Terrace Farming Examples

5 Terrace Farming Examples Explained

Terrace farming examples are; Levant terracing, slope cultivation in India, terraced rice fields of China, West African terracing, and andenes of Peru.


Examples of crops grown in terrace farming are; rice, wheat, corn, millet, pulses, and saffron.


This article discusses terrace farming examples, as follows;






1). Terrace Farming in the Levant, Mediterranean (as one of the Terrace Farming Examples)

The Levant, which cuts across parts of Jordan, Palestine and Israel, is a region where terrace farming is practiced.

In this region, the practice of building terraces spans several centuries, and has been utilized for multiple purposes that include slope modification for easy navigation, horticulture, and sustainable farming [3].

Terrace farming in the Levant is economically and ecologically significant. It has served as a medium for optimizing the conditions of an ecosystem prone to desertification.

Especially in the Southern Levant where vast desert land occurs, terrace farming has been used to achieve soil and water conservation in order to cultivate cereal crops [1].






2). Slope Cultivation in Parts of India

Terrace farming in India is practiced within various contexts, which include gardening, subsistence and commercial crop cultivation.

Indian states where terrace farming is popular include Sikkim, Assam, Mizoram, Kerala, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh. These areas are similar in their undulating topography, which is marked by the presence of hills.

In Sikkim Himalaya, the practice of terracing in agriculture is useful for water and soil conservation [5]. Other areas like Ranikhet utilize terracing for gardening purposes.

Like the Levant, it is common for cereal crops and tea plants to be cultivated on terrace farms in India.

Terrace Farming Examples: Slope Cultivation of Tea Plant in Kerala, India (Credit: Melanurya 2010)
Terrace Farming Examples: Slope Cultivation of Tea Plant in Kerala, India (Credit: Melanurya 2010)







3). Terraced Rice Fields, China (as one of the Terrace Farming Examples)

Chinese terrace farming is practiced in the form of grain cultivation on steep mountainous land in parts of the country.

Places in China where terrace farming is practiced include; Yunnan, Guanxi, Longii, and other regions south of the river Yangtze.

The invention or commencement of terrace farming in China can be traced back several thousand years, to 618 AD, when the Hani people of Yuanyang County in Yunnan began to build terraces for erosion control in their mountain-situated farms [4].

Terrace farming is still used in China especially for rice cultivation in mountainous areas, and it has been modified to include a variety of enhanced methods.






4). Terrace Farming in Africa

Terrace farming is most common in parts of Africa where a combination of desertification-susceptibility and mountainous topography occurs.

Civilizations which have used terrace farming in Africa include the Gwoza and Mafa of West Africa (Nigeria), as well as the Mpumalanga of South Africa [7].

In these civilizations, terrace farming has both historical and present-day relevance as a sustainable agricultural practice for crop cultivation in harsh terrains.

Aside the west and south, other geo-cardinal zones in Africa like the north, north-east and eastern regions also practice terrace farming [2].

The practice of terrace farming has been effective for reducing the severity of food insecurity and hunger problems, especially during drought in countries like Ethiopia. In such countries, the benefits of terracing (like water conservation, soil conservation, erosion mitigation) are exploited to improve food production.






5). Andenes of Peru (as one of the Terrace Farming Examples)

The pre-Incan and Incan civilizations of ancient Peru used terrace farming to optimize their undulating ecosystem for agriculture, thousands of years ago.

Incas used terrace farming mainly for its economic benefits, as it helped conserve resources like irrigation water, while improving overall yield of crops [6].

The Inca terraces in Peru are also referred to as andenes (plural form of andén), which is the Spanish word for 'platform', and describes the flat series of step-like surfaces that typically result when farmers cut terraces into slopes.

While its present-day relevance is mostly archeological, terrace farming is still utilized in some parts of Peru as a method of food production.

Terrace Farming Examples: Andenes of Peru (Credit: Jospastor 2010 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)

Terrace Farming Examples: Andenes of Peru (Credit: Jospastor 2010 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)









Examples of terrace farming are;

1. Terrace Farming in the Levant, Mediterranean

2. Slope Cultivation in Parts of India

3. Terraced Rice Fields, China

4. Terrace Farming in Africa

5. Andenes of Peru







1). Avni, Y. (2022). "The Emergence of Terrace Farming in the Arid Zone of the Levant—Past Perspectives and Future Implications." Land. 2022; 11(10):1798. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101798. (Accessed 23 February 2023).

2). Cicinelli, E.; Caneva, G.; Savo, V. (2021). "A Review on Management Strategies of the Terraced Agricultural Systems and Conservation Actions to Maintain Cultural Landscapes around the Mediterranean Area." Sustainability 13(8):4475. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084475. (Accessed 24 February 2023).

3). Gibson, S.; Lewis, R. Y. (2017). "The Origins of Terracing in the Southern Levant and Patch Cultivation/Box Fields." Journal of Landscape Ecology 10(3). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1515/jlecol-2017-0037. (Accessed 23 February 2023).

4). Jones, G. (2019). "The marvel of China's multi-generational rice terraces." Available at: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20211025-the-marvel-of-chinas-multi-generational-rice-terraces. (Accessed 24 February 2023).

5). Mishra, P. K.; Rai, S. C. (2011). "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Terrace Cultivation in Sikkim Himalaya, India." Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338541387_Cost-Benefit_Analysis_of_Terrace_Cultivation_in_Sikkim_Himalaya_India. (Accessed 24 February 2023).

6). Valdivia, R. O. (2002). "The economics of terraces in the Peruvian Andes: an application of sensitivity analysis in an integrated assessment model." Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253761527_The_economics_of_terraces_in_the_Peruvian_Andes_an_application_of_sensitivity_analysis_in_an_integrated_assessment_model. (Accessed 24 February 2023).

7). Widgren, M.; Maggs, T.; Pikk, A.; Risberg, J.; Schoeman, M. H. A.; Westerberg, L-O. (2016). "Precolonial Agricultural Terracing in Bokoni, South Africa: Typology and an Exploratory Excavation." Journal of African Archaeology 14(1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.3213/2191-5784-10281. (Accessed 24 February 2023).

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