Photo Credit to TKO Farms

Soursop and Coconut Intercropping

Dr. Nupur Srivastava July 07, 2017

Soursop or Guyabano (scientific name: Annona muricata) comes from the Graviola tree that grows in warm tropical countries such as South America, parts of Africa and Asian countries as Philippines. The plant is characterized as a long prickly, green fruit, is a shrub or small tree 3-10 meters in height. It is adapted to warm, humid tropical climate, and can tolerate both drought conditions and partial shade. Guyabano is generally grown as a backyard crop. The area devoted to it averaged 3,0816.6 hectares from 1980 to 1985. Western Visayas had the biggest hectare (740), followed by Central Luzon (518). The average Philippines production during the same period was 3.31 tons per hectare. Average total production per year was 10,200 tons worth about 8.6 million pesos.

The flesh of the fruit consists of white pulps, some fiber, and a core of indigestible, black seeds. The white edible pulp  is high in carbohydrates and considerable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, potassium, and dietary fiber. Guyabano is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. In many countries, soursops are believed to have medicinal properties as well. The species has been reported to contain alkaloids anonaine and anoniing which are higher in seeds. The bark, leaves and seeds also have muricine and muncinine. The fruit, seeds, and leaves have a number of herbal medicinal uses among indigenous peoples of regions where the plant is common.

It is adapted to warm, humid tropical climate, and can tolerate both drought conditions and partial shade. Because of its many economic uses and great demand in processing industry especially in producing guyabano drinks, expansion and more production should encourage to meet its demand. Consequently, the crop is now gaining its prospect in the world market. The tree was introduced into the Philippines via trade routes from Mexico by way of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade.

To maximize utilization of the land and help suppress the growth of weeds, annual crops such as cereals, pulses, root and tuber crops and vegetables may be grown between the soursop trees while still young. The perennials that may be intercropped with guayabano are banana, coffee, cacao, black pepper, mulberry and/or citrus. Because the tree is small and tolerant of partial shade, it can be intercropped with coconut or with large fruit trees like mango, durian, avocado and jackfruit.