Intercropping/Mixed Cropping/Polycropping

Intercropping/Mixed Cropping/Polycropping
ENTRY DATE: 17 April 2015| LAST UPDATE: 17 April 2015
Categories: Agriculture | Sustainable crop management
Technological Maturity: Applicable immediately
Technology Owners:
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Farmers
  • Seed companies
Needs Addressed
  • Increased/more reliable production
  • Better nutrition
  • Livelihood sustainability
  • Crop diversification
Adaptation Effects
  • For commercial farming, maximises land productivity, maintains diversity, offers disease and pest control and eco-system health
  • For small-scale, resource poor farmers, intercropping enhances risk aversion, yield and ecological balance
  • Mixing cropping systems reduce the risk of complete crop failure due to drought or untimely heavy rainfall e.g. maize with beans, coffee and citrus, grass and cardamom are planted at the edge of terraced fields to stabilize the soil and reduce the risk of soil erosion and land slides
Overview and Features

Growing two or more crop varieties in one plot rather than in isolation. The crops should complement one another in terms of growth pattern and nutrient provision


Costs for alternative seed types

Energy Source

Human resources

Ease of Maintenance
  • Intercropping can be beneficial for reduction of weeds
  • Maintenance dependent on crops chosen
Technology Performance

Successful upon selection of appropriate crops and can enhance soil nutrient quality

Considerations (technology transfer criteria, challenges, etc.)

Must have appropriate space, knowledge and equipment

Co-benefits, Suitability for Developing Countries
  • Encourages ecosystem diversity
  • Requires few extra resources
  • Requires knowledge of complementary crops
  • Can rely on locally available external outputs though employ variety of seeds different to those traditionally used
Information Resources

Stigter, K. 2010 III.3.2. (iii) Detection of and Awareness on Increasing Climate Variability and the Elevating Climate Risk: Multiple Cropping. In K. Stigter (ed.) Applied Agro meteorology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg