A Review on the Comparative Advantage of Intercropping Systems

Hailu Gebru


Mono-cropping style production has significant problems and that there exists a sufficient justification for studying intercropping approaches. Consequently, researchers have proposed general categories of benefits and utilities of intercropping. Benefits of intercropping are crop yield, productivity of various plant constituents, economic return, yield stability, social benefits, pest control, and fertilizer use efficiency. The most important advantage of intercropping systems includes both tall and short plant components for their potential complementarity in sunlight utilization for crop production. Because of these advantages intercropping is practiced in many parts of the world. Furthermore, because of some favorable exudates from the component legumes, greater land-use efficiency, greater yield stability and increased competitive ability towards weed, intercropping is advantageous over mono-cropping.  This review summarizes the most important aspects of intercropping system comparative to mono-cropping system. The objectives of this review are therefore, (1) to assess the available literatures on the intercropping systems so as to indicate the system as an optional cropping system where it is required accordingly, (2) to show the scientific justifications on the advantages and disadvantages of the system in an attempt to provide the comparative advantages over the mono-cropping system for selection and its influence on food security and the economy of a country especially where there is no a problem of labor, and (3) to indicate as the system can allow more efficient uses of on farm resources like water in order to enable sustainable crop production for a nation.

Keywords: competition, complementarity, intercropping, mono-cropping

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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