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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I open this Podcaster with a plea – PLEASE, PLEASE send us an email to confirm you would like to receive news from N2Africa! Due to the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) we need your permission before we can send you our newsletter. All we need is a quick email confirming your agreement to receive the Podcaster from us.  ...

Beans in Rwanda. Photo credit Ken Giller

Key achievements and learnings available in the N2Africa Annual Report 2017

Total number of farmers reached from 2014 to 2017


A lot happened in N2Africa in 2017. As the core countries continued dissemination of technologies and strengthening of public-private partnerships to ensure sustainable access to these technologies, the Tier 1 countries focused on exit strategies to sustain the achieved results as N2Africa ended in these countries. ...


Highlights of the Annual Report 2017

This article tells on Recommendations for best-fit technologies, Adaptation trials, Learning pathways and on the N2Africa impact design.

Beans in Rwanda. Photo credit Ken Giller

Scaling-up Improved Legume Technologies in Tanzania through the Legume Alliance

Salome Thomas from Orkonerei Radio Service (ORS) in Terrat Simanjiro Manyara on air. Photo credits  Simon Scott

During its Nov-2015-Feb-2018 implementation period, Scaling-up improved Legume Technologies in Tanzania (SILT) promoted improved soyabean and common bean technologies reaching 600,000 farming family members. 100,000 farmers started to use more than one promoted practice. This was achieved by developing a series of integrated campaigns targeting different family members with nuanced information. The results were achieved in the Northern and Southern Highlands of Tanzania through multi-media campaigns incorporating different combinations of leaflets, posters, comics, interactive radio, SMS messages and demonstration plots and farmers training sessions. ...

From targeting to tailoring: Baskets of options for legume cultivation among African smallholders
On the 4th of April I successfully defended my PhD thesis, entitled From targeting to tailoring: Baskets of options for legume cultivation among African smallholders, in the aula of Wageningen University. It was a day with interesting discussions and a great celebration afterwards.

Defence ceremony

N2Africa in the news

Article in the Ethiopian Herald: Over 50,000 smallholders benefit from inoculation technology.

Reports and other output uploaded on the N2Africa website 7
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