Technologies

Conversion of grazing land to fruit and fodder plots [Tajikistan]

technologies_977 - Tajikistan

Completeness: 76%

1. General information

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:
SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Soil Science Institute (Soil Science Institute) - Tajikistan
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
CDE Centre for Development and Environment (CDE Centre for Development and Environment) - Switzerland
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
NCCR North-South (NCCR North-South) - Kyrgyzstan

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:

Yes

1.5 Reference to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Approaches (documented using WOCAT)

Farmer innovation and self-help group
approaches

Farmer innovation and self-help group [Tajikistan]

An innovative land user, assisted by a self-help group has overcome many administrative and technical problems to establish a fruit garden on previously degraded communal grazing land.

  • Compiler: Murod Ergashev

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Fencing part of an overgrazed hillside, combined with terracing, manuring and supplementary irrigation for grape, fruit and grass production.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology

Description:

In the Varzob valley of Tajikistan, slopes of around 30% are used communally, and are heavily overgrazed. This has led to a reduction in vegetation cover, to soil compaction, and to severe sheet and rill erosion. In 1982, one innovative land user began to set up half a hectare vineyard/fruit plot with intensive grass/fodder production for cut-and-carry and also a separate section above for hay making - by his own initiative. By the application of various conservation measures, within five years an area exposed to severe water erosion was converted into an area of sustainable use. Fodder and fruits are now flourishing and the natural resources of soil and water are conserved more effectively.

Purpose of the Technology: The start of the process was fencing of the plot to keep out animals. Scrap metal and other materials from a machinery depot were used to build a 1.5 m high fence. To harvest and hold runoff water from the hillside for grapes and fruit trees, narrow backsloping terraces were constructed, each with a water retention ditch along the contour. During the initial phase, the terraces did not harvest enough water for establishment of the seedlings. So water for supplementary irrigation was carried to the plot by donkeys in old inner tubes from car tyres. Manure is applied to the plot to improve soil fertility. The manure is collected on the high pastures where the herders graze their animals during summer. The total amount of manure applied to the plot so far amounts to about 3 t/ha over 20 years.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The establishment of such a plot is very demanding in terms of manpower. However within 5-6 years the system becomes self-sustaining and the productivity of the land is improved several times over. Following this positive experience, other households in the area have adopted the technology spontaneously, and today about 15 ha of degraded grazing land in the Varzob valley have been converted into productive fruit gardens.

Natural / human environment: For the innovator, his most valuable fruits are grapes, followed by apricots, almonds and plums. He has also successfully grown mulberry, pomegranate and cherry trees. Not all the seedlings survive: the farmer considers a 40% survival rate of grape vines to be reasonable. The fruit harvest is mainly used for home consumption. However, in a good year the table grapes and apricots are sold on the market. The hay harvest, from naturally regenerated grasses and fodder plants between the fruits amounts on average to 0.2 t/ha/year. The pruned branches from the vines are collected and used as firewood.
The establishment of such a plot is very demanding in terms of manpower. However within 5-6 years the system becomes self-sustaining and the productivity of the land is improved several times over. Following this positive experience, other households in the area have adopted the technology spontaneously, and today about 15 ha of degraded grazing land in the Varzob valley have been converted into productive fruit gardens.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

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

Country:

Tajikistan

Region/ State/ Province:

Tajikistan

Further specification of location:

Varzob

Comments:

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.15 km2.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • 10-50 years ago

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

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

Land use mixed within the same land unit:

Yes

Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-silvopastoralism

Cropland

Cropland

  • Annual cropping
  • Perennial (non-woody) cropping
  • Tree and shrub cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • fodder crops - grasses
  • fodder crops - other
Perennial (non-woody) cropping - Specify crops:
  • berries
Tree and shrub cropping - Specify crops:
  • grapes
  • stone fruits (peach, apricot, cherry, plum, etc)
  • tree nuts (brazil nuts, pistachio, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
  • pome fruits (apples, pears, quinces, etc.)
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1
Specify:

Longest growing period in days: 210Longest growing period from month to month: March-October

Grazing land

Grazing land

Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing
Forest/ woodlands

Forest/ woodlands

Products and services:
  • Fuelwood
Comments:

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): - shortage of cultivable land on the gentle slopes next to the rivers
- low yield of natural pastures due to overgrazing
- heavy erosion taking place near residential areas

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): heavy erosion near the settlements

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Mixed: Ma: Agro-silvopastoralism

3.3 Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?

Land use mixed within the same land unit:

Yes

Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-silvopastoralism
Grazing land

Grazing land

3.4 Water supply

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

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • agroforestry
  • home gardens

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V1: Tree and shrub cover
structural measures

structural measures

  • S1: Terraces
management measures

management measures

  • M1: Change of land use type
Comments:

Main measures: agronomic measures, vegetative measures, structural measures, management measures

Type of agronomic measures: manure / compost / residues

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
physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

  • Pc: compaction
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover
Comments:

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion, Pc: compaction, Bc: reduction of vegetation cover

Main causes of degradation: overgrazing

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land
Comments:

Main goals: rehabilitation / reclamation of denuded land

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

The fenced-off agroforestry system comprising fruit trees and cereals grown on a steep hillside. Terracing is crucial for water conservation. Grass cover (right) is established for fodder production and simultaneous soil conservation. Note the adjacent plot for haymaking (above) and degraded rangeland outside the protected area (right).

Location: Varzob. Varzob, Tajikistan

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: improvement of ground cover, increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), retain/trap dispersed runoff, increase in soil fertility

Secondary technical functions: reduction of slope angle, water harvesting / increase water supply, reduction in wind speed, retain/trap concentrated runoff (prevention of gully erosion)

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: manure
Remarks: 3 t per ha over 20 years

Vegetative measure: fruit trees/vines aligned
Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs
Vertical interval between rows / strips / blocks (m): 1-2
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 2.4-3.2

Vegetative measure: Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs

Vegetative measure: Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs

Vegetative measure: Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs

Trees/ shrubs species: grapes, apricot trees, almond trees, plum trees, mulberry trees, pomegranate trees, cherry trees

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 16-30%

Terrace: backward sloping
Vertical interval between structures (m): 1-2
Spacing between structures (m): 2.4-3.2
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.3
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0.5

Structural measure: fence

Construction material (other): waste material, from a machinery depot

Change of land use type: from grazing land to tree crops

Author:

Mats Gurtner, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • USD

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Planting of vines and fruit tree seedlings (apricot, plums, almonds)
2. 1. Fencing of an area of 0.5 ha using waste material from a machinerydepot.
3. 2. Construction of backward sloping bench terraces.

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 Planting/Fencing/Constructing ha 1.0 600.0 600.0 100.0
Equipment Machine use ha 1.0 50.0 50.0 100.0
Equipment Animal traction ha 1.0 200.0 200.0 100.0
Plant material seedlings ha 1.0 40.0 40.0 99.0
Plant material grape vines ha 1.0 1500.0 1500.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides manure ha 1.0 300.0 300.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 2690.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 2690.0
Comments:

Duration of establishment phase: 72 month(s)

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Irrigation (old inner tubes filled with water carried to the plot by donkeys). In summer: 5 litres of water per tree, per week. first 5–6 years
2. Irrigation (old inner tubes filled with water carried to the plot by donkeys). In summer: 5 litres of water per tree, per week. first 5–6 years
3. Manuring: applied at first to the newly planted vines/trees only,with restricted availability. During the second half of the establishment phase also applied elsewhere within the plot
4. Manuring: applied at first to the newly planted vines/trees only,with restricted availability. During the second half of the establishment phase also applied elsewhere within the plot
5. Irrigation of new seedlings.
6. Harvesting of fruits and fodder: transport of the yield to the house by donkey
7. Manuring, when replacing grapes or trees that had died. every year
8. Vines and trees that fail are replaced.
9. Grapes and trees pruned every year.
10. 1. Repairs to the fence every year

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 Irrigation/manuring/keeping in good repair ha 1.0 180.0 180.0 100.0
Equipment Animal traction ha 1.0 200.0 200.0 100.0
Plant material Seedlings ha 1.0 20.0 20.0 100.0
Plant material Grape vines (replacment) ha 1.0 150.0 150.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides manure ha 1.0 20.0 20.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 570.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 570.0
Comments:

Labour cost per day is US$2. The fence constructed by the farmer was free because he utilised scrap from a machinery depot. Note that the total length of fencing is relatively less for a larger plot. In the villages, almost no money changes hands: there is a barter system between the farmers. Even salaries are often paid in terms of fruits, wood or free rent of land.

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: temperate

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%)
Landforms:
  • 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:
  • 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: low - medium

Soil drainage / infiltration: good

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • commercial/ market
Off-farm income:
  • 10-50% of all income
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Off-farm income specification: 50% of the families' total income comes from three sons working in Moscow

Market orientation of production system commercial/ market: apricots sold on the market, in good years

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

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

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts

Production

fodder quality

decreased
increased

wood production

decreased
increased
Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

for manure application

farm income

decreased
increased

workload

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

high labour input needed for establishment and recurrent irrigation

Other socio-economic impacts

fruit production

decreased
increased

Socio-cultural impacts

community institutions

weakened
strengthened
Comments/ specify:

terrace construction requires collaboration with relatives and friend

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

reduced
improved

conflict mitigation

worsened
improved
Comments/ specify:

in the beginning conflicts due to jealousy, loss of community grazing land and fear of landslides caused by water retention on sloping loess areas

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

excess water drainage

reduced
improved
Soil

soil moisture

decreased
increased

soil cover

reduced
improved

soil loss

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

poorly maintained terraces may lead to increased erosion (medium (20-50%))

Other ecological impacts

soil fertility

decreased
icreased

biodiversity

diminished
enhanced

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

wind transported sediments

increased
reduced

flooding of the road at the bottom of the slope

increased
reduced
Comments/ specify:

conserved area is too small to have significant impact

risk of landslides due to water harvesting

increased
decreased

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

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

negative

Long-term returns:

positive

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

negative

Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • single cases/ experimental
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

5 households in an area of 15 ha

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

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

5 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Adoption was spontaneous in all cases and there are signs of further spread.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Rehabilitation of degraded areas: reduced soil erosion and increased productivity

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Complement manure inputs by using other fertilisers.
Production increase: good fruit yields

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Introduce low input demanding crops
Diversification: different kinds of fruit trees growing on the plot

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Other trees (nuts for example) and annual crops such as wheat might also be suitable for this area.
Income generation.
Where open access communal grazing leads to land degradation, individuals sometimes enclose land for productive purposes. This positive example is from Tajikistan where the initiative began during the period of the soviet regime. Similar initiatives can be seen in western Iran. However, if a significant number of land users follow suit, there will be a reduction in the amount of land available for common use. 2.6.11: Level of technical knowledge required: land user: partly moderate (construction of terraces) and partly low (simple knowledge of agronomy, manure application, harvesting etc)

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?
Bringing water for supplementary irrigation to the orchard is very labour intensive An irrigation supply system could be installed (irrigation channels, water tank). But so far this is too expensive, and it is questionable whether irrigation could be installed and maintained sustainably
Not all tree species can grow in these dry conditions (for example apple trees will not survive without regular irrigation or watering) irrigation water required (see above).
Difficulty in establishment of the young vines in the well developed grass Remove or cut down grass and herbaceous plants around the vines at least until they have been well established.
Generally high manual labour input Difficult to reduce labour inputs.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

7.3 Links to relevant online information

Title/ description:

Loes Masselink. 2012. Monitoring SLM Practices in Tajikistan. BSc thesis, Land Degradation and Development Group, International Land and Water Management at Wageningen University. The Netherlands.

URL:

https://www.wocat.net/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Theses/Masselink2012.pdf

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