ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 78 Number 2
Intercropping plantain systems with crops of different maturities and population densities. (71)
Field experiments were conducted during the 1992 and 1994 cropping seasons to determine the optimum population densities of melon, maize, and cassava that are compatible with plantain in a plantain-based cropping system. Plantain at a density of 1666 plants ha-1 was intercropped with three densities of melon (5000 plants ha-1, 10 000 plants ha-1, and 20 000 plants ha-1), maize (13 000 plants ha-1, 26 000 plants ha-1, and 53 000 plants ha-1), and cassava (5000 plants ha-1, 7000 plants ha-1, and 10 000 plants ha-1). All crops were also planted in monoculture at their recommended spacing of 20 000 plants ha-1, 53 000 plants ha-1, and 10 000 plants ha-1 for melon, maize, and cassava, respectively. There were 13 treatments replicated four times in a randomised complete block design. The results of the experiment showed that intercropping melon up to 20 000 plants ha-1 had no significant effect on plantain, but maize and cassava at the densities of 53 000 plants ha-1 and 10 000 plants ha-1, respectively, significantly delayed the days to shooting of plantain by 34 days and 159 days, respectively. Plantain bunch yield was also reduced by 28% and 46% in intercrop with maize and cassava, respectively, when compared with sole plantain. The total relative yield of all population mixtures was greater than one land equivalent ratio [(LER) > 1] but the contribution of plantain to the LER was reduced as the population of maize and cassava increased in the intercropping system. The economic returns of each intercrop showed that intercropping plantain with melon at 20 000 plants ha-1 gave a higher return than the other combinations. Generally, productivity of plantain in these intercropping systems was in the order of melon > maize > cassava.
Keywords: Plantain; Intercropping; Melon; Maize; Cassava