Inter/mixed crops may be selected based on the climatic requirement of the inter/mixed crop, irrigation facilities and soil type. The canopy size, age and spacing of the coconut are also to be considered. Market suitability should be taken into consideration before selecting an intercrop.
A. Below 7 years of age: Any suitable annual crop for particular soil type and climatic condition may be raised as intercrops upto 5 years after planting depending upon the canopy coverage. Groundnut, sesamum, sunflower, tapioca, turmeric and banana can be grown. Avoid crops like paddy and sugarcane etc.
B. 7 – 20 years of age: Green manure crops and fodder crops (Napier grass and guinea grass) alone can be grown.
C. Above 20 years of age (20 years of age has to be adjusted based on the sunlight transmission of above 50% inside the canopy): The following crops can be grown depending on the soil and climatic suitability.
Annuals: Groundnut, bhendi, turmeric, tapioca, sweet potato, sirukizhangu, elephant foot yam, ginger, pineapple
Biennials: Banana varieties Poovan and Monthan are suitable.
Perennials: Cocoa*, pepper*(Panniyur 1 or Panniyur 2 or Panniyur 5 or Karimunda), nutmeg* and vanilla*
*Suitable areas in Pollachi tract of western region and Kanyakumari district. For vanilla, use disease free planting material and maintain high vigilance to maintain a disease free crop.
Multiple cropping system
Coconut + banana + sirukizhangu + bhendi is suitable system for the eastern region. Crops like banana, pepper, cocoa, nutmeg, vanilla can be tried under multiple cropping system in suitable areas in the western region. In all the systems, apply recommended quantity of water and manures and fertilizers to the intercrops separately.