Conservation Bench Terracing in Somalia
Farmers in Somalia have long been building bunds on their
sloped land to conserve soil and make better use of rainfall.
They space bunds about 30 m apart on sorghum fields and cut
diversion channels which collect runoff water from adjacent
plots. Diversion channels, however, risk inundation of fields
with sediment carried by heavy rains and may cause pipe erosion
in places where water collects in ponds. Also, the traditionally
bunded crops tend to mature unevenly, because of varying water
availability on the slope. Kenneth Proud, a World Bank field
engineer for Somalia's Northwest Region Agricultural
first 10 m above each bund and leaving 30 m of uncultivated
mitchment area. Yields from the field and micro
catchment area combined averaged one and a half to two times
the 230 kg/ha yields from traditionally farmed fields. In
addition, the water conservation bunding technique requires only
one-quarter of the plowing and weeding of the other method, and
encourages more even crop maturation. Local farmers are
working to convert their old bunds to the new system.
New Scientist, 4 February 1988, page 46.