Polyculture: the emerging trend

These days’ people are getting increasingly health conscious. They are reading every day about the ill effects pesticides and fertilizers are having on the food crops that are grown by traditional farmers. These ill effects are subsequently passed on to us when we consume those crops and vegetables. That is why those who can afford it are turning to organically grown food products. One of the methods of growing organic food products is through a method known as polyculture.

In this method of agriculture farmers grow multiple crops in the same area. It is common for terms like multi-cropping, inter-cropping and alley cropping to be used in connection with this method of farming. It saves a lot of space and allows the farmer to make more money by growing certain crops in one season and other crops in another season. But like all methods of organic farming this also requires quite a bit of labour and this is where the farmer is likely to incur quite a bit of cost. However, there have been several reports that have been released that talks about how this method of farming allows farmers to grow crops that are a lot healthier. This is because the incidence of disease gets considerably reduced in this method of farming. And this goes a long way in increasing the yield that the farmer gets. Polyculture also helps in developing the biodiversity in that particular area. Land is an asset that is only available in a fixed quantity. It cannot be increased. We need to accommodate our needs in the limited space that we have been given. This is where such methods of agriculture have proven to be so beneficial not just for humans but also for the environment.

Polyculture is a part of the larger field of permaculture. This is the field of study that analyses landscape patterns and functions. It asks questions like where a certain element goes and how can it be used for the benefit of the ecosystem. The methods that have been espoused by permaculture can be applied to rainwater harvesting and minimizing waste along with organic farming. Farmers will find that by using these methods they can use their area in a more productive manner. They will also find that the food they are growing is healthier and better. This will subsequently help in increasing the demand that customers have for their products since they realise just how healthy they are.

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