Reversing Land Degradation trends and increasing Food Security in degraded ecosystems of semi-arid areas of central Tanzania (LDFS)
Country Contacts

Joseph Kihaule - joseph.kihaule@vpo.go.tz


Being an integral part of the Resilient Food Systems programme, the LDFS project will contribute to the collective impact of this programme, which is intended to inform approaches to food security in the drylands of sub-saharan Africa towards win-win solutions between food production and maintaining ecosystem services in the face of anticipated climate shocks.



To reverse land degradation trends in central Tanzania and Pemba (Zanzibar) through sustainable land and water management and ecosystem-based adaptation.

GEF Grant US $7.1M
Co-Financing US $45 M


The project sites represent two of the country’s main biomes, each encompassing different types of biological resources and unique diversity, namely the humid Miombo ecosystem and the Rift Valley Highland ecosystem. Land degradation, agricultural expansion, fires and unsustainable land-use practices have resulted in significant degradation of flora and fauna, as well as the destruction of landraces in agriculture and livestock to the benefit of foreign improved breeds leading to a gradual degradation of native genetic material. According to the IUCN Redlist, Tanzania is home to nearly 600 terrestrial species that are classified as vulnerable, of which 291 are endangered and 91 critically endangered.

Accordingly, the lands of the target districts in semi-arid areas are highly degraded and the productive land is becoming increasingly scarce. Climate change is leading to prolonged dry spells and farmers report increasing temperatures, which is confirmed by data from meteorological services stating a country-wide average temperature increase of 0.23°C per decade since 1960. Total annual rainfall over the same period has decreased by 3.3 percent per decade. Farmers are also reporting a delayed onset and increased intensity of the wet season. These changes and the unpredictability of rainfall events cause an increased risk of crop failure due to poor seed germination and washing away of seeds or crops. Similarly, livestock pastures are decreasing in size and the risk of parasites and diseases is increasing.


Land under integrated and sustainable management (ha.) 29,200
GHG emissions avoided or reduced (CO2e) 1,223,000
Genetic diversity of crops and animals maintained or increased (%) 15 - 25
Land cover (increase, %) TBD


The project area consists of five districts including Kondoa, Mkalama, Nzega, and Magu in mainland Tanzania and Micheweni in Zanzibar (Pemba Island). In each district the project area covers one or two wards with two or more villages (in total 22 villages) sharing the same resources in a landscape.

To achieve its objective, the project is structured into three inter-related components. Component 1 will build the capacity of customary, village and district institutions in natural resources management and joint village land-use planning. This will support the development of climate change adaptation capacities and mainstreaming of sustainable land and water management and biodiversity conservation practices among selected village communities sharing the same resources. Component 2 will support the sustainability of ecosystem services and food and nutrition security in five focus areas: (i) conservation agriculture and other climate-smart agricultural practices; (ii) rainwater harvesting and micro-catchment management; (iii) sustainable rangeland management; (iv) tree nurseries and sustainable woodland management; and (v) income generation activities and linkages to markets for sustainably produced and climate resilient communities. Component 3 will focus on monitoring and assessing the progress in sustaining ecosystem services.


Institutional capacity building for sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation at a landscape level

At least 1 inter-village Natural Resource Management Committee per district bringing together at least 2 or more villages to resolve any emerging conflicts over resources use (with more than 30 percent women in leading positions).

At least 10 staff per district, 5 staff per village, and 3,000 community members (more than 30 percent women and more than 30 percent youth represented) trained in participatory joint land-use mapping, planning and regulation in support of sustainable land management, forest conservation and sustainable agro-pastoralism.

Up-scaling of sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, land, water and pastoral management systems

3,000 households (at least 20 percent female-headed households) reporting yield/ha. improved soil health and increased productivity and income generation from agro-pastoral ecosystems.

307,607 tons of CO2 eq. greenhouse gas emissions avoided.

915,247 tons CO2 eq. sequestered.

100 farmer field schools created with 25 participants each (with more than 30 percent women and more than 30 percent youth represented).

20 groups operating tree nurseries (with more than 30 percent women and more than 30 percent youth represented).

25,000 ha. under conservation and climate-smart farming and sustainable management.

4,200 ha. woodlands, rangeland and degraded land reforested or afforested.

3,000 farmers reporting having enough water for primarily livestock and horticulture needs.

At least 3,000 households reporting an increase in all-season income through association with producer groups and better market linkages.