By Hunny Gupta
In agriculture, a terrace is a piece of sloped plane that has been cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which resemble steps, for the purposes of more effective farming. Terrace gardening is a method of farming that consists of different “steps” or terraces that were developed in various places around the world. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine cordilleras (hills and mountains) is a World Heritage Site. It dates back two thousand years. It is a type of farming that was invented by the Inca people who lived in south. American mountains . This farming method has made cultivation of crops in hilly or mountainous regions possible .It is commonly used in Asia by rice-growing countries such as Vietnam , Philippines ,and Indonesia .In fact ,the terraces of rice found in the Philippine’s Cordilleras have been acknowledge as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apart from rice cultivation, terraces are also used to grow potatoes , and maize. Terrace farming is also commonly used in islands such as canary Islands ,because they have hilly terrains In this farming every step has an outlet which channels water to next step .This helps in keeping some areas dry and others wet .on very high altitudes ,other crops apart from rice can be grown. This is because rice does not do well on high altitudes. There are two types of terracing known as graded terracing and level terracing. A graded terrace may have either constant or variable grades along its length .On the contrary , the level terraces follow a contour line and are best suited for permeable soil. Terrace farming prevents the washing away of soil nutrients by the rains. This leads to the growth of healthy crops .secondly, it prevents the carrying away of plants by the heavy flowing rivers of water .sometimes rain water carries away the crops leading to low crop yield .Thirdly, terraces help in reduction of soil erosion and water loss. The fourth benefit of terrace farming is that it has made the idle hillside land become productive .Lastly , terraces trap rainwater allowing the people to engage in cultivation of water-intensive crops such as rice .It is an important agriculture method that has made farming in mountainous parts of the world possible.