The growth of Guyana’s other crops sector is undeniable. This is driven by various factors in the economy. However, one farming feature that may be overlooked is intercropping. This simple technique has significant benefits and is perhaps one of the reasons why farmers stay in the business.
During a recent interview, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Chief Executive Officer of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) said that the Institute advices both small and large farmers to intercrop. Pleasingly, many have heeded this advice and have been reaping the benefits.
“Intercropping increases yields by doubling up on available growing space. Importantly, proper crop selection is required since not all crops are suitable for intercropping. If intercropping is not done well, the farm would be a haphazard collection of plants. That is why our Extension staff advises farmers on suitable crop types,” he noted.
Dr. Homenauth explained that coconuts farmers are encouraged to intercrop with pineapples, red beans, peppers, and tomatoes to generate income given the time span the nuts take to appear. Also, the farmer is maximizing the use of the land.
One other crop farmer, who has heeded NAREI’s advice, is Deodat Persaud of #56 Village Corentyne, Berbice. The 54-year-old’s homestead comprises sweet peppers, corrila, bora, purple cabbage and onions.
This has proven to be a profitable venture. Weekly, wholesalers purchase vegetables from his farm. The excess he sells at the Skeldon Market.
Farming is more than a business for Persaud. It has become a lifestyle: the discipline in caring for crops; negotiating with buyers; and learning and experimenting with new techniques showed by NAREI’s Extension staff.
Every so often, Persaud plants different crops on his farm. He recently planted 350 roots of the Titan variety of sweet peppers. He knew to get the best from this crop because shaded technology was necessary. So in the absence, he improvised. The farmer intercropped with corrila, which he grows on a harbour. The sweet peppers were planted under the corrila.
“My sweet peppers coming good just like if they were under a shade house also the crop is not being affected by plenty pests,” Deodat said.
While, the corrila crop is being used as a shade, it may be preventing certain pests from attacking the sweet peppers, that is one of the benefits of intercropping, Dr. Homenauth said. He noted that intercropping creates biodiversity, which attracts a variety of beneficial and predatory insects that is not possible with monoculture gardening.
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