N2Africa legacy in Zimbabwe

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The N2Africa project was implemented in Zimbabwe between 2009-2017. The project engaged smallholder farming communities on intensified grain legume integration in their farming systems across eight districts.

To what extent is there still a (knowledge) network around legumes and nitrogen fixation active in your country?

This is addressed under the other questions below.

To what extent are private sector and/or NGOs still selling/ using / promoting “N2Africa technologies”? Can farmers readily access seeds, inoculants, legume-specific fertilizers?

SeedCo seed company has continued to produce soyabean and groundnut seed for Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries markets. For soyabean, the model where farmers access seed and rhizobia under ‘one roof” has reduced transactional costs. Cowpea has been mostly supported by NGOs in marginal rainfall regions as a climate smart intervention to provide a grain legume crop in drought-prone regions. We worked with the Cluster Agricultural Development Services (CADS) for several years. This NGO has continued to mainstream grain legume production with communities on its HIV/AIDS alleviation and rural nutrition programs.

Are there any interesting new developments taking place around legumes and nitrogen fixation?

The government of Zimbabwe’s ‘Command Agriculture’ program, that had over the past 3 years exclusively supported farmers for maize production, has now extended seed and fertilizer inputs support for soyabean production. This has increased demand for soyabean inoculants, thus tapping into N2Africa investments in Zimbabwe. N2Africa made investments on improving inoculants quality and production capacity at the Soil Productivity Research Lab in Marondera. The equipment included refrigeration facilities, microbiological incubator, an autoclave and a modern laminar flow chamber for aseptic transfer of sterilized materials inoculation of microbes. Technicians that received N2Africa expert training have also contributed to the continued production of high quality inoculants at the factory.

Regis Chikowo, Country Coordinator Zimbabwe