial plantation crops of the tropics occupy about 8 percent of the total arable area in developing countries and are very important, both economically and socially. Research has helped to increase substantially the yields of many in the recent past. Modern plantations maintain their traditional monocultural production strategy but smallholder farmers tend to adopt less well studied integrated and intensive land use practices, often combining perennial cash crops with the production of food crops and livestock in what are, essentially, subsistence production units. Some of these systems are noted.

The coconut palm is one of the most widely grown tree crops in the tropics with a total area of over 6 million hectares, mostly as smallholdings in densely populated areas. The growth habit of the palm is remarkably suited both to small-scale production and to combination with other crops. The age and stand density of the palms is an important factor in determining the type and form of crop association. Integrated mixed farming in smallholdings and grazing of cattle under extensive stands of palms are also common. Where the intercrop and the coconut crop are properly manured and well managed, a substantial number of additional crops can be produced without impairing long-term productivity. Commensal interactions in some such plant associations have been noted. Such intensified systems are well suited to smallholder situations.

The examples given of intensive coconut based systems are relevant to other smallholder plantation crops using some form of plant association or mixed farming technique that will result in higher income and land equivalent ratios per farm. As with the development of the coconut systems, their development will need to be supported by adequate research efforts (author).


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