The whole yields more
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CTA. 2001. The whole yields more ?. Spore 93. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46179
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore93.pdf
The relatively young Kenyan NGO SACRED-Africa (see Spore 82, page 15) is extending its work to improve maize-legume inter-cropping in ways that can be quickly adopted by farmers. SACRED stands, incidentally, for Sustainable Agriculture Centre for...
The relatively young Kenyan NGO SACRED-Africa (see Spore 82, page 15) is extending its work to improve maize-legume inter-cropping in ways that can be quickly adopted by farmers. SACRED stands, incidentally, for Sustainable Agriculture Centre for Research and Development in Africa. Their MBILI programme, which stands for Managing Beneficial Interactions in Legume Inter-crops, is based on the Swahili word for two. It aims at improving yields of legumes such as beans, green gram and groundnut - grown with maize. The basic approach is to plant one row of maize and two rows of legumes alternately. This creates more favourable light and soil conditions within the under-storey legumes whilst maintaining normal plant populations. SACRED s field trials compared the performance of various legumes with maize, with and without local DAP fertiliser and with yields under mono-cropping. These indicated that, without fertilisers, the two MBILI rows can improve legume yield and total crop value up to 13% compared to inter-cropping with one row maize and one row legumes. Legumes that require more sunlight, such as green gram and groundnut, perform particularly well. When farmers are able to invest in modest amounts of DAP fertiliser, MBILI can improve yields by an additional 20%. If sustained these returns could be exciting, even if such increases are not rare in field trials. SACRED-Africa urges realism in interpreting trial results. In many cases, even modest investment is difficult for farmers. The real test of MBILI rests in its large-scale adoption and adaptation by farmers and their willingness to adjust their cropping practices accordingly. [caption to illustrations] When intercropping with maize, three s not a crowd: planting legumes in two rows gives them more space and light SACRED AFRICA PO Box 2275, Bungoma, Kenya Fax: +254 33 72 02 35 Email: email@example.com Website: www.acts.or.ke/sacred