Maimbo Mabanga Malesu is a land and water management expert expert with 30 years of experience in managing complex and multi-disciplinary, government and donor funded programmes and projects as well as facilitating sustainable smallholder agricultural research and development in the areas of land management, conservation agriculture, soil and water conservation, small and large-scale irrigation and rainwater harvesting and management. His contribution is mainly in bettering the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and to engineering and science through numerous publications. Maimbo is currently heading the Water Management Unit at CIFOR-ICRAF within the Eastern and Southern Africa regional programme.
The water management unit promotes agroforestry as a means for enhancing green water harvesting on agricultural landscapes. Green water here refers to rainwater stored as soil moisture for plants. The conversion of forest to cropland is adversely affecting the capability of the landscapes to maintain valuable ecosystems services and mostly to buffer rainwater for production of green biomass. Trees offer the best option for capture and utilization of rainwater for the production of high value products such as timber, fodder, fruit, medicine and food. The promotion of rainwater harvesting technologies including in-situ and runoff technologies (e.g., farm ponds under the Billion Dollar Business Alliance) is also proving effective in scaling up agroforestry practices across the African continent.