Contour ditches combined with manures and mulch grass in banana production. [Tanzania, United Republic of]

makinga maji ya kati

technologies_1215 - Tanzania, United Republic of

Completeness: 80%

1. معلومات عامة

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
The Transboundary Agro-ecosystem Management Project for the Kagera River Basin (GEF-FAO / Kagera TAMP )
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Missenyi District Council (Missenyi District Council) - Tanzania, United Republic of
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Bukoba district council (Bukoba district council) - Tanzania, United Republic of

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Is a cross slope berier characterised with 2m widith by 2m depth furrow, farm yard manures and grass mulch in banana production.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


The level ditches combined with farm trushlines, farm yard manure, and grass mulch technology in banana production is the digging of a furrow measured 2m wide by 2m deep along the contour in the banana plantation. The technology is applied on a perennial cropland by combining structural, vegetative and agronomic measures. The climatic zone is sub humid in a gentle to moderate slope with medium to deep loam clay soils. The hand cultivation is done manual using hand hoes in a mixed production system. The establishment procedures contour demarcation using a local made A-frame, digging a furrow along the contour, digging the banana holes spaced at 3.6m by 3.6m between the structures, mixing farm yard manure with top soils and planting banana suckers after restng the mixture for not less than 60 days. The maintenance procedures requires, weeding the field, desuckering, detrushing, planting beans, topical manure application, grass mulch application and filling the contour furrow with farm trushlines. The land ownership is individual not titled. This technology was introduced in 2012 by Kagera TAMP using the FFS methodology. In case of sensitive climatic extremities

Purpose of the Technology: The major purpose for technology application is reduced moisture stress, increased soil water retention, reduced soil erosion to increase crop productivity in a sustainable land management.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The establishment activities included; first to clear the field and demarcate the contour line using a local made A-frame done at the end of short rains. Second is to plough and harrow the field done in the early dry season. Third is to space and dig holes for planting banana suckers done in mid of dry season. Fourth is mixing farm yard manures with top soils and cover the hole for not less than sity days before planting, this is done in mid of dry spell. Fourth is to plant certified banana suckers done in late dry season. Fifth is to dig the contour ditch done in at the onset of long rainfall. The maintenance activities includes; first to weed the entire field done twice before the onset of rainfalls. Second is to apply farm yard manures concurrently with grass mulch done once in the late dry period. Third is to desucker and detrush banana plants done twice before planting beans. Fourth is to plant beans done once before the onset of long rainfalls.

Natural / human environment: The natural environment in the location is 750-1000 mm rainfalls, foots lopes valley floors landform, gentle slope, shallow to meium soil depth (50-80)cm and (80-120)cm characterised with two growing periods. The social economic persisting are small scale land users farming on( 0.5 to 2)ha per house hold. The land ownership is individual not titled while the water use rights is open access. The importance of off-farm incomes is less than 10% and the market orientation is mixed while soil cultivation is manual and livestock are not fed on farm residues.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment


Tanzania, United Republic of

Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:

Karagwe District Council

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:
  • < 0.1 km2 (10 ha)

Three host farmers of FFS allocated a total of 1.5 acres (three different sites) as a leaning sites. While 22 group members implimented the technology with modifications in their farms with average of 0.5ha X22 =1.1ha

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

Introduced by TAMP -Kagera, Tanzania in 2012 using FFS methodology.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

الأراضي الزراعية

الأراضي الزراعية

  • Annual cropping
  • Perennial (non-woody) cropping
  • Tree and shrub cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - maize
  • legumes and pulses - beans
  • root/tuber crops - sweet potatoes, yams, taro/cocoyam, other
Perennial (non-woody) cropping - Specify crops:
  • banana/plantain/abaca
Tree and shrub cropping - Specify crops:
  • coffee, open grown
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2

Longest growing period in days: 90; Longest growing period from month to month: October to December; Second longest growing period in days: 60; Second longest growing period from month to month: March to May


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): The major land use problem related to soil and vegetation in the area were soil erosion, soil moisture stress and fertility decline and reduced organic matter content.

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): moisture stresss and soil erosion.

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
  • A3: Soil surface treatment
vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V5: Others
structural measures

structural measures

  • S2: Bunds, banks

Specification of other vegetative measures: lemon grass
Type of agronomic measures: better crop cover, mulching, temporary trashlines, manure / compost / residues
Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -contour, scattered / dispersed

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bl: loss of soil life

Main causes of degradation: soil management (cultivating along the slopes), crop management (annual, perennial, tree/shrub) (continous banana production without soil fertilization.), change of seasonal rainfall (dry spell prolonged), droughts (the area experienced a six months dry period.), population pressure (High population growth rates had forced to cultivate slope lands to feed the population.), poverty / wealth (community cant afford to invest in soil conservation.), education, access to knowledge and support services (inadequate staffing reduces extension services rendered to farmes.), governance / institutional (Agriculture policy had a narrow focus on environmental issues.)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • reduce land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: low (Basic agronomy principles, farm structures and vegetation management are taught at colleges.)
Technical knowledge required for land users: low (most of material required to implement the technology are common to them.)

Main technical functions: control of raindrop splash, control of dispersed runoff: retain / trap, control of dispersed runoff: impede / retard, improvement of ground cover, stabilisation of soil (eg by tree roots against land slides), increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), increase of infiltration, increase / maintain water stored in soil, increase of biomass (quantity)

Better crop cover
Material/ species: Pumpukins and water melon
Remarks: spaced at 3m in the space between the contour bunds.

Material/ species: hyperhamia spps
Quantity/ density: 1500
Remarks: spread across the slope with 15cm thick covering the soil surfaces where banana and coffee are plant

Temporary trashlines
Material/ species: banana dry leaves and psodstems.

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: farm yard manures
Quantity/ density: 48979
Remarks: 60kg per plant during planting and 36kg for maintenance.

Aligned: -contour
Vegetative material: G : grass
Number of plants per (ha): 1666
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 18
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 0.6
Width within rows / strips / blocks (m): 0.3

Scattered / dispersed
Vegetative material: O : other
Number of plants per (ha): 778

Structural measure: contour bund
Spacing between structures (m): 18
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.6
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.6
Length of ditches/pits/dams (m): 100
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 0.3
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 0.6
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 100

Construction material (earth): soils excavated from the furrow.

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • USD
Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. To plant lemon grass March
2. To plant water melon april
3. To gape fill lemon grasse september
4. Dermacating the contour lines using simple made tool (A-frame) June
5. To dig a furrow and excavating the soils to be placed on either lower side or upper side of the furrow. August

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour ha 1,0 609,45 609,45
Equipment Tools ha 1,0 114,71 114,71
Plant material Seedlings ha 1,0 420,17 420,17
Fertilizers and biocides Compost / manure ha 1,0 756,3 756,3
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 1900,63
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 1900,63

Duration of establishment phase: 12 month(s)

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Weeding in the space where coffee and banana are planted. january and June
2. desuckering February and August
3. Detrushing February and August
4. manure application July
5. Spreading mulch grasses September
6. Harvesting banana and coffee. routeenly
7. To harvest lemon grass routeenly
8. To remove soil sedments from the furrow and place them along the contour lines. june and January.

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour ha 1,0 416,91 416,91 100,0
Plant material Seeds ha 1,0 88,24 88,24 100,0
Fertilizers and biocides Compost / manure ha 1,0 252,1 252,1 100,0
Fertilizers and biocides Grass mulch ha 1,0 441,18 441,18 100,0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 1198,43
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 1198,43

Labour calculated per ha of land protected, Farm yard manure calculated per plants applied, mulch grass calculated per ha of land protected, seedling and seeds calculated per ha of land protected.

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The most determinate factor affecting the cost is labour

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid

Thermal climate class: tropics

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is medium
Soil drainage / infiltration is medium
Soil water storage capacity is medium

5.4 Water availability and quality

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

Availability of surface water: Excess during short rainfals and medium because two permanent river tributaries (misheke and Charuhanga) flows throughout the year.
Water quality (untreated): Good drinking water when gravity water supply from Kasunkuni river tributar and poor when over-flooded Mwisa river during short rains.

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Comments and further specifications on biodiversity:

Mchwa, sisimizi, vipepeo and earth worms

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • women
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users
Population density: 50-100 persons/km2
Annual population growth: < 0.5%
99% of the land users are average wealthy and own 100% of the land.
1% of the land users are poor.
Off-farm income specification: Land users who applied the technolgy can meet hie/her cost of living (mainly food) from farm income while land users who have not applied the technology can not the household cost of living from the farm.
Market orientation of production system: Coffee are for sale while banana only excess is for sale.
Level of mechanization: Hand hoes use during farm establishment, but late local made tool (vihosho) are used for weeding and desuckering purpoes.

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

< 0.5 and 0.5-1 ha: 75 % of landusers
2-5 ha: 25 percent of landusers

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • open access (unorganized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

Not yet harvested the first yield

risk of production failure

Comments/ specify:

Mulch grass have reduced moisture stresses

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

Comments/ specify:

Farm yard manures, mulch grasses, lemon seedlings, certified banana suckers and water melon seed

diversity of income sources

Comments/ specify:

Lemon grasses and pumpukins sales


Comments/ specify:

Additional activies should demamnd more labours

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

Comments/ specify:

Increased food production should ensure availability, while sale of coffee should ensure accebility to balance the diet

community institutions

Comments/ specify:

FFS group members

national institutions

Comments/ specify:

Out-soucing of activities to TCRA

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

Comments/ specify:

Udelt learning using FFS methodology

situation of socially and economically disadvantaged groups

Comments/ specify:

Three group members have no land, male and female have equal chances in the group

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

surface runoff

Comments/ specify:

Mulch grasses and contour bung


Comments/ specify:

Mulch grasses


soil moisture

Comments/ specify:

Mulch grasses

soil cover

Comments/ specify:

Mulch grass and pumpukins

soil loss

Comments/ specify:

Lemon grasse planted along the contour bunds

soil organic matter/ below ground C

Comments/ specify:

Farm yard manures application

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C

Comments/ specify:

Mulch grass and trushlines

pest/ disease control

Comments/ specify:

Use of certicefid banana suckers

Climate and disaster risk reduction

fire risk

Comments/ specify:

Attention for grasses collection before fire seting on has increased

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

damage on neighbours' fields

Comments/ specify:

Water run-off reduction

damage on public/ private infrastructure

Comments/ specify:

No longer concentrated run-off

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm not well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well

The technology can be modified of metre drain and the collected water to be used for small scale irrigation.

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

neutral/ balanced

Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:



In the short term returns banana harvested should equate the establishment costs, while in the long term retuns there will be no further establishment, therefore returns are very positive.
in the short term retuns negative compared to maintenance because all returns equate establishment costs, while in the longterm returns should be positive due to complimentary effects of protected land to improve productivity.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • > 50%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

70 households in an area of 10 ha

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 11-50%

35 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support
Comments on acceptance with external material support: Three host farmers were provided with farm yard manures and mulch grasses.

35 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support
Comments on spontaneous adoption: The FFS started late due to inadequate council staffing.

There is no trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology
Comments on adoption trend: Still early to give any comments (actual implimentation started September 2013.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The technology is easy to learn and simple to implement.
Production results are of short gestation period when considering test crop (banana) for land users to make the decisions.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
The technology increased the farm input (farm yard manures and grass mulch) costs of which average land users (peasants) can not afford from his farm income on top of meeting his daily cost of living. Introduce zero grazing to provide farm yard manures and quick income generating activities.
Big land area is require to realise the ecological benefits. Sensitize political will to stimulate and support technology up scaling through multiplier effects.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users
When were the data compiled (in the field)?


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