Cultivation of Hing (Ferula assa-foetida) in the watershed [Afghanistan]

Kesht Angoza da abriza

technologies_1306 - Afghanistan

Completeness: 80%

1. Informação geral

1.2 Detalhes do contato das pessoas capacitadas e instituições envolvidas na avaliação e documentação da tecnologia.


SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
HELVETAS (Swiss Intercooperation)

1.3 Condições em relação ao uso da informação documentada através de WOCAT

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


1.4 Declaração de sustentabilidade da tecnologia descrita

A tecnologia descrita aqui é problemática em relação a degradação da terra de forma que não pode ser declarada uma tecnologia sustentável de gestão de terra?


2. Descrição da tecnologia de gestão sustentável da terra

2.1 Descrição curta da tecnologia

Definição da tecnologia:

Ferula assa-foetida is an important medicinal plant, a valued cash crop and a native plant of Afghanistan’s range-lands.

2.2 Descrição detalhada da tecnologia


Cultivation of hing (Ferula assa-foetida) in watersheds is documented by the Sustainable Land Management Project which is implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Ferula assa-foetida, or hing, is a medicinal plant that grows well in shallow sandy and alkaline soils in semi-arid climates and at high altitudes and is a native plant of Afghanistan’s upper catchment areas. Due to the enduring conflict and the consequent breakdown of community-managed grazing in upper catchment areas, most range-lands in Afghanistan are been seriously degraded. Uncontrolled grazing of animals and growing cereal crops on range-lands are the main contributors to the loss of vegetation coverage in upper catchments. One of the negative consequences are flash floods occurring several times a year, damaging agricultural lands, irrigation canals, houses and other infrastructure while often also causing fatalities.

In order to decrease the risk of flash floods, improve pastures and extend cash crop cultivation in upper catchment areas, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation has implemented community-based watershed activities such as structural and agronomic measures to control water runoff.

Hing has been identified as a suitable agronomic measure in watershed management in Saighan district. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and the target communities selected hing as a valuable cash crop and a suitable plant for watershed rehabilitation. Today, hing is cultivated on 1,400,000 m2 (140 ha) in nine watersheds and with the participation of 1500 families. The growing period of hing depends on the local climate but tends to be 5-10 years and culminates in the pants’ flowering. During the first five years hing has grey colored leaves. Later a stem appears and grows more than a meter high. The stem is large and yellow and at the end of the main and subordinate stems are yellow flowers. The width of the hing root varies between 7-15 cm and usually goes as deep as 30-40 cm into the soil. Hing plantations have been established with the involvement of the local communities and are managed by the responsible watershed committee. The harvest of hing is organized by the watershed committee and all households have the right to participate and sell hing for income generation. To maintain watershed activities, such as hing cultivation, a safe box has been created for each community-managed watershed. The watershed committee manages the safe box and collects funds for maintenance, community development and emergency projects, according to the watershed management plan which has been developed by the local communities with support of HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation.

Natural / human environment: Bamyan is a remote province of Afghanistan with a high poverty rate. It has a semi-arid climate with cold winters and hot and dry summers. During winter, temperatures can drop below -22 degrees. Summer temperatures can reach to 34 degrees in the month of July. The average annual rainfall in the area is about 230 mm and some years can be very dry. 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods and off-farm activities are marginal. The growing season in Saighan district is relatively short from April to October and farmers can produce only one crop per year. Farmers with access to irrigation water cultivate cash crops, for example potato and vegetables, in addition to staple (wheat) and fodder crops. Those without access to irrigation water cultivate wheat and fodder crops only. Water scarcity from May to September may result in a lack of high value crops.

2.3 Fotos da tecnologia

2.5 País/região/locais onde a tecnologia foi aplicada e que estão cobertos nesta avaliação



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:


Especifique a difusão da tecnologia :
  • Uniformemente difundida numa área
If the Technology is evenly spread over an area, specify area covered (in km2):


If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:
  • 1-10 km2

2.6 Data da implementação

Caso o ano exato seja desconhecido, indique a data aproximada:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introdução da tecnologia

  • Re-introduction
Comentários (tipos de projeto, etc.):

The technology was introduced since 2012

3. Classificação da tecnologia de gestão sustentável da terra

3.1 Principal/principais finalidade(s) da tecnologia

  • Reduz, previne, recupera a degradação do solo
  • Criar impacto econômico benéfico

3.2 Tipo(s) atualizado(s) de uso da terra onde a tecnologia foi aplicada

Land use mixed within the same land unit:


Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-pastoralism (incl. integrated crop-livestock)

Terra de cultivo

Terra de cultivo

  • Cultura perene (não lenhosa)
Perennial (non-woody) cropping - Specify crops:
  • medicinal, aromatic, pesticidal plants - perennial


Extensive grazing:
  • Semi-nomadic pastoralism
Pastagem intensiva/produção de forragem:
  • Semiestabulação/sem pastagem

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Lack of management in upper catchment area over the last decades resulted in a severe loss of vegetation and in the loss of biodiversity. Uncontrolled grazing of animals during the spring season prevented seed production of domestic plants. Hot temperature in summer burnt the remaining parts of domestic plants. Each year, the soil is washed away by heavy rainfalls creating gulleys which further reduced the vegetation cover.
Major land use problems (land users’ perception): The users of watershed areas cut shrubs for fuel and graze their animals. The lack of alternatives left them to overuse resources in upper catchment areas during war and conflict.
Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Cropland: Cp: Perennial (non-woody) cropping

Number of growing seasons per year: 1
Longest growing period in days: 120, Longest growing period from month to month: March to July
Livestock density: 10-25 LU /km2

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

Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?
  • Yes (Please fill out the questions below with regard to the land use before implementation of the Technology)
Land use mixed within the same land unit:




  • Extensive grazing

3.4 Water supply

Abastecimento de água para a terra na qual a tecnologia é aplicada:
  • Precipitação natural

3.5 Grupo de gestão sustentável da terra ao qual pertence a tecnologia

  • cultivation of medical plants

3.6 Medidas de gestão sustentável da terra contendo a tecnologia

Medidas agronômicas

Medidas agronômicas

  • A1: cobertura vegetal/do solo

Type of agronomic measures: better crop cover, mixed cropping / intercropping, cover cropping

3.7 Principais tipos de degradação da terra abordados pela tecnologia

Erosão do solo pela água

Erosão do solo pela água

  • Wt: Perda do solo superficial/erosão de superfície

Main causes of degradation: crop management (annual, perennial, tree/shrub) (The upper catchment area have broken to agricultural lands), deforestation / removal of natural vegetation (incl. forest fires) (Domestic shrubs have been cut and have been used for fuel energy), overgrazing (Without management people grazed their animals in spring season and prevented from the plant seed production.), war and conflicts (3 decades internal wars in Afghanistan)
Secondary causes of degradation: droughts (Continiuosly 3 drought years also had a rule for burning plants in upper catchment areas), poverty / wealth (During internal wars, people were not able to go in other provinces and only they had access to agriculture land and livestock for their livelihood)

3.8 Redução, prevenção ou recuperação da degradação do solo

Especifique o objetivo da tecnologia em relação a degradação da terra:
  • Recuperar/reabilitar solo severamente degradado

4. Especificações técnicas, implementação de atividades, entradas e custos

4.1 Desenho técnico da tecnologia

Especificações técnicas (relacionada ao desenho técnico):

Cultivation plan of Ferula assa-foetida:
Plant to plant distance 100 cm.
Line to line distance 100 cm.
Seed depth 1-1.5 cm with;
3-6 seeds in one spot.

Location: Saighan watersheds. Bamyan
Date: 18/04/2016

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: high
Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate
Main technical functions: control of raindrop splash, improvement of surface structure (crusting, sealing), increase of infiltration, Increase vegetation cover through cash crop

Better crop cover
Material/ species: Ferula assa-foetida
Quantity/ density: 4 plant/m2
Remarks: plant to plant and line to line 100 cm

Mixed cropping / intercropping
Material/ species: Ferula assa-foetida and other domestic plants
Quantity/ density: 1 m2
Remarks: Growing domestic plants between Ferula assa-foetida plants

Cover cropping
Material/ species: Ferula assa-foetida and other plants cover the naked area


Shabir Shahem, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Afghanistan

4.2 Informação geral em relação ao cálculo de entradas e custos

Outro/moeda nacional (especifique):


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


Indique a média salarial da mão-de-obra contratada por dia:


4.4 Custos e entradas necessárias para a implantação

Especifique a entrada Unidade Quantidade Custos por unidade Custos totais por entrada % dos custos arcados pelos usuários da terra
Mão-de-obra labour ha 1,0 12,92 12,92 25,0
Material vegetal seeds ha 1,0 115,0 115,0 25,0
Custos totais para a implantação da tecnologia 127,92
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 1,89

4.5 Atividades recorrentes/manutenção

Atividade Calendarização/frequência
1. Hiring guard for protection of watershed from uncontrolled grazing

4.6 Custos e entradas necessárias pata a manutenção/atividades recorrentes (por ano)


In 2015, the government of Tajikistan did not limit the export of seeds to Afghanistan.

4.7 Fatores mais importantes que afetam os custos

Descreva os fatores mais determinantes que afetam os custos:

Good quality seeds are available in Tajikistan. If the government of Tajikistan limits exporting seeds to Afghanistan, seed costs may increase.

5. Ambiente naturale e humano

5.1 Clima

Precipitação pluviométrica anual
  • <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
Zona agroclimática
  • Semiárido

Thermal climate class: temperate

5.2 Topografia

Encostas em média:
  • Plano (0-2%)
  • Suave ondulado (3-5%)
  • Ondulado (6-10%)
  • Moderadamente ondulado (11-15%)
  • Forte ondulado (16-30%)
  • Montanhoso (31-60%)
  • Escarpado (>60%)
Formas de relevo:
  • Planalto/planície
  • Cumes
  • Encosta de serra
  • Encosta de morro
  • Sopés
  • Fundos de vale
Zona de altitude:
  • 0-100 m acima do nível do mar
  • 101-500 m acima do nível do mar
  • 501-1.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • 1.001-1.500 m acima do nível do mar
  • 1.501-2.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • 2.001-2.500 m acima do nível do mar
  • 2.501-3.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • 3.001-4.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • > 4.000 m acima do nível do mar

5.3 Solos

Profundidade do solo em média:
  • Muito raso (0-20 cm)
  • Raso (21-50 cm)
  • Moderadamente profundo (51-80 cm)
  • Profundo (81-120 cm)
  • Muito profundo (>120 cm)
Textura do solo (solo superficial):
  • Médio (limoso, siltoso)
Matéria orgânica do solo superficial:
  • Baixo (<1%)

5.4 Disponibilidade e qualidade de água

Lençol freático:

5-50 m

Disponibilidade de água de superfície:


Qualidade da água (não tratada):

apenas para uso agrícola (irrigação)

5.5 Biodiversidade

Diversidade de espécies:
  • low

5.6 Características dos usuários da terra que utilizam a tecnologia

Rendimento não agrícola:
  • Menos de 10% de toda renda
Nível relativo de riqueza:
  • Pobre
  • Média
Indivíduos ou grupos:
  • Grupos/comunidade
  • Mulheres
  • Homens
Indique outras características relevantes dos usuários da terra:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users
Population density: 10-50 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 0.5% - 1%
10% of the land users are rich.
35% of the land users are average wealthy.
45% of the land users are poor.
Off-farm income specification: The importance of off-farm income is marginal. However, hing cultivation in the watershed presents a viable opportunity to generate income off-farm for the involved communities. Hing can contribute up to >50% of off-farm income.
The watershed belongs to the communities and all households have the same rights.
The income is saved in a communal safe box and is spent for community development and emergency issues.

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
É considerado pequena, média ou grande escala (referente ao contexto local)?
  • Média escala

5.8 Propriedade de terra, direitos de uso da terra e de uso da água

Propriedade da terra:
  • Comunitário/rural
Direitos do uso da terra:
  • Comunitário (organizado)
Direitos do uso da água:
  • Comunitário (organizado)

5.9 Acesso a serviços e infraestrutura

  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Assistência técnica:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Emprego (p. ex. não agrícola):
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Vias e transporte:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Água potável e saneamento:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Serviços finais:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom

6. Impactos e declarações finais

6.1 Impactos no local mostrados pela tecnologia

Impactos socioeconômicos

Renda e custos

Rendimento agrícola


Impactos socioculturais

Instituições comunitárias


Watershed committee manage the income of Ferula assa-foetida productions through safe box investment

contribution to human well-being


Improve the economic opportunities of the community to generate income

Impactos ecológicos

Ciclo hídrico/escoamento

Escoamento superficial

Quantidade anterior à gestão sustentável da terra:


Quantidade posterior à gestão sustentável da terra:



Vegetation coverage


Umidade do solo

Quantidade anterior à gestão sustentável da terra:


Quantidade posterior à gestão sustentável da terra:



When the plants grow more, cover area and infilterate runoff

Perda de solo

Quantidade anterior à gestão sustentável da terra:


Quantidade posterior à gestão sustentável da terra:



Vegetation coverage

Biodiversidade: vegetação, animais

Espécies benéficas


6.2 Impactos externos mostrados pela tecnologia

Cheias de jusante


Vegetation coverage

Danos em áreas vizinhas


Reduction of flash flood protect lower part resources

Danos na infraestrutura pública/privada


6.3 Exposição e sensibilidade da tecnologia às mudanças climáticas graduais e extremos/desastres relacionados ao clima (conforme o ponto de vista dos usuários da terra)

Mudança climática gradual

Mudança climática gradual
Estação do ano increase or decrease Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Temperatura anual increase bem

Extremos (desastres) relacionados ao clima

Desastres meteorológicos
Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Temporal local não bem
Tempestade de vento local bem
Desastres hidrológicos
Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Inundação geral (rio) não bem

Outras consequências relacionadas ao clima

Outras consequências relacionadas ao clima
Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Período de crescimento reduzido não conhecido

Should be cultivated away from flood stream area.

6.4 Análise do custo-benefício

Como os benefícios se comparam aos custos de implantação (do ponto de vista dos usuários da terra)?
Retornos a curto prazo:

muito negativo

Retornos a longo prazo:

muito positivo

Como os benefícios se comparam aos custos recorrentes/de manutenção(do ponto de vista dos usuários da terra)?
Retornos a curto prazo:

muito positivo

Retornos a longo prazo:

muito positivo


The estabIishment costs are high because hing yields only after five years. However, the investments and maintenance costs are quickly returned once hing can be harvested.

6.5 Adoção da tecnologia


100% of land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support
750 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support
In this calculation, the total number of families in 13 villages are considered.
There is no trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology
The establishment costs are too high.

6.7 Pontos fortes/vantagens/oportunidades da tecnologia

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Increase in production of the valuable plants in the upland areas.
Protection of the lower lands from the risk of flash floods.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Introduction and increase in valuable cash crop cultivation in unproductive lands.
New income opportunity and increase in income of the community members.
Reducing flash flood through increasing vegetation coverage

6.8 Pontos fracos, desvantagens/riscos da tecnologia e formas de superá-los

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
The watershed area is common land. Need active watershed committee members to manage well (good governance).
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
People lack alternatives and have therefore no stake to protect the upland areas. Negotiation with herders to reduce the number of their livestock because of introduction of as new alternative source of income.
Tangible benefits are only visible after five years.

7. Referências e links

7.1 Métodos/fontes de informação

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


Links and modules

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