RAJSHAHI: Inter-cropping with sugarcane has been found as more beneficial to the farmers as it can boost total crop production per unit area coupled with ensuring sustainable sugarcane cultivation with higher economic benefit compared to other crops.
Systematic inter-cropping- potato, onion, lentil, mug bean, garlic and some other winter crops, vegetables and spice help increases sugarcane yield compared to sole-cropping.
Quoting the field-level research findings and farmers views the sugarcane researchers and agriculturists revealed this while talking to journalist.
Dr Khalilur Rahman of Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute (BSRI) at Ishwardi, revealed that inter-cropping not only increase total crop production but also help improve soil health and fertility with little or no negative effect on sugarcane yield and quality.
Terming the sugarcane as a cum-cash-cum-industrial crop of Bangladesh, he said its farming is being gradually pushed into low-lying marginal lands due to high demand of cereals and vegetable crops. Besides, the national average yield is far below than potential yield.
Although a good number of high yielding modern varieties and production technologies have been developed at the BSRI but these modern varieties and production technologies failed to increase national average yield to a satisfactory level.
Principal Scientific Officer Dr Samajit Pal said the BSRI has, so far, developed more than thirty production packages of different winter crops suitable as inter-crop with sugarcane but the technologies could not be expanded to the farmers' level due to lack of proper initiatives.
To overcome the problems, BSRI developed a series of high yielding varieties of sugarcane and production technologies especially inter-cropping packages for sustainable production under particular agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions for the poor farmers.
Multiple cropping, in general, refers to planting two or more crops in the same field in a same year.
It involves intensive crop cultivation in terms of effective use of space and time. It plays an important role in promoting the development of agriculture in many countries of the world especially in densely populated developing countries with scare land reserves.-Asfar