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).

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BSc en agronomie (BSC Agronomy)



Superviseur adjoint dans la societe privee Kinaplant dans la fabrication du the et Quinquina (Assist, Private Society Kinaplant


1990 - 1994

Assistant et chef de programme a l'Union de Cooperation Europeenne et Congo (Assistant program manag, Cooperation Union European and Congo RD (Zaire)


1994 - 2002

Chef Superviseur de la societe (Chief Supervisor), Domaine de Katale


2003 - 2005

Agronome (Agronomist), Food for Hungry International


2005 - 2009

Assistant de recherche dans lee project (Research Assistant), CIALCA


2009 - 2017

Coodinateur national du project N2Afica (National Coordinator), N2Africa



L'Universite evangelique en Afrique (Evangelistic University in Africa), MSc en agronomie (MSC Agronomy)


2018 - 2020

Chef du bureau de L'IITA, Uvira, dans le cadre du programme (Head, IITA Office, Uvira), IITA




Dear N2Africa colleagues, friends and supporters,

With deep regret we write to inform you that Jean-Marie Sanginga passed away. Jean-Marie was part of N2Africa from the very start and played a key role in all of our activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’re sure that all of you who had the privilege to meet Jean-Marie have your own thoughts and memories - he was an open, warmhearted, loyal and very trustworthy colleague. Despite all of the day-to-day challenges he encountered working in the dynamic, beautiful and unpredictable environment of Sud-Kivu, we could always rely on Jean-Marie to ensure that things happened and to deliver top quality work. He was truly committed to improving the lot of smallholder farmers through putting the very best agronomic technologies into their hands.

We will all miss him sorely and extend our sincere condolences to his family and close friends.



All three photo’s are from the annual meeting of N2Africa in Mbale, Uganda, that took place end February- early March 2017 (Photos: Charlotte Schilt)


Stay safe and take care!

Kind regards,

Ken Giller & Bernard Vanlauwe


I will surely miss the presence of a truly lovable and kind person
My first time to land in South Kivu Province of DRC was March 2010 when I had just taken up the role of Country Coordinator for the N2Africa Project. At this time when this region was recovering from the 2005-2008 civil wars, with restrictions to work in rural areas. Notwithstanding the security fear that existed at that time, Jean-Marie as the key field agronomist, laid an important groundwork, building on earlier work through the CIALCA project. He mobilized three strong local development organizations (DIOBASS, PAD and SARCAF) into the project and within a few weeks, we managed to establish the first farmer-managed try-outs of legume technologies in the project mandate area. By 2013, DRC had widely-installed field demonstrations and farmer field days – at that time more than any other country in the project. pic4
Jean-Marie was passionate to help farmers learn and try-out what he believed was of greatest benefit to them. He ensured that the project extended its operations to new areas like Uvira and Goma, where positive results continue to be seen today. He always encouraged and invited students to work in the project. I remember Jean-Marie shared his office with students from the local Universities in the town of Bukavu. 

On a personal note, he always emphasized to keep people’s morale up and appreciated their contribution after hard work. For him this was often done by inviting them for simple snacks and drinks. As a father, Jean-Marie was devoted to his family. I remember the time he visited me in Kisumu, Kenya where we spent four hours together ensuring that he had a gift to take home for each member of his family.

Freddy Baijukya, N2Africa Country Coordinator for DRC in Phase I and N2Africa Country Coordinator for Tanzania in Phase II



Jean-Marie Sanginga


Date of Birth

December 27th, 1960

Date of Death

June 7th, 2020

Africa has lost a committed farmers’ champion – Rest in Peace!
Jean-Marie continued his work in DR Congo throughout Phase II (2014-2017) as Country Coordinator of the N2Africa Project after his excellent performance during Phase I (2009-2013). We built a lot on the solid foundation that had been laid during the first phase of the project; this helped us to avoid mistakes. Under his coordination, Jean-Marie ensured that the DR Congo team regularly made contributions in the N2Africa Podcaster on the various activities taking place in the country. He developed and strengthened many partnerships and ensured that they reached many farmers and enabled them to use N2Africa technologies. Some of these partners actually funded activities through the N2Africa project due to their trust in his able leadership. pic6

Jean-Marie really pushed students who had been supported during Phase I of N2Africa to finish their studies – he had a sense that the future of agricultural research was in the hands of young people. This helped students from the Université Catholique de Bukavu to use IITA facilities and give them opportunities to strengthen their science. Those who took this casually or for granted must have found themselves on the wrong side!! No task was impossible for Jean-Marie – he had the will and inner drive to deliver. No wonder he was always been involved in starting new projects/activities. Jean-Marie as a really pleasant team player who fitted in very well with the broader international N2Africa team. As a family man he was very committed to the education of his daughters who studies in Nairobi at the Catholic University) – he invited me for the graduation.

Fred Kanampiu, N2Africa Coordinator for Phase II