Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT)
Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) was developed by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Development Center and is being adapted by MRDP2-NRM in many of its agro-forestry sub-projects in the SLM sector. SALT is a technology package of soil conservation and food production that integrates several soil conservation measures. Basically, the SALT method involves planting field crops and perennial crops in bands 3-5 m wide between double rows of nitrogen-fixing shrubs and trees planted along contour. These minimize soil erosion and maintain the fertility of the soil. SALT helps considerably in the establishment of a stable ecosystem. The double hedgerows of leguminous shrubs or trees prevent soil erosion. Their branches are cut every 30-45 days and incorporated back into the soil to improve its fertility. The crop provides permanent vegetative cover which aids the conservation of soil and water. The legumes and perennial crops maintain soil and air temperature at levels favorable for the better growth of different agricultural crops. |
Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center, Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Mindanao|
Major soil type is Alfisols which is characterized by soils with clay accumulations at sub-surface horizon and medium to high base supply; usually moist for 90 consecutive days during a period when temperature is suitable for plant growth.
Generally, the slope in the project site ranges from 18 to 50 percent. About 30% of the entire 19 hectares is gently rolling and about 70% is more than 30% slope. The surrounding farmlands of the project site are relatively flat being cultivated to paddy rice.
The climate in the project site is characterized by rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year (Type IV under Coronas Classification).
Majority of farm lots are titled.
Monthly income of the residents in the area ranges from PhP 5,000 to PhP 10,000. Maximum income of the majority of households is usually obtained during the peak harvest of fruits that include durian, marang, rambutan. Other major sources of income are rice, rubber, and livestock.
Agriculture is the main source of income.
Aside from its soil and water conservation effect and of ensuring sustainable source of food to smallholder farmers, SALT is also seen to be an effective paradigm shift from the traditional destructive farming practices (e.g., “kaingin” system or swidden cultivation) of upland farmers and forest migrants to more sustainable farming systems in the uplands. “Kaingin system is observed to be one of the major factors influencing soil erosion in the uplands and siltation of lowland areas in most of the project sites of MRDP2-NRM and GEF sites. If this SALT technology will be widely adapted by majority of upland farmers – particularly the beneficiary –communities and people’s organization (PO) partners, this can drastically reduce siltation in downstream areas and coastal waters. In a short period of time, the technology can improve soil and water quality and the rejuvenation of our forests (re-greening effects). |
1. Rampant “ kaingin” or swidden cultivation in the uplands particularly in forest and forestlands. Along with timber poaching and illegal logging, "kaingin" is one of the major issues that contribute to soil erosion and land degradation in the uplands; |2. Declining upland farm productivity because of top soil removal and soil fertility loss;|3. Massive siltation in downstream and coastal waters as influenced by unsustainable land use|4. Declining forest cover because of timber poaching, “kaingin”, and illegal logging in forests and forestlands
1. Excessive run-off during rainy season;
2. Top soil removal and soil fertility loss due to the effects of burning and sub-soiling in the practice of ”kaingin” or swidden cultivation;
3. Soil erosion
1. To provide smallholder farmers in the uplands a model that would eventually shift their traditional/destructive farming practices into more sustainable systems;|2. To control and minimize excessive runoff, adequately protect soil against erosion and help restore soil structure and fertility;|3. To introduce a replicable sustainable farming system that could address the problems of land degradation in short time possible;|4. To contribute in the re-greening of the uplands.
1. Awareness and advocacy campaign |2. Capacity building|3. Resources mobilization
1. Techno demo establishment|2. Capacity building, awareness and advocacy campaign|3. Organization of famers field visit in the techno demonstration sites|4. Production of popular knowledge products in local dialects
1. Replication and expansion of the technology in other upland areas|2. Provision of technical assistance and support
1. Cleaning/weeding of project sites|2. Contour establishment using A-frame; staking|3. Land preparation|4. Planting of hedgerow crop and alley crops
Technically, SALT is a contour farming system. The method involves the planting of field crops in bands 3-5 meter wide between double rows of nitrogen-fixing shrubs and trees planted along the contour. These minimize soil erosion and maintain the fertility of the soils. Field crops include legumes, cereals, and vegetables, while the main perennial crops are cacao, coffee, banana, citrus, other fruit trees and forest trees. SALT helps considerably in the establishment of a stable ecosystem. The double hedgerows of leguminous shrubs or trees prevent soil erosion. Their branches are cut every 30-45 days and incorporated back into the soil to its fertility. The crop provides permanent vegetative cover which aids the conservation of both soil and water. The legumes and perennial crops maintain soil and air temperature at levels favorable for better growth of different agricultural crops. The recommended hedgerows species used in SALT are Flemingia macrophylla, Desmodium rensoni, Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena diversofilia, and Calliandra calothyrsus. |
1. First, contour lines are established by using an A-Frame, a simple device for laying out contour lines across the slope. It is made of a carpenter level and three wooden or bamboo poles nailed or tied together in the shape of a capital letter A with a base of about 90 cm wide. The carpenter’s level is mounted at the cross bar. The contour lines are spaced 4-5 meters apart.
2. One-meter strips along the contour lines are plowed and harrowed to prepare for planting. Stakes which were driven while using the A-Frame serves as guide during plowing.
3. Along each prepared contour line, two furrows are laid. With a distance of 12 cm between hills, two to three seeds are planted per hill which serves as hedgerows. Hedgerow species are Flemingia macrophylla (syn.congestal), Desmodium rensonii, Calliandra calothyrsus, Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena diversofilia, and L. leucocephala.
4. The space between rows of nitrogen-fixing trees on which the crops to be planted is called a strip or alley. Cultivation is done on alternate strips (i.e., 2, 4, 6 and so on) to prevent erosion as unplowed strips hold the soil in place.
5. Permanent crops such as coffee, cacao, banana, and others of the same height may be planted when the nitrogen fixing species are sown. Permanent crops are planted every third strip. Tall crops are planted at the bottom of the farm while the short ones are planted at the top.
6. Short and medium-term income producing crops (e.g. pineapple, ginger, taro, peanut) are planted between strips of permanent crops.
7. Every 30 to 45 days, the growing hedgerows are cut to a height of 1.0 to 1.5 m from the ground with the cut leaves and twigs to be piled on the soil around the crops.
8. Crop rotation is practiced by planting cereals such as corn and upland rice, tubers and other crops where legumes were previously planted.
9. Green terraces are built by piling organic materials such as straw, stalks, twigs, branches and leaves at the base of the rows of nitrogen fixing trees.
Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBLRC) |Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Philippines
Southern Baptist Convention|Department of Agriculture Regional Field Units No. 11|Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center
No Available Information
Technology generators gain ideas to improve the technology thru feedbacks from farmers and technicians during extension works, hands-on trainings and guided tours.
Ensure food supply and material sources to smallholder farmers because of diversification of cropping pattern, e.g. vegetables, fruit trees, cereals, fodders for livestock, fiber, fuelwood and light construction materials|
The crop provides permanent vegetative cover which contributes to soil and water conservation and minimizes excessive run-off during heavy downpour. Also, SALT can reduce siltation in downstream areas and coastal waters in a short period of time and helps in the re-greening of our forests.|
SALT minimizes soil erosion and maintains the fertility of the soil. The double hedgerows of leguminous shrubs or trees prevent soil erosion. Branches that are cut every 30-45 days and incorporated back into the soil has improved soil structure and fertility.
When the permanent crops (coffee, cacao, banana, etc.) started producing the annual gross income from SALT further increased to $571.49/ha in 1984 and $622.38/ha in 1985.|
Increase production capacity of farm per unit area because of multi-cropping and optimization of areas for crop production
A hectare of land farmed according to SALT can increase an upland farmer’s income dramatically. Even in the first two years of the study, SALT yielded gross incomes which were much higher than the $49.00/crop/ha of farms using traditional practices (Watson and Loguihon 1980-1990).|
The physical evidence, e.g. socio-economic and environmental impacts of SALT encourages farmer who have experience its benefits to adapt the technology.|
“Mirror effect”. Farmers surrounding the SALT project site copy/adapted the technology because of the scenic view of the SALT farm they see at the a distance. SALT farm looks lush green when viewed at a distance.
1. SALT helps in the improvement of global carbon sinks by the increase of vegetative cover;
2. In a massive scale, SALT mitigates global warming because of its re-greening effects;|
1. SALT contributes to soil and water conservation by making soil nutrients and moisture available for plant growth;
2. In a massive scale, it lessens the impact of soil erosion and flooding as it improves soil structure and enhances soil water holding capacity.
3. More importantly, it improves productivity of uplands areas and thus increasing farm income of upland farmers;
4. It also provides support to upland farmers in terms of awareness and advocacy, capacity building and training on the technology adoption.
The technology helps improve soil structure and fertility and provides permanent vegetative cover which contributes to soil and water conservation and long term biodiversity conservation
Compared to traditional corn cultivation, which yields an annual income of $12.00- $80.00/ha, farming using SALT management is almost seven times more profitable (H.R. Watson, 1995)
In another study by Loquihon (1987), the average annual net income of farmers who adopted SALT increased by almost 100%. Before adopting SALT, farmers involved in the study had a net income of $47.75. After adopting SALT, their net income went up to $90.70. |
In most uplands and hilly lands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao Islands|
Strong support from government organizations (GOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) to transfer the technology – replicable elsewhere with some level of adaptation
Passion of the technology generators to look and generate solutions to effects of "kaingin" or swidden cultivation and to transfer the technology by all possible means and to all possible end users – replicable elsewhere with some level of adaptation;
Incentives given to techno-users by the technology generators and support organization in the form of planting material subsidies and grants, technology training and study tours, extension and technology promotions, and farm development grants – replicable elsewhere with some level of adaptation
1.SALT is labor intensive. For farmers, this is a negative factor in technology adaptation particularly among indigenous people (IPs) and smallholder farmers who have limited resources to hire people|
1. Diversification of crops or multi-cropping concept in SALT requires considerable amount of capital for seeds, planting materials and labor inputs during the initial stage of farm development.|2. If marginal farmers will not be provided with outside support, they might not adapt the technology because of these constraints.
1. Technical skills in farm management in SALT are crucial considering that it raises multi crops.|2. Farmers require reinforcement to capacitate their knowledge in cultural practices to various agricultural and forestry crops.|3. Regular technical assistance from extensionists/farm technicians is required to assist farmers so that success in technology adaption is ensured.