Intercropping oil palm with food crops in Ghana: 1. Effect on nutrient dynamics, soil moisture retention and light interception

  • B.N Nuertey
  • I.K Nuertey
  • F.M Tetteh


Nutrient dynamics, soil moisture retention, and light interception by oil palm in different cropping systems were examined in an oil palm-food crop intercropping trial at the Oil Palm Research Institute, Kusi, in Ghana between 1999 and 2002. There were four treatments consisting of a sole oil palm with pueraria cover crop, and three oil palm-food intercrops: oil palm + maize + cassava; oil palm + maize + plantain; and oil palm + maize + maize. The treatments were arranged in a randomised complete block design with four replicates. Generally, oil palm + maize + maize and oil palm with pueraria cover crop seemed to have favoured higher soil moisture retention, nutrient uptake and accumulation, and light interception by the oil palm than what pertained with oil palm + maize + cassava and oil palm + maize + plantain treatments. Oil palm with maize planted in the major and minor seasons seems to be a better intercropping option to be recommended to farmers because the food crop does not affect the growth of the oil palm during the establishment phase, and could also provide revenue to defray part of the substantial capital outlay required for establishing oil palm plantatio

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eISSN: 0855-0042