Researcher Profiles

Comprehensive Database of all UZ leading Research and Innovation endeavors

Prof. Paul Mapfumo


Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science-Soil fertility and Agro-systems Ecology University of Zimbabwe (UZ); Master of Philosophy in Agriculture-Plant Ecology and Agronomy ( UZ); BSc. Honours Agriculture (UZ)

Academic Appointments:

Vice Chancellor

Research Interests:

Soil Science
Tropical agro-systems ecology
Climate change adaptation
Soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics and nutrient cycling in tropical agro-systems
Carbon sequestration
Integrated soil fertility management
Biological nitrogen fixation
Soil geochemistry applications in agriculture and health
Climate smart agriculture
Agro-systems and analysis
Innovative research and extension approaches for sustainable agricultural development

Faculty: Agriculture Environment And Food Systems
Department: Vice Chancellor’s Office
Research Category: Environment & Agriculture

Professor Mapfumo is internationally renowned academic, scientist and policy advisor known for his exceptional strength in critical and strategic thinking, and has contributed immensely in the design and implementation of scientific research and innovation programmes in Africa and beyond.

Prior to his appointment as Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Mapfumo served the University of Zimbabwe in various academic and administrative capacities. He joined the University of Zimbabwe as a lecturer in the Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering. Due to his excellence in research and academic scholarship, he was promoted from lecturer to full professorship. He was Acting Vice Chancellor (August 2018-June 2019); Chairperson of the UZ Research Board (2014-2018); Senior Proctor (2015-2016); and Member of the University of Zimbabwe Farm Board of Management among other regular Departmental and Faculty Boards and Committees of the University. At national level, Professor Mapfumo has contributed to a number of national strategic policy documents that include the development of Zimbabwe’s first National Climate Change Response Strategy. He also has served as the Lead Expert for geo-spatial science applications in agriculture, mining and health under the Government of Zimbabwe’s 100/200-day projects implemented under the Research Council of Zimbabwe.

At the regional/continental and international level, Professor Mapfumo was International Soil Scientist for CIMMYT Int. On secondment from UZ (2006-2012). He also served as Regional Coordinator for the Soil Fertility Consortium for Southern Africa (SOFECSA) (2006-2018), which he co-founded. SOFECSA brought together regional universities, international research organisations, private agro-companies, NGOs and government research and extension agencies, farming communities and policy makers in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar and Zimbabwe with a focus to develop and promote technical and institutional innovations that enhance contributions of integrated soil fertility management research and development to sustainable food security and livelihoods in Southern Africa. With a deliberate focus on improving the capacity of individual scientists and national agricultural research and extension institutions to conduct quality and impact-oriented research at different levels, Professor Mapfumo championed SOFECSA’s contribution to academic programming and administration in participating universities. Through SOFECSA, Professor mapfumo successfully led several multi-country and multi-disciplinary research for development projects in which the University collaborated with regional and international universities and research organisations, notably Europe, America and West Africa.

Professor Mapfumo served and continues to serve as a member of several international technical, policy and consultancy bodies: he is a member of the United Nations High Level Panel of Experts which is the science-policy body Committee on World Food Security (CFS-HPLE); Member of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Founding member of the Africa Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES) championing Africa’s position on agriculture and Gender under UNFCC; Member of CAB International African Soil Health Consortium and the African Network for Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility, among others.

Driven by his passion for people-oriented research and evidence-based policy making, Professor Mapfumo is a co-designer and co-innovator for a number of technological approaches and concepts driving agricultural development in Africa and other parts of the world today. These include the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) approach and the Indigenous Legume Fallow Concept for biological management of soil fertility.

He has contributed immensely to the global body of scientific knowledge and scholarship, publishing over 150 refereed articles in regional and international journals including book chapters and keynote papers.

Phone: +263242303211

1. Manzeke, M.G., Mtambanengwe, F., Watts, M.J., Broadley, M.R., R. Murray, L. & Mapfumo, P. (2020). Nitrogen effect on zinc biofortification of maize and cowpea in Zimbabwean smallholder farms. Agronomy Journal.
2. High Level Panel of Experts. ( 2019). Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome.
3. Manzeke, M. G., Mtambanengwe, F., Watts, M. J., Hamilton, E. M., Lark, R. M., Broadley, M. R., & Mapfumo, P. (2019). Fertilizer management and soil type influence grain zinc and iron concentration under contrasting smallholder cropping systems in Zimbabwe. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-13.
4. Easdale, M. H., Bruzzone, O., Mapfumo, P., & Tittonell, P. (2018). Phases or regimes? R evisiting NDVI trends as proxies for land degradation. Land Degradation & Development, 29(3), 433-445.
5. Nezomba, H., Mtambanengwe, F., Rurinda, J., & Mapfumo, P. (2018). Integrated soil fertility management sequences for reducing climate risk in smallholder crop production systems in southern Africa. Field Crops Research, 224, 102-114.
6. Danai Manyumwa, H., Siziba, S., Unganai, L., Mapfumo, P., & Mtambanengwe, F. (2018). The impacts of community-based cash management tools on smallholder rural farmers’ access to livelihood assets. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 13(311-2018-3123), 182-192.
7. Rurinda, J., van Wijk, M. T., Mapfumo, P., & Giller, K. E. (2018). Managing nutrients for climatic resilience in African smallholder maize production. Better crops with plant food, 102(1), 29-32.

8. Mapfumo, P., Onyango, M., Honkponou, S. K., El Mzouri, E. H., Githeko, A., Rabeharisoa, L., ... & Ayers, J. (2017). Pathways to transformational change in the face of climate impacts: An analytical framework. Climate and Development, 9(5), 439-451.
9. Manzeke, M. G., Mtambanengwe, F., Nezomba, H., Watts, M. J., Broadley, M. R., & Mapfumo, P. (2017). Zinc fertilization increases productivity and grain nutritional quality of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.) under integrated soil fertility management. Field Crops Research, 213, 231-244.
10. Nezomba, H., Mtambanengwe, F., Tittonell, P., & Mapfumo, P. (2017). Practical assessment of soil degradation on smallholder farmers' fields in Zimbabwe: Integrating local knowledge and scientific diagnostic indicators. Catena, 156, 216-227.
11. Mtangadura, T. J., Mtambanengwe, F., Nezomba, H., Rurinda, J., & Mapfumo, P. (2017). Why organic resources and current fertilizer formulations in Southern Africa cannot sustain maize productivity: Evidence from a long-term experiment in Zimbabwe. PloS one, 12(8).
12. Mapfumo, P., Mtambanengwe, F., Nezomba, H., Mtangadura, T., Manzeke, G., Chagumaira, C., ... & Rurinda, J. (2015). Creating virtuous cycles in smallholder production systems through agroecology. In Proceedings of the FAO International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition (pp. 50-72). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
13. Mapfumo, P., Nyasimi, M., Speranza, C. I., Wamukoya, G., & Kinyangi, J. (2017). Climate smart agriculture partnership for Africa: prospects and challenges. African Centre for Technology Studies.
14. Tittonell, P., Klerkx, L., Baudron, F., Félix, G.F., Ruggia, A., van Apeldoorn, D., Dogliotti, S., Mapfumo, P. and Rossing, W.A., 2016. Ecological intensification: local innovation to address global challenges. In Sustainable agriculture reviews (pp. 1-34). Springer, Cham.
15. Mapfumo, P., Mtambanengwe, F., & Chikowo, R. (2016). Building on indigenous knowledge to strengthen the capacity of smallholder farming communities to adapt to climate change and variability in southern Africa. Climate and Development, 8(1), 72-82.
16. Chagumaira, C., Rurinda, J., Nezomba, H., Mtambanengwe, F., & Mapfumo, P. (2016). Use patterns of natural resources supporting livelihoods of smallholder communities and implications for climate change adaptation in Zimbabwe. Environment, development and sustainability, 18(1), 237-255.
17. Baijukya, F. P., Wairegi, L., Giller, K. E., Zingore, S., Chikowo, R., & Mapfumo, P. (2016). Maize-legume cropping guide.
18. Rurinda, J., van Wijk, M. T., Mapfumo, P., Descheemaeker, K., Supit, I., & Giller, K. E. (2015). Climate change and maize yield in southern Africa: what can farm management do?. Global change biology, 21(12), 4588-4601.
19. Nezomba, H., Mtambanengwe, F., Tittonell, P., & Mapfumo, P. (2015). Point of no return? Rehabilitating degraded soils for increased crop productivity on smallholder farms in eastern Zimbabwe. Geoderma, 239, 143-155.
20. Kanonge, G., Mtambanengwe, F., Manzeke, M. G., Nezomba, H., & Mapfumo, P. (2015). Assessing the potential benefits of organic and mineral fertiliser combinations on legume productivity under smallholder management in Zimbabwe. South African Journal of Plant and Soil, 32(4), 241-248.

Patented Work:

Grants & Funding (current and Past projects):

Awards & Achievements:

1. Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship (2004)
2. Rockefeller Foundation Young African Careers Awards (2001)

Consultancy and advisory work (current and past):

1. International Soil Scientist for CIMMYT
2. Regional Coordinator for the Soil Fertility Consortium for Southern Africa (SOFECSA)

Supervision information (MPhil, DPhil, etc.):

Supervised DPhil and MPhil research projects

Professional membership, Committees, Boards:

Member of the United Nations High-Level Panel of Experts which is the science-policy body Committee on World Food Security (CFS-HPLE) (2017-2019)
2. Chairman National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) (2018 to date)
3. Chairman, University of Zimbabwe Research Board (2014-2018)
4. Senior Proctor of the University of Zimbabwe (2015-2017)
5. Founding member of the Africa Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES) championing Africa's contributions to the UNFCC negotiations on Agriculture and Gender (2015 to date)
6. Member: Member of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2015-2018)
7. Member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee on Agroecology, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (2014)

External Profile Links (Google Scholar, ResearchGate, LinkedIn, other social media links):

Google Scholar:

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