Workshop on Land Degradation in Malawi

Wed, 01/21/2015

Sustainable land management (SLM) is seen as the best way to combat and even reverse land degradation. Despite extensive past efforts from governmental, non-governmental and research organisations to promote SLM to smallholder farmers in Malawi, adoption remains low. Research from around sub-Saharan Africa suggests that this has less to do with the SLM interventions themselves and more with social and economic drivers. Experience in agricultural landscapes across Africa suggests that approaches to SLM should be flexible in practice and tailored to local conditions but how do we actually implement this in practice and scale out the results? We know that economic constraints are the most common reason for not adopting SLM. However, we also know that SLM actions on one plot can create benefits across entire landscapes. In addition, coordination of SLM activities across landscapes can result in far greater benefits compared to any one farmer acting alone. Can this knowledge be used to create incentives that can help farmers adopt SLM? To increase adoption of SLM we need to incorporate the views of the multiple stakeholders involved. There are many challenges that accompany the approaches we have outlined but also lessons to be learnt from existing and on-going efforts.

There have been great achievements in promoting SLM in many bright spots throughout Malawi.  The goals of this workshop are to create a forum for discussion on lessons learnt and on-going challenges faced by organisations working to scale out SLM in Malawi. The AGORA project, which is a partnership among the IASS, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Total Land Care, Bunda College (LUANAR), and the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in Tanzania are holding this workshop to bring together institutions actively engaged in implementing SLM on the ground, as well as those setting the policy agenda.

Workshop objectives:

  • Stocktaking of SLM in Malawi with a focus on the Shire Basin – generate a comprehensive picture of where SLM activities are being rolled, what SLM activities are involved and who are the organisations implementing them, with the aim of identifying opportunities for collaboration.
  • To discuss the challenges often faced in implementing SLM and discuss experiences and strategies for overcoming them.
  • To present AGORA approach to SLM, where it is working in Malawi and how it might be of use to all partners working on SLM in Malawi.

The workshop takes place at the Sunbird Lilongwe Hotel in Lilongwe, Malawi. Participation by invitation only.