Biochar-based sustainable fertilizer development using Forest-Industry residues in Zimbabwe

Funding Organization: University Research Board

Brief description of the project:

Biochar is a carbon rich material produced from the pyrolysis, which is the burning of biomass in the absence of oxygen during its production various by products can be recovered that includes tar, oil and methane gas (Brady and Weill, 2008). Biochar generally has four benefits that include agricultural improvements, waste management, renewable energy management and finally climate change mitigation (Lehmann and Joseph, 2009). Biochar is very stable if incorporated into the soil for long time periods and hence carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere maybe reduced . The use of biochar increases organic pool stored in the soil as decomposition rate of the prolysed biomass is slow. Biochar can be used as a soil amendment to improve and maintain soil fertility and increase soil carbon sequestration. Biochar have the potential to reduce the leaching of nutrients from agricultural soils. This is due to strong adsorption affinity of biochar for soluble nutrients that include ammonium, nitrates, phosphates, and some other ionic solutes. Therefore the project seeks to develop a biochar-based sustainable organic fertilizer which can increase soil organic carbon and fertility using value chains of locally available Agricultural and Agro-Industrial residues in Zimbabwe.

Research Team Leader: C.T. Gadzirayi (PhD)

Other Team Members:

Professor G. Nyamadzawo (PhD)

  • R. Mandumbu
  • T. Mudapakati
  • P. Matsika
  • Agatha Kamota
  • E. Zivenge (PhD)

Project Partners

Small scale farmers in Madziva and Marange