HFFA Research is an independent scientific consultancy on key issues in global agriculture, environment and development. Our aim is to deliver top quality research, consulting and evaluation services to our clients. Led by Managing Director Dr. Steffen Noleppa, our team of interdisciplinary researchers has ample international experience and uses state-of-the-art methods to provide our clients with the tailor-made solutions they are looking for.

Steffen Noleppa
Managing Director

Steffen Noleppa is an agricultural economist and the managing director of HFFA Research GmbH. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in animal husbandry, both from Humboldt University of Berlin.


For more than 30 years, Steffen Noleppa has been involved in the analysis of global agricultural markets and rural politics as well as environmental transition processes. He has long-standing experiences in ex-post and ex-ante impact assessments and evaluations, in modelling of agricultural markets and policies, sector analysis and policy simulations. Since many years, he has also been working intensively in the field of climate change economics. He advises private companies, governments and ministries as well as NGOs on agricultural and environmental change processes across the globe.


Prior to HFFA Research GmbH, Steffen Noleppa worked as an assistant professor and researcher at the Chair for Agricultural Policy at Humboldt University of Berlin and as a guest researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC and the Iowa State University of Science and Development in Ames, IA.


Steffen Noleppa was co-founder and managing partner of agripol – network for policy advice GbR and is member of the German Association of Agricultural Economists, the European Association of Agricultural Economists, and the International Association of Agricultural Economists.


He fluently speaks German and English as well as Russian at a moderate level.
+49 (0)17 12 67 91 14 

+49 (0)30 21 96 16 61

Annika Napier-Smith

Annika Napier-Smith is a social development specialist with experience in human rights law, indecent work, and food security. Her research interests include smallholder upgrading, global value chain sustainability, good governance, and legal accountability. Annika’s is interested in ways to protect against indecent work, specifically on plantations and in agriculture sectors, and grow social development initiatives while adapting to climate change measures. She has experience conducting legal analyses, feasibility studies, and stakeholder acquisition measures in the areas of indecent work, food security, and agricultural development.


Annika is from Philadelphia, USA and has a bachelor’s degree in Art and Journalism with a focus on social justice from the University of Pittsburgh. During her bachelor’s, she worked as a Development Officer with the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, where she implemented, monitored, and evaluated new educational support initiatives for teens experiencing homelessness. Following her bachelor’s, she moved to Germany as a fellow with the Bundestag and US State Department where she trained in diplomacy. She has experience working at the International Center for Development and Decency Work as a Project Associate, where she consulted on projects for FAO, ILO, and Oxfam. In this role, her research focused on value chain upgrading opportunities and collective bargaining projects in agricultural sectors in the global south, as well as indecent work and social development means of addressing food security on plantations.


Annika obtained a Master of Law in International Human Rights Law from the Europa Viadrina University in 2021, where she focused on human rights violations and good governance on tea plantations in northeast India. For the entire duration of her Masters’, she worked at the Berlin Social Sciences Center as a Student Assistant. She began at HFFA Research in March 2022.


Annika is a native English speaker and speaks German.

Juliane Kaufmann
Researcher & Project Manager


Juliane has an interdisciplinary background in natural resource economics (M.Sc.) and social sciences (B.A.) from Humboldt-University zu Berlin and Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf; and an additional qualification in international development cooperation from the Centre for Rural Development (SLE) in Berlin.


Her work focuses on sustainable agricultural development in the interplay of socio-economic and environmental aspects. Her strength lies in bringing together various disciplines and looking at development from different perspectives. At HFFA, her specific focus is on climate change adaptation in agriculture, agroecology and food security. She advises on the creation of economic evidence for sustainable agricultural practices and has expertise in conducting different economic analysis such as cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness and multicriteria analysis.


Juliane has extensive and long-term international work experiences, especially in Africa and South-East Asia. In Cambodia she supported the GIZ in developing and implementing a digital social security system and the Welthungerhilfe in projects on land titling and livelihood development in rural areas. Juliane also brings knowledge on the conceptualization and implementation of OECD/DAC evaluations.


Juliane speaks German, English and French.
+49 (0)30 21 96 16 61

Katarina von Witzke
Researcher & Project Manager

Katarina von Witzke is an agricultural economist with a focus on modeling agricultural markets and policies as well as risk management and climate change adaptation.


Ms. von Witzke holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Humboldt University of Berlin where she is currently a PhD candidate at the chair of the farm management group. Her PhD research focusses on index-based insurance, especially in the context of climate change adaptation. Specifically, Ms. von Witzke explores econometric strategies for the prediction of climate extremes in the context of agricultural insurance. In her master’s studies, she focused on agricultural insurance, agricultural policy as well as the modelling of agricultural markets.


Furthermore, Ms. von Witzke has completed internships at the Public and Government Affairs division of Bayer Crop Science in Brussels. She currently also manages her farm in Lower Saxony. Throughout her master’s studies, she worked for the chair of the farm management group at the Humboldt-University.


She is a native speaker of English and German and has a basic knowledge of French and Russian.
+49 (0)30 21 96 17 12

Lina Staubach

Researcher & Project Manager

Lina Staubach is a political scientist with specific academic expertise in public international law. As an interdisciplinary Research Analyst of HFFA Research, she is responsible for conducting policy analysis as well as investigating the institutional and legal frameworks for different thematic projects of the company. Additionally, she is part of the company’s general management regarding project backstopping, monitoring and evaluation, as well as stakeholder involvement and acquisition.


Before, Ms. Staubach worked as an advisor for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on projects dealing with civil society participation, public finances and decentralization in Zambia and Mauretania. While conducting capacity building in advocacy and policy engagement for Transparency International Zambia, she gained profound expertise in the area of anticorruption and the inclusive and gender-sensitive solving of land-use conflicts. Due to her work for the Office of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Berlin and the German Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva, Ms. Staubach has thorough practical experience in the area of international cooperation on global labour standards and processes of national implementation.


As a research assistant for the Collaborative Research Centre “Transformations of the State” (University of Bremen), the Research Unit “Global Governance” of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, as well as for the International Humanitarian Law Clinic of the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law (Leiden University), Ms. Staubach obtained profound analytical research skills on diverse governance topics as well as regarding qualitative research methods and design.


Lina Staubach holds a master’s degree in political science from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) as well as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in public international law from the University of Leiden (Netherlands). Previously, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and law from the University Bremen (Germany), during which she undertook a study exchange at the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (Belgium).


As a German native speaker, she is also fluent in English and has a good working level of French.

Matti Cartsburg
Researcher & Project Manager

Matti Cartsburg is an Agricultural Economist with more than seven years of international work experience in consulting and management of complex and long-running projects with a specific focus on quantitative data analysis and the modelling of farms and agricultural markets. He has particular experience in modelling climate change impacts on agriculture, cost-benefit analyses and environmental assessments with a special focus on land and water use as well as greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity effects. Additionally, Mr. Cartsburg is an experienced business development manager with a sound knowledge in the development of business cases as well as business plans.


He holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences. He studied at Humboldt University of Berlin and the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain). During his studies, Matti Cartsburg focused on international agricultural trade and development facing climate change impacts.


At HFFA Research GmbH, Mr. Cartsburg is responsible for projects with a special focus on quantitative data analysis. His latest projects in this field include the virtual land and water trade of agricultural products of the European Union, a quantification of food waste in Germany and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, cost-benefit analyses of climate adaptation scenarios for several Western African countries, numerous in-depth analyses of European and German plant protection and plant breeding markets, developing a policy strategy for the implementation of organic agriculture on the Arabian Peninsula and the modelling of central Asian agricultural markets under the influence of climate change.


Recently, his major focus has been the possible impact of regenerative farming practices on the carbon sequestration potential of agriculture as well as its influence on biodiversity, its role in climate mitigation strategies and possible incentives for its widespread adoption by farmers in Europe.


Before joining HFFA Research, Mr. Cartsburg co-founded the sblocs bikes GmbH, which develops, produces and sells cargobikes for a more climate friendly mobility. From 2016 to 2019 he acted as a Managing Director for sblocs bikes and has since moved into the supervisory board. Prior to that, he worked as a Project Manager at GFA Consulting Group GmbH, the General Agent of the Bilateral Cooperation Programme of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. As Project Manager he was responsible for the preparation, monitoring and evaluation of agricultural projects in Germany, Turkey and Egypt. Furthermore, he was a Partner of agripol – network for policy advice GbR and as such contributed two chapters on the impact of climate change on agricultural production, food security and livestock in Latin America and Central Asia to the World Bank report Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Mr. Cartsburg gained first research experience during his employment as a Research Assistant at the Chair for International Agricultural Trade and Development of the Humboldt University and various internships in Scotland, Canada, Switzerland and Germany.


Matti Cartsburg fluently speaks German and English as well as Spanish at a moderate level.
+49 (0)30 21 96 16 61

Sophia Lüttringhaus
Researcher & Project Manager

Dr. Sophia Lüttringhaus is an interdisciplinary expert in Agricultural Economics and International Relations with international work experience in agricultural research for development and scientific consulting. Her work focuses on climate change adaptation, agro-biodiversity, plant genetic resources, crop production, food security and soil protection.


At HFFA Research, Dr. Lüttringhaus leads our work on agrobiodiversity and climate change adaptation. Currently, Dr. Lüttringhaus manages several projects and consultancies. She is conceptualizing and implementing a methodology to monitor and assess the climate change adaptation effects of development cooperation projects. Further, she is conducting research on how to conserve plant genetic resources whilst including and supporting marginalized groups. Additionally, she is exploring the economic feasibility of climate change adaptation options in agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Lüttringhaus also conducts project evaluations and impact assessments and is a guest researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).


She holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin. As part of her Ph.D., she conducted and published research on the economic values of plant genetic resources and the conservation thereof. In her bachelor’s she studied International Relations at the Dresden University of Technology (Germany) and Hunan Normal University (China). Ms. Lüttringhaus is internationally experienced and fluently speaks German, Spanish, English, and French as well as Chinese and Portuguese at a basic level.


During her dissertation project, Dr. Lüttringhaus was a Genebank Impacts Fellow for the Crop Trust and the International Potato Center for which she investigated the benefits of traditional potato landraces and their diversity for Andean smallholder farmers. Before joining HFFA Research, Dr. Lüttringhaus worked at the think tank Climate Analytics where she co-authored a report on the climate change impacts on economic growth in Africa. At the International Climate Initiative (IKI)/Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) she worked on monitoring biodiversity and climate change projects and at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) she worked on aid effectiveness.