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Technology refinement of rubber/banana intercropping using a farmer participatory approach

Authors:

V. H. L. Rodrigo ,

Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, LK
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C. M. Stirling,

University of Wales, Bangor, GB
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S. Thennakoon,

University Sri Jayawardenapura, LK
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A. M. W. K. Senivirathna,

Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, LK
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P. O. Pathirana

Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, LK
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Abstract

On-farm adoption of the technologies developed under on-station conditions has been below expectations, demanding technology refinement in accordance with the requirements of end- user farmers. However, assessment off armers' needs and subsequent adjustment of the technology are time consuming compared with that of direct recommendations which have often been practiced. The study reported here was on the technology refinement of rubber/banana intercropping and identification of issues related to rubber cultivation at the smallholder level in Sri Lanka. Planting of a single row of banana between two rubber rows had initially been recommended in rubber/banana intercropping, however, an on-station experiment showed that planting density of banana with rubber could be increased threefold without any deleterious effect on either crop. Based on some preliminary observations on farmers' needs, a series of on-farm experiments were set up in four villages in both the wet and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka. Both bio­physical factors on plant growth and socio-cultural effects in the rural context were also taken into consideration. Finally, the observations made by scientists were verified through a farmer participated central workshop.

 

Selection of rubber by the smallholders was driven by two main benefits, firstly as a long-term income source and secondly to secure land ownership. Intercropping was a practical measure to generate income during the early stage of rubber cultivation, particularly in the intermediate zone where farmers depend more on on-farm than off-farm activities. The extension services on rubber were not up to expectations of the farmers. In addition to the market factors, crop selection for intercropping was based on the income level of farmers and availability of family labour. Among the systems tested, two-row planting system for banana with rubber was found to be the most suitable system for smallholders.
How to Cite: Rodrigo, V.H.L., Stirling, C.M., Thennakoon, S., Senivirathna, A.M.W.K. and Pathirana, P.O., 2003. Technology refinement of rubber/banana intercropping using a farmer participatory approach. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension, 6, pp.77–84. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tare.v6i0.5444
Published on 30 Dec 2003.
Peer Reviewed

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