Agriculture in the tropics is a mix of subsistence and cash crop production. Unlike the extensive farming seen in the U.K. production in the tropics can be optimised by growing several crops in different layers, often incuding an overstorey of trees that provide shade, fuel wood and fodder.
Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land management units as agricultural crops and/or animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems there are both ecological and economical interactions between the different components (Lundgren and Raintree, 1982).
Here we are cultivating a range of crops that provide both direct food to the farmer such as Taro and Cassava, as well as cash crops such as Coffee, and the firewood and fodder tree Leucaena leucocephala. Sustainable crop production is vital to ensure that supplies of fresh vegetables and other plant products are readily available to rural communities. Our crops come from around the world and focus on perennial species that we can
grow from year to year.
- Tea, Coffee and Cocoa are all grown in the tropics
- Coconuts have been cultivated for over 4000 years
- Pineapple is the compound fruit of a bromeliad
- Sugar cane is a large grass with C4 photosynthesis
For those interested in some light reading on a range of tropical and warm temperate crops there is a good web site from UCLA.