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Going Beyond Organic: Monoculture vs Polyculture

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All the products we create at Krya, are made from plants and their parts: fruits, leaves, shoots, roots.
An important part of being a sustainable company is to make informed choices that are sustainable to the system as a whole.
In the set of organic farms that we had shortlisted for sourcing our plant based raw materials, we had two options:

  1. A plantation /monoculture farm
  2. A Polyculture farm

A monoculture farm is what I would call a ‘factory farm’. It typically has large tracts of land where just one species of plant is cultivated.  A monoculture farm is very efficient to run, as the plant cycle is the same. For example if there was a mango monoculture farm, devoted to the Banganapalli mango, the life cycle of each tree would follow the same timings. So if the fruits were ready to be picked in April, the farm could get in people to do the harvesting all at once. Monoculture farms use less labour to do the same job, harvesting for example.
A monoculture farm works really well in the short term. A monoculture farm brings in higher yields because planting, maintenance and harvesting can be standardised. Monoculture farms also give higher plant yields, as there is no competition for resources from rival species of plants.
However, in the long term, a monoculture farm ends up draining the soil of specific nutrients. Each plant species takes in certain nutrients into the soil, and gives back some other nutrients. If the farm had only one plant species grown in it continuously, over time, the soil in that farm loses nutrients specific to the plant grown there.
Also monoculture farms are under greater risk from diseases. A single pathogen can wipe out the entire cultivation, taking it years to get back to the same levels.
A polyculture farm plants multiple crops in the same space avoiding large belts of single crops. In the short term, polyculture farms seem to be more expensive because of needing more labour. In the long term, polyculture farms grow stronger crops , encouraging lesser use of pesticides, as there is higher resistance to disease. The variety of crops increases local biodiversity, improving pollination, and soil nutrients.
The soil gets richer as there is a symbiotic relationship between the different species that are planted on the crop, and the system works as a whole.
Krya’s experience on a polyculture farm
We source one of our key fruits from a beautiful, organic polyculture farm in Andhra Pradesh.
krya polyculture farm
The farm used to be an arid wasteland, which with a lot of hard work spread over 20 years, is now a verdant cool oasis spread over 1000 acres with 3 main complementary crops and several other plants and herbs. It is home to deer, rabbits, snakes, boars, mongoose, parrots and many other birds which helps complete the local ecosystem.
We’ve found after extensive testing that plants sourced from such sustainable & balanced polyculture farms work better, because they grow stronger in rich, nourished soil.
the fruit that is a ...
This approach helps us create products that work and leaves the land happier than before.
Which make Us Happy.

0 thoughts on “Going Beyond Organic: Monoculture vs Polyculture

  1. […] It is a certified organic fruit from a polyculture farm. […]

  2. […] industrial agriculture, promotes plantation style monoculture cropping, which we had written about here.  Monoculture cropping produces high yields in the short term, but severely degrades the quality […]

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