Friday, 12 October 2012

Monoculture v/s Polyculture

In our Agriculture for Everybody blog series,  we will understand the difference between Monoculture and Polyculture and what they mean and what benefits each entails.

Monoculture - A single species of plants (I am using the word plants generically and it will also refer to animals as well)

  1. A classical example is Paddy cultivation
  2. Another example is Coconut Groove
  3. One more example is Mango Orchard
In Monoculture, there are some advantages as well as disadvantages.  But mostly, the disadvantages overweigh the advantages.

  1. Any person involved in Monoculture will have to gain knowledge only for that particular plants
  2. Marketing will be easy
  1. May result in complete crop failure due to homogenous plants and hence pests may have a field day
  2. Results in over production (Over Production can be from your own field or because of similar farms)
  3. Results in profit hit (Those who are in the know how will know how much is the cost per coconut)

Polyculture - At least more than One species of plants

  1. An example would be Coconut Groove with Cocoa Plants
  2. Paddy Cultivation with fish integration
  3. Paddy cultivation + Vegetables on the bunds + Fish Integration + Duck Farming
In Polyculture, normally the advantages overweigh the disadvantages and hence polyculture is recommended.


  1. Risk spead is there (Even if one crop is failing, the other crops will sustain you)
  2. Market risk is minimized (Since you are having multiple crops, even if there is crash in the profit of one crop, the other crops will average it out)
  3. Diseases can be managed as the pests will not be able to attack every single plants. (While this is true, we need to consider different families of plants rather than the same family of plants)
  1. You may have to gain knowledge on multiple plants
  2. Marketing will be a little bit difficult but you can use it to your advantage
My definition of Polyculture is one which does not have the same family of plants next to each other.  While this is very difficult to achieve, we can try our best and compromise very little.


  1. What could one grow along with capsicum in a greenhouse. So that when the price of capsicum falls, we can depend on the other crop for a good source of income.

    1. The crops that are grown in GreenHouse are Cucumber, Tomato and flowers like Gerbera etc.