Exploration of fruit tree-based agroforestry systems is essential for Bangladesh’s agriculture in the era of climate change scenarios and shrinking agricultural land in order to ensure food and nutrition security at household and national levels. In the present study, a traditional jujube/apple kul (Zizyphus mauritiana) orchard was converted into an agroforestry system by including summer vegetables (okra and Indian spinach) and spices (ginger and turmeric) with a view to achieving greater economic return, maximizing land use and providing food and nutritional support. Results revealed that heavily pruned jujube trees in the summer season displayed negligible loss of light accessibility to understory okra and Indian spinach, which contributed to their higher yields. Conversely, the growing canopy of jujube trees exerted moderate shade at the later stages of growth that helped to attain improved yield from ginger and turmeric, which are shade loving crops. Intriguingly, jujube trees were able to utilize a substantial amount of the fertilizers and irrigation applied to the understory crops, which eliminated the need for additional inputs for jujube trees under the agroforestry system. Soil nutrient dynamics also improved in the agroforestry system as crop residues and leaf litter were left in the field. Importantly, nutritionally-rich, sweet-tasting, attractively-colored apple kul has a greater market value and the lack of vegetable productionin the summer season triggered a higher market price for Indian spinach and okra. This collectively heightened the benefit–cost and land equivalent ratios. Concisely, the current study concluded that the jujube-based agroforestry system could be endorsed as a model approach throughout Bangladesh for upgrading food, nutrition and income security.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors desire to express their sincere thanks to the Research Management Wing, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Bangladesh (Grant No. 11/2017) for providing funds for this research work.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
- Benefit–cost ratio (BCR)
- Fruit tree-based agroforestry
- Land equivalent ratio (LER)
- Photosythetically active radiation (PAR)
- Summer vegetables