Interculture

Field trials have been used to ascertain compatibility and productivity in intercropping mixtures. Ginger is successfully grown with appropriate populations of Capsicum pepper, vegetable okra, and a food crop such as maize (Figure 7.1a—c). Varying mixture

Figure 7.1a Ginger—bell pepper intercropping.
Figure 7.1c Ginger—maize intercropping.

components enhance total crop yield through complementary yield advantages, which also give high productivity efficiency. Relative yield totals also remain higher than monoculture yield but maize components at >40,000 per hectare depress the ginger yield. Nonetheless, there is a better utilization of environmental factors, greater yield stability, a useful variability in the specific food supply and an ensurance against any failure of one component in the mixture. Moreover, planting and harvesting done in phases has ensured a relaxed spread of the crop supply to the household. It has also provided a better cash flow and maximizes output. Interaction due to this compatibility has persisted to occur in the form of complementary action and mutual cooperation rather than antagonism. The general evidence of benefits confirm Wrigley's (1969) report that intercropping leads to multiplying the net return of yield (kilo calories/hectare) as well as higher monetary returns to the grower.

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