The crop rotation program  


The experiment to introduce non rice cropping during the rainy season included the following crops: sweet potato, groundnut, cow pea, soy bean, onion, tomato, tobacco, maize, local beans and dry land rice. To implement the crop rotation program a section of the Foya Pilot Scheme was selected, where during the dry season supplementary irrigation by pumping water from the Foya River would be feasible.

The initial plant establishment of all crops included in the trial was good. However, some weeks after the planting, pests started to severely damage most of the crops. In the end none of the crops could be harvested and the trial was declared a total failure.

In retrospect, today in 2005, after having gained twenty years experience with secondary food crops in Asia, during which period we learned much from the Indonesian and other Asian food crop farmers with whom we cooperated, it is now understood that our trial in Foya in 1972 was very poorly designed. Planting was too late in the season and unsuitable varieties of crops were selected. The biggest failure was to underestimate the seriousness of the occurrence of pests and diseases. Planting much earlier in the season, immediately after the rice harvest, and taking preventive pest and disease control measures would have avoided the heavy pests and disease attacks we encountered in our experiment in 1972.

crop rotation program

The rural economy
Lofa County 1970s
A pictorial story


Charles van Santen
December 2005