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).

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

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Latest news

Title Summary

I’m just back from the 50th anniversary celebrations at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria where I was honoured to give a talk. It was a great opportunity to profile the work of N2Africa and to meet many scientists and students – in particular the IITA N2Africa team. When I first visited the IITA HQ in Ibadan in 1990 I had the privilege to be shown around experiments on Alley Cropping by a young upcoming scientist – Dr Nteranya Sanginga (see photo).

Photo: Dr Nteranya Sanginga showing me an alley cropping trial in September 1990 when the African Association of Biological Nitrogen Fixation conference was held at the IITA HQ in Ibadan

Dr Endalkachew Wolde-Meskel represented N2Africa at the ICLGG (International Conference on Legumes Genetics and Genomics), 18 – 22 Sep. 2017, Siófok, Hungary

Endalkachew responding to questions after presenting his keynote at the ICLGG, Siófok, Hungary

Endalkachew Wolde-meskel, country coordinator for Ethiopia, represented N2Africa and presented a keynote address under the topic “Sustainable intensification of grain legumes production with smallholders in Africa through nitrogen fixation: highlights from the N2Africa project” at the biennial meeting of ICLGG 2017 in Hungary last September. ...
Presenting my nutrition research within N2Africa at the International Congress of Nutrition
In the previous Podcaster I shared some of my recent results of my PhD research with regard to our dietary gap assessment in Northern Ghana. I was offered the opportunity to also present these results at the International Congress of Nutrition which was held in Buenos Aires in Argentina from 15 to 20 October 2017. This large international congress is a four-yearly meeting that’s been held since 1946 and this was the 21st edition. It addressed a wide range of topics related to human nutrition, including agriculture and human nutrition. ...

Ilse de Jager presenting

Open access publishing through Chronos
Open access publishing with Gates
Open access is of great importance to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to allow for rapid and broad dissemination and for accelerating innovation. Accessible and open articles and underlying data are key for that. To ensure compliance with the BMGF’s Open Access Publishing Policy and to reduce the administrative burden of the publication process, the BMGF has developed two online publication services: Chronos and Gates Open Research. ...

The NoduMax factory continues to manufacture and market quality soyabean inoculant to Nigeria, West African neighbours and venturing into various other SSA region countries.

Production. ...

In the shadow of Kilimanjaro; assessment of disease and pest in common bean & maize cropping systems in northern Tanzania

African bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) feeding
on Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) pod

The objective of the project of Nikolaj M. Vendelbo was to assess the effect of cropping system design on severity in two cultivars of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), local Mkanamna and improved Lyamungu, and maize (Zea mays) in Northern Tanzania.

N2Africa publications

A number of publications has been published recently. Read on for the titles and links.

Reports uploaded on the N2Africa website

Many MSc and MPhil theses and Internship reports have been submitted. Read on for the full list and the links.

Related newsletters

Interesting news from ASHC, GALA, SAWBO, Forages for the future, FAO, ICRISAT and IITA ...


The Matasa Fellows Network announced a call for young African researchers to apply to become a fellow. See the announcement here.