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

Introduction

Since the last Podcaster, N2Africa was show-cased at the Joint Pan-African Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference in Livingstone, February 28 – March 4. N2Africa was well represented; we funded 53 participants, presented 15 posters and 3 talks and led a special session on Grain legume nitrogen fixation and contributions to sustainable intensification. It was a great opportunity to get up to date on all of the great research going on around the world with a special emphasis on Africa. Also a real opportunity for networking and forging new collaborations with a wider community of researchers. Many thanks to all staff and partners who ...

Reflections after the Pan-African Grain Legume & World Cowpea Conference in Zambia - A perspective on value chain partnerships from Rebbie Harawa (AGRA)

Listening to presentations for almost a week at the Joint Pan-African Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference early this year, it was clear that there a lot of efforts that are going on the African continent that are geared towards intensifying legume production for smallholder farmers in a sustainable way. ...

Pictorial presentation of efforts by the diversity of actors and factors involved in improving farmers’ crop production (Giller, 2016)

A flavour of the N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting and field trip in Zimbabwe

The N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting held in Victoria Falls on March 4th-6th focused at exchanging 2015 project wide experiences and country-specific learnings. Informed by annual country plans 2015, legume technologies studies and the M&E evaluation, the meeting gave country coordinators and staff the opportunity to review project progress and tailor this year’s country plan. The subsequent field trip in Zimbabwe on March 7th – 9th showed farmers’ legume knowledge and its use in the fields and the community.  ...

Photo: Explanation legume production by Mrs Chawonza in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe

N2Africa key facts 2015 and learnings 2016

An overview of results achieved by N2Africa in 2015 and the issues to focus on in 2016.

Photo: Zambezi cruise. The plume of smoke in the centre is Victoria Falls or the Mosi-oa-Tunya (The smoke that thunders)

N2Africa visiting the inoculant factory in Zimbabwe

During the N2Africa Field Visits 2016 in Zimbabwe, we visited the inoculant factory in Marondera. The Soil Productivity Research Laboratory (SPRL) in Marondera, Zimbabwe hosts the government-owned inoculant factory of Zimbabwe. It is the sole facility in the country ...

Photo: Production of inoculant at the SPRL Inoculant factory in Marondera, Zimbabwe

N2Africa agronomy trials and farmers’ recommendations in Tanzania

"Can the use of soyabean inoculants reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers? How much fertilizer should soyabean farmers continue to apply in subsequent seasons? What are the long term effects of fertilizers, inoculants and soyabean and maize intercropping? N2Africa tries to find out," said Freddy Baijukya, Country Coordinator for N2Africa in Tanzania. ...

Photo: Joseph Mompesh showing the soyabean field trials

Improving traditional storage systems of grain legume residues for livestock feeding in Ghana

Crop residues are an important livestock feed resource and as such they are linking crop and animal production in West Africa. They are the second largest feed source for livestock after grazing, especially in the dry season in the savannas. ...

Photo: Evaluation of stored GLRs after two months of storage by animals (sheep)

School Feeding Program in Ghana - Caterers and cooks enriching school meals with soyabean recipes

Soyabean is one of the most promising grain legume crops for improving both human and livestock nutrition in northern Ghana due to its high protein content. Although the crop has been promoted during the past decade by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, amongst others, it is rarely consumed by households. This is mainly due to inadequate skills and knowledge in its processing and utilization. ...

Photo: School children enjoying some of the recipes at one of the training venues

Women’s position, dietary nutrient adequacy and nutritional status of children in Ghana

The prevalence of malnutrition in terms of stunting and wasting is high in rural Northern Ghana. Agriculture plays an important role in access to food, as agriculture represents the population’s main livelihood activity in the area. Hence, multiple programs (including N2Africa) aim to address malnutrition by increasing agricultural production. ...

Photo: Froukje interviewing female key stakeholders in Ghana (Photo Sofia Argyropoulou, 2015)

The association between the diversity of crop production and nutritional indicators of rural households in Ghana

We investigated how household production diversity is correlated with dietary diversity and nutrition of infants and young children living in rural farming communities in northern Ghana. ...

Figure left: The study design shows how indicators are linked to production and consumption (Argyropoulou. 2015) 

An erratum of sorts

In Podcaster 34 of last year, we reported on progress on our data flows. As an example of how fast data turnover enables timely learning, we presented results of a 2015 climbing bean diagnostic trial in Uganda. After seeing the results, the Uganda team kindly pointed out that the data used for the analysis contained an error ...

Graph showing mean yields for different treatments per district in the same diagnostic trial in Uganda

N2Africa in the news

The IITA Bulletin 2319 published articles how N2Africa helps farmers in Nigeria and Borno State gain access to markets and agro inputs...

Ken Giller of Wageningen University gave a presentatoin at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington in February. He was interviewed by a journalist, Alison Takemura and the interview was posted on the blog "The Plate" of National Geographic. ...

Related publications

Centre for Rhizobium Studies published manual "Working with Rhizobia".

The nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between legumes and soil bacteria (known as rhizobia) is fundamental to sustainable agriculture. ... (Photo: the editors admiring the new publication)

ESRC - DFID Project: Assessing the impact of agricultural extension and input subsidies in Eastern DRC

Researchers from the Development Economics Group at Wageningen University teamed up with the N2Africa program to assess the impact of their program in Eastern DRC. First reports are available via the N2Africa website. ...

Reports and other output uploaded on the N2Africa website

Annual reports 2015 for DR Congo, Rwanda and Malawi.

The report written by CropLife for N2Africa about the assessment of contract sprayers in Borno State, Nigeria. See also the article in the previous Podcaster.

Related newsletters

Tropical Legumes III aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in drought-prone areas of the two regions through enhanced productivity and production of grain legumes. This bulletin ...

The March 2016 ADVANCE Newsletter, with articles on ADVANCE bringing together maize and soyabean value chain actors to network ...

Announcements

The 17th African Association of Biological Nitrogen Fixation (AABNF) conference ...

Update on the 12th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference ...

Conference "Transition and Local Development in Eastern DRC" ...