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..

Latest news

UPDATE: "Future Food Production: Crops" offered as SUMMER COURSE

As announced in our latest Podcaster edX re-runs the MOOC “Growing our future food: Crops” as a summer course.

From edX we received the following message:

As part of the summer school initiative of edX, we are re-running the MOOC GFFCx under the new name of: “Future Food Production: Crops”. The course has been updated and improved and will start on the 15th of June 2015 and will be self-paced. Because of this, we have adjusted the peer review, grading and the experiment in order to enable you to take the course at your own pace. Courseware will be accessible for nearly 4 months (until the 1st of October). ...


Impatient for change!

N2Africa is all about learning. Learning how best to put nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in the eleven countries of sub-Saharan Africa where we work. Learning which farmers are best able to both diversify and intensify production on their land using the best grain legume technologies. ...

N2Africa is a "development to research project" in which delivery and dissemination (D&D) are core activities that take N2-fixing technologies to thousends of farmers, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) provide the learning of what works where, and why for whom, and research feedback loops analyse and feed back to improve the technologies and their targeting in D&D.

From field to feedback, an update on data flows within N2Africa

Learning plays a central role in N2Africa. The success of our dissemination approaches depends on the ability to determine what works, where how and for whom and to adapt activities accordingly. Key to this process of learning, is a system of data collection, management and delivery that ensures that data is captured from the field and converted into an accessible form as quickly and accurately as possible. N2Africa has worked hard to establish such a system and we are happy to report on recent progress and future plans for improvement.

Our data flows are organized in the following way: our partners use paper survey forms to collect data from the field. ...

Figure: Current and tablet-based data flows

Options for climbing bean cultivation in Uganda – A detailed farm characterization

Climbing bean can be an important crop for sustainable intensification of cropping systems in the densely populated highlands of eastern Africa. With a potential yield that is approximately two times higher than for bush bean, climbing beans provide an excellent opportunity to enhance bean yields in areas where land is constrained. ...

Photo: Climbing bean intercropped in banana-coffee fields

Cowpea fritters a new delicacy with N2Africa farmers in Zimbabwe

Through N2Africa, farmers in Zimbabwe have perfected the agronomy of grain legumes, and they are now perfecting their grain legumes processing skills. Over the years, the N2Africa team in Zimbabwe has worked with farming communities to perfect the art of processing soyabean into different nutritious products.

Photo: Men and women participate in N2Africa nutrition activities

Agriculture Field day exposes flaws and solutions
Malawi faces a decrease of 27% in maize yield this season compared with last year. The recent Agricultural field day held at LUANAR Natural Resources College organized by the African Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) and attended by different agricultural organizations and students has shown that some fields yielded well, despite the floods and the dry spells that have characterized this growing season and that will have good harvest.
N2Africa interventions that improve agricultural productivity in Malawi
In Malawi, N2Africa is working to resolve some of the issues through engaging farmers in trainings and capacity building, field demonstrations and sensitization on new technologies such as the use of rhizobial inoculant. N2Africa is collaborating with Kasungu District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) and Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) to ...
Expanding soyabean cultivation to Zambezi Valley in Mozambique

N2Africa, in collaboration with its partner in the soyabean value chain iDE (International Development Enterprises), is testing the adaptability of five promiscuous soyabean varieties (earlier, medium and later maturing) for the first time in the Zambezi Valley, a non-traditional soyabean area. The Zambezi Valley ...

Photo: Participants at field day observing different soyabean varieties growing in Caia District

Visit to Southern Highlands of Tanzania to strengthen partnership and explore areas of collaboration among soyabean value chain actors

Linkages among soyabean value chain actors in Tanzania are weak and coordination between participants and enterprises seem to be a totally alien concept. For over one year now, N2Africa and CRS led - Soya ni Pesa project (SnP) have been working to foster partnerships in soyabean value chain development. As meaningful partnership starts to develop, ...

Photo: long term experiment in Songea District that examines the long-term rotational effects on soyabean

Improved Early Education N2Africa Style

BNF outreach in west Kenya now includes working through local primary schools to install simple legume technology demonstrations and hold low cost farmer field days around them. This move was spontaneous, ...

Photo: Dick Morgan Ongai of the MFAGRO farmer organization in Vihiga with students of Munugi Primary School

Hannah Boughton – a student studying for an MSc in Environmental Studies, Antioch University, New Hampshire, USA wrote to us “The N2Africa program was a great inspiration for me…

Today’s high school students have a myriad of things clamoring for their attention, many of which are far more interesting to them than their average classroom period. In light of this I wanted to create a science unit that was novel and meaningful to keep them engaged in learning topics from food chains to carbon cycling. I also had a broader goal of creating a learning environment that would lay the foundation for students to develop and practice the skills and knowledge necessary to become responsible global citizens. ...

MOOC Summercourse

In January-March there was the possiblity to follow the Wageningen MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on "Growing our future food: crops" via edX. This succesfull six weeks course, that brings you knowlegde to understand and quantify the basic agricultural proceses, will also be offered as Summer Course. Part of the course material is filmed at N2Africa locations. The start date for this course will be June 15th and access will be available until September 25th. To follow this course you need to subscribe to edX, where the course will be announced very soon. Updates will also be published on the N2Africa website.

N2Africa in the news

Please see http://www.scidev.net/global/food-security/news/beans-africa-fertiliser-farming.html for a news report.

Although I always argue that benefits from nitrogen fixation should be seen as an additional source of N rather than a substitute, journalists seem to prefer to state the alternative!

Ken Giller

Reports uploaded on the N2Africa website

Andrew Farrow wrote, with support of the country coordinators of the Core Countries, a background report pointing out the action areas for Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda in 2014.

A compact report with condensed information on the project progress made in Year 1 of Phase II has been uploaded on our website.

An MSc internship report on "Adoption constraints with climbing beans in Kashambua subcounty, Uganda" by Bharathwaj Shridhar.

ADVANCE II Newsletter

ADVANCE, a partner for N2Africa in northern Ghana, sent us the March edition of their ADVANCE II Newsletter. In this issue, they share news of how a nucleus farmer is supporting female smallholder farmers increase yield and income, how women in agriculture were celebrated on the International Women’s Day, some field stories and many more.

IFDC training program “Linking Farmers to Markets in Africa"

IFDC organizes courses, among others this one on linking farmers to markets, that will take place in Nairobi from July 20-24, 2015 and conducts in English. (previous versions were in English and French.

Legume Perspectives issue 6

From The Editorial Board of Legume Perspectives, the journal of the International Legume Society (ILS), we received a link to the issue 6 of Legume Perspectives that has been published in March. Please download it from their journal web page, together with previous issues.

You are also welcome to visit the archives of Grain Legumes, the predecessor of legume perspectives.