Scientific research

Terraced creek "oshtonakdzhuybor"

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Oshtonakdzhuybor (tajik) is a local term. In this case it is a terraced stream (comment of the translator). 

Definition of technology:

The traditional method of ancestors, called "oshtonakdzhuybor" is a downhill water movement by means of construction of a stream from a hillside, allowing to do gardening on abrupt slopes in conditions of lack of productive land.

Brief summary of technology:

A local farmer dug a small channel with a length of 200 m, depth of 50 cm and a width 60 cm on a foothill slope with the loose stony soil. The soil which has been taken out during construction of the channel, was placed on both sides of the channel and mixed with semi-rotten litter. Starting from the end of a slope and further up along the channel bed, the farmer placed stone plates one after another on a bottom of the channel, fixing them from both sides by big stones. The stones served as a barrier for descending water and prevented destruction of a stream, thus preventing a formation of a mud stream. The farmer used the soil mixed with semi-rotten litter along the edges of "oshtonakdzhuybor", which served as cementing material for fixing of big stones. Afterwards, he planted poplar seedlings with thelength of 15 cm at a distance of 20 cm from each other (if the length of seedlings exceeds 15 cm, they can dry out) into the moved soil along the stream edges.

All «oshtanak» construction works were carried out manually. It is preferable not to let much water into a stream to avoid washing away of "oshtonakdzhuybor" edges.

This technology allowed the farmer to use abrupt slopes for cultivation of such crops as poplar, apple, nut, jeddah, mulberry etc in conditions of lack of productive land. This way he increased production of fruits and provided a household with a construction material. He began to receive profit by selling of a production surplus.

Location: Shamtuch djamoat, Aynin district, Sogd province.

Area of technology application:

Stage of intervention: rehabilitation / improvement of bare land.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

The problem is a shortage of the irrigated areas. In total there are 30 ha of land that is possible to irrigate and 10 ha of gardens in the village. There are 0.02 ha of all areas per each inhabitant of the village. The steepness of hillsides does not allow to develop these areas for agricultural production.

Main technical features of technology:

Improvement of soil cover, increase of soil fertility.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Mixed land.

Unused and arable irrigated land.

Structural measures:

С4: Terraced ditches / waterways (for drainage and water transfer).



Average annual rainfall: 300-500 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 1800-1900 m.

Landscape: mountain and foothill slopes.

Slope (%):30-60% (steep).

Soil fertility: low.

Humus content in arable horizon: less than 1.0% (low).

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Anthropogenic environment

Size of land area (ha):

Landholder: small scale.

Land ownership: individual and state.

Water use rights: -

Market orientation: subsistence farming (self sufficiency), free market.


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- allows to use abrupt slopes for gardening and forestry production;

- provides additional income for the household.

Main disadvantages:

- very labor-consuming method;

- impossibility to use machinery.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: The traditional method of ancestors started to be revived due enterprising spirit of the local farmer. Currently, many people from nearby settlements come to study the experience of "oshtonakdzhuybor" construction to apply this method in their areas.

Reference(s): Traditional knowledge in the field of land and water use. The information collection, Dushanbe, 2006. Published by the „Fund of support of civil initiatives“ non-governmental organization of the Republic of Tajikistan, which was the member of the international network of NGO on coping against desertification (a RIOD network) and the coordinator of the RIOD network on implementation of KBO provisions in Tajikistan.

Contact information of the „Fund of support of civil initiatives“ non-governmental organization: 73a-19, Shotemur str., Dushanbe, 734002, Republic of Tajikistan. Tel./Fax: +992 (37) 2215857.


Name of person(s) collected this description: Tatyana Hamzina, Chief specialist on soil reclamation studies and irrigation regime. UZGIP LTD.

Address: 44, Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 90 9945654





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