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What is composite farming?

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November 11, 2008 8:37AM

Composite farming was a style that was once the hallmark of agricultural production in the state of Kerala, India. It has been described as many layers of many crops. The point was to leave no stretch of land uncultivated. Cultivation took place in horizontal and vertical layers. For example, one area would have trees. Below the trees would be grown plants that were not direct sunlight-needy. Below these plants would be plants that needed very little or no sunlight. Soil type was matched with plants that would thrive in the particular conditions, be they acceptable or poor. For example, elsewhere in India lands with a soil pH of 3.5-4 would not have been cultivated. In Kerala, however, those lands were planted, most profitably and successfully, with cashew and rubber. Both crops could handle the very acidic soil.