Podcaster 12


N2Africa Podcaster 12

January/February 2012

Title Summary Newsletter item #
An update on M&E within N2Africa

Exiciting time are approaching now first full sets of results from all M&E tools in N2Africa are coming available these months after the harvests i the different countries.

Working from the idea that N2Africa is a development to research project in which dissemination and development are the core of the project, M&E provides the learning and the research within the project analyses and feeds back into the D&D (see Figure). In a way, M&E connects D&D and research.


Kenton Dashiell is moving on

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Probably most of you already know that I have resigned from CIAT and will be Joining IITA as their Deputy Director General for Partnerships. When I joined TSBF two years ago to lead the N2Africa Project I thought that I would probably hold this position for 10 or 15 years if the project continued. I even told people that this was my dream job. My relatively short time with TSBF and N2Africa has been both rewarding and challenging. In my new position I will still be involved with N2Africa and I look forward to helping this project continue to grow and impact the lives of farm families all over Africa.

When I learned that IITA was looking for someone to lead their activities in working with partners and capacity building I was very excited about this opportunity and decided to apply. The best and probably only way for us to have a real positive impact and see our research results being used to improve standards of living, nutrition and etc. is to work with a diverse group of partners.

Most of you know I worked at IITA from 1983 to 2001 and I am looking forward to returning to where I started and developed my agriculture research for development career.

Many thanks to all of you that I have worked with at TSBF and N2Africa. We have accomplished a lot in a short time because we all have a shared vision and work together as a team.

I plan to move to Ibadan sometime between March 7-15.

Best regards, Ken


The world never stands still! This Podcaster contains a number of important news items, as well as some updates on M&E, inoculant production and guidelines for co-authorship of publications.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Kenton Dashiell for all of his hard work to get N2Africa off to a flying start over the past two years, as he moves on to take up a new role at IITA. Kenton will remain with N2Africa as he joins the Steering Committee of N2Africa. Dr Bernard Vanlauwe is also moving to head up Natural Resource Management at IITA, although he will remain based in Nairobi and will continue to be involved in N2Africa in an advisory role and as a member of the Steering Committee.

I also welcome Dr Deborah Bossio to the N2Africa Steering Committee. Deborah just started as Director of TSBF-CIAT based in Nairobi. We wish her all success in her new role.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has commissioned an external review of N2Africa by Dr John Lynam, who is well known within research and development circles in Africa. This review will take place in the coming months and we will update you on its findings in due course. We welcome having someone of John’s calibre to put our work under the spotlight and to critically evaluate our approaches and progress.

The Steering Committee is currently reviewing the organisation of N2Africa and I have asked Alastair Simmons, who has been advising the N2Africa leadership over the past year, to step in to ensure continuity while we search for a replacement for Kenton.

Change always brings some uncertainties, but also opportunities and we need to move ahead. We look forward to your continuing support as N2Africa steps up its activities for the final year and a half of what we hope will be only the first phase in our drive to put nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Africa.

Ken Giller

Time for innovation and change
Ken Giller had the privilege of spending some time visiting delivery and dissemination (D&D) as well as research trials on agronomy and rhizbiology in Zimbabwe in February. The season started with difficulty in southern Africa, with a ‘false start’ to the season and then a three week dry period that led to failed early plantings of many crops and late planting periods for others. Nevertheless, there was a lot to see in the fields, and legumes suffer less from the late start to the season as they are mainly planted after the maize crop is established.


Establishment of rhizobial inoculant production factories in Africa

The possibilities for establishment of rhizobial inoculant production in Africa were discussed in detail at the N2Africa Steering Committee held in Kano and I include a short report on our discussions below. As evidence mounts for substantial responses to inoculation with soyabean in different countries, our attention turns towards sustainability of supply. A key question is: Why is sustainability of supply always equated with local production?

N2Africa – Guidelines for Co-authorship of Publications

N2Africa is producing many types of publications in the form of training materials, milestone reports, other internal reports and, of course, articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. We have developed some guidelines for authorship particularly with journal articles and book chapters in mind, but may be useful when thinking of other types of publications. Our aim is to ensure that credit is duly given to those who have contributed to particular pieces of work. Please regard these guidelines as opportunities rather than restrictions. If somebody is to be a coauthor of your paper, then it is appropriate to expect and ask for substantial help in preparing it. The full document, which was discussed and endorsed by the N2Africa Steering Committee, can be accessed here.

Ken Giller

Greta van den Brand joined the N2Africa team in Wageningen

Greta van den Brand has joined the N2Africa team at Wageningen University in January. She works primarily on the extension of the N2Africa project to Sierra Leone, Liberia and North Kivu in DR Congo through the extension of the project as part of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Besides, she contributes to on-going research activities in the other N2Africa countries. Greta completed an MSc. in sustainable development, with a focus on land-use and environment related topics. Her past research, carried out as a master thesis within the framework of N2africa, focused on possibilities for smallholder farmers in Malawi to increase production of grain-legumes.

Greta van den Brand


International conference Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Africa: From Microbes to Markets (ISFM Africa)

CIAT - TSBF and partners will be organizing an international conference in October 22-27, 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya on the Theme: Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Africa: From Microbes to Markets (ISFM Africa). This meeting is also the biennial meeting of the African Association of Biological Nitrogen Fixation (AABNF).

More details will be provided in the first announcement. (Link)

The website is: www.isfmafrica2012.org. An official email address will be soon available on the website of CIAT-TSBF.

Barriers to seed trade between COMESA countries lifted

A newsletter contribution by Chris Kakunta about completion of  harmonizing seed trade rules and regulations for the region by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) through its specialised agency, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA).

The finalisation of the rules and regulations will result in removing trade barriers to free-flow of seed among member states.

TLII Report: Tropical Grain Legumes in Africa and South Asia
The Tropical Legumes II project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has recently published a research report on six major tropical legumes (chickpea, common bean, cowpea, groundnut, pigeonpea and soyabean)



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