This Unit is about Terracing as understood in Agriculture.


Is the mechanical construction of a series of steps on steep slopes to enable crops to be grown.

Advantages of terracing

  1. It reduces the total sloping area and therefore reduces soil erosion.
  2. It allows more water to sink in the soil so that crop yield increases.
  3. Use of machinery becomes possible on the broad based ridge. This saves labour and time.
  4. It becomes easier for the farmer to carry out agronomic practices e.g. weeding, pruning, among others.
  5. It creates more land for growing crops instead of leaving it under pasture.

Procedure used in making terracing

  • Removing all surface vegetation
  • The rich top soil is removed and also put a side.
  • The sub-soil is cut from one side of the slope and added to the reverse side of the soil so as to level the land
  • The top soil is then re turned on the horizontal side where crops will be grown.
  • The vertical side of the slope is planted with grass to control erosion.
  • Drainage channels are made to carry away excess water.

Types of terraces

  • Bench terraces

bench terrace


Bench terraces are made of very steep slopes where both soil conservation and water conservation measures are needed so as to control erosion but at the same time trapping water and later using it for irrigation.

Disadvantages of bench terraces

It needs skilled labour to construct

Bench terraces are very expensive to construct because they need heavy machinery.

  • Channel terraces

These are constructed to protect arable land that lies below a very steep slope from excessive run off water from higher areas. They have a wide but shallow channel that may be planted with grass to avoid erosion. On the lower side of the channel bunds are constructed and may be planted with grass to prevent water from moving further down the slope.

Crops will then be grown in the field below;

chanel terrace

  • Ridge terraces

Narrow based ridge terrace

These are constructed on moderate slopes with deep soils. Narrow channels are constructed on either side of the bund or ridge to carry away excess water. The bund may be used for growing crops.

narrow ridge terrace

Broad based  ridge terraces

These are constructed on more gently to carry off excess water. Both the bund and the channel can be used for growing crops (Water loving crops).

broad terrace

Disadvantages of terracing

  1. Terraces are expensive to construct since they use heavy machinery and most peasant farmers cannot afford them.
  2. It wastes a lot of land (it requires the farmer to have a lot of land because much of it will be occupied by channels and bunds).
  3. It requires skilled labour to construct terraces.





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