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Opportunities for Expanding Water Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of the Tieras of Kassala

Recently settled pastoralists in the Kassala Border Area of East Sudan are combining different livelihood activities, including different run-off farming techniques, to fulfil their subsistence needs. The teras1 technique of water harvesting is widespread and offers good opportunities for run-off manipulation and moisture storage. Despite relatively high labour requirements and low grain yields, the terus are critically important in strategies of holding dispersal and hence of risk. In this paper, we discuss the value and extent of teras close to Kassala. Its small scale, private management and adaptive capacity make it a technology replicable in other areas of Sudan and in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In order to achieve this, rural programmes must tap the proven rich source of indigenous knowledge more than is presently the case.

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