Stephen Byantwale, an assistant commissioner at the Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture,
giving the opening remarks
The main aim of the project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is to increase biological nitrogen fixation and productivity of grain legumes among African smallholder farmers, contributing to enhanced soil fertility, improved household nutrition, and increased cash income. In addition to Uganda, phase 2 of the project is also being implemented in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
N2Africa focuses on cowpea, groundnut, and soybean in Ghana and Nigeria, on common bean, cowpea, groundnut, and soybean in Tanzania and Uganda, and on common bean, soybean, chickpea, and faba bean in Ethiopia.
Speaking at the event, Bernard Vanlauwe, IITA Director for Central Africa and who is also leading the project from IITA’s side, said N2Africa stresses the importance of soil science in agriculture: “This project is the biggest in the IITA soil department, and we need to deliver as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given us their trust.”
The project is led by a consortium of institutions: Wageningen University (WUR), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and IITA, which will oversee project implementation and ensure consistency in terms of research and dissemination approaches, research-to-development learning loops, and capacity building.
The project brings together diverse local partners and stakeholders to ensure that the activities and outcomes of the project reach the intended farmers. In Uganda, Makerere University, VECO East Africa, World Vision-Uganda (WVU), and Africa 2000 Network (A2N) are facilitating activities through the creation of platforms with many stakeholders from different sectors to find synergies that will make the project successful.
The workshop participants developed an activity plan for the first year in selected sites in Uganda: Northern region, Lira; Eastern region, Mt. Elgon and Tororo, and Southwestern region, Kisoro.
N2Africa’s vision of success is to build sustainable, long-term partnerships to enable African smallholder farmers to benefit from use of mutually beneficial N2-fixation by grain legumes through effective production technologies including inoculants and fertilizers.