Various field experiments were conducted in the cropping seasons of 2007 and 2008 to evaluate the agro-economic returns obtainable from the intercrop involving tomato, okra and cowpea at varying levels of cropping densities. The experimental design used for each of the field analyses was randomized complete block design with each of the treatments replicated three times. Average of yields over the consecutive two-year period of 2007 and 2008 covered by the current study was used for the measurement of output while the values of input and output were determined with the prevailing market price. Budgeting techniques were used as analytical tools. Results of analyses using net returns, benefit-cost ratio and increased net returns as economic indicators showed that the most favourable mix of vegetables which could be recommended for adoption to farmers was the intercrop of a pair rows of tomato with one row of cowpea (TC 2:1). The practice gave increased net returns of
N32, 245.71 or US$214.97(21.04%) and N129, 823.22 or US$865.49(233.18%) over the sole cropping of tomato and cowpea respectively. This was also an increased net revenue of N46,427.07 or US$309.51(33.38%) above TO 2:1 and N98,319.81 or US$655.47 (112.78%) above OC 2:1 which were themselves optimal alternatives preferred to sole cropping of any of the vegetables involved. This result however, was in favour of extension policies towards popularizing the recommendation of alley farming for horticultural practice.
Key words: Agro-economic indicators, increased net-revenue, optimal alternatives, vegetable practice.
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