A crash course in changing the world.
The fruit based multi-tier cropping system is a self-sustainable system where solar energy can be harvested at different heights, soil resources can be efficiently used and cropping intensity is increased. The system consists of three main components viz. main crop, filler crop and inter crops which occupy three different tiers in space of the production system.
· The Main crops: The main crops are the fruit species having a larger canopy size and prolonged juvenile as well as productive phase. They utilize the upper most layer of the multi-tier system from which the economic productivity is obtained. Generally the crops utilize the entire land after 20-25 years whereas only 25-30 % of land is effectively used up by the main crop up to 10 years. Under the multi-tier system, these plants are planted at wider spacing. Mango based multi-tier system was found suitable for upland situation.
§ The filler crops: The filler crops are the fruit species which are precocious in nature, prolific bearers having short stature. They utilize the middle layer of the multi-tier system from which economic productivity is obtained. These plants are planted with the purpose to generate additional income from the land during the initial 10 years of the orchard (during the juvenile and initial bearing stage of the main crops) by utilizing the unused land and space. The plants are generally hardy in nature and have shorter economic life than the main crops. The filler crops are planted within the main crop at a closer spacing. The filler plants can be removed after the main crops attain effective canopy size for yielding economically.
§ Inter crops: The intercrops occupy the lower most layer of the multi-tier system and are grown in the remaining unused land of the multi-tier system. Generally the intercrops are the location specific annual crops, selected as per the climatic and socio-economic suitability. The inter crops also include the dependant crops like creepers which are grown with the support of main or filler crops. During initial years of the multi-tier system any crops can be taken whereas during the later years shade tolerant crops can be grown as inter crops.