EPAR Research Brief #216
Thu, 08/08/2013
Alice Golenko
Claire Kpaka
Caitlin McKee
C. Leigh Anderson
Mary Kay Gugerty

In this brief we analyze patterns of intercropping and differences between intercropped and monocropped plots among smallholder farmers in Tanzania using data from the 2008/2009 wave of the Tanzania National Panel Survey (TZNPS), part of the Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). Intercropping is a planting strategy in which farmers cultivate at least two crops simultaneously on the same plot of land. In this brief we define intercropped plots as those for which respondents answered “yes” to the question “Was cultivation intercropped?” We define “intercropping households” as those households that intercropped at least one plot at any point during the year in comparison to households that did not intercrop any plots. The analysis reveals few significant, consistent productivity benefits to intercropping as currently practiced. Intercropped plots are not systematically more productive (in terms of value produced) than monocropped plots. The most commonly cited reason for intercropping was to provide a substitute crop in the case of crop failure. This suggests that food and income security are primary concerns for smallholder farmers in Tanzania. A separate appendix includes the details for our analyses.


The other reports in our series analyzing data from the 2008-2009 wave of the TZNPS include:

Type of Research: 
Data Analysis
Research Topic Category: 
Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Livelihoods
Agricultural Productivity, Yield, & Constraints
Agricultural Inputs & Farm Management
Market & Value Chain Analysis
Geographic focus: 
East Africa Region and Selected Countries

Downloadable Documents