Podcaster 47


N2Africa Podcaster 47

PhD Special, August and September 2017

Title Summary Newsletter item #
Welcome to this special N2Africa PhD Update. Each year around this time we ask all of the PhD candidates either directly funded by N2Africa or affiliated to the project to provide an update on the status of their work. As you will see it is a rich harvest! Two candidates Amaral Chibebe (Mozambique) and George Mwenda (Kenya) have already completed their PhDs. Amaral is back in Mozambique working as a rhizobiologist for IITA. We extend our congratulations to George who just graduated on the 14th September. ...
Left to right: Dr Jason Terpolilli (PhD supervisor), Dr George Mwenda, Dr Amanuel Asrat (fellow graduand) and Dr Graham O’Hara (PhD supervisor)
Introducing Travis Goron

I recently completed my PhD at the University of Guelph in Canada, specializing in crop plant physiology, specifically nitrogen metabolism in maize. My previous research group also conducted work concerning smallholder cropping systems in Nepal, which captured my interest – I was able to conduct a couple of side experiments with finger millet, a very important Nepali crop.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be awarded an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Canadian government to come work with N2Africa for 2 years. ...

Photo: Travis harvesting a finger millet plant for root analysis in Canada

Response of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) varieties to rhizobia inoculation in the Sudan and northern Guinea savannas of Nigeria
Field trials were conducted in 2015 and 2016 seasons to evaluate the response of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) varieties (KAMPALA, KWANKWASO, SAMNUT 21, SAMNUT 23, SAMNUT 24, and SAMNUT 25) to rhizobial inoculation treatments (rhizobium strains NC 92, SBG 234, MJR 518, WDL 129, +N (20 kg N ha-1), and -N (Control)) in the Sudan and northern Guinea savannas of Nigeria. ...
Figure 1: Interaction effect of groundnut variety and rhizobia inoculation on haulm yield
Interaction effect of groundnut variety and rhizobia inoculation on haulm yield
Assessment of the impact of improved cowpea varieties on women farmers in southern part of Borno State, Nigeria

I study the impact of improved cowpea varieties on women farmers in the Southern Part of Borno State, Nigeria. These technologies were introduced by the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno State, (PROSAB) project which was operative from 2004 to 2009. The specific objectives of this study were to identify the changes in income of women farmers as a result of using improved cowpea varieties, to analyse the impact of the improved technology on the food security status of women farmers and to identify constraints associated with the use of improved cowpea varieties. ...

Yield stability studies on soyabean genotypes under Rhizobia inoculation in the Savanna Region of Nigeria
Data collection on the field by Kehinde Tolorunse (right) and Sunday Joshua
 Soyabean (Glycine max L.) is the world’s important food legume of great nutritional value. The crop has the highest protein content (40%) of all food crops and is equivalent to proteins of animal products. The crop holds considerable potential for arresting soil fertility decline and enhancing household food nutrition. Therefore, this study aimed at exploiting soyabean genotypes for yield under Rhizobia inoculation across three locations in the Savanna Region of Nigeria. ...
The effects of inoculation, P application and sequential cropping on cowpea varieties on farmer’s fields in Minna, southern Guinea savanna of Nigeria
Two field trials were conducted in the 2016 cropping season. The first was conducted to determine the effect of phosphorus fertilizer application and rhizobial inoculation on nodulation, N2-fixation, growth and productivity of three cowpea varieties on three farmer’s fields in Minna, in the southern guinea savanna of Nigeria. ...
The student collecting data on the field
Percentage similarity of indigenous rhizobia across different agro ecological zones in Nigeria
Similarity percentage among strains isolated from nodules trapped from soil collected from Kaduna agro ecological zone
Legumes are capable of establishing symbiotic associations with rhizobia in a process called biological nitrogen fixation which is responsible for the wide adoption of legumes as food crops, forages, green manures and in forestry. Recently, the call for the return to a sustainable form of agriculture due to pollution of water body by nitrate and increase in cost fertilizer has caused an increased interest in biological N2-fixation. ...
How do climbing beans fit in farming systems of the eastern highlands of Uganda? Opportunities and trade-offs at farm level
Climbing beans are a new crop for farmers in Kapchorwa district, on the northern slopes of Mt Elgon in Uganda. I assessed the effects of the introduction and expansion of climbing bean cultivation at the farm level: what contribution do climbing bean have to food self-sufficiency and income, and what are trade-offs in terms of investment costs and labour. ...
Food self-sufficiency (annual kcal required by household divided by kcal supplied by crops from farm (%)) per option. Numbers on the x-axis represent farm types 1-4, letters a-d the four farms within the type.
Understanding GL x GR interaction in common bean and chickpea in Ethiopia
Chickpea genotype
ICC13187 inoculated with LMG14989
Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) are the most important grain legumes in Ethiopia. Most of the Ethiopian soils are deficient of soil nitrogen, thereby reducing crop production far below potential. ...
Maize-grain legume intercropping for enhanced resource use efficiency and crop productivity in the Guinea savanna of northern Ghana
Smallholder farmers in the Guinea savanna agroecological zone of northern Ghana practise maize-grain legume intercropping to mitigate the risks of crop failure in sole cropping, and to safeguard household food, nutrition and income security. ...
Spatial arrangement of maize-grain legume intercropping patterns that were tested: (A) maize-legume sown within-row (mixed), (B) one row of maize alternated with one row of legume (1 to 1 rows) and (C) two rows of maize alternated with two rows of legume (2 to 2 rows)
Enhancing the yield and quality of cowpea fodder through inoculation and phosphorus fertilizer application in northern Ghana
Effect of rhizobium inoculation and phosphorus fertilizer application on fodder yield (A) and digestibility (B) of three cowpea varieties in SGS and NGS of northern Ghana
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is an important crop in the mixed crop livestock systems of northern Ghana since it supplies protein to the human diets, fodder to livestock, and it captures nitrogen into the farming system through biological nitrogen fixation. Cowpea fodder for feeding livestock is traded for cash and animal manure by farmers in northern Ghana. ...
Exploring options to improve soyabean yields in Mozambique
Amaral Machaculeha Chibeba, from Mozambique, was awarded a PhD fellowship by the Wageningen University in 2012 under the N2Africa Project. During the last 12 months the awardee worked on revising two articles of his already defended PhD Thesis. Both articles have just been published with open access by Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. ...
Figure from "Feasibility of transference of inoculation-related technologies: A case study of evaluation of soyabean rhizobial strains under the agro-climatic conditions of Brazil and Mozambique" Chibeba et al.
Symbiotic performance of soyabean root nodule bacteria (RNB) recovered from Zimbabwe
Dry weight of soyabean biomass inoculated with soyabean root nodule bacteria recovered in Zimbabwe
Soyabean is an important crop in the agriculture-led economy of Zimbabwe and production is supported by inoculation with rhizobia. Rhizobia are soil bacteria that have the ability to form symbioses with legumes and fix nitrogen within novel structures called nodules. This obviates the need for nitrogen fertilizer, which is expensive and difficult to manage. ...
Exploring options to enhance biological nitrogen fixation and yield of soyabean and common bean in smallholder farming systems in Rwanda
One of my PhD research activities included trials that assessed the effect of mineral fertilizers (N, P, K and their combination) and manure (0, 2 and 5 t ha-1) application on climbing bean yields. This study was carried out in two sites of the Northern Province of Rwanda, which is the major climbing bean growing area in the country. As part of this work, I evaluated the response of mineral fertilizer to manure application, the role of fertilizer and manure on shoot N and P uptake. ...
Nutritional benefits of improved grain legume cultivation in Ghana and Kenya
Figure. Percentage of food group requirements covered by their production at household and district level in Karaga district and national level in Ghana. Values at household level are in median (IQR) (median is used instead of the mean because of a few strong outliers); values at district level are in mean (SD); and values at national level are percentages coverage (kg national food availability per capita/recommended food per capita (South African food-based dietary guidelines)*100).
My first paper ‘Grain legume cultivation and children’s dietary diversity in smallholder farming households in rural Ghana and Kenya’ was just published in Springer’s journal Food Security! Currently, I am finalising my second paper sharing results of our dietary gap assessment in northern Ghana. ...
Co-learning using NUANCES-FARMSIM in Kenya and Uganda - A collaboration between Humidtropics, MAIZE and N2Africa
My PhD research does not solely focus on legumes, but uses legumes as one of the options to sustainably increase farm-level production. The first field activities (and my PhD project) started in August 2016 with co-learning workshops in western Kenya and activities in western Uganda will follow early 2018. ...
Discussing options for improving farm production with farmers in Vihiga
Understanding the role of Public-Private Partnerships in overcoming institutional barriers to technology adoption

N2Africa tests and promotes technologies to enhance legume productivity including improved legume seeds, inoculant, phosphorus fertilizer and improved practices. Adoption by smallholders is hindered by a range of institutional, socioeconomic and biophysical barriers. In line with current thinking on market-based development, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) interventions are used by N2Africa to overcome barriers to adoption. A knowledge gap exists concerning the design and effectiveness of PPPs. ...

Participatory approaches to smallholder crop diversification in Malawi
Figure 1. Participatory evaluation of soyabean crop and nutrient management practices in Salima, Malawi
My research started as a legume agronomist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Malawi. Two years of on-farm participatory research with smallholder farmers resulted in two publications. The first paper ...
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