Integrating nutrition and health into agroforestry projects of GIZ and NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa: a feasibility study

Agroforestry is a sustainable agroecological production method that incorporates trees with agricultural crops and/or livestock. Research in the past decades has shown that agroforestry can improve numerous aspects of planetary health, including positive agricultural, ecological, hydrological, and socio-economic outcomes. While environmental and economic impacts, as well as the contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation, are well studied and documented, nutrition and health aspects of agroforestry programs are less often researched or included in project plans. Potential links to human nutrition and health outcomes range from increased access to nutrient-rich tree foods such as fruits and nuts; increased income through the sale of fresh and processed tree products; increased resilience of farming households through diversification of production and improved overall agricultural production. However, up to today, no systematic review is available that specifically focuses on the contribution of agroforestry to human nutrition and health. Furthermore, rigorous empirical evidence is still lacking to put policies into practice, which has been highlighted as a critical research gap. To bridge this research gap and study the connection between agroforestry and human nutrition/health, the Nu-Tree project will carry out its activities in an inter- and transdisciplinary way cooperating with local, regional, and global stakeholders representing different sectors (e.g. research, program implementers, civil society, and policymakers) and different disciplines, including agriculture, forestry, ecology, health, nutrition, economics, and social sciences. The planned systematic literature review and exchange with key stakeholders at two workshops will have a focus on implementation experiences from past and ongoing agroforestry projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The project’s goal is to develop and disseminate a conceptual framework and a roadmap to promote and guide the incorporation of health and nutrition aspects in future agroforestry projects. The project is funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).

The overall aim of the project is to create awareness of the nutrition and health aspects of agroforestry projects for key stakeholders to support the implementation and evaluation of those aspects in future programs. Nu-Tree’s main expected products will be (i) a systematic review of results from past and on-going agroforestry projects with regard to nutrition and health aspects, (ii) reports of two workshops with relevant stakeholders from Germany and sub-Saharan Africa, and (iii) a conceptual framework and roadmap for better integration and evaluation of nutrition and health aspects in future agroforestry programs.

The PIK team from RD2 will coordinate and manage the project and is responsible for its three work packages. In order to reach the project’s goals, the PIK team will conduct a systematic literature of both existing scientific evidence on agroforestry links to nutrition and health as well as knowledge gained in agroforestry projects that are implemented by key stakeholders. The PIK team will collaborate and exchange knowledge with stakeholders based in Germany, but also with international organizations, as well as local NGOs and governmental agencies that have implemented agroforestry projects in sub-Saharan Africa. For that purpose, different meetings as well as two stakeholder workshops will be organized. A conceptual framework and a roadmap document that outlines practical and methodological aspects for designing and monitoring agroforestry projects in terms of their nutrition and health impacts will be developed by the PIK team and shared with all parties involved.


Apr 01, 2022 until May 31, 2024

Funding Agency

DBU - Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt

Funding Call



Amanda Wendt