Benson has been writing for several years gaining a lot of knowledge and insight on different areas.
As the human population continues to multiply, there has been an enormous demand for food. Each day the human population continues to increase so does the need for food. Many agricultural systems exist to help with the considerable growth of the people. However, the strategies are insufficient to sustain the human population because they only focus on single crop systems. The monoculture systems in the world are responsible for world hunger, massive destruction of the environment and loss of plant diversity. Many of the techniques lead to less innovation and depletion of the nutrients in the soil because of growing only single produce continually which, is not healthy for the environment. The existing systems have also led to soil erosion causing many people to apply inorganic fertilizers to replenish the lost nutrients in the soil. The long term use of inorganic fertilizers has been destructive to the environment. It causes a lot of damage to the earth and affects other aspects of biodiversity.
Monoculture systems are also responsible for destroying large tracts of forest in the Amazon and other places as people try to find new and fertile land to grow crops. The devastation of vast tracts of forests is responsible for climate change and global warming because of the methods used to clear the land are unsustainable. To create enormous plots of land quickly and inexpensively, many people use burning to clear the undergrowth and then cut the trees. The use of burning as a way to clear land is destructive to the ecosystem and causes a lot of pollution. There is a need to eradicate monocropping to ensure that there is sustainability in the consumption and growth of food.
The only solution to ensure sustainable agriculture is through polyculture. Intercropping involves the growing of different crops close to each other. It also consists of the growth of numerous crops that can provide sustenance to the growing human population. The technique involves different systems like intercropping and diverse plant systems. Intercropping delivers a way for plants to depend on and benefit from each other. The practice also ensures the growth of various crops simultaneously, which can sustain the human population. There is a need for different agriculture systems to exist because they ensure there is food security in the future.
The world is full of many different plants that can provide food to the human population. People do not need to depend on specific monoculture crops whose growth is unsustainable in the end. There is a need to ensure different sources of nutritious and beneficial food for the sustenance of the human population and the rest of the biodiversity. The existing technology can help establish and maintain a polyculture system, and people should not rely on industrial agriculture. In the past, it would have been impossible to try to implement intercropping because of the cost and the complexity of the system. However, modern technology and advanced agricultural practices have come up to help increase productivity and the growth of crops over the globe.
Benefits of Polyculture
The implementation of plant diversity in agriculture provides numerous benefits to the environment and the farmers. One of the benefits of implementing intercropping is controlling pests and diseases. Intercropping can help control pests and diseases where some plants protect others and reduce the need to use fertilizers and other inorganic pesticides during farming. Many medicinal plants can help reduce pests and diseases in the farms, creating a better environment for growing crops. The other benefit of polyculture is a mutual benefit between plants. Crops can mutually benefit from each other, helping each grow well. There have been many plant interdependence cases that enable them to do better with each other than alone. Intercropping is also beneficial to the farmers because they can get better prices for the crops if the costs of one product fall because of overproduction and low demand.
Practices like crop rotation are also beneficial to the soil. They help introduce nutrients reducing the use of fertilizers. Farmers can plant different crops that add different kinds of nutrients to the ground, benefiting from each other and conserving the environment. Crop rotation has been in existence for many years and has proven crucial and valuable to agriculture. Individuals need to remember that there were methods for proper development of different crops even in the past and should not only focus on growing a single product because of financial gain. They should think about the future.
Polyculture is also valuable for sustainability because it helps with the proper utilization of land. The monoculture systems lead to the wastage of land because only a single crop can grow at any time. However, intercropping ensures continuous land utilization even in periods when the planting season of one harvest is over. Farmers can plant another crop and continue to utilize the land. Therefore, there is no need to wait until the planting season for the next crop, which can be a financial benefit to farmers as they can gain a lot from their farming endeavors.
Water conservation is another way that polyculture maintains sustainability in the environment. Intercropping systems ensure that there is proper utilization of water in the farm. There is no wastage of water because many plants get to utilize it at the same time. Monoculture systems cause water wastage because most of the plants grown have poor water retention capabilities. Polyculture can involve the growth of plants with different root systems, which is excellent because it provides a complex structure for water retention. The various root systems help ensure that farmers use up a small amount of water compared to monocropping, where they often have to irrigate crops.
Challenges of Intercropping
Although polyculture is extremely useful in sustainability, it can be challenging to implement in most cases. The intercropping of crops makes it difficult to use heavy machinery that is useful in large-scale farming. Therefore, it can be expensive to implement because it does not give profits like monoculture systems. In large-scale agriculture, heavy machinery makes it easy to cultivate large tracts of land, manage pests, and harvest crops. However, in intercropping, it can be not easy because the different systems only allow for the use of manual labor, which can be expensive and take a long time to implement.
There is also a difficulty in managing the farm. Polyculture systems are usually complex and need a lot of knowledge on the side of the farmer. It isn't easy to manage different crops simultaneously because they have different growth and yield rates. The differences in growth rates can be exhausting for farmers because they need to have all the necessary knowledge.
Climate change has also had a huge effect on farming and therefore, a lot of farmers have difficulties in adapting to new farming techniques. Climate changes causes damage to all kinds of crops increasing the liabilities in polyculture.
Intercropping systems can play a huge role in ensuring sustainability. Although the methods might be more complex to implement than monocropping, they are beneficial to the environment. It is not easy to introduce people to new crops for their benefit. However, polyculture can be a way to ensure that people have a variety of choices in the selection of food they consume, which is better for them and the environment. Individuals should strive to implement intercropping because it is the only way to increase biodiversity, reduce pollution, and remove waste caused by monoculture.
© 2021 BENSON M5