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Maize intercropping in the milpa system. Diversity, extent and importance for nutritional security in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

Creator: Lopez-Ridaura, S.
Creator: Barba‐Escoto, L.
Creator: Reyna, C.
Creator: Sum-Rojas, C.
Creator: Palacios-Rojas, N.
Creator: Gerard, B.
Year: 2021
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10883/21285
Language: English
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact CIMMYT-Knowledge-Center@cgiar.org indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose
Type: Article
Country focus: Guatemala
Place of Publication: London (United Kingdom)
Issue: 1
Volume: 11
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-82784-2
Description: We present an assessment of the extent, diversity, and nutritional contribution of the milpa through a quantitative analysis of data from a survey conducted in 989 small scale farm households in the Western Highlands of Guatemala (WHG). The milpa is a traditional agricultural system in which maize is intercropped with other species, such as common beans, faba beans, squashes or potatoes. Our study shows that more than two-thirds of the 1,205 plots recorded were under the milpa system, with a great diversity of crop combinations. As shown with the 357 plots for which specific yields were available, milpa systems present higher total productivity than monocropped maize, expressed as total energy yield of the harvested crops in the respective system, and were also better at providing the recommended daily allowances of fourteen essential nutrients, based on a Potential Nutrient Adequacy (PNA) indicator. Maize-bean-potato, maize-potato, and maize-bean-faba intercrops had the highest PNAs, and monocropped maize, the lowest. These results support the implementation of milpa systems tailored to different agro-ecologies in order to improve nutrition in the WHG and a variety of similar regions.
Agrovoc: INTERCROPPING
Agrovoc: MAIZE
Agrovoc: NUTRITION
Related Datasets: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-82784-2#Sec12
ISSN: 2045-2322
Journal: Nature Scientific Reports
Article number: 3696


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  • Maize
    Maize breeding, phytopathology, entomology, physiology, quality, and biotech
  • Sustainable Intensification
    Sustainable intensification agriculture including topics on cropping systems, agronomy, soil, mechanization, precision agriculture, etc.

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