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CGIAR Highlights Climate Benefits of Coffee-Banana Intercropping

21 January 2013: A study by two centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), namely the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), demonstrates large income benefits of intercropping coffee and bananas in Uganda, as well as evidence that intercropping may help farmers cope with climate change.

The research highlights the vulnerability of coffee to expected changes of rainfall and temperature, noting that the areas suitable for Arabica coffee will decrease in the future. The study notes that shade produced by banana plants reduces temperatures significantly, and that banana can be important for erosion control and carbon sequestration.

It describes the food security role of bananas, but also notes that this practice has not been more widespread because in some cases bananas can compete with coffee for water, nutrients and light. The article recommends more investment be placed in understanding the economic and climate benefits of intercropping. [CGIAR Press Release] [Publication: Agronomic and Economic Benefits of Coffee-Banana Intercropping in Uganda's Smallholder Farming System]