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Integrated Nutrient Management In Coconut Based Cropping/Farming System For Sustained Productivity

In several coconut growing countries, it has been established that coconut as monocrop is only marginally productive and profitable due lo many reasons. Researchers over the years have understood the canopy architecture and rooting characteristics of the palm and developed innovative technologies to grow a variety of inter and mixed crops. Considering the medium to poor soil resource base in coconut growing tracts across the world, the importance of nutrient management has been stressed by many workers. However, sustainability can be achieved only through Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), considering the perennial nature of the crop. INM is in fact an integral part of coconut based cropping system. The coconut based high density multispecies cropping studies at CPCRI (India) have shown evidence to manage the system with low inorganic inputs. In India, Sri Lanka and Philippines the possibility of on-farm waste recycling to the advantage of main and component crops has been indicated. Systematic studies have been carried out at CPCRI on biomass recycling employing bioconversion technology. The beneficial effect of inter and mixed cropping on soil fertility aspects have been reported from Sri Lanka, India and Philippines. Farming system studies involving livestock components and recycling of farm wastes at CPCRI indicated the possibility of supplementing 74% of N, 82% of K and entire quantity of P requirement of main and component crops. Though extensive research efforts have been made on nutritional requirement of palms and CBFS in many other countries, information on INM is lacking, even though possibilities have been indicated. There is a need in each country to create a knowledge base for developing profitable farming system models with emphasis on on-farm resource conservation and low external input use. The models shall be appropriate to the local edaphic and climatic conditions and be acceptable to the resource poor coconut farmers. APCC can play a major role to formulate suitable programme on farming systems with emphasis on INM to demonstrate the ecofriendly and economic viability of the technology. The ultimate goal should be low external input agriculture or developing a self sustaining production system.

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