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Resilience through RCC - Promoting Resilience and Food Security through Risk- Contingent Credit in Africa

Climate change, and particularly weather extremes, severely challenge agricultural production and food security, and raise production risks. Agricultural risks—particularly those associated with drought—are a major contributor to low agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, both directly through compromising crop yields but also indirectly by lowering investments into production inputs, which would be lost during droughts. This project will pilot risk-contingent credit (RCC), a financial product that embeds within its structure an insurance protection which, when triggered, offsets loan payments due to the lender. The project will conduct randomized controlled trials to assess the impacts of the RCC products on agricultural productivity, resilience, and nutrition in Kenya and Ethiopia. The IAMO team will contribute to increasing the accuracy of the weather indices used for the RCC products by incorporating key environmental variables from remote sensing data along with measurements from weather stations.


  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

  • Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK

  • Haramaya University, Ethiopia

  • Equity Bank, Ltd, Kenya

  • Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Kenya

  • APA Insurance, Kenya

  • Debub Global Bank (DGB), Ethiopia

  • Oromia Insurance Company (OIC), Ethiopia

  • Agri-Food Economics Africa, Kenya

  • Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), Sweden

Project Duration: 01.05.2021-30.04.2024

Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Staff: Dr. Daniel Müller, Dr. Florian Schierhorn, Max Hofmann, Christopher Krause


RIMARA - Development of a Risk Management Concept for small farmers in Armenia and Azerbaijan

In this assignment, the IAMO team will generate accurate, timely, and reproducible information about historic and future patterns of climate and weather. These will be combined with available agricultural ground data to advance the knowledge of climatic risks for agriculture in Armenia and Azerbaijan. The team will also examine most recent temperature and precipitation projections until 2100 and assess the potential consequences of future climate change for the main crops in the region.  We will use the results from these analyses, including long-term climate changes as well as changes in the severity and intensity of weather extremes, to develop crop-specific climate risk indices. The data and findings will be shared in a web mapping service platform that aims to inform stakeholders of past and likely future climate risks.



Project duration: 07.06.2021-31.10.2021

Funding: The German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation

Contacts: Dr. Daniel Müller, Dr. Ihtiyor Bobojonov

Other team members: Dr. Florian Schierhorn, Max Hofmann

RIMARA project

LULCC – Land use and land cover change impacts of the sorghum and millet upscaling project in Mali

In this geo-spatial impact evaluation, we will assess land use and land cover change impacts of the Sorghum and Millet upscaling project in Mali, implemented by ICRISAT between 2014 and 2015. Over 100,000 sorghum and millet farmers across 227 villages in the Sikasso region in Mali, have adopted improved sorghum and millet technologies, leading to yield increases in the range of 30% to 60%. The impact evaluation will assess the heterogeneous causal effects of yield improvements induced by the technology upscaling on local land use. The impact evaluation will leverage a retrospective panel of remote sensing data spanning between 2008 and 2020 across Sikasso region covering both treated and non-treated villages. The heterogeneous adoption patterns induced by concurrent technology upscaling and market and policy changes, make this a particularly interesting ‘live-lab’ to extend current debates on Borlaug hypothesis versus Jevons’s paradox on land use.

In this project, we collaborate with ICRISAT (John Nzungize), the University of Louvain (Patrick Meyfroidt), and the University of California at Santa Barbara (Robert Heilmayr).


  • Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), Germany
  • Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), Mali

Project duration: 01.10.2020 - 31.12.2023

Contact: Dr. Dilini AbeygunawardaneDr. Daniel Müller

LULCC project

SUSADICA – Structured doctoral programme on Sustainable Agricultural Development in Central Asia

Agricultural development in Central Asia requires a systemic approach that accounts for the various implications of agriculture resource use for economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Currently, there is no place in Central Asia where such an approach has been instituted in an academic environment that links cutting edge research to graduate education at international standards. This project aims at the creation of a collaborative research environment for doctoral researchers that is based at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME) in Uzbekistan and that is established and maintained jointly with IAMO, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) and a network of international partners. The establishment of this Graduate School is driven by four guiding principles: (A) competitive and transparent recruitment of doctoral researchers, (B) focus on research topics that build a bridge between the international academic discourse and agricultural development challenges relevant for Central Asia, (C) structured education and training of the doctorate students that enables them to conduct independent research, and (D) integration into a network of international partners and events. Doctoral researchers for the Graduate School are recruited internationally in an open call for applications and will be selected based on their prior qualification. Research and education are structured along a matrix defined by the three dimensions of economic, social, and ecological sustainability and the five research areas (1) farm restructuring & labor relations, (2) agricultural innovations & technology, (3) agricultural policy, (4) environmental change & agriculture, (5) water governance.

Project duration: since 01 January 2019 - 31. December 2022

Funding: VolkswagenFoundation

Contact: Dr. Daniel Müller

SUSADICA project 

FORLAND: Agricultural Land Markets – Efficiency and Regulation

The lease and purchase prices of agricultural land have risen steadily in recent years. The DFG research group “Agricultural Land Markets - Efficiency and Regulation” (FORLand) deals with the functioning and efficiency of agricultural land markets and land market regulation. The project objectives are to develop a better understanding of land purchase and lease prices, to assess the impact of market mechanisms and rising prices on society and the environment, as well as the impact of government intervention in the land market. Within the research group, IAMO staff members analyse spatio-temporal interdependencies between market outcomes and environmental impacts, the ethical question of land markets, and whether state regulation of land markets can meet the expectations placed on them.

Project duration: 01.08.2017 - 31.12.2023

Funding: DFG

Contact: Dr. Daniel Müller

FORLAND project




Completed Projects


BALTRAK: Balancing trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity

The Vokswagen Foundation will fund a new 3-year-project in Kazakhstan headed up by the Working Group Ecosystem Research. Together with our Kazakhstani partners at the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan (ACBK) and Karaganda university, as well as the German partners at University of Muenster and HU Berlin we will implement a three-year research project entitled ‘Balancing trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in the steppes of Kazakhstan (BALTRAK)’. Within the project, we will analyze agricultural and restoration potentials on abandoned arable land, the distribution of key steppe grassland biodiversity (small mammals, birds and plants), and biodiversity responses to changing agricultural use and wildfires. Ultimately, we aim to develop strategies to reconcile agriculture and biodiversity, and contribute to the development of protected areas in Central Asia.

Funding: The Volkswagen Foundation

Contact: Dr. Daniel Müller, Dr. Florian Schierhorn

BALTRAK project




  • focus on the part of the Argentine Chaco within the five provinces of Salta, Formosa, Santiago del Estero, and Chaco
  • provide new insights into the trade-offs and synergies between agricultural production, ES provisioning and biodiversity
  • explore drivers of land use decisions and how they vary across land systems
  • assess how trade-offs between production and conservation land uses may vary across a set of plausible future land-use scenarios
  • identify optimal landscape patterns that mitigate trade-offs along with guidance on how to implement such landscapes.

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Bioeconomy International

Contact: Dr. Daniel Müller, Dr. Zhanli Sun

PASANOA project 



The overall goal of the project “CROSSGRASS” is to analyse the extent and the drivers of changes in grassland greenness, a proxy for plant growth, for the grassland biome in Asia’s drylands. We derived these insights by combing remote sensing data, agricultural statistics, and climate data with high spatial and temporal resolution. Using insights from past changes, we forecasted potential future developments under various alternative climate change scenarios.

The proposed research and training action will use a highly interdisciplinary approach that integrates remote sensing, statistical analysis, resource economics, and agricultural sciences. The scientific part of the action will be structured into the listed work packages:

  • Mapping dynamics of grassland greennes
  • Analysing the drivers of changes in grassland greenness
  • Exploring future scenarios of grassland greenness

Project duration: 01.04.2018 - 31.03.2020

Funding: European Commission via the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship

Contact: Dr. Daniel MüllerDr. Lijuan Miao


GERUKA: Global food security and the grain markets of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan [Globale Ernährungssicherung und die Getreidemärkte Russlands, der Ukraine und Kasachstans] 

GERUKA is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) and the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). Our group analyzes agricultural production potentials for the selected case study regions (Lviv, Ukraine; Kostanay, Kazakhstan; Ryazan, Russian Federation).


KULUNDA: How to prevent the next "Global Dust Bowl"? – Ecological and Economic Strategies for Sustainable Land Management in the Russian Steppes: A Potential Solution to Climate Change


EPIKUR: Economic and natural potentials of agricultural production and carbon trade‐offs in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia 

EPIKUR assesses agricultural production potentials consisting of yield gaps and unused land resources in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia. Yield gaps are estimated by combing spatially explicit crop growth models with farm-level efficiency analyses. A spatial allocation model is used to estimate production potentials of abandoned land. Future production potentials are assessed under scenarios of technological progress, climate change, and the economics of recultivation. The assessment of production increases includes a trade‐off analysis between CO2 emissions and economic benefits of recultivation. EPIKUR contributes to building a strong network for advancing the science and understanding of agricultural potentials in transition economies.  


I-REDD+: Impacts of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Carbon Stocks 

I-REDD+ is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. Our group is responsible for scrutinizing potentials and pitfalls of MRV of REDD+-type activities.


VOLANTE: Visions of Land-Use Transitions in Europe 

VOLANTE  is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. We support the VOLANTE-group at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in analyzing drivers and hotspots of land-use transitions in Europe.