WHAT IS CROP DIVERSIFICATION?
The word Diversification can be used in various fields of study/or practices. In a simple general term, it applies to the use of different practices or methods to achieve a given result. In agriculture, we see Crop Diversification as a farming practice that involves the growing/cultivation of different crops throughout the year in forms of intercropping or mixed cropping.
WHY CROP DIVERSIFICATION?
We do Crop Diversification for many reasons:
- It minimizes the risks of complete crop failure as a result of disease infection, pests’ infestation, or drought. In other words, if one crop fails, the farmers can still depend on the other crops for food and income generation.
- Over 80% of rural dwellers depend on farming as their main source of livelihood activity.
- The growing population puts pressure on the farmers to make the best choices of crops to grow in a more sustainable way to respond to market demand.
- Consumption of diverse diets has an evident of health associated benefits.
- Vegetables, Cereals and legumes in a cropping system can help break disease pathogen cycle when crop rotation is well carryout.
- It promotes best agronomic practices and helps farmers understand crops related family.
- It improves soil fertility by the growing of leguminous crops like beans and groundnuts.
- It minimizes the practice of shifting cultivation by promoting and adopting crop rotation.
- It helps farmers understand the practices and adoption of Farming as a Business (FaaB) concept considering crop selection based on market demand.
- It gives farmer the ideas/skills (best production practices) of growing other crops; farmer production skills can be diversified.
- It contributes to food security as well as the availability of nutritional food crops for the farmer’s family consumption and income.