Farmers urged on coffee, banana inter-cropping

Agricultural researchers have encouraged farmers to engage in banana-coffee mixed farming saying that the practice increases production by 50 per cent. The findings were based on a study conducted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) whose report was released late last month. 
COMMENDED: Dr Daphrose Gahakwa (File Photo)
COMMENDED: Dr Daphrose Gahakwa (File Photo)

Agricultural researchers have encouraged farmers to engage in banana-coffee mixed farming saying that the practice increases production by 50 per cent.

The findings were based on a study conducted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) whose report was released late last month.

Researchers encouraged farmers in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi to join Ugandan farmers who they said were already benefiting from the practice.

Basing  on an evaluation conducted in 2005 in Uganda by both IITA and the Ugandan National Agricultural Research Organization to assess, it was realized that farmers earned nearly 50 percent more income from intercropping coffee and bananas.

“The study showed that when farmers intercropped banana plants with coffee in their fields, the coffee yield remained almost the same, while additional income was obtained from growing bananas,” says Piet van Asten, the IITA Systems Agronomist based in Uganda.

In a telephone interview with The New Times, Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, the head of the Institute of Science and Technological Research (IRST) commended the practice saying it was suitable for farmers in the country.

“The report’s resolution is good and applicable given the advantages that come with it, mainly improvement in productivity of the two crops,” Gahakwa said.

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