Charlene McKoin in Ethiopia

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I had a chance to discuss with Charlene a lot on legume value chain development, as this is an important "machine" to bring about a wider adoption of legumes production in the farming system. This was an unusual discussion to have with a microbiologist such as I. But having shared a common vision, it did not take for us to agree that the "market link" is an important driver in this project. Charlene’s vision for the N2Africa project, her unreserved encouragement to us (the N2Africa Ethiopian team), support and ideas to help link smallholder grain legume producers to the market is unforgettable.

Charlene with Dr Siboniso Moyo (DDG ILRI), Endalkachew Wolde-Meskel and Ken Giller at >4,000 m on Bale Mountain, January 2016

Here are some statements from smallholder farmers on several recent field visits from all the four regions where N2Africa-Ethiopia is operational:

  • "The technology that you brought to us is wonderful, it has increased yield. But, where is the market? I had good harvest last year, unfortunately I could not sell it so I only consumed it with my family. Yet we cannot consume it all"
  • "This is the 3rd season that you are coming to our village, are you just going to establish 10 by 10 m demonstrations plots again? If so, please do not come. We have seen that the technology works. Please help us access the inoculant and link us to a market so we produce more on larger areas"

This is the legacy of her ideas which will remain with us even though she is leaving the foundation. It was a great revelation to work with her!

Endalkachew Wolde-Meskel

N2Africa Ethiopia Coordinator