12. Caring for the land of the usambaras - a guide to preserving the environment through agriculture, agroforestry and zero grazing.
Publ. of TIRDEP-Soil Erosion Control and Agroforestry Project (SECAP), Part.I, Tanzania; GTZ, Eschborn, 1986, pp. 261 + appendices
This book is about farming in the Usambara Mountains, but the suggested techniques are applicable to similar situations in other developing countries. Primary consideration has been given to providing guidance for specific situations encountered by village extension workers in Lushoto District.
The West Usambaras are a mountain range in the north-east of Tanzania.
They vary in altitude from 1,400 metres above sea level in the valleys up to about 2,200 metres on the upper mountain slopes. The surrounding lowland plains are only a few hundred metres above sea level. Much of the area was formerly covered with dense forests but over the past decades these have been largely cleared.
Intervention is based on establishing macrocontour lines which run across farmers' fields at prescribed intervals depending on the steepness of the slope. This line of permanent crops (usually fodder grasses and legumes like guatemala, desmodium, and leucaena), and trees provides a solid erosion control structure which slows the speed of run-off rainwater and traps soil particles. The line produces economically valuable outputs like fodder, fruits, firewood, and building materials.
Annual and biannual crops are planted between these macrocontours and these are called microcontours. The project strongly advises all farmers to plant permanent and annual crops across hillsides along contours and never to plant in rows running up and down slopes.
Farmers are also advised to increase soil fertility and improve soil structure by applying organic manures like compost, cow dung, and green manure and to practice mixed cropping since this provides diversification and reduces the risk of crop failure due to drought, pests, or disease.
The goal of the livestock program is to create an economically viable alternative to traditional livestock keeping which, through over stocking and grazing has caused serious erosion problems. The production and output of local animals is very low and they now graze on hillsides since the traditional valley grazing areas are now used for intensive vegetable production.
This alternative is the zero grazing system, whereby animals are confined to a stall and are fed with fodder grown on a macrocontour line. Improved crossbred dairy cattle generate considerable income from milk sales and provide manure which is used to improve soil fertility and improve crop yields.
Forestry included 2 programs; afforestating overgrazed eroded village pastures and planting multipurpose agroforestry species along macrocontour lines and in fields.
Monitoring and evaluation of the work carried out by the community nurseries tends to be insufficient.
This guide is well written.
Specific information on laying contour lines, managing nurseries, planting fruit trees, etc. is presented in easy to read form completed with supporting illustrations. There are also short sections on fish farming, biogas, rabbit rearing, and human nutrition.
The information and advice in this book was collected from farmers, extension workers, researchers, development workers, publications, and by personal observations. The book has been flexibly designed so additions can be made, as necessary.
1265 92 - 13/63
Erosion and desertification control
Review, book, Asia, India, soil and water conservation, farmer practices, vetiver grass
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