|Authors: ||T. Michels, A. Bisson, V. Ralaidovy, H. Rabemananjar, M. Jahiel, E. Malézieux|
|Keywords: ||cropping systems, global farm approach, clove, Syzygium aromaticum, crop associations|
Cloves are one of the main Malagasy agricultural exports and their production is based on family farming.
Helping farmers to develop their cropping systems towards more sustainable systems calls for a comprehensive picture of the diversity of their practices.
This study set out to fill knowledge gaps on this point.
Three scales were considered, i.e. plot structure, cropping system and farming system, in order to identify the principal characteristics, functions, and constraints of clove-based farming systems.
We applied a double typology: one focused on cropping systems and the other on farm functioning.
A study of practices showed three types of cropping systems and a main tendency to associate cloves with other species, both annual and perennial, in agroforestry systems (AFS). In wet tropical areas, AFS are often the only means of subsistence for poor farmers, but also potential vectors of economic and social development.
A study of complex AFS structures on a restricted sample showed that cloves, which accounted for nearly 70% of perennial species in the plot, are mainly associated with fruit species, structural timber and firewood, and sometimes coffee.
The global farm level approach made it possible to identify highly contrasting situations: from young and dynamic farms geared toward food production or livestock farming, to old, poor and only slightly diversified farms.
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