Sustainable land management in the Lushoto research area in Tanzania, where terrace cultivation prevents severe soil erosion on the steep slopes.
Sustainable land management in the Lushoto research area in Tanzania, where terrace cultivation prevents severe soil erosion on the steep slopes. J. Rosendahl

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

Laufzeit:
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Swathes of valuable farming land are lost each year to the effects of land degradation, erosion, and soil salinity. Sixty-seven per cent of all arable land in Africa is currently endangered. What could be done to halt or even reverse this trend? What steps could be taken to improve the livelihoods of impoverished rural populations? These questions are the focus of the research project AGORA – Acting Together Now for Pro-Poor Strategies Against Soil and Land Degradation. This joint research effort brings stakeholders from the fields of science, policymaking, and civil society together with local populations to develop strategies for sustainable land use and management.

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.