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.

 

Launching Legume Scholars Program

By 2050 the world will need to feed two billion additional people. A challenge this serious requires the best and brightest ideas in agricultural science. Want to help feed the future? Consider applying for a Graduate Fellowship from the Legume Scholars Program.

Announcing a new partnership between the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and USAID’s Feed the Future Innovation Labs for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab) and Peanut Productivity and Mycotoxin Control (Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab). More...

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Introduction

Welcome to the March edition of the Podcaster. I have been living in Arusha for the past five months on sabbatical leave from my position at Wageningen University, based at the IITA office in Tengeru. It’s been a great opportunity to spend some time with Dr Freddy Baijukya, the Tanzania N2Africa Coordinator and his team. We had a great field visit in January to the West Usambara mountains around Lushoto and joined a number of field days with local partners and farmers evaluating some of the field demonstrations on beans.

Photo: Farmers evaluating N2Africa technologies in Lushoto, West Usambara, northern Tanzania

N2Africa Partnerships

Moving on from a "proof of concept" during the first phase of the N2Africa approach at scale, the second phase was designed to scale out the proven legume technologies using a "business led" approach. ...

Figure: Flow chart of inputs, services and grain product between different chickpea value chain actors belonging to the partnership ship case with Balegreen in Ethiopia, as highligted in the textbox

N2Africa-Ethiopia held its 2015 Annual Planning & the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Validation Workshop

N2Africa-Ethiopia held its second annual planning and the Public-Private Partnership Validation workshop on 21-23, January 2015 with about 90 participants from the NARS, private partners, ILRI, CG centers, representatives of farmers’ organizations and N2Africa leadership staff from Nairobi, Ibadan and Wageningen.

Figure 2. Partial view of ILRI-N2Africa Annual Planning & the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Validation Workshop participants

2015 Annual planning workshop of N2Africa, Ghana

The 2015 annual project planning workshop took place from 3-5 February, 2015 at the Modern City Hotel, Tamale. Samuel Adjei-Nsiah (country coordinator) welcomed the participants and gave an overview of N2Africa project in Ghana. He also pointed out the objectives of the workshop and invited the partners to share their expectations.

Partner groups developing their action plans for 2015 season

 

Theory of change and planning workshop held for Uganda Partners

A national planning workshop for the N2Africa project in Uganda was conducted from 27th to 30th January 2015 at Kabira Country Club in Kampala. The purpose of the workshop was twofold; to build a common understanding of the vision of the N2Africa project and the logic underpinning of the project action, and to develop a national work plan for the second year.  ...

Group photo of workshop participants - Prof. Johnny Mugisha, seated 2nd from right

MSc research in Kapchorwa district Uganda
Who is that white man with his walking stick and that little guy?" farmers started asking other farmers. I climbed many hills (I tried to do this as well with a bunch of banana on my head: nearly impossible), sloped down slippery hills on rubber boots and did this all together with my soil probe and my (female) translator. It was an unforgettable rich experience and I want to thank the project and the Ugandan farmers and people for that! ...
N2Africa-Ethiopia Conducted Gender Training Workshop with the aim of Mainstreaming Gender into Legume Value Chain

N2Africa Ethiopia national team in collaboration with Project Gender Specialist and the Centre for African Family Studies (CAFS), conducted gender training workshop during 15-18 December, 2014 at ILRI Addis Campus. The trainees were drawn from agronomy, soil sciences, plant breeding and socioeconomics and research extension departments of the NARS partners. The training was conducted to sensitize partners, mainstream approaches, and design work plans to address gender inequity in legume value chains and decision-making and hence to address one of the key project objectives "Empowering Women to Increase Benefits from Legume Production".

Co-design of improved climbing bean technologies in Uganda and Tanzania

The 2015A rainy season is rapidly approaching in Uganda and northern Tanzania. For my PhD research on climbing beans in the highlands of these two countries, we have organized a number of discussions ...

Figure: Reasons that poorer, medium and wealthier farmers gave for preference of one staking method over the other (% is number of times a reason was mentioned divided by the total number of reasons). Staking methods compared were single stakes, tripods, sisal strings and banana fibre ropes.

Certificate granted to N2Africa for its roles and partnership in “research and development”

In Ethiopia, N2Africa project activities are implemented in 27 Woredas (Districts) over four regions (Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia and Southern region) in partnership with national, international and private institutions and NGOs, thus promoting N2-fixation and legume production technologies among smallholder farmers. ...

Figure: Certificate issued to N2Africa in recognition of its roles and contribution in promoting N2fixation and legume production technology in the Bale Zone of Oromia region, Ethiopia (the certificate reads in Oromiffa and Amharic languages).

N2Africa won an award as outstanding nutrition-sensitive scaling agriculture project!

In 2012, The World Bank Group launched the SecureNutrition Platform to bridge knowledge gaps between agriculture, food security and nutrition. Together with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Save the children UK, the SecureNutrition Knowledge Platform’s 2013 Harvesting Nutrition contest was initiated to showcase projects that link agriculture, food security and nutrition and their challenges. ...

Photo: Ilse de Jager and Theresa Ampadu-Boakye showing the award won by N2Africa

Ethiopian case study of adoption domains for N2africa published in the Atlas of African Agriculture Research and Development
We have just published a case study of the adoption domains for N2Africa using chickpeas in Ethiopia as an example. Our maps and analysis show how we have combined three different factors - population density, access to chickpea markets, and agro-ecological zone - that affect the adoption of chickpeas in Ethiopia.

Our submission to the atlas has four maps as well as explanations of what these are maps telling us, why this is important and information about the underlying data.

You can view our submission here.

Cowpea-maize relay cropping. A method for sustainable agricultural intensification in northern Ghana?

Wytze Marinus did his MSc thesis research in Karaga district, part of the Northern Region and in Kassena Nankana district, Upper East Region, food insecure districts where considerable population growth rates will lead to increased demand for food production and higher pressure on agricultural lands. A clear need exists for sustainably increasing crop yields in this area where maize is the most important cereal and one of the most important staple crops. He focussed on cowpea in the cowpea-maize relay cropping.

It’s all about beans... Rwanda even released a song

Rwanda’s top musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman,Tom Close, and Urban Boyz have donated their talent for a healthier Rwanda and promote beans as you can see in this clip from HarvestPlus.

(Published before on Facebook on 22 January 2015)

IITA news on N2Africa activties in Tanzania

Catherine Njuguna (IITA) kindly shared with us a blog on the IITA website on very recent N2Africa activities in Tanzania.

In addition to publication via this blog a slightly different version of the article was published on page 3 of last weeks IITA weekly bulletin.

Report Borno Youths training

In Podcaster 28 on page 8 we informed you on the training of youths from Borno State Nigeria on Agrobusiness.

We now also received their report which is attached here

2016 PanAfrican & World Cowpea Conference

First announcement

On behalf of N2Africa Ken Giller accepted the invitation for N2Africa to cohost the joint PanAfrican Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference, to celebrate the 2016 International Year of Pulses, as declared by the United Nations (http://www.iyop.net/). The conference is organized by Legume Innovation Lab, Michigan State University and IITA.