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This is our first news of 2019 so we hope you all enjoyed a good break and wish you all a peaceful, productive and enjoyable year ahead. We’re now in the last six months of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Our N2Africa teams in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda have been very busy conducting a large survey to understand the outcomes and impacts of the programme. We’re using a variety of methods and will report more in detail in future Podcasters. We also have contracted consultants to assist us in exploring the current market opportunities for rhizobium inoculants in Africa, and to examine how policies could be better shaped to support diversification and intensification of crop production through the promotion of grain legumes and associated technologies.

Our programme continues to attract many enquiries for information on the yield-improving technologies for legumes we have developed and continue to promote. There are a number of ongoing initiatives to follow-up on the current phase of N2Africa. We hope these will be successful and help us meet the demands of our stakeholders for information and support. We receive requests from a wide variety of stakeholders – who range from farmer groups to the ministries of agriculture in the different countries where we work to newspapers and television companies!

In this Podcaster we provide updates from different countries on the supply of rhizobium inoculants and how they are taking off in Africa. It’s quite amazing to read how the use of inoculants has changed since we started N2Africa activities almost 10 years ago. We can’t claim that N2Africa is solely responsible for this impact – but we have certainly made a key contribution in proving the need for inoculants, in creating awareness and opening up the opportunity for companies.

We have an interesting research report from Travis Goron who works on a Canadian post-doctoral fellowship examining the impacts of legumes on infestation with the parasitic weed Striga. Don’t forget to check the links to different student theses and other news items on the back page. We hope you enjoy this Podcaster and we will be following up soon with more news on the outcomes and impacts of N2Africa.

Ken Giller