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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters on intercropping in sugarcane plantations

Farmers across Africa commonly practice intercropping. Beans or squash are planted alongside maize, for example. There are many advantages to planting more than one type of crop on the same land. Farmers can make the most of the available land, sunlight, water, and nutrients. In this week’s story, farmers plant vegetables at the same time as a new sugarcane crop. The vegetables use the space, sunlight, and nutrients before the cane gets so tall that it shades the shorter plants. Researchers have also found that having some plants between the sugarcane prevents erosion and protects the soil – lots of reasons for trying it out!

For general background information on the technique of intercropping, visit: http://www.allindiary.org/pool/resources/intercropping.pdf

The Kenya Sugar Research Foundation website has lots of information about sugarcane in Kenya, and efforts to increase agrobiodiversity in sugarcane growing areas : http://www.kesref.org/innerkesref.php?subcat=28&sublev=2

Read more about some of the indigenous vegetables Mr. Wafula grows:

Spider plant http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/165/crops

Amaranth http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/169/crops

Black night shade http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/142/crops

Jew mallow http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Corchorus%20olitorius_En.htm

Farm Radio International has published scripts about how well-managed intercropping can benefit farmers, whether through reducing plant pests, or diversifying the food consumed at home:

-Understanding Plant Diseases (Package 72, Script 2, September 2004) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/72-2script_en.asp

-Crop Rotation and Intercropping Reduce Damage from Striga Weed (Package 72, Script 6, September 2004) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/72-6script_en.asp

-Diversify Crops to Keep your Family Healthy (Package 65, Script 1, October 2002) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/65-1script_en.asp

Here are two Farm Radio Weekly stories related to intercropping:

-Uganda: Coffee and bananas make good neighbours (FRW 90, November 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/11/30/2-uganda-coffee-and-bananas-make-good-neighbours-iita/

-East Africa: Indigenous vegetables make a comeback (FRW 87, November 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/11/09/2-east-africa-indigenous-vegetables-make-a-comeback-new-vision-new-agriculturalist-2/

Intercropping is a relatively easy, low input, and low cost technique that can improve soils, increase productivity, increase diversity and incomes. Certain crops work well together, such as cereals and legumes. Farmers may be interested to hear more about the science involved, and then experiment with their own crop mixtures. You could seek out an expert from an NGO or the government, as well as a farmer who has experience with intercropping, to have an informative, discussion-based radio show.

One Response to “Notes to broadcasters on intercropping in sugarcane plantations”

  1. umar dogar Says:

    in our region there iz no farm and we have no sense that how to cultivate the sugarcane form…………………

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