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Commonly a relative yield advantage (‘overyield’) is obtained from a polyculture system versus a monoculture system.

An overview is given here of the annual production of a small scale Philippine polyculture farmer using every possible resource available to him, including vertical as well as horizontal space.


Crop Annual yields in kgs.(416 plot) Equivalent yields (kgs. per hectare)
Upper storey
Banana 186 4,471
Papaya 195 4,687
Third storey
Cassava 184 4,423
Maize 125 3,005
Sugar cane 210 5,048
Okra 24 577
Second storey
Taro 200 4,808
Arrowroot 50 1,202
Chile Pepper 8 192
Ground layer
Swamp Cabbage 200 4,808
Sweet Potato 600 14,423
Squash 75 1,803
Total 2,057 49,447


This production was accomplished without the use of any insecticides, hybrid seeds, irrigation or mechanical farm implements and only a small amount of chicken manure was used. Compared with the average production of small-scale rainfed rice/mungbean cultivation (1.3 tons/ha for traditional varieties; 1.4 tons/ha for hybrid cultivars) this is very high. Although these figures are not totally comparable they give a clear indication that polyculture greatly out produces its monocultural counterparts, even those with ‘Green Revolution’ inputs. Most cereal-legume based polycultures and agroforestry systems found throughout the tropics are examples of ‘overyielding’ polycultures.

Source : ‘Return to the Good Earth’, Third World Network