Alfalfa intercropping in terraced fruit orchard [Afghanistan]

Baghe Tabaqabandi

technologies_1198 - Afghanistan

Completeness: 80%

1. Informação geral

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


land user:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Sthapit Keshar

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

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:


2. Descrição da tecnologia de gestão sustentável da terra

2.1 Descrição curta da tecnologia

Definição da tecnologia:

Terraced orchard with alfalfa cultivation for fruit and fodder production and soil and water conservation.

2.2 Descrição detalhada da tecnologia


The Alfalfa inter-cropping in terraced fruit orchard technology is documented by Sustainable Land Management Project/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation with financial support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
In the semi-arid regions of the Central Highlands in Afghanistan, land is intensively used for the
cultivation of subsistence (wheat) and cash crops. The technology presented here provides an economically sound solution for soil and water conservation. In this example, Alfalfa is grown in the spaces between the young trees to make use of the soil, light and water. The soil and water conservation quality of the technology is further enhanced with terracing to capture water.

Purpose of the Technology: The main purpose of establishing the fruit orchard with Alfalfa was to produce fruits for both
consumption and income, as well as for animal fodder. Terraces are important for retaining soil moisture, reducing soil erosion and preventing nutrient leaching. Alfalfa increases soil fertility as it fixes

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The area under this specific technology is less than 0.03 ha. The technology was established by the land user five years ago without external support. In the past, the site was sloping agriculture land used for potato and wheat cultivation, the two major staple crops in Bamyan. Animal manure, with small quantities of chemical fertilizers, were used to maintain the soil fertility. The farmer, Haji Hussain, learning from similar examples from Kabul, applied this technology on his private land
with sight modifications by including terraces for soil and water conservation. For the construction of one terrace, 14 person days are needed. The size of one terrace was about 43 m in length and 4 m in width.Initially the terraces were used for vegetable cultivation. Later on, he planted mainly apple and apricot trees and a few saplings of pear and plum. Two varieties of apple (red and yellow) were planted in the orchard and the distance between two trees in a row was about 3 m (for more details, please see the technical drawing). The saplings were prepared by the farmer himself using grafting. The trees vary in age, from 3-5 years. Alfalfa was planted 1-3 years ago. The farmer applies 1 kg urea and DAP per tree every spring in addition to a small quantities of manure. The orchard requires irrigation almost every week from mid-spring to autumn from a nearby canal. The water distribution and operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure is regulated by a Mirab, or “Water Master”, elected by the water users and farmers.

Natural / human environment: Bamyan Center has temperate and semi-arid climate with an average annual rainfall of about 230 mm. The area receives snow during the winter season and the temperature can drop below -20 degree centigrade.There is one growing season from April to September. The soil in the orchard is sandy loam with moderate soil fertility. Orchards are considered to be more profitable by the land user than growing crops like wheat and potato. Before applying this technology, the average annual income of the owner from 0.3 ha land was 9,000 Afghani, equivalent to approx 180 USD. While after the application of terraced orchard with Alfalfa cultivation technology, his average annual income from 0.3 ha increased to 45000 Afghani or 900 USD.

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:

Bamyan Centre / Shinya Fuladi

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:
  • < 0,1 km2 (10 ha)

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.0003 km2.

Alfalfa is cultivated in apple and apricot mixed terraced orchard for multiple benefits.

2.6 Data da implementação

Caso o ano exato seja desconhecido, indique a data aproximada:
  • 10-50 years ago

2.7 Introdução da tecnologia

Especifique como a tecnologia foi introduzida:
  • atráves de inovação dos usuários da terra
Comentários (tipos de projeto, etc.):

The farmers learnt this technology by seeing others apply it.

3. Classificação da tecnologia de gestão sustentável da terra

3.1 Principal/principais finalidade(s) da tecnologia

  • Melhora a produção
  • 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):
  • Agrossilvipecuária

Terra de cultivo

Terra de cultivo

  • Cultura anual
  • Cultura perene (não lenhosa)
  • Cultura de árvores e arbustos
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • root/tuber crops - potatoes
  • Wheat, Alfalfa
Tree and shrub cropping - Specify crops:
  • pome fruits (apples, pears, quinces, etc.)
  • stone fruits (peach, apricot, cherry, plum, etc)
Número de estações de cultivo por ano:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 180; Longest growing period from month to month: April-September

Is crop rotation practiced?




Pastagem intensiva/produção de forragem:
  • Semiestabulação/sem pastagem
  • Pastos melhorados

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): In the past, the orchard site was a sloping land and used for cultivating wheat and potato without soil and water conservation measures. This resulted in soil erosion, soil fertility decline and low crop production.

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Due to sloping land, most of the animal manure applied to the crops used to get leached affecting crop production.

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Cropland: Ct: Tree and shrub cropping

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

Terra de cultivo

Terra de cultivo

  • Cultura anual

3.4 Water supply

Abastecimento de água para a terra na qual a tecnologia é aplicada:
  • Irrigação completa

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

  • sistema rotativo (rotação de culturas, pousios, cultivo itinerante)
  • Medidas de curva de nível

3.6 Medidas de gestão sustentável da terra contendo a tecnologia

Medidas vegetativas

Medidas vegetativas

  • V5: Outros
Medidas estruturais

Medidas estruturais

  • S1: Terraços

Specification of other vegetative measures: fruit trees and alfalfa

Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -linear, scattered / dispersed

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
Deteriorização química do solo

Deteriorização química do solo

  • Cn: declínio de fertilidade e teor reduzido de matéria orgânica (não causado pela erosão)

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion, Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content

Main causes of degradation: soil management (Agriculure on sloping land without conservation measures), disturbance of water cycle (infiltration / runoff) (Due to sloping land), education, access to knowledge and support services (Lack of knowledge about sloping agriculture land soil and water conservation technologies)

3.8 Redução, prevenção ou recuperação da degradação do solo

Especifique o objetivo da tecnologia em relação a degradação da terra:
  • Reduzir a degradação do solo

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

4.1 Desenho técnico da tecnologia

Especificações técnicas (relacionada ao desenho técnico):

Layout of the terraced fruit orchard with alfalfa crop.

Location: Shenya, Foladi valley. Bamyan

Date: 14.06.2016

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: control of dispersed runoff: impede / retard, reduction of slope angle, reduction of slope length, improvement of ground cover, promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder)

Aligned: -linear
Vegetative material: F : fruit trees / shrubs
Number of plants per (ha): 800
Vertical interval between rows / strips / blocks (m): 1
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 1.3
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 2.5

Scattered / dispersed
Vegetative material: C : perennial crops
Width within rows / strips / blocks (m): 3.5

Trees/ shrubs species: Apple and Apricot

Perennial crops species: Alfalfa

If the original slope has changed as a result of the Technology, the slope today is (see figure below): 2%

Terrace: bench level
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 4
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 43

Bund/ bank: graded
Vertical interval between structures (m): 1
Spacing between structures (m): 1.3

Construction material (earth): for making terraces

Construction material (stone): for making risers

If the original slope has changed as a result of the Technology, the slope today is: 2%

Change of land use type: Conversion of annual cropland into perennial fruit orchard with perennial fodder crop


Rohullah Zahedi, 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:


4.3 Atividades de implantação

Atividade Timing (season)
1. Plantation of saplings Late Autumn or early spring
2. Plantation of alfalfa early spring
3. Construction of terraces Dry season

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 Construction of terraces persons/day/ha 400,0 400,0 160000,0 100,0
Material vegetal Plantation of saplings pieces/ha 800,0 150,0 120000,0 100,0
Material vegetal Plantation of alfalfa kg/ha 100,0 250,0 25000,0 100,0
Custos totais para a implantação da tecnologia 305000,0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 5350,88

4.5 Atividades recorrentes/manutenção

Atividade Calendarização/frequência
1. Fertilizer application only Spring

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

Especifique a entrada Unidade Quantidade Custos por unidade Custos totais por entrada % dos custos arcados pelos usuários da terra
Fertilizantes e biocidas Fertilizer application only kg/ha 800,0 16,0 12800,0 100,0
Custos totais para a manutenção da tecnologia 12800,0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 224,56

The costs are extrapolated for 1 ha. Current (2014) labour and currency exchange rates were used for calculations.

4.7 Fatores mais importantes que afetam os custos

Descreva os fatores mais determinantes que afetam os custos:

Labour for construction work is the most determinate factor affection costs.

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
Especifique a média pluviométrica anual em mm (se conhecida):


Especificações/comentários sobre a pluviosidade:

Most rainfall is recorded in the months of April and May. Rainy season begins in April and ends in June.

Zona agroclimática
  • Semiárido

Thermal climate class: temperate. Temperatures can drop to below -22 degree centigrade

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
Comentários e outras especificações sobre a topografia:

Landforms: Level terraces

Altitudinal zone: About 2600 m above mean sea level

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):
  • Grosso/fino (arenoso)
  • Médio (limoso, siltoso)
Matéria orgânica do solo superficial:
  • Médio (1-3%)
Caso disponível anexe a descrição completa do solo ou especifique as informações disponíveis, p. ex. tipo de solo, PH/acidez do solo, nitrogênio, capacidade de troca catiônica, salinidade, etc:

Soil fertility is medium due to use of manure, fertilizer and also alfalfa

Soil drainage / infiltration is good due to vegetation

Soil water storage capacity is medium

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)

Comentários e outras especificações sobre a qualidade e a quantidade da água:

Availability of surface water: Access to irrigation water canal

Water quality (untreated): From the canal.

5.5 Biodiversidade

Diversidade de espécies:
  • low

5.6 Características dos usuários da terra que utilizam a tecnologia

Orientação de mercado do sistema de produção:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Rendimento não agrícola:
  • 10-50% de toda renda
Nível relativo de riqueza:
  • Rico
Indivíduos ou grupos:
  • Indivíduo/unidade familiar
Nível de mecanização:
  • Trabalho manual
  • Homens
Indique outras características relevantes dos usuários da terra:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Difference in the involvement of women and men: Many works concerning orchard maintenance and harvesting are done by women as well.

Population density: 10-50 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 2% - 3%

Off-farm income specification: Mainly land users with large irrigated agriculture land holdings. The majority of the population has less than 1 ha land thus off-farm income seems to be very important.

Level of mechanization: He performed with his son and family

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)?
  • Grande escala

2-5 ha: This applies to a very small extent of the population like this land user

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

Propriedade da terra:
  • Indivíduo, intitulado
Direitos do uso da terra:
  • Indivíduo
Direitos do uso da água:
  • Comunitário (organizado)

Water use rights are common and organised. The village has access to sufficient irrigation water throughout the year.

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


Produção agrícola

Quantidade anterior à gestão sustentável da terra:


Quantidade posterior à gestão sustentável da terra:

420 kg


Fruit production

Produção de forragens



Qualidade da forragem



Produção animal


Due to alfalfa consumption

Geração de energia


Pruned twigs can be used for firewood

Renda e custos

Rendimento agrícola

Quantidade anterior à gestão sustentável da terra:

10,000 Afghani

Quantidade posterior à gestão sustentável da terra:

45,000 Afghani

Impactos socioculturais

Segurança alimentar/auto-suficiência


Due to more income and production

Oportunidades de lazer


Due to greenery and sound of birds.

Conhecimento de gestão sustentável da terra/degradação da terra


Farmer to farmer knowledge exchange

livelihood and human well-being


The technology help in increased income which can be used for buying food. Families consume more and a greater variety of foods which is beneficial for health.

Impactos ecológicos


Cobertura do solo


Perda de solo

Biodiversidade: vegetação, animais

Diversidade vegetal


More species, cultivated and natural

Diversidade animal


E.g. Birds

6.2 Impactos externos mostrados pela tecnologia

Poluição de água subterrânea/rio


Capacidade de tamponamento/filtragem


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 não conhecido

Outras consequências relacionadas ao clima

Outras consequências relacionadas ao clima
Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Fruit tress are sensitive to frost não bem

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:


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:

ligeiramente negativo

Retornos a longo prazo:

muito positivo

6.5 Adoção da tecnologia

  • casos isolados/experimental
Se disponível, determine a quantidade (número de unidades familiares e/ou área abordada):

1 household

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

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

Comments on spontaneous adoption: There are other 20 land user families in the region who has applied this technology.

There is a little trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: There is a small but growing trend towards spontaneous adoption of the technology among farmers with access to irrigated lands.

6.7 Pontos fortes/vantagens/oportunidades da tecnologia

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
The technology has multiple benefits and needs less labour inputs.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? The technology system can be enhanced by including honeybee keeping.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Reduced soil erosion and improved water
management compared to sloping agricultural land.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Efficient use of water by the application of mulching and pitcher irrigation. Use of well decomposed compost for increasing production and reinforcement of soil quality. Reduced usage of chemical fertilizer.
The technology can be easily applied.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Exposure visit of farmers to improved orchard cultivation practices.
Including perennial fodder crop like alfalfa has multiple benefits.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Alalfa is a water demanding crop. Other nitrogen perennial high quality perennial crops like sainfoin could be tried by the farmer.
The demand for fruits is high, therefore, it contributes to the increased income of the farmers.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Production could be increased through better orchard management. Farmers may need training and information on improved methods through agriculture extension departments and concerned non-governmental organisations.

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?
Fruit trees are sensitive to frost. Relevant research organisations need to develop tolerant varieties through participatory technology approach. Sharing better practices from other countries may be useful.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
The technology depends on a constant supply of irrigation water. Demonstration of improved orchards with a focus on water conservation and soil nutrient management (use of compost, mulch, pitcher irrigation, etc.)

7. Referências e links

7.1 Métodos/fontes de informação

Links and modules

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