Trashlines [Ethiopia]

technologies_974 - Ethiopia

Completeness: 55%

1. General information

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:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Trashlines are constructed as a barrier of runoff, soil erosion using maize, sorghum and teff straw/stalk

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Trashlines are formed of sorghum, maize or teff straw placed in to form a rectangular basin. The main lines are constructed along the contour. The technique is multi purposive I.e. water harvesting, soil trapping, physical obstraction and improve soil fertility. The estabilishment is made by collecting the straws and then spread it on contour lines. The environment in relation to the technique is low and erratic forms of rainfall, high evapotranspiration, availability of straw.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

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



Region/ State/ Province:

Southern Nation & Nationalities Peoples Region

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • more than 50 years ago (traditional)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • as part of a traditional system (> 50 years)
Comments (type of project, etc.):

It is traditional technique practiced since long time

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

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



  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - maize
  • cereals - sorghum
  • legumes and pulses - beans
  • teff
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2

Longest growing period in days: 135 Longest growing period from month to month: Feb - Jun Second longest growing period in days: 105Second longest growing period from month to month: Jul - Nov


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): steep slope farming

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Pest, disease and land shortage

Type of cropping system and major crops comments: Sorghum - Maize - Beans

3.4 Water supply

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

Water supply: Also post-flooding

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • cross-slope measure

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover
  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility

Main measures: agronomic measures

Type of agronomic measures: temporary trashlines, contour tillage

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)
water degradation

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content, Ha: aridification

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

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Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Technical knowledge required for land users: high

Main technical functions: water harvesting / increase water supply

Secondary technical functions: increase / maintain water stored in soil

Temporary trashlines
Material/ species: Sorghum, Maize & Teff Straw/stalk
Remarks: Rectangular basin

If the original slope has changed as a result of the Technology, the slope today is (see figure below): 3.00%

Gradient along the rows / strips: 0.00%

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 4%

If the original slope has changed as a result of the Technology, the slope today is: 3%

Lateral gradient along the structure: 1%

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):

Ethiopian birr

If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Collection of straw Dry season / annual
2. Placing the straw on a line Dry season / annual

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


labour and tools

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

soil type

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
  • semi-arid

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%)
  • low (<1%)
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-low
Soil drainage/infiltration is good-medium
Soil water storage capacity is high-medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
  • average
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Annual population growth: 2% - 3%

50% of the land users are average wealthy and own 65% of the land.
40% of the land users are poor and own 30% of the land.
10% of the land users are poor and own 5% of the land.

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

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • individual

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

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


Long-term returns:


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


Long-term returns:


6.5 Adoption of the Technology

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

Comments on acceptance with external material support: estimates

100% of land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

Comments on spontaneous adoption: estimates

There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

Links and modules

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