What intercropping can be done with Palm trees?

Hello All,

In our farm currently we have palm oil trees as a mono crop. We did this before I became familiar with inter cropping. I am trying to figure out whether plants can be inter cropped in the current farm and would like to get your inputs.


Palm trees have just entered fourth year
Trunks haven’t grown yet
Row to row and plant to plant spacing is 23 feet
All trees are drip irrigated
Land is Red soil
coastal climate


What plants, trees can be grown that are remunerative, would not impede the growth and compete with the palm oil trees?
Since labour is an issue, I would like to grow plants that might require less labour
Can we plant drumstick?
Since we have drip set up for the existing plants how do we plan for irrigating any new plants that we might plant?


Dear Raj,

Search the FarmNest forum as this topic is already covered.

Padmanabhan Ganesan

Dear Padmanabhan,

I have searched the forum for inter cropping oil palm.
I couldn’t find any information related to the same.

Can you please help us find information about inter-crops for mature oil-palm ( more than 8 years old).

Also can you please provide if there is any data supporting how FFB yield is affected with the inter-crop.


Our field’s gro-climatic conditions are same as Raj described.

Any help from anybody?

Dear friend we need kalmeg, Tulsi, mevanelli like medicinal herbs. It can be sown during monsoon season and harvested with in 4-6 months. If you are interested kindly provide your contact details.
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Dear Santhan,

Thanks for the Info. But that is with Coconut plantation.

Can anyone suggest any inter-crop for mature oil-palm trees in the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh?

Andhra Pradesh contribution is major both in terms of palm oil production and the area cultivated.

There are thousands of hectares mature oil-palm( more than 4 years old) plantations cultivated as mono-crop in coastal districts of AP. People started looking for inter-crops that do not compete with palm for resources or do not affect the FFB yield negatively.

dear sirs, in humid areas likemcoastal districts, we can grow inter crops like detailed below.                      Initially,along with plantation of palm oil trees,you can plant Banana plants at a distance of 6ft or 6 ft , in between and  If not, at the age of 3 to 4 years of palm oil trees, you can plant Cocoa plants at a distance of 11 ft or 12 ft in between the palmoil trees. For cocoa beans there is an assured price by govts and assured income. Considerable good yield of around 500 kgs ,which can be marketed and the farmer gets a profit of Rs 50,000/- per anum only on cocoa beens ,apart from the income of palmoil,which can give upto 12 tonnes per anum.This cocoa is very much suitable for organic pattern as it sheds abnormal quantity of leaves and helps good nourishment for palm oil trees. Pl try. g.p.rao,farmer.

Dear G.P. Rao garu,

Thanks for the information. I have watched documentation of your efforts and  was impressed and inspired by that. One of the videos showed you inter-cropping Cocoa with Coconut.

I have heard about Cocoa inter-cropping with oil-palm too. But was skeptical about the amount of labor it would take for cultivation and harvesting of Cocoa.  As you are aware, in Godavari districts of AP, labor is major issue due to which farmers are moving away from traditional crops and moving towards tree based farming.

With your experience, can you please throw light on how labor-intensive Cocoa both in terms of cultivation and harvesting?
What could be labor capital required for Cocoa  per say in a 5 acre field inter-cropped with oil-palm. Are there any equipment that can save some labor?

How the market works for Cocoa?

If it takes lot of time to explain, please guide me to some links or documents that I can go through.

Best Regards
Achyut Maddukuri

And what a coincidence! I just watched a video of your efforts, you are here with your guidance!

Both Coconut and Palm Oil belong to the same family.  Hence, you can grow Cocoa, Banana as GP Rao suggested.  The other thing you can try is Fodder Crops if you have livestock or you can grow Pepper using the Palm Oil Tree as a support structure.

For more information on Cocoa, you should contact Cadburys Team as they give advice on Cocoa as well as have buy back arrangement.

Padmanabhan Ganesan

Dear G. P. Rao garu,
Thank you for your input.  In addition to Madukkuri’s questions could you share your thoughts on couple more items

  1. In an existing square of 23 x 23 feet with palm trees at four corners what points could I plant cocoa trees?
  2. Palm trees already are drip irrigated, what would be a good, cost effective way to irrigate cocoa trees?
  3. Do you use jiwamritam in your farm?
  4. Could you also shed some more light on sales and economics of cocoa plantation
  5. One of the article mentioned about the handsome returns from your farm, it would be great if could you also pass along some pointers on how to achieve the same.

Dear Padmanabhan,
Thank you for your input. Couple of follow up questions.

  1. At what stage could we plan for growing pepper along with palm tree? Currently tree trunks haven’t formed in our farm, so I guess it is going to take a little while before I can plant them.
  2. Please forward contact info for Cadbury team if you have it handy

Dear Madukkuri,
Could you add links to articles, videos that you were referring to.  I found couple of articles about Rao garu and they do not have any videos and not many images.

Also, in Palekarji’s book it is recommended to grow Glicirida along with palm, how does one generate returns from Gliciridia? Sales of what? (still learning)


Dear sirs,Further to your requirements,i have grown cocoa in palm oil plantation in visakhapatnam          dist,12 years back. upto my knowledge :- per acre you need 10 women/man days extra for organic mannuring per year and for pesticidal sprays, you can go along with palm oil plants as for cocoa    discease / pest problems are minor. Hence for 5 acres totally 50 women/man hours are required          per year. As far as  harvesting labour  are cocerned you need 20 woman/man hours per acre and      hence 100 woman/man hours are required per year totally.you pl caliculate as per local              prevealing rates.
                                                                                                                                                      As regards to yielding,you will get 3 to 4 kg dry beans per plant per year toatally and hence a minimum of 600 kgs,( not less and even more ) per acre and 3,000 kgs per 5 acres plantation.                                                                                                                                      The government of AP is having rate contract with cadburry’s and campacola and they have to            purchase and pay cash to farmers,its a constutional.( for present system you pl verify with            horticulture dept of AP.) The old rate in 2004 was around Rs 60/- plus and i heard now it is              around more than Rs 120/- Pl verify. Even you take Rs 100/- your min earnings will be more              than Rs 60,000/- plus.                                                                                                              Regards to pepper inter cropping  you pl  intercrop after 10 years of palm oil plants. Cocoa plants can be 300 to 350 per acre in palm oil planting.

Dear G.P.Rao garu,
Thank you for the information. I am also planning to grow this in Visakhapatnam dist. I just viewed your video, saw your lovely farm and Thank you for the social service that you are doing. Just watching your video left me with a good feeling. I was asking you about usage of Jiwamritam but you are doing it on a much larger scale :slight_smile:
If it is not a hassle for you, could my parents visit your farm? Please let me know and I will coordinate with you offline.

Picture is worth a thousand words and a beautiful video is just something else. Please view beautiful farm of G. P. Rao garu
istream.com/tv/watch/251787/ … 0-Complete


Dear G.P. Rao garu and Padmanabhan, thanks a lot for the information.


I think GP Rao has given very good information.  One thing I want to highlight is you will get 1.5 to 2 kgs per tree for cocoa is the norm in TN.
Contact Number for Cadbury is 1-800-103-5303 and this number is for TN.

dear sirs, i think ,bhoomi putra belongs to sri garapati poorna chandra rao and it is not mine.                                                                                                                                                  he is diffarent ,not me…thanking you sirs, g.p.rao

Sorry about the mistaken identity. However, thank you for sharing valuable inputs. Very much appreciated.