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Ecological intensification of banana cropping systems: from the designing to the dissemination of cover crops-based banana cropping systems in the FWI

Tran Quoc H., Dorel M., Gervais L.. 2014. In : Caribbean sustainable banana. Interreg project 2010-2014. Montpellier : CIRAD, 1 p.. Final Workshop of the Interreg Project Caribbean Sustainable Banana, 2014-10-13/2014-10-16, Rodney Bay (Sainte-Lucie).

Despite a significant decrease of use of pesticides in dessert banana production due to technical innovations (fallow period, use of tissue culture plantlets) since the last decade in the French West Indies (FWI), intensive banana cropping systems remain strongly dependent on chemical inputs as in Latin America and Africa. The use of cover crops is known worldwide as an efficient alternative to increase functional biodiversity. The introduction and management of cover crops in banana cropping systems can provide several agro-ecological services: protection of the soil surface, weed control, plant-parasitic nematodes and weevil borer regulation, nutritional improvements by recycling and fertility mobilizing capacity, restructuring soil through the aggregation activities of cover crop root systems, enhancing of soil biological activity¿ In the FWI, CIRAD has developed innovative banana cropping systems wherein cover crops are used as (dead) mulch or as living covers during the fallow period and/or in association with banana crop. Within the framework of the "Caribbean Sustainable Banana" InterReg project, CIRAD and IT2 provided technical and organizational support to banana producers in order to accompany the change process and the dissemination of such innovations. Some examples of design and performances of multi-species-based banana cropping systems under diverse ecological and socio-economic conditions are given and results showed that dissemination of such innovative cropping systems does not only rely on transfer and adoption of technical packages but this process has to be accompanied by the setting up of an enabling environment (access to equipment, inputs, market opportunities, capacity building...). (Résumé d'auteur)

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