Local compost making [Tanzania, United Republic of]

Mapambano (Kiswahili)

technologies_992 - Tanzania, United Republic of

Completeness: 67%

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:

Dumea Hamidu

Ministry of Agriculture and cooperatives

Tanzania, United Republic of

SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Inades Formation Tanzania (Inades Formation Tanzania)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives Tanzania (Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives Tanzania)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
CIS-Centre for International Cooperation (CIS-Centre for International Cooperation) - Netherlands

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:

Traditional compost making using locally available materials

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


compost is made in a pit. A pit is dug of 3m diameter and 3m deep.Ashi is pread at the bottom followed by a 4" layer of smooth pasture grass thten all crop remaining, slashed grass, tree leaves, sisal leaves, farm yard manure, animal urine and ash are filled into the pit at laternate layers. 3 people can dig the pit in one day waste domestic water ( washings and cleanings) are daily poured into the mixture. It takes 3 1/2 months to fill up into a heap of 1/2 above the ground level smooth grass is then covered at the top while pouring urine and waste water continues. The final product is a greysh powder like material the compost is spot applied to planting hole at 1/4 litre per hole once after every three years she grows maize, sorghum, finger millet and millet. She intercrop with beans, pigeon peas, cowpeas and groundnuts. The compost is not applied to legumes. The compost increased yield from 3 bags/acre to 20-24 bag/acre of maize. The compost increase soil fertility and soil structure and texture. The emptied pits are usually filled again. Seeds can be mixed with the compost on sowing as it has no side effect. She sells to others the compost at 100/= Tshs ( 0.125 USD) per tin. Maintenance is pouring of waste soap water and cattle urine to catalyse decomposition.

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:


Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

about 150 people are practicing the system

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)

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • create beneficial economic impact

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



  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - maize
  • cereals - millet
  • cereals - sorghum
  • finger millet
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 120; Second longest growing period in days: 60

Is intercropping practiced?


If yes, specify which crops are intercropped:

beans, pigeon peas, cowpeas, groundnuts


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): declining soil fertility

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility

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
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

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

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion, Ha: aridification

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

Secondary goals: prevention of land degradation

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Main technical functions: increase in organic matter, increase in soil fertility

Secondary technical functions: improvement of ground cover, increase of infiltration, increase / maintain water stored in soil, improvement of soil structure

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: crop residue
Quantity/ density: 5t/acre

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:


4.4 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 persons/day/ha 335.5 1.9 637.45 100.0
Equipment Tools ha 1.0 8.9 8.9 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 646.35
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 646.35

Duration of establishment phase: 84 month(s)

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. compost making 3 timesyear / continously
2. application of compost planting time / once/3 years

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 Compost making and application persons/day/ha 131.0 1.9 248.9 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 248.9
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 248.9

Machinery/ tools: hoes,machet spade, bucket

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Labour for pits, labour for ferrying compost

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.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Slopes on average: Also steep

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 and high

Soil drainage / infiltration is good

Soil water storage capacity is medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Relative level of wealth:
  • average
  • rich
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Population density: 10-50 persons/km2

3% of the land users are very rich and own 40% of the land.
7% of the land users are rich and own 15% of the land.
70% of the land users are average wealthy and own 35% of the land.
26% of the land users are poor and own 6% of the land.
4% of the land users are poor and own 4% of the land.

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

Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology: Also 2-5 ha

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

Land ownership:
  • group
  • individual, not titled

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production


fodder production


wood production


land management

Income and costs

farm income


economic disparities



Other socio-economic impacts

input contstraints


Socio-cultural impacts

community institutions


national institutions


conflict mitigation


Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

excess water drainage


soil moisture


soil cover


soil loss

Climate and disaster risk reduction

wind velocity

Other ecological impacts

soil fertility




organic matter delay to decompose


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

reliable and stable stream flows in dry season


downstream flooding


downstream siltation


wind transported sediments


6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

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

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

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

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • 11-50%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

60 households (20 percent of land users)

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

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

Comments on spontaneous adoption: estimates

There is a strong trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: 60 farmers have adopted

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
use local material

How can they be sustained / enhanced? SWC to sustain vegetation
compost transferable to other areas

How can they be sustained / enhanced? packing in bags and sell to others
increased crop yield

How can they be sustained / enhanced? dissemination of the technology

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?
transport of the compost to the farm use ox-cart

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

1st Farmer innovators Workshop

Available from where? Costs?

INADES, Tanzania.

Links and modules

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