Testing biological nitrogen fixation of soyabean in partnership with NCBA-CLUSA in Mozambique

Display start
Display end
Newsletter #
Newsletter item #
News homepage item #

Since the re-introduction of soyabean in Mozambique, the main soyabean inoculant used across the country is the short shelf inoculant MasterFix imported from Brazil. The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA-CLUSA) is a not-for-profit cooperative development and trade association, and partners with N2Africa in the soyabean value chain. NCBA-CLUSA promotes the adoption of conservation agriculture practices in the Manica, Zambezia and Tete Provinces (through the PROMAC project). Working with 1,200 lead farmers and 30 extension agents, PROMAC supports over 36,000 smallholder farmers to increase crop yields. The project goals are to increase income, improve soil fertility, reduce land degradation, reduce agricultural losses and mitigate the negative impact of climate change, all building the economic and environmental resilience of smallholder farmers.

During the cropping season 2015-2016, N2Africa and PROMAC initiated the evaluation of soyabean response to long shelf inoculant LegumeFix, as an alternative to MasterFix. The study was conducted in Beira and Nacala development corridors in Mozambique. A total of 248 households (160 women and 88 men) hosted the on-farm demonstration trials using variety TGX-1740-2F. During several stages of crop development, a total of 19,402 farmers (10,700 women and 8,702 men, including farmers that hosted the demonstration trials), participated in the evaluation trials through field days (Picture 1).

Picture 1. Field day in Barue District

Apart from agronomic evaluation (yield), part of the harvested grain was used to train farmers on soyabean processing practices, including a hygiene component.

Preliminary research findings and way forward

The statistical analysis of soyabean yield data is still ongoing. Yet, the preliminary assessment suggests that there are no significant differences on soyabean yields between MasterFix and LegumeFix. Both inoculants performed differently in each province. The use of gypsum seems to have a positive impact on yield, suggesting acidity in the soils of the demonstrations trials. In general, soyabean yield under conservation agriculture was higher, as compared to yield under farmers´ practices. We should recall that, the cropping season 2015-2016 was characterized by dry spells and heavy rains, due to El Niño.

In order to draw conclusions, both organizations have agreed to continue with on-farm demonstrations trials for at least two more cropping seasons, as well as to include more farms. In the meantime, the agro-dealer Savon Trading showed interest in commercializing LegumeFix for smallholder farmers. N2Africa will play a role in linking Savon Trading to inoculant suppliers. We should mention that Mozambique has not embarked yet on the production of inoculants.

Wilson Leonardo, Country Coordinator Mozambique and Sergio Ye, PROMAC Manager