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Alley cropping as a sustainable agricultural technology for the hillsides of Haiti: Experience of an agroforestry outreach project

  • Michael E. Bannister (a1) and P. K. R. Nair (a2)

Abstract

Alley cropping is a form of hedgerow intercropping where fast-growing leguminous trees are planted at dense within-row spacing, with agricultural crops planted between the hedgerows. This agroforestry technology, with the hedgerows planted on the contour across the slope, appears promising for small farmers on the hittslopes of Haiti An agroforestry outreach project operating in Haiti since 1981 has helped thousands of farmers plant hedgerows on their farms. The farmers are increasingly accepting the technology: the length of hedgerows planted by the farmers in the project area increased from 11 lineal km in 1987 to 140 lineal km in 1988. An evaluation of 50 farms where hedgerows had been installed shows that this technology results in soil conservation and microsite enrichment between hedgerows; the hedgerows also provide fodder and fuelwood. However, refinements are needed in technical aspects of hedgerow management, such as planting configurations, pruning regime, and choice of species. Moreover, soil and plant parameters as well as socioeconomic characteristics must be monitored in a systematic way in order to assess the impact of hedgerow intercropping on the sustainability of Haitian farming systems.

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Keywords

Alley cropping as a sustainable agricultural technology for the hillsides of Haiti: Experience of an agroforestry outreach project

  • Michael E. Bannister (a1) and P. K. R. Nair (a2)

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