Call for proposals: Research on scaling up soil moisture retention in Sub-Saharan Africa

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A Senegalese woman harvests crop from her farm
Berenice Van Den Driessche/OCHA

With the increasing severity of dry spells predicted for Sub-Saharan Africa, enhancing the soil's moisture holding capacity is crucial to buffer against agricultural production losses. To address this challenge, the NL-CGIAR has announced a call for research proposals under the theme: "The Water-Food Nexus in Rainfed Agri-Food Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: Socio-Economics and Governance."

Purpose and objectives

This research initiative aims to enable the scaling-up of soil moisture retention practices among smallholder farmers in rainfed agri-food systems, thereby mitigating the negative impacts of dry spells on agricultural production. The specific objectives of the call are:

  1. Socio-Economic Insights: To gain insights into the socio-economic barriers and opportunities for scaling water retention practices in a changing climate.
  2. Governance Insights: To identify and provide options for governance functions and attributes that support the scaling-up of moisture retention practices.
  3. Strengthening Cooperation: To enhance collaboration among CGIAR researchers, Dutch researchers, and local partners.

Consortia are invited to focus on either the first or the second objective in combination with the third objective, or on all three objectives simultaneously.

Who should apply?

This call is open to consortia comprising researchers from CGIAR Research Centres, Sub-Saharan African knowledge institutes, and Dutch knowledge institutes (including universities of applied sciences). Stakeholders from National Agricultural Research and Extension Services (NARES) and cooperation partners from local, regional, or national governments are also encouraged to participate.

Research focus

The research should target rainfed agri-food systems, including cropping systems, mixed farming systems (such as food-fodder-livestock), and pastoralist systems. The goal is to generate insights and solutions that contribute to the large-scale implementation of soil moisture retention practices.

Submission details

Research proposals should be submitted to the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

Closing date for pre-registration

15 October 2024 14:00 hrs.

Closing date full application

13 May 2025 14:00 hrs.



Join the information session on July 8

8 July 2024, from 13:00-15:00 CEST, NWO organizes an online information meeting to provide more information on the call, answer questions, and provide an option for attendees to meet each other.

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