The Landscapes, Soil Fertility, and Water Management (LSFWM) Cluster at ICRISAT's mission is to improve the food and nutritional security of vulnerable households and promote sustainable farm and landscape management practices, innovations, and tools in the semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa.

The LSFWM cluster focuses on enhancing agro-food productivity and implementing farm and landscape-scale natural resource management strategies. We aim to address the farm and landscape challenges faced by smallholder farmers and communities in semi-arid regions through innovative and sustainable approaches.


Our cluster adopts three stages for the development, implementation and scaling of farm and landscape management strategies. Firstly, diagnosis and context analysis to understand the context and build on the priorities and needs of communities. Secondly, we employ a co-design approach to engage communities and stakeholders in participatory planning, testing and implementation of integrated farm and watershed management practices and innovations. Thirdly, we establish learning landscapes as living labs for testing, demonstration, validation and scaling involving stakeholders from local to policy level. We promote the use of innovative agricultural practices at the farm and landscape levels, aiming to enhance sustainability and resilience.

Building Partnerships:

We recognize the importance of partnerships in achieving our goals. We collaborate with state and national governments, NGOs, the donor community, National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES), national agricultural research institutes, farmer organizations, and the private sector. By working together, we can leverage collective knowledge and resources to implement effective solutions.

The cluster focuses on five key areas

 Integrated Landscape Systems: The cluster research and development areas are driven from complexities, multisectoral needs, and multifunctional nature of the landscapes and emerging issues like resource conflicts and climate shocks. We promote integrated practices, agroecological approaches, and systemic solutions and tools at farm to landscape scale and foster community innovations and policy dialogues.

 Integrated soil fertility management and soil health: The cluster research focuses on the testing and promotion of integrated soil fertility practices, nutrient use efficient practices like micro-dosing, fertilizer optimization, soil acidity and salinity reclamation and management, and ecological nutrient management practices.

 Carbon monitoring: We assess the status and level of organic carbon of land use and farming systems and cropping systems, identify agricultural practices that contribute to carbon sequestration, and develop monitoring techniques.

 Agricultural water management: The cluster promotes farm and scheme level water management practices and tools for increased efficiency of water uses and water productivity.

 State of art soil labs: We provide state of art soil testing services and promote the services using digital applications and mobile soil testing labs.

Impacts in LSWM cluster

 Institutionalized innovation platforms for identifying demand-driven practices and fostering collaborative practices for enhanced agricultural productivity.

 Adoption of farm-based soil and agronomic practices including mono and intercropping, cereal-legume rotations, and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices such as composting, micro-dosing, and improved legume fallow systems.

 Adoption of agroecological approaches and landscape based Natural Resource Management (NRM) practices, such as terraces, tied ridging with fast-growing tree species, and the establishment of hydraulic structures for water retention in the semi-arid areas of central Tanzania.

 Flood spreading weirs introduced in drought-affected areas mitigate terminal soil moisture and low rainfall occurrences for enhancing crop-livestock productions and agro-pastoral systems.

 Landscape nutrient management approach and a digital advisory promoted in the undulating geographies of Ethiopia. Farmers and extension agents realized the relevance of landscape approach for nutrient use efficiency, economic optimization and water productivity.

 ICRISAT contributed to policy advice on fertilizer sources and informs policy to shift from blended fertilizers to DAP and Urea types.

 ICRISAT has launched a user-friendly online portal to provide clients with leading soil analysis services for better decision-making. ICRISAT’s soil laboratory provides analytical services online including soil, plant, water and compost analysis covering various parameters – 32 for soil, 22 for crop quality, 24 for water and 17 for compost samples.