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.

Legumes bring atmospheric nitrogen into the crops and the soil through a symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria, and they are an important source of protein in a healthy diet. Enhanced productivity of legumes thereby contributes to improvements in soil fertility, household nutrition and income. N2Africa enables African smallholder farmers to reap these benefits through the implementation of effective production technologies including inoculants and fertilizers.

N2Africa links scientific research with capacity building (from farmers to traders, development workers in extension and NGOs), educating MSc and PhD candidates, women’s empowerment, and access to input-output markets through Public-Private Partnerships. A strong network ensures continuous and independent improvement of technologies and market access.

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, N2Africa has been active since 2013 in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, and since 2009 in DRCongo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. Focal legume crops are common bean, chickpea, cowpea, faba bean, groundnut and soyabean.

From best-bets to best-fits

The performance of a grain legume and the associated amount of nitrogen fixed depend on the interaction between the genotype of the legume, the genotype of the rhizobia, the environment and the management of the crop and field: (GL× GR) × E × M in short.

N2Africa selects and tests good-potential legume genotypes, does research to identify the best matching rhizobia strains and tries to optimize the management of legume fields. Testing of legume technologies by large numbers of farmers allows for tailoring and adapting legume technologies to specific sites and specific farmers. This results in a set of best-fit principles and options for each project area.


Direct beneficiaries of N2Africa are the farming households with increased benefits from biological nitrogen fixation – such as greater food and nutrition security or increased incomes – and the households benefitting from the network that was built to improve access to information, agricultural inputs and markets. By 2017, N2Africa had already reached more than 600,000 smallholder farmers with improved technologies for grain legume production.

Other beneficiaries are producers of legume seeds, legume-specific fertilizer mixes and inoculants through an increased demand for their product, as well as agro-dealers trading these products. Development project staff and scientists are exposed to new ways of doing science through the ‘development-to-research’ framework, and hands-on capacity building activities.

By working through national systems, training key stakeholders from farmers to traders, development workers in extension and NGOs, and by educating MSc and PhD candidates in each country, we build the capacity that can in the future sustain an independent and continuous improvement of legume production technologies.



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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Congress of the African Association of Biological Nitrogen Fixation (AABNF2018), April 22nd-24th 2018, New Beach Hotel, Oran, Algeria.

13th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference (ENFC), which will be held 18-21 August 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden at the München Bryggeriet.

WARNING: A Fake International Conference on Nitrogen Fixation, ICNF London.


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In May, the N2Africa team met in Rwanda for our Annual Planning Meeting together with the N2Africa Advisory Board and local partners. This is the last year of N2Africa Phase II and the meeting was a chance to reflect on progress so far and to plan for the future. In particular we finalised planning for an impact study which is now in full swing across the N2Africa core countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda) and on which we will report in due course. You can read more detailed reports on the workshop in this Podcaster.

Christian Witt, our Senior Programme Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commented that N2Africa is ‘not-just-another-project’, ...

Impressions of the N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting and field trip in Rwanda 15-18 May 2018
The former Country Coordinator for Rwanda, Speciose Kantengwa took the lead in organizing our last full team meeting in Rwanda, a country that differs from others within N2Africa by climate and geography. Country coordinators of both Tier 1 and Core Countries, Business Development Officers, members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, our donor representative, Research coordinators, Leadership team and support gathered, together with representatives from the NGO’s and institutions from Rwanda that took over working with the Knowledge after the end or Phase I. ...

Practicing with maps and partner data


A flavour of the N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting in Rwanda

N2Africa is approaching the end of Phase II for the core countries while the Tier 1 countries phased out at the end of 2017. The N2Africa Annual Planning Meeting held in the Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali (15-18 May) focused on exploring opportunities for Core and Tier 1 countries to continue their catalytic roles in providing technical backup to other projects and to stimulate diffusion of N2Africa technologies. Discussions were centred around the question “how can N2Africa reach 80% of the farmers who would benefit from N2Africa technologies?”. ...

Field trip: climbing beans in Rwanda

In the morning of May 17th buses took all participants of the Annual Planning Meeting through a hilly landscape to two sites in Northern Rwanda that were first approached by N2Africa back in 2010: Gahunga action site and Muko action site.

Photo: Ms. Gasilida and Mr Hakizimana Rwbasira showing varieties of climbing beans at Gahunga action site

Reflections from our Rwandan colleagues

The Rwanda team, who organized this years' annual meeting also had the possibility to invite a number of partners from Phase I, for them to share experience on how they continued disseminating N2Africa technologies with a minimum intervention of the project, and also interact with other members of the N2Africa family and learn from them. Four of them gave feedback on the meeting.

Reports and other output uploaded on the N2Africa website

N2Africa Review of policies relating to legume intensification in N2Africa countries.

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