Opportunities of Bench Terracing in Tigray, Ethiopia: Taking Land to Water Perspective

Hagos Gebreslassie


Tigray is a province with undulating topographic arrangement (with high and rugged mountains; flat topped plateau, deep gorges, river valleys and plains). This land features has been a challenge for irrigation expansion using the water resource potential in the region and it has been also a reason for keeping many rural youths landless and unemployed. The overall aim of this review is therefore to see whether bench terrace could contribute in solving the underutilization of the existed water potential and problem of rural youths. Experiences from the region and abroad has shown that bench terrace is a multipurpose structure in enhancing sloppy agricultural land technology. On top of retaining soil and water loss, bench terrace is effective in creating new cultivable land for landless and unemployed youths in areas which are suitable for irrigation by diversion of perennial rivers, spate irrigation and earthen dam farming. It can be approach of taking cultivable land in to water instead of water to the cultivable land. But, it should be clear that all sloppy land would not mean suitable for bench terracing. It needs systematic selection of suitable sloppy land in reference to the alternative irrigation water availability and also unless compensated by cultivating perennial and cash crops, the costs for intensive labor input, continuous maintenance and loss of previous vegetations are the other negative dimensions of bench terracing.

Keywords: landless, irrigation, youth, bench terrace, Tigray

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ISSN (Paper)2224-7181 ISSN (Online)2225-062X

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