N2AFRICA is a large scale, science-based “research-in-development” project focused on putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers growing legume crops in Africa. Our vision of success is to build sustainable, long-term partnerships to enable African smallholder farmers to benefit from symbiotic N2-fixation by grain legumes through effective production technologies, including inoculants and fertilizers. 

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, N2Africa began a second phase on the 1st of January 2014.  The project will run for five years and is led by Wageningen University together with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). We have many partners in Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda (Core countries), and in DR Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe (Tier 1 countries).

In the first phase, N2Africa reached more than 230,000 farmers who evaluated and employed improved grain legume varieties, rhizobium inoculants and phosphate based fertilizers. In the second phase, we remain focused on research on and dissemination of major grain legumes in selected areas in the Core countries. In the Tier 1 countries we disseminate the outcomes from the first phase through co-funded dissemination activities. In all countries we work closely with national systems to institutionalize legume expertise. 

By 2019, N2Africa will have:

  • Tailored and adapted legume technologies to expand the area of legume production within the farm and to close yield gaps and reduce yield variability building on the (GL * GR) * E * M framework in each partner country
  • Built local expertise in each partner country
  • Provided opportunities for the poor and enhanced their food and nutritional security
  • Addressed gender disparities
  • Established new value chains and engaged with input supply chain and output market actors to ensure a sustainable supply of legume-related agro-inputs
  • Formulated improved inoculant products and developed cost-effective production and delivery methods
  • Customized flexible dissemination approaches and made enhanced use of innovative data collection and communication tools
  • Reached more than 550,000 farmers with a return on investment of US$3.5 for each US$ invested 

 

N2Africa Map Overview : Core countries (dark green), Tier 1 countries (light green), former Buffett countries (amber) and Non-N2A countries  (yellow).

     Click here to download the N2Africa Final Report of the First Phase.

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N2Africa will co-host the Joint PanAfrican Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference to be held in Livingstone, Zambia, on 28 February to 4 March 2016. More..


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Introduction

Welcome to the last Podcaster of 2015. While this is a busy time for everyone, it is also a time to take some rest, to reflect on the past year and to make plans for the coming year. For N2Africa, the coming year is particularly important as the United Nations have launched the 2016 International Year of Pulses – celebrating the benefits of legumes.

For N2Africa the most important event will be the  Pan-African Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference  to be held in Livingstone, Zambia from 28th February to the 4th of March 2016. ... 

N2Africa Learning loops 2.0. – faster data flows with tablets

This year, N2Africa has invested in improving the flow of research data from field to data analysis. In all core countries, project staff and implementing partners received hands-on training on the use of electronic data collection forms. The new tools have been received with much enthusiasm and most data collection is now done using tablet devices. This has allowed data from the different field trials to be collected, processed and compiled much more quickly than was possible using paper forms. ...

Photo: Field training on the use of tablets in Nigeria

 

Borno’s women increasingly benefit from legume production.
In 2015 all partners and households engaged in N2Africa activities paid deliberate attention to address gender inequity in Borno State, Nigeria. Training of women on processing and utilization of soyabean was thought to be a important way to do this. The objectives of the training were to sensitize the women on the nutritional value of soyabean, build their capacity on soyabean processing and utilization into various products, empower the women economically through soyabean processing at micro level for income generation and to create awareness on the effect of nutrition on infant and young child as well as on infections and diseases. The training events attracted 660 women. ...
N2Africa publication: Understanding variability in soybean yield and response to P-fertilizer and rhizobium inoculants on farmers’ fields in northern Nigeria

In N2Africa we are reaching thousands of farmers in each country over the course of the project. Through collection of data among these farmers, we can get an impression of how well the legume technologies that we offer work in different areas, on different types of soils and for different types of farmers. With data from dissemination trials of farmers in Nigeria in phase I, collected by extension officers and dissemination partners (Sasakawa Global 2000, KADP, KNARDA, Federal University of Technology, Minna), we evaluated the results of widespread testing of promiscuous soyabean varieties in northern Nigeria. ...

Figure: Cumulative probability of estimated absolute response (kg ha-1) of P and/or I compared with control

Publication on shelf-life of inoculants in the African Crop Science Journal

Isaac Balume was Masters student under N2Africa and conducted his study at the University of Nairobi from 2011 to 2013. He was based at the MIRCEN Laboratory University of Nairobi where he did research on quality control of inoculant used on bean and soybean in Eastern and Central Africa. This resulted in a research paper on ‟Shelf-life of legume inoculants in different carrier materials available in East Africaˮ that recently was published on line.

Photo: Drop plate method for quality control of inoculant

N2Africa in the news

In September 2015 an expert group gathered in Oxford to discuss the elemental problems of the nitrogen crisis The John Innes Centre’s Allan Downie reports on problems and progress in his blog post, referring to N2Africa (a.o.).

Reports and other output uploaded on the N2Africa website

MSc internship report by Servan Lenoir: Using the double pot technique to detect nutrient limitations for soybean growth (Glycine max) in Sierra Leonean soils (performed partly from a grant from the Howard G Buffett Foundation).

Material for extension in the series "Better legumes for farmers":

N2Africa flyer

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Announcements

Courses and meetings:

CDI course Making agriculture work for food and nutrition security 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 07-18

XXVII Latin-American Rhizobiology Meeting (XXVII RELAR) 2016, Londrina, Brazil, June 06-09

FSD Course 2016, Montpellier, France, July 12-16