The ‘Majaluba’ rice production system: A rainwater harvesting ‘Bright Spot’ in Tanzania


The rainwater harvesting technique under consideration here is an example of intermediate-scale external catchment runoff harvesting. The focus for discussion is on the ‘majaluba’ system which is found in Tanzania and comprises a network of roughly level basins each surrounded by an earth bund. Basins are arranged in the landscape in order to collect local runoff from stony outcrops and grazing lands in upslope areas with cattle tracks often used as conduits. The ‘majaluba’ system is used primarily for the production of rainfed lowland rice. It has spread through autonomous diffusion of knowledge from farmer to farmer since its introduction in the 1930s. The estimated extent of this system is around 600,000 ha which contributes 60% of total rice production in Tanzania. This is a remarkable, but little known, success story, and represents a water harvesting ‘bright spot,’ where sustainable intensification of smallholder agriculture has been achieved at scale.


Journal article


Agriculture, Sustainable intensification, Meso-catchment, Runoff harvesting, Technology adoption