Please sign in to access this page [ Sign in ]

ECHOcommunity is a membership community that provides access to nearly all of ECHO’s resources online, as well as communications tools to help development workers connect with each other. In in order to facilitate this interaction and to uphold the quality of the resources provided membership is required to access most of ECHOcommunity.org. Membership is free to all, and special benefits are offered to development workers who are working internationally. [ Register ]


By: Rick Burnette, Director, ECHO Asia Regional Office
Published: 2011-07-01

The use of green manure cover crops for relay cropping in northern thailand thumbnail 0

This article is from ECHO Asia Note #10

Introduction

During the late rainy season, the permanent hill fields that surround a cluster of hilltribe villages in the Chiang Dao district of northern Thailand radiate various hues of green. These verdant fields, belonging to ethnic Lisu, Lahu, Akha, Palaung and Karen farmers, are covered in a patchwork of green manure/cover crops (gm/ccs) that include rice bean (Vigna umbellata), cowpea/black bean (Vigna unguiculata), lablab bean (Lablab purpureus), peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis).

The extensive plantings of gm/ccs are part of a legume-maize relay cropping system that local farmers developed in the early 1980s. Relay cropping is a type of intercropping with two or more crops grown simultaneously during part of their life cycles. The second crop is often planted after the first crop has reached its reproductive phase, but before it is ready to harvest (Van Keer, et al.).