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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Title Summary
Tier 1 countries: First litmus test for the potential of N2Africa

Under most circumstances, ‘Tier 1’ refers to the most important or the highest priority. In the N2Africa project, Tier 1 countries are those countries in which we started the project in 2009. During the second phase of the project these countries are no longer priority countries, as the project focuses on five ‘Core Countries’. Nevertheless, the ‘Tier 1’ countries are still very important and critical to the project, since they provide the first litmus test for the potential of N2Africa technologies and approaches to continue living and delivering their livelihood impacts without direct donor support.

Highlights from N2Africa in Rwanda

Picture: Participatory evaluation of technologies

Rwanda was among the first countries where N2Africa activities started, early at the beginning of the project. Already in February 2010, the first hundred farmers were testing the soyabean technology called “need to inoculate”. Each farmer was hosting four plots, with two plots inoculated and two plots not inoculated. The results confirmed the need to inoculate soyabean. From then, N2Africa dissemination packages of soyabean included inoculants.
At the end of Phase I, more than 20,000 households from five districts of Rwanda had been reached with direct dissemination packages of legumes technologies, precisely soyabean and common bean.


Plant legumes heal the soil in Malawi

Almost all crop types in Malawi suffered in what is seen as one of the worst crop performances of the last 13 years. Aftermaths of El Niño have left a good part of Malawian farmers more destitute, impoverished and worried. Despite the hard times in this planting season, those farmers who planted legume crops have some refuge and have stories to share. ...


Picture: Farmers like these have experienced high yield with the use of inoculants. ©IITA-Malawi

Testing biological nitrogen fixation of soyabean in partnership with NCBA-CLUSA in Mozambique

Picture: Field day in Barue District

Since the re-introduction of soyabean in Mozambique, the main soyabean inoculant used across the country is the short shelf inoculant MasterFix imported from Brazil. The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA-CLUSA) is a not-for-profit cooperative development and trade association, and partners with N2Africa in the soyabean value chain. ...

Mid-year 2016 report: Marketing and processing legumes in west Kenya
Stimulating marketing and value-added processing of grain legumes is an important activity within the N2Africa Project in west Kenya. During the first six months of 2016 a total 96 tons of soyabean grain were sold through collective marketing by members belonging to the WeRATE R4D Platform in west Kenya, generating KES 5 million. ...

Picture: Soya Beverage is packed in 12 x 20 g economy-sachets

BNF technology clearinghouse event in Kenya

Picture: Participants at the Clearinghouse event

WeRATE held a Clearinghouse planning meeting from 5 to 7 September attended by 30 participants drawn from 26 dues paying members, mostly farmer associations (see picture). During the meeting, BNF technologies were discussed and distributed to members, along with the field protocols to test them. ...
Harnessing N2Africa’s nurtured talents among lead farmers for cost-effective technology dissemination in Zimbabwe
As we move into the last year of active farmer engagement, the research team in Zimbabwe has begun tapping into a large knowledge base that has been built by N2Africa in the last 8 years. Informed by ‘if we do what we have always done, we will get what we have always got’, we recently innovated our dissemination and training approach over the recent post-harvest period (May - October) for our nutrition and marketing initiatives.

Picture 4. Measuring ingredients for nutritional porridge in Hwedza District

N2Africa website renewed

Recently, the N2Africa website has been migrated to a new version of the content management system Drupal. This was done to improve security and performance. Furthermore, the intranet part of the N2Africa website has been separated from the public part. Therefore, the URL of the intranet part has been changed to: http://intranet.n2africa.org

To a great extent the functionality of the user interface has stayed the same. However please, let us know whenever you encounter problems.

Reports uploaded on the N2Africa website 14
N2Africa in the news

A publication in The Conversation, lifting the gloom of African farmers through legume production by Frederick Baijukya and Fred Kanampiu: http://theconversation.com/why-boosting-legume-production-will-lift-the-gloom-for-african-farmers-63007

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Related newsletters

We received a number of newsletters:
SUN Movement Newsletter September 2016 (Scaling Up Nutrition);
The IITA Bulletin 31 October – 4 November 2016 (No. 2352);
Soybean Innovation Lab Newsletter October 2016;
CIAT blog on Business of quick cook beans;
CIAT blog on Uganda’s rural women find beans to beat climate;
Technical reports on pulse use and nutrition from around the world (IYP);
Nutritional benefits of pulses (FAO);
Pulses: The Heroes of Nutrition & Agricultural Sustainability (FAO);
Legume Alliance blog - Championing radio... .