A research project funded by the Academy of Finland 1.10.2013-30.9.2017

Ethiopia is endowed with a variety of agro-ecological zones that differ in terms of rainfall, soil types, altitude and other physical characteristics. These resulted in rich species diversity including many cultivated and wild plant, and also great variation in the agricultural activities carried out in different agro-ecological zones. The country is considered as the centre of origin and diversity of many cultivated crops; and hence recognized as one of the Vavilovian crop diversity centers. Most of these crops have their origin in the country and maintain high levels of diversity with the presence of several local landraces restricted to certain agro-ecologies. The country is also regarded as centre of diversity for several legumes, and their associated nitrogen-fixing rhizobium bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. SOILMAN aims at making use of this diversity for improving food security, helping restore degraded environments and mitigating climate change with the help of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) in the symbiosis between rhizobium bacteria and legumes.