Coconut is the most important plantation crop grown in coastal area of Odisha and it provides food and livelihood security to millions of people in the country. Normally, coconuts planted at a spacing of 8m x 8m to 10m x 10m offer good opportunities for an effective utilization of the interspace between the palms. Since the maximum effective root zones is 2 m, only 12.6 to 19.6 % of the total area is effectively utilized for a single palm leaving 80.4 to 87.4 % available for other crops. However, with the traditional cropping system, farmers are finding it difficult to produce adequate food to feed their families. The only way to convert these holdings into profit-making ones is through the intensive use of land through diversification of crops. Thus an integrated system with several crop combinations to maximize land use and generate additional income. The practice of multiple cropping permits crop diversification to spread out the risk to more crops thus eliminating the dependence of income on a single crop.
To improve the productivity and effectively utilization of land, energy and water resources as well as income of farmwomen, the effort was made to standardize suitable intercrops in coconut based multi-storey cropping model with banana, papaya and guava as second storey crops. The second story crops were planted at a spacing of 3x3 mt between coconut plants. Different ground storey intercrops like cowpea, turmeric, elephant foot yam and pineapple were taken in the interspaces of the main crop. This system enables a steady supply of farm products the whole year round. This system will give income 4- 5 times more as compared to traditional system. The care of ground storey crops is taken by the farmwomen. The coconuts benefited very likely from the additional fertilizers applied on the intercrops, an addition to weed management and cultivation thereby increasing yield.
The farmers who have with coconut palms can take up this technology for food security and additional income.
Naresh Babu , ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Tested and modified for crop combination based on agro-climatic condition.
2013-16 to enhance productivity per unit area.
Rs 8-12 /kg produce