N2Africa in Malawi
IITA-Malawi has been implementing the N2Africa project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since 2010. Malawi is one of eight countries in Africa where the project is operating. N2Africa aims to make use of biological nitrogen fixation to improve soil fertility of maize-based cropping systems, as well as improve the livelihoods and nutrition of rural households. In Malawi, N2Africa has been testing and promoting technologies for four grain legumes (soybean, groundnut, common bean, and cowpea) on farmers’ fields in seven districts of the Central Region. The project’s vision of success is to build sustainable, long-term partnerships to enable African smallholder farmers to benefit from symbiotic N2-fixation by grain legumes through effective production technologies, including inoculants and fertilizers. As such, N2Africa has been working with various partners such as the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), World Vision International (WVI), the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Agro-Input Suppliers Limited (AISL), Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation/ Churches Action in Relief and Development ICCO/CARD, and government departments such as the Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES) and Department of Agriculture Research Services (DARS). So far, over 30,000 farmers in Malawi have been reached with various legume technologies through demonstrations, field days, agriculture fairs, and training. Technologies being disseminated include inoculants (Nitrofix), improved legume varieties, and improved agronomic practices.