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).

Responding to Fall ArmyWorm (E-conference July 10-12, 2019)

Fall armyworm (FAW) is threatening food security across the Asian continent. How can we stop it? The Sustainable Development Solutions Network is organizing a fully online e-conference on July 10-12, 2019, to discuss this important issue. The event will bring together scientists, practitioners, government officials, and NGO representatives to discuss the FAW outbreak in Asia, effective responses, and innovative ideas to face the challenges ahead.

     Click here to download the N2Africa Final Report of the First Phase.

Download our newsletter (The Podcaster)


   Wageningen University

Contact Address



Latest News

Title Summary #

Is there life after N2Africa? A question I keep asking myself as we are in the final month of the very generous funding we have received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The answer of course is a resounding YES! ...

Photo: The latest N2Africa Doctor – Ilse de Jager – who received her PhD on the 18th June for her thesis entitled “Harvesting nutrition” supervised by Inge Brouwer and Ken Giller

Ilse PhD
Overview of N2Africa training and extension materials available

Training materials

Under N2Africa Phase I and II, a wide range of training and extension materials about legumes (from production to marketing) and biological nitrogen fixation has been developed. ...
Highlights of N2Africa-Ethiopia in 2018
The year 2018 was another exciting year for N2Africa-Ethiopia, bringing up the total number of beneficiaries so far reached by the project to 70,000 (in contrast to the 60,000 at the project completion) in 31 woredas of Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia and SNNP regions. P56 Eth fig
Opportunities for developing the soyabean sector in Ghana

Soyabean was introduced into Ghana in 1901. However, it was not until the mid-1990s, that it became an important crop in Ghana. During the past decade, production has increased steadily from 74,800 Mt in 2008 to 176,670 Mt in 2018 while area under cultivation has increased from 61,800 ha to 102,980 ha during the same period (MoFA, 2019). Ghana’s soyabean sector is rapidly growing because of development of the poultry and freshwater fishery industries as well as exportation of soyabean to countries such as Turkey and China.  ...

Some highlighted outcomes from 2018 (N2Africa Borno state, Nigeria)

Non degree

The 2018 community social mobilization exercise which was organized and conducted successfully in 40 new communities within the four local government areas of the project operational areas in Borno state. A total of 3,278 (1,987 M: 1,291 F) people participated. ...

Photo: Participants at one of the non-degree trainings sessions in Borno state, Nigeria

N2Africa in Tanzania in 2018

In Tanzania the focus of 2018 was to implement the project exit strategy that fostered continuity of established activities by local governments, ensuring sustainable delivery of legume technologies (notably improved legume seeds, and inoculants) by public research institution and private sector and ensuring farmer’s access to markets. ...

Photo: Newly installed Soyabean solvent plant at Singida in Tanzania by MT Meru millers.

Tanz soyabean solvent plant

Building an exit strategy for N2Africa project in Uganda - the prospects

Apac meeting

An exit strategy was inherent in the N2Africa project design to allow successful grain legume technologies at scale but also have a strategy for a pipeline of technologies to be continuously evaluated and availed to the farmers to improve their production systems and welfare. ...

Photo: Village agent, Mr Odyek (checked shirt 2

left from group leader in green), meeting a farmers group in Apac to collect information on inputs needed

N2Africa project recognizes partners upon project closing workshop in Ethiopia
After being operational for more than five years in Ethiopia, N2Africa will end on 30 June 2019. To this regard, a workshop was organized on 3  May 2019 at ILRI Campus in Addis Ababa to recognize project partners and to close the project officially. ...  Partner recognition
N2Africa Policy recommendations workshop in Ethiopia and Tanzania

Ethiopia working group

The N2Africa project organised two workshops with participants from government, private sector, research and NGO, to discuss policy recommendations for government and development partners for further support to the development of the legume sector. A first round of policy analysis interviews were held in December 2018. Policy recommendation workshops were held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 3 May and in Iringa, Tanzania, on 8 May.

Photo: One of the four working group sessions in Ethiopia

Stakeholders approve recommendations for favourable policies to support increased production of grain legumes in Tanzania
Beginning December 2018, N2Africa project has undertaken a policy advocacy activity in two steps; i) bilateral consultations with 15 organisations (in government, private sector, NGO’s) to understand perceptions about the current functioning and policy recommendations, for the whole legume sector and of specific segments in the value chain, and ii) a multi-stakeholder workshop in which the results of the policy analysis were presented and discussed, and consensus sought about next steps. ... Policy work group
Reports and other output uploaded on the N2Africa website 11
Related newsletters 12