Founded in 2012, ENSA is made up of scientists from internationally-renowned institutions around the world. Our scientists are working together to improve and expand the use of beneficial microorganisms for the delivery of nutrients essential for crop production.
The ENSA team has made strides over the last few years in making global agriculture more sustainable and equitable, working to provide a more easily accessible form of nutrient acquisition for smallholder farmers. In 2022, ENSA successfully replicated the nutrient-acquiring process that naturally occurs in some plants, a crucial step in the eventual goal of reducing or eliminating the need for expensive inorganic fertilisers.
Against the backdrop of this progress and the expanded scope and potential impact of our work, we are excited to announce that we are updating our name to reflect this new vision. Moving forward, we will be called Enabling Nutrient Symbioses in Agriculture (ENSA). Here’s why.
Partnering beyond the science
For science to reach smallholders, the enabling environment is often just as important as the research itself – from market insights and product development to regulatory and technical support. With that in mind, ENSA has developed a variety of partnerships and capacity building opportunities to help ensure that our scientific breakthroughs have the best chance to actually benefit farmers and the communities they serve. Our work will be successful only when resource-poor farmers are supported to overcome nutrient limitations and are benefitting from enhanced yields without the need for augmentation by inorganic fertilisers.
Working across nutrients, not only nitrogen
Working to help improve and expand the use of beneficial microorganisms for the delivery of nutrients essential for crop production has always been our core mission. While our work in nitrogen fixation remains hugely promising, ENSA is also working to improve crops’ uptake of other nutrients through their symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. By expanding the surface area of the root, fungi help deliver phosphate, water and other micronutrients to plants and also provide an effective mechanism for carbon sequestration, significantly enhancing the fertility of the soil.
Delivering benefits to Africa and globally
While Africa remains the highest priority for our work, we realise that the potential benefits of our science can reach even further. One in 10 people worldwide suffers from hunger and one in three lacks regular access to adequate food. At the same time, current food production systems are unsustainable, driven in part through the application of chemical fertiliser, which is environmentally damaging and prohibitively expensive for some smallholder farmers. Our vision is to make global agriculture more sustainable and equitable by expanding the use of beneficial microorganisms for the delivery of nutrients essential for crop production. We hope that our work can have profound impacts both for farmers and the environment around the world.