Maximizing productivity and improving nutrition through intercropping quality protein maize and potato
T. R. Chapagain, B. B. Khatri, P. Bhattarai, B. P. Luitel, G. Ortiz-Ferrara and R. C. Sharma
Intercropping potato with quality protein maize (QPM) could improve the livelihood and nutritional status of the resource-poor farmers who produce and consume them. A study was conducted from 2008 to 2010 to assess the performance of three improved potato varieties in an intercropping system with an improved QPM in the high hills of Nepal. The QPM was sown for four consecutive weeks following potato planting. The commercial potato varieties Janak Dev, Kufri Jyoti and Khumal Seto-1 were used, while the improved QPM was Poshilo Makai-1. Delayed intercropping caused a reduction in the maize yield, but an increase in the potato yield. The highest potato yield was obtained from maize intercropping after four weeks. The grain yield of maize was significantly reduced by late planting beyond the second week. The average weekly rate of increase due to maize intercropping was better for Janak Dev and Kufri Jyoti, while Khumal Seto-1 was less suitable for intercropping. The land equivalent ratio for potato-maize intercropping was 2.23. The results suggest that Poshilo Makai-1 could be incorporated in potato-maize intercropping, leading to higher returns and nutritional benefits. The findings underline the importance of variety and date of intercropping to maximize production. The findings have implications for harnessing higher productivity on resource-poor farms, and could contribute to food and nutritional security for resource-poor farmers.