Dr Eyob Tesfamariam, from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP), recently received the President’s Award from the Soil Science Society of South Africa (SSSSA) for the best oral presentation at the Combined Congress of the SSSSA, the South African Society of Crop Production, the Southern African Weed Science Society and the South African Society for Horticultural Sciences in Bloemfontein.
‘I am honoured to receive the award from the SSSSA and I want to emphasise that this award is the product of team work with my research colleagues and one of my students, who contributed significantly to this research output. The paper was generated in cooperation with one of my MSc students, Mr Pacsu Simwaka, and is co-authored by Prof Paxie Chirwa and Dr Ngwira (Malawi Agricultural Station). I would like to thank and congratulate the University for providing a convenient platform (in terms of environment, support and facilities) to conduct such research,’ Dr Tesfamariam said.
Dr Tesfamariam is a senior lecturer in advanced environmental soil physics and irrigation management and an agricultural systems modeller with research focus on water, nitrogen, carbon and contaminant dynamics in agricultural ecosystems, and the impact of climate change on crop and pasture production. His current research emphasis is on the environmental safety of biosolid use in agricultural lands in the circular economy, the impact of extreme weather events on maize production in South Africa, and the role of conservation agriculture on soil carbon sequestration and soil hydraulic properties.
He has participated in international, multi-disciplinary and multi-country research projects, including European Union programmes. Dr Tesfamariam has completed several Water Research Commission (WRC) funded research projects related to the use of biosolids in agricultural lands to update the existing South African Sludge Guideline, which led to the development of a user-friendly database computer model, the Sludge Application Rate Advisor (SARA) model. He is currently the principal investigator of two research projects funded by the WRC and one funded by the NRF.
Dr Tesfamariam is also a co-investigator of an African Union funded multi-country research project, ‘Ecological intensification pathways for the future of crop-livestock integration in African agriculture (EcoAfrica)’. At the moment, a programme entitled ‘Environmental safety of bio-waste in circular economy’, of which Dr Tesfamariam is the lead researcher, is being jointly implemented by Czestochowa University, Poland, and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science, under the International Academic Partnership Programme announced by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.
Dr Tesfamariam is always keen to work with researchers from various disciplines and believes in a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. He has supervised and co-supervised several MSc and PhD students and is the author of several scientific papers in ISI-rated journals.