Intercropping of horticulture and horticulture crops in one field has not only enhanced profit for horticulturists but also ensured economic safety and better returns for them.
With improved technology, cross-cultivation of short and long-term crops — tomato and jasmine — in one acre of land has resulted in increased profitability and regular income throughout the year.
The farmer can also offset the loss that might occur in one crop with the profit in another crop, says M. Sakthivel, a floriculturist in Sempatti, who has raised jasmine and tomato in one acre of land.
“To get the first yield in jasmine, I have to wait for a year. My investments will not stop till harvesting. I receive no returns in the period. Raising tomato helps me maintain my income. I start harvesting tomato from the 40th day. Harvesting will continue for 140 days. I raise two tomato crops in a year. Later, jasmine will fetch me income. Now, it is important to grow additional crops as labor and input costs are same. With no extra expenditure, we can maximize income. Instead of tomato, chilli can also be grown in jasmine field. But brinjal should not be grown as it will affect flowering plants,” he adds.
Small onion (shallot) can also be raised on bunds of irrigation channels. No additional water is necessary. Adoption of simple technologies will also improve the quality of vegetables. After harvesting onion, cauliflower can be raised in the same field. Such cropping method will enhance the quality, color and taste of the flower, he says.
Sakthivel gets Rs. 350 per a bag containing 20 cauliflowers in Madurai wholesale market.
While inspecting his farm on Wednesday, Collector T.G. Vinay said farming should be carried out scientifically, especially raising of hybrid crops as they were sensitive to climate, soil and water condition. Any deviation in cultivation pattern would affect its growth and yield. Farmers should grow as many crops as possible to make agriculture remunerative, he added.
Deputy Director of Horticulture Suresh Sri Ram said saplings should be planted in all available space to generate desirable yield and income. Acute care was necessary while raising hybrid crops, he added.
Now, it is important to grow additional crops as labor and input costs are same. With no extra expenditure, farmers can maximize income