Sustainability Research Institute

Food and Ecosystem Services in Eastern Africa

Funding body: NERC/ESRC/DFID Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation Consortium Building Grant (ESPA stream 2a funding)

Amount: £42,000

Duration: 2010-2011


Both Kenya and Tanzania have identified the expansion of agricultural productivity as the growth engine to address poverty and development. Tanzania is embarking on extensive irrigation agriculture to capture the potential of its river basins amid water scarcity in areas earmarked as of high irrigation potential. Balancing between water availability and expansion of irrigated agriculture in Tanzania is therefore an urgent task. Agriculture expansion and growth will be reliant on sustainable resource supply in terms of water and land and associated ecosystem services. However, the complexity of existing land use and its impact on water resources and associated ecosystem function is a major knowledge gap. To enable sustainable management of water and land resources, in an era of fast development and change, new approaches to assessment are needed. This partnership development project is focussing on the design of research around three principal interlinked issues: water, land and associated ecosystem services for supporting poverty alleviation and development, in particular in rural areas in Kenya and Tanzania facing major challenges from socio-ecological and climate change.


ESPA stream 2a funding is enabling the core team to:

  • consult key stakeholders in a workshop in the region (both potential partners and end users of research outputs) from Tanzania and Kenya and the wider region. Purpose: to define and finalise the key relevant research questions
  • take stock of other key relevant current and past research activities. Purpose: to ensure complementary and avoid overlap.
  • develop a larger proposal with key partners from the region. Purpose: finalise constitution of core team and ensure multi-disciplinarity.
  • identify possible areas of nested assessment and scenario building for research activities in Kenya and Tanzania. Purpose: to ensure that research builds on past efforts without overlap, and to ensuring study locations are in relevant areas within national/sub-national development frameworks.
  • finalise discussion on potential tools and methodologies for the proposal. Purpose: ensuring frontline methodologies and tools are developed and applied in research efforts.


Principal Investigator: Prof. Sue White (Cranfield University) Co-Investigator: Dr. Susannah Sallu (SRI, University of Leeds), Dr. Rob Marchant (University of York), Steve Cinderby and Dr. Jennie Barron (Stockholm Environment Institute), Prof. Pantaleo Munishi and Prof. George Kajembe (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania), Dr. Kenneth Masuki (African Highlands Initiative, ICRAF)