Improving land and water management

Improving land and water management


This working paper from World Resources Institute (WRI) gives a glimpse of the challenges experienced by smallholder farmers across developing countries. Issues on land – from insecure tenure to degradation, exacerbated by pressures from climate change, has resulted into a significant drop in crop yield. This led to more poverty and food insecurity.
However, linkages between scientists and farmers provide some hope in terms of possible solutions to increase agricultural production. Improved land and water management is at the center of all this.


The article focuses on 4 land and water management practices that, when properly implemented by the major stakeholders, would provide multi co-benefits ranging from improved soil structure, reduction of soil erosion, to increased water filtration and more efficient water uptake.

These practices include: agroforestry; conservation agriculture; rainwater harvesting; and integrated soil fertility management. Each practice features a case study of promising interventions in different countries on the drylands of Sub Saharan Africa namely Malawi, Zambia, Burkina Faso, and West Africa.

More importantly, the report recommends the scaling up of land and water management practices through the following:
a. Strengthening knowledge management;
b. Increasing communication and outreach;
c. Supporting institutional and policy support;
d. Supporting capacity building;
e. Increasing support for integrating landscaping management;
f. Reinforcing economic incentives and private sector engagement; and
Mainstreaming investing in improved land and water management.


Winterbottom, R. et al. (2013). “Improving Land and Water Management.” Working Paper, Installment 4 of Creating Sustainable Food Future. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.


  • World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, USA