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Optimize your agricultural yields thanks to the combination of market gardening crops

Dahari relies on different agroecological intensification techniques known around the world but not very widespread in the Comoros to develop sustainable and ecological agriculture.

This article highlights choices for combining market gardening crops that have proven successful in the Comoros. Average incomes between 1000 and 2000KMF per square meter are observed, demonstrating that it is possible to produce a lot and have good yields on small plots.

What you need to know about combining vegetables

Crop association is an agricultural practice used to intensify production in a reduced space. This involves cultivating different plants in a plot that provide mutual services, such as protection against pests, soil fertilization, space optimization or climate regulation. There are many possible combinations depending on the species, varieties, climatic conditions and the objectives of the farmer.

The key points for successful vegetable combinations

To successfully combine vegetables, several factors must be taken into account:

  • The life cycle of plants: it is necessary to combine plants which have different cultivation periods, to avoid competition between them.
  • The water and nutrient needs of plants: it is necessary to combine plants which have complementary or similar needs, to avoid competition, waste or deficiency.
  • The repulsive or attractive properties of plants: it is necessary to combine plants which mutually protect each other from pests or which attract auxiliaries (pollinators, natural predators), to promote biodiversity and crop health.
  • The morphological characteristics of plants: it is necessary to combine plants which have different shapes or heights, to optimize the use of space and sun.

Some inspiring examples of crop association practices in a tropical environment

  1. Cucumber / yam / arugula / pepper: cucumber covers the ground and prevents the growth of weeds, yam climbs a stake and produces tubers, arugula attracts pollinators and pepper repels harmful insects.
  2. Parsley / pepper / radish / beans: parsley perfumes the soil and keeps flies away, peppers benefit from the shade of parsley, radishes grow quickly and free up space for peppers, beans fix nitrogen in the soil and feeds the pepper.
  3. Tomato / lettuce / sweet potato / corn: the tomato benefits from the support of the corn to climb, the lettuce benefits from the humidity preserved by the tomato, the sweet potato covers the ground and limits evaporation, the corn protects the other plants from the wind.
  4. Cabbage / radish / pea / lettuce: cabbage needs a lot of nutrients and water, radish grows quickly and occupies the space between cabbages, peas enrich the soil with nitrogen and serve as a support for cabbage, lettuce enjoy the shade of the cabbage and the pea.

Dahari invites you to discover the results obtained through the different experiments as part of its competitions for best demonstration plots carried out between 2020 to 2022 with funding from the European Union in Anjouan and Grande Comore.

Download the complete guide to the practices of organic market gardening associations in the Comoros.