nri logo
“NRI's mission is to discover, apply and share knowledge in support of global
food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction”
"Knowledge to feed the world"

Queens Anniversary Prizes 2015

resource subscribe
THE Award banner s
WinnerPrint web 216

Dr Helena Posthumus

Senior Research Fellow
MSc, PhD
Natural Resources Institute


Dr Helena Posthumus is an interdisciplinary academic with an interest in rural development and natural resource management. Following her MSc in tropical land use at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, she worked as a research assistant at the same university on soil conservation. In 2005, she obtained her PhD at Wageningen University on the socio-economic aspects of soil conservation in Peru.

Between June 2005 and December 2008, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Cranfield University, UK, on rural land use, land and water management, agricultural policy and economics in the UK. Since January 2009, she has been working as a senior research fellow at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, on various applied research projects, including value chain development, conservation agriculture, agricultural innovation, and impact assessments. Since July 2013, she has also been working at the Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands, as an advisor on agricultural innovation, value chains and impact evaluations.

Helena has published 14 peer-reviewed scientific papers, five book chapters and numerous reports and conference papers.

Current and Previous Funded Research Projects

Agro-ecology based aggradation-conservation agriculture (ABACO)

The overall objective of this EC-funded research project is to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climatic variability by building capacity through co-innovation platforms to design, evaluate and implement targeted technological options for and mechanisms to promote adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) based on agro-ecology principles to combat land degradation and food insecurity in semi-arid regions of Africa.

Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA)

The purpose of this project is to improve the livelihoods and incomes of smallholder households and stakeholders in micro, small and medium scale enterprises through the development of value chains for high quality cassava flour (HQCF) in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi. Lack of markets for cassava is a common constraint across Africa. This project makes interventions at three key points in the value chain and builds local capacity to ensure sustainability of the intervention. At the rural level, farmer and processing groups (with a high level of female participation) have had their capacities strengthened to increase the productivity of their cassava production and adopt processing technologies capable of producing financially rewarding and higher value semi-processed products to market specifications. The second key intervention is to develop the role of intermediaries to purchase either roots or semi-processed products from smallholder farmers to bulk and secondary process, and then sell it to identified food and commercial end-users. The capacity of these food and commercial end-users is being developed to adopt HQCF as a high quality but more affordable raw material than imported wheat flour.

Responsibilities within the University

  • Research and teaching

Selected Publications

Recent Conference Presentations

  • Posthumus, H., Sandifolo, V., Sanni, L., Siwoku, B., Adebayo K, Martin, A., Westby, A. 2012. Social networks and cassava value chain development in Africa. ISTRC 16th Triannual International Symposium. 24-28 September 2012, Abeokuta Nigeria
  • Posthumus, H., Pound, B., Andrieu, N. and Triomphe, B. (2011) Enhancing adoption of conservation agriculture practices through co-innovation platforms in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Resilient Food Systems for a Changing World. 5th World Congress Conservation Agriculture and 3rd Farming Systems Design Conference, 26-29 Sep 2011, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)
  • Tittonell, P., Scopel, E., van Halsema, G.E., Andrieu, N., Posthumus, H., Mapfumo, P., Lahmar, R., Corbeels, M., Apina, T., Rakotoarisoa, J., Mtambanengwe, F., Pound, B., Chikowo, R. and Mkomwa, S. (2011) Agroecology-based aggradation-conservation agriculture (ABACO): targeting resource-limited and degraded environments of semi-arid Africa. In: Resilient Food Systems for a Changing World. 5th World Congress Conservation Agriculture and 3rd Farming Systems Design Conference, 26-29 September 2011, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)
  • Prager, Katrin and Posthumus, Helena (2010) Adopting sustainable soil management: the role of socio-economic factors. In: The Sixteenth Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference [Conference Proceedings]. The Kadoorie Institute, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. ISBN 978-988-18934-1-3
  • Westby, A., L. Abayomi, A. Abass, K. Adebayo, A. Bechoff, C. Coote, N. Dziedzoave, L. Forsythe, R. Gibson, A. Graffham, P. Ilona, U. Kleih, R. Lamboll, G. Mahende, A. Martin, G. Onumah, H. Posthumus, L. Sanni and K. Tomlins (2009) Market chain development for tropical root crops.
  • Posthumus, H., J.R. Rouquette, J. Morris, T.M. Hess, D.J. Gowing, Q.L. Dawson (2008) Integrated land and water management in floodplains in England. FLOODrisk 2008 Conference. Oxford, 30 September – 2 October 2008.
  • Posthumus, H., J. Morris, T.M. Hess, P. Trawick, D. Neville, E. Phillips, M. Wysoki (2008) Impacts of the summer 2007 floods on agriculture in England. FLOODrisk 2008 Conference. Oxford, 30 September – 2 October 2008. In: Samuels, P. et al. (Eds.) Flood risk management: Research and practice. Taylor & Francis group. London
  • Morris, J., T. Hess, H. Posthumus, P. Trawick, D. Neville, E. Phillips and M. Wysoki (2008) Impacts of the summer 2007 floods in rural England: rural flood proofing – Cinderella or suitable case for treatment? Defra Flood and Coastal Management Conference. Manchester, 1-3 July 2008
  • Beven, K. Romanowicz, R., Young, P., Holman, I.P., Posthumus, H., Morris, J., Rose, S., O'Connell, E., and Ewen, J. (2008) An event classification approach to the identification of hydrological change. Defra Flood and Coastal Management Conference. Manchester, 1-3 July 2008
  • Morris, J., T. Hess, D. Gowing, P. Leeds-Harrison, P. Trawick, H. Posthumus, J. Rouquette, and Q. Dawson. (2007) Integrated land and water management in floodplains: revisiting agricultural flood defence schemes in England and Wales. The River Restoration Centre's 8th Annual Network Conference. Chester, 18-19 April 2007
  • Posthumus, H., and J. Morris (2007) Engaging stakeholders in transdisciplinary research on agriculture and flood risk management. XXII Congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology. Wageningen, 20-23 August 2007
  • Morris, J. and H. Posthumus (2007) Multi-functional agriculture in UK floodplains: opportunities for agriculture to deliver ecosystem services. XXII Congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology. Wageningen, 20-23 August 2007
  • Posthumus, H. and J. Morris (2006) CAP-reform and controlling water runoff from farmland in England and Wales. COST 634 conference: Farm level adoption of soil and water conservation measures and policy implications in Europe. Wageningen, 1-3 October 2006
  • Posthumus, H. (2004) El impacto de terrazas de absorción en la productividad del suelo. IX Congreso Nacional y II Internacional del Ciencia del Suelo: el suelo, manejo integrado de recursos naturales. Cusco, 15-19 November 2004
  • Posthumus, H. and W.P. Spaan (2001) Rainfall-runoff relations for vegetation barriers in the Sahel. In: J.C. Ascough and D.C. Flanagan (Eds.) Proceedings of International Symposium on Soil Erosion Research for the 21st Century. 3-5 January 2001, Honolulu. pp 50-53
  • Posthumus, H., R. Zougmoré, W. Spaan and J. De Graaff (2001) Incentives for soil and water conservation in semi-arid zones: a case study from Burkina Faso. International Symposium European Society for Soil Conservation: Multi-disciplinary approaches towards soil and water conservation. Muncheberg, 11-13 May 2001


  • 2011: Early Career Researcher Excellence Award from the University of Greenwich

Contact Information

Dr Helena Posthumus

Natural Resources Institute

University of Greenwich

Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, United Kingdom.

Tel: +44 (0)1634 88 3942

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website Monitoring