Towards bamboo agroforestry development in Ghana: evaluation of crop performance, soil properties and economic benefit

In the quest to promote bamboo agroforestry in the dry semi-deciduous forest zone of Ghana, we evaluated changes in soil properties, crop productivity and the economic potential of a bamboo-based intercropping system. The intercropping system was established from 3-months old sympodial bamboo (Bambusa balcooa) seedlings planted at a 5 m × 5 m spacing and intercropped with maize, cassava or cowpea. Separate monocropping fields for maize, cassava, cowpea and bamboo were set up adjacent to the intercropped field. In both the intercropping and monocropping fields, plots were with fertilizer treatments and without. The experiment was laid out in a split plot design with four replicates and studied over three years. Economic analysis was conducted using the financial benefit–cost ratio method. The results showed that regardless of fertilizer treatments, bamboo agroforestry and monocropped fields had comparable effects on soil properties and crop productivity within two years of establishment. In the third year, however, bamboo agroforestry had significantly (p < 0.05) higher soil moisture, pH and crop productivity levels. An intercropping advantage over monocropping was evident for all crops with respective partial land equivalent ratios for fertilized and non-fertilized intercropped systems as follows: cowpea (1.37 and 1.54), maize (1.38 and 1.36), and cassava (1.12 and 1.19). The economic evaluation also indicated marginal profitability of bamboo intercropping over monocropping systems. From the results obtained, there are clear indications that where bamboo is a prioritized woody perennial, integrated systems with crops may be encouraged.
© The Author(s) 2020. This article is published with open access at and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems, 2020 , available online at: . Keywords: agroecology; crop productivity; food security; soil productivity; sustainable agriculture.
Akoto, D.S., Partey, S.T., Denich, M., Kwaku, M., Borgemeister, C., Schmitt, Christine B. (2020). Towards bamboo agroforestry development in Ghana: evaluation of crop performance, soil properties and economic benefit. Agroforestry Systems, 94, 1759–1780.