Coffee is a primary cash crop and banana a primary food crop. In Uganda, farmers are increasingly resorting to intercropping as a result of declining farm sizes, and it’s also an effort to reduce risks related to income and food security.
Kenneth Walakira is a coffee farmer in Nsangi Wakiso District. He is one of the beneficiaries of NAADS programs. He grows coffee and
bananas on six acres.
Walakira encourages smallholder farmers to adopt the traditional practice of Coffee-Banana Intercropping (CBI). He says growing the two crops together can contribute to all three climate-smart agriculture pillars;
CBI increases total revenue per unit area by more than 50% compared to mono-cropped banana or coffee, without affecting coffee yield. Bananas make coffee production systems more diverse,
reducing risk while increasing food security during dry seasons. In newly established coffee farms, bananas can offset cash flow
constraints in the early years before coffee becomes productive.
Bananas provide valuable shade coverage for highly climate-sensitive coffee crops. In addition, bananas are capable of
remaining hydrated under drought stress, reducing water competition during drought, compared to other shade trees.
CBI also mitigates greenhouse gas emissions by increasing above- and below-ground carbon stocks. On average, mixed cropping can sequester around four times the carbon that unshaded monocultures can.
Furthermore, the increased productivity of CBI systems reduces overall carbon footprint, as emissions related to agricultural inputs are
spread over a larger agricultural output.
Office of Agric Minister