Intercropping as a multiple advantage cropping system: Review
The objective of this review paper is to organize relevant literature on the multiple advantages of intercropping systems using the results of research undertaken in different parts of the world. Accordingly, relevant materials including journal articles reviews and short communications were used to organize the review entitled “intercropping as a multiple advantage cropping system”. The review material can assist researchers who are interested to conduct their research on intercropping and its potential advantages. In addition, it helps the practitioners to have a clear understanding of multiple advantages of intercropping in resource use efficiencies including light, nutrients and spaces to increase their productivity and cropping efficiency. Contrary to other cropping systems such as mono-cropping, intercropping boosts crop competition and optimizes resource usage in a certain farming area and makes efficient use of resources essential for growth including water, solar energy, and soil nutrients. Soils in sub-Saharan Africa lack available nitrogen and the legume component in the intercropping system can provide a consistent source of nitrogen to the soil through biological nitrogen fixation. Intercropping in tropical agricultural systems and elsewhere has received more attention and research suggest that it can offer production improvements over solitary crops without increasing external inputs. Due to better use of available resources, better productivity and climate resilience, intercropping could be recommended as the best cropping strategy.