Bananas are very important in Kenya for domestic consumption and export. They are extensively grown where they are mainly intercropped with short term crops. There has been an increase in the grower interest in using intercropping-growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same land in the development of new cropping systems for their land. Intercropping could reduce management inputs and result in sustainable systems that more effectively use and even potentially replenish natural resources used during crop production for long term management of farmland. While intercropping has been practised more widely in the developing countries of Central America, Asia and Africa, developed countries have not adopted it well. Some benefits of intercropping to the grower are risk minimization, effective use of available resources, efficient use of labour, increased production per unit area of land, erosion control and food security. This paper discusses the effects of intercropping on pest and disease control, physiology of the crops grown, cultural practices such as date of planting, spacing and plant density, soil fertility and time of planting among other effects and lastly banana production in East Africa in relation to intercropping and declining soil fertility in banana-based cropping systems.
Key words: Sustainable, cultural, food security, crops, efficient, cropping system, management.
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