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Welcome to the last Podcaster for 2014! We realize that this drops into your mailbox when you are rushing to finish all of those urgent tasks before the end of the year. Yet we hope you’ll find some time to read through as we have lots of exciting news from all over the continent with articles from DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Sierra Leone – where our N2Africa colleagues are managing to continue some very interesting work despite the problems. We also report on our review and planning workshop hold in Arusha in October and summarise our Master Plans. These documents share our ideas of how we hope to implement a common strategy across all of the N2Africa countries. This will allow a comparative analysis of what works where, why and for whom, which is a key goal of N2Africa.

We had a truly great review and planning workshop in October and we are grateful for the constructive feedback and advice on our Master Plans which we received there. In addition, we are grateful that Noel Ellis of the Grain Legumes CRP and NVPR Ganga Rao of the Tropical Legumes project could both join us for the workshop and we made concrete plans to strengthen our collaboration. As a first step we are mapping all N2Africa activities to the different CRPs (sorry for the CGIAR gobbledygook) and I contributed a blog on Closing Yield Gaps to the November issue of the Grain Legumes Newsletter1. In addition, I had the pleasure of making a short video clip for N2Africa with the help of Catherine Njuguna and Gloriana Ndibalema of IITA that was screened on prime-time TV in the Netherlands. You can watch the "College Tour" programme on this link - it is a fascinating question-and-answer session with Bill Gates about his life. On the different note, N2Africa was highlighted in an article on the Guardian website that bemoaned the problems that farmers face in Uganda to access fertiliser.

I am currently on sabbatical leave in Arusha, Tanzania with IITA and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and just spent the past few days with Freddy Baijukya, the National Coordinator for N2Africa, at a workshop on Integrated Legume Value Chain Development – my last workshop for 2014! I’ll be staying here until the end of April and spending as much time as possible in the field with farmers.

Please make sure you read through right to the end of this Podcaster as we have some links to the most recent N2Africa extension leaflets and we hope you will use them!

Wishing you all a very peaceful festive season and I look forward to working with you in 2015!

Ken Giller

 1 Subscribe to the Grain Legumes Newsletter by clicking on this link