AGORA – Acting Together Now for Pro-poor Strategies against Soil and Land Degradation

Sixty-seven per cent of all arable land in Africa is currently endangered. The consequences of that for the population are dramatic: dwindling harvests in many parts of Africa, a rise in hunger and poverty, and stagnant economic development. Climate change will only compound these problems. How can we put a halt to this process or even retrieve land for agricultural use? These questions have been the focus of the research project AGORA – Acting Together Now for Pro-Poor Strategies Against Soil and Land Degradation since 2014.

Putting sustainable land management into practice

Land degradation, a deterioration in soil quality, hits Africa’s poor rural inhabitants hardest, because they depend on fertile soils for their livelihoods. And it’s smallholder families in particular that often lack the necessary manpower, finances and knowledge to cultivate their land in a more sustainable way. Taking the example of Tanzania and Malawi, researchers in this project investigate what political, social and economic parameters hinder the uptake of land management practices that conserve resources.

Advancing the process together with stakeholders

The project strives to work with various stakeholders and local populations to remove some of the barriers to sustainable land management techniques in the target countries. In the process, we also consider how the burdens of land degradation could be more fairly distributed. The final project report will be presented in 2017.


Dr Jes Weigelt

+ 49 (0)331 288 22 319


02/2014 to 01/2017

Project partners:

  • Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT)
  • Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI)
  • Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)
  • Total Land Care (TLC)


soil, land, livelihoods, sustainable soil management, sustainable land management, transdisciplinarity


Scientific Project Leader: Dr Jes Weigelt

Research Associate: Judith Rosendahl

Supervising Directors: Prof. Mark Lawrence, Prof. Ortwin Renn