Français

Script 53.10

Notes to broadcasters

In Cuba, as in many other countries, farmers cannot afford expensive fertilizers and chemicals. The Cuban government encourages farmers to use less expensive traditional farming techniques such as intercropping. The following radio spots highlight the benefits of intercropping. The examples came from many different parts of the world. Use these radio spots to promote interest in your program on intercropping (see script 9), or as examples to “illustrate” a longer program you may wish to prepare.

Script

1. Maize and sweet potatoes

How can you grow more food on your land? And save time? And protect your soil? Intercropping! Intercropping means growing more than one crop in your field at the same time.

Farmers in Nepal grow maize and sweet potatoes together. They learned this method from their parents, who learned it from their parents. Farmers can grow more food on their land. And they save time because they can hill up the potatoes at the same time that they first hoe their maize. And here s another benefit. During the rainy season, the leaves of the sweet potato cover the soil between the maize plants. So, the soil doesn t wash away. In fact, planting maize and sweet potatoes together protects the soil. So try intercropping!

2. Tomatoes and sweet potatoes

How can you grow more food on your land? And save time? And reduce pests? Intercropping! Intercropping means growing more than one crop in your field at the same time. There are many advantages to intercropping. In Honduras, Farm Radio Network member Miguel Rodriguez discovered that planting crops together can reduce pest damage. He plants sweet potatoes and tomatoes in the same field. First, he sows the tomato seeds in the nursery. After three or four weeks, he transplants the tomato seedlings to the field. At the same time, he plants sweet potatoes. He plants one row of sweet potatoes, then one row of tomatoes, and so on. Miguel notices that there is less whitefly damage when these crops are grown together.

So, try intercropping to reduce pests!

3. Sugarcane and groundnuts or beans

How can you grow more food on your land? And save time? And reduce your risk? Intercropping! Intercropping means growing more than one crop in your field at the same time. Intercropping can increase your security by reducing your risks. If you plant two crops together and one crop fails, the other will grow, and provide food and money for the family.

Farmers in Mauritius, India, and the Philippines know this. Many grow food crops with sugarcane. They grow groundnuts or beans between rows of sugarcane. In this way, farmers reduce their risks. Not only do they make money from selling sugarcane, they also provide food for their families. And they may get some extra money from selling the other crops — the beans or ground nuts. Even if a hurricane destroys the sugarcane crop, there will be food to eat, and some money.

4. Ginger and soybean, sweet corn or cabbage

How can you grow more food on your land? And save time? Intercropping! Intercropping means growing more than one crop in your field at the same time. This practice can help you increase yields. Some crops are larger and healthier when they are planted next to certain other crops. For example, ginger grows best in the shade. So, if you plant ginger beside soybean, sweet corn, or cabbage, the ginger gets the shade it likes. And you get higher yields of ginger. You also produce a second food crop on the same piece of land.

5. Cowpeas or beans with maize or rice

How can you grow more food on your land? And save time? And improve the fertility of your soil? Intercropping? Did you know that it can increase soil fertility? Intercropping means growing more than one crop in your field at the same time. Here s an example of how intercropping can increase soil fertility. Silvanuss Legbara, a farmer from the African country of Nigeria, was having problems. His grain yields were getting lower and lower each year, no matter what he tried. He wanted to let some of his land rest for a season, so it could become fertile again. But he had to use all his land to grow crops — there was no extra land available. He solved his problem by planting grains and legumes together in the same field. Now he grows legumes such as cowpeas and soya beans, together with grains such as maize and rice. The legumes add nitrogen to the soil, which helps keep it fertile. You too can increase the fertility of your soil by intercropping

Acknowledgements

Contributed by Vijay Cuddeford, writer/researcher, DCFRN.

Reviewed by: Roger Samson, Executive Director, REAP-Canada (Resource Efficient Agricultural Production), Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Canada.

Information Sources

Intercropping increases ginger yield,” in PCARRD Farmnews, Year X, No. 5, May 31, 1984, page 9. Philippine Council for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines.

Traditional potato/maize intercropping, a viable practice,” by S.P. Chand, in LEISA: ILEIA Newsletter for low external input and sustainable agriculture, Volume 13, No. 2, July 1997, page 30. PO Box 64, 3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands. E-mail: ileia@ileia.nl

Experiments to control whitefly,” by Miguel Rodriguez, in Footsteps, No. 24, September 1995, page 4. 83 Market Place, South Cave, Brough, East Yorkshire, HU15 2AS, UK. E-mail: imc@tearfund.dircon.co.uk

Nigerian farmers share their knowledge,” in African Farmer, Number 3, April 1990, page 51. The Hunger Project, 15 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010, USA. E-mail: csc@thp.org