Strengthening Capacity in Environmental Physics, Hydrogeology and Statistics for Conservation Agriculture Research (CEPHaS)

Our vision is to develop a network of researchers in Africa and the UK, within institutional environments that are conducive to world-class research, applying cutting-edge scientific methods to fill gaps in our understanding of the impacts of conservation agriculture practices on the water cycle in cultivated soils.

©Rothamsted Research

Conservation agriculture (CA)

There is evidence that reduced tillage, returning crop residues to the soil (for protection and to increase its carbon status) and increased crop diversity can make cropping more resilient to dry conditions. This is known as conservation agriculture, or CA.

©BGS

About CEPHaS

The Global Challenges Research Fund CEPHaS project is a joint undertaking between colleagues in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the UK to strengthen our shared capacity to study how conservation agriculture practices affect the behaviour of water in soil–crop–groundwater systems.

©BGS

Our vision

Our vision is to develop a network of African and UK researchers, within institutional environments that are conducive to world-class research, applying cutting-edge scientific methods to fill knowledge gaps on the impacts of conservation agriculture practices on the water cycle in cultivated soils.

©Rothamsted Research

What we are doing and how

Using modern methods in soil physics and hydrogeology, we are examining soil and groundwater via CA experiments in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and so developing our experience and capacity as a network to answer questions on behalf of farmers, their advisers and policymakers.

©BGS

Our experiments

We have established new experiments at the University of Zambia's Liempe Farm. We are working with established experiments in Malawi (Chitedze) and Zimbabwe (Domboshava) allowing us to examine long to medium term effects of CA practices and to add value to these trials.

©BGS

Our partners and teams

We are a team of soil scientists, agronomists, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, statisticians, agricultural economists and capacity developmental scientists from research institutions in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the UK.

Briefing documents

No. 1 (Feb 2018) — About CEPHaS

No. 2 (Jun 2018) — Recent activities in soil physics

No. 3 (Nov 2018) — Recent activities in shallow geophysics

No. 4 (Dec 2018) — Recent activities in hydrogeology

No. 5 (Jun 2019) — Recent activities in capacity strengthening

No. 6 (Oct 2019) — Recent advances in statistics

No. 7 (coming soon) — Recent advances in farming systems

No. 8 (coming soon) — Our CA experiments in Zambia

No. 9 (coming soon) — Our CA experiments in Malawi

No. 10 (coming soon) — Our CA experiments in Zimbabwe

No 11. (coming soon) — What is CA?

UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund

CEPHaS is funded by Research Councils UK through its Global Challenges Research Fund programme.

British Geological Survey Rothamsted Research Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine The University of Nottingham The University of Zambia Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources The University of Zimbabwe Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre Zambia Agriculture Research Institute Department of Agricultural Research Services