An Analysis of the Economic Values of Novel Cropping Systems in N.E. Thailand and S. Sumatra.

TitleAn Analysis of the Economic Values of Novel Cropping Systems in N.E. Thailand and S. Sumatra.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsWhitmore AP, Cadisch G, Toomsan B, Limpinuntana V, van Noordwijk M, Purnomosidhi P
JournalNJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Keywordscover crops, cropping systems, Economics, hedgerow intercropping, income, labor, leguminous crops, Soil fertility, South East Asia
AbstractThe use of food-crop intercropping, hedgerow intercropping and secondary or cover cropping to increase incomes of resource-poor farmers in South East Asia was investigated. Since all systems improve conservation of nutrients and most give extra marketable produce, they were expected to increase farm profitability. On upland farms in Lampung, South Sumatra, both inter- and secondary crops were found to improve yields compared with cassava monocropping and thus the income derived from growing cassava or rice with maize. These increases were equivalent to between 70 and 440 US dollars per hectare. An economic analysis of the lowland rice-producing systems in North East Thailand suggested that with the exception of growing cowpea, the use of pre-rice cover crops was not profitable despite a substantial increase in rice yield, because the additional labour cost more than the additional income was worth. A benefit of leguminous crops, however, can be the extra marketable product. Groundnut in Indonesia and cowpea in Thailand gave an attractive extra US$ 400–1150 total income increase per hectare per year (i.e. extra yield of the main food crop plus extra marketable produce from the secondary crop) even after the additional costs were deducted. Hedgerow intercropping gave smaller profit margins of about US$ 90. Although both hedgerow intercropping and secondary cropping represent a considerable investment of labour by farmers, this investment may be more feasible than paying for fertilizer on credit. On balance the most attractive option tested was the use of a leguminous secondary crop, e.g. groundnut or multipurpose cowpea, within the food crop cycle.