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

Little did know that I would visit over 25 years later with him as Director General of an institute that has grown from strength to strength under his leadership. The 50th Anniversary Conference was focused on “Towards Food and Nutrition Security in the Next Half Century: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies”. In my talk on “The Renaissance of Farming Systems Research in Africa” I explained some of the lessons we have learned from our work in N2Africa (you can watch on YouTube). I think that farming systems analysis can really help us to tailor legume-based technologies to farms and farming systems - ensuring that a sufficiently broad range of technology options is available for farmers to choose from.

Last year we announced that we would hold the 18th African Association of Biological Nitrogen Fixation (AABNF) conference in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018. I’m afraid I have to tell you this cannot go ahead as planned. There was confusion about the planning and this conference will now take place in Oran, Algeria in the New Beach Hotel, 22nd-24th of April. I had promised to many PhD students that we will run a training course in biological nitrogen fixation. We will go ahead with this in May 2018 associated with our N2Africa annual project meeting. Watch the future Podcasters in the New Year for more details once we have done more detailed planning.

In this Podcaster we report on presentations of N2Africa at international conferences – for example Dr Endalkachew Wolde-Meskel gave a keynote at the International Conference in Legume Genetics and Genomics in September in Hungary. We have an update on the Nodumax inoculant production in Nigeria, a report from an MSc student and a list of publications and theses. We look forward to receiving your contributions for future Podcasters and hope you enjoy reading this.

Ken Giller

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