Plataforma Global de las Escuelas de Campo de Agricultores

Developing Capacities for Agricultural Innovation Systems: Lessons from Implementing a Common Framework in 8 countries

16/11/2020 16/11/2020

Monday 16 November 2020 

At 14:00h CET  

Register here:



Using capacity-based approaches to strengthen agricultural innovation system (AIS) is quite new in the area of agricultural development. Usually, capacities of individuals and organizations are seen as indirect (or unplanned) outcomes of the traditional agricultural development projects.

In 2015, FAO and Agrinatura engaged together in the European Union funded Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) project (2015-2019) in order to test and operationalize this new way of thinking and acting, which puts human capital and capacities to innovate at the frontline of the support to agri-food system transformations.


The joint work involved eight pilot countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Also activities at global level were planned to facilitate the engagement of other partners in the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) hosted by FAO, and aiming at promoting agricultural innovation in the tropics.

At project end, Agrinatura and FAO conducted a Transversal Analysis of the outcomes and impacts of the CDAIS project across the eight pilot countries. The objectives were to provide insights into what made the CDAIS project work in practice: how did it contribute to improve innovation capacities at country level and to lead to sustainable impacts in agri-food systems?


Three major results came out:
1) A new vision for scaling innovation: different types of capacities to innovate need to be scaled-up at three strategic levels of the AIS: the innovation niche partnerships, the innovation support service (ISS) providers, the policy actors;
2) A new vision for strengthening national AIS at policy level: facilitating evidence-based dialogues between niche actors, ISS providers and policy makers;

3) Three efficient strategies that project-based approaches can employ in tackling capacity development (CD) for AIS issues: AIS-embedded and participatory project architecture; demand-led approach; multi-level and process-led approach.



This side-event aims at sharing the key lessons from CDAIS project and shaping visions and actions to mainstream functional capacities for AIS in the development agenda at global and national levels.

Discussions will be rooted in the learning review of the results of the CDAIS project across the eight pilot countries and in the testimonies of CD experts who were involved in the project.


Session 1: Successes and challenges for scaling capacities to innovate – lessons from CDAIS

- R. Hawkins, International Centre for development-oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA)/Agrinatura: The CDAIS project in a nutshell
- A. Toillier, FAO/French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)/Agrinatura: Which capacities were developed and how they contributed to agricultural innovation across the 8 countries

- M. Bucciarelli, FAO: The importance of facilitated and evidence-based Policy dialogues for strengthening national AIS
- R. Guillonnet, ICRA/Agrinatura: Successes and challenges for strengthening AIS through project-based approaches


Session 2: And now what? A call to action to make CDAIS results sustainable

- R. Wahaab, ISS provider, ex-CDAIS innovation facilitator:Bangladesh: Challenges to developing Innovation Support Services for the agricultural sector in countries (example from Bangladesh and Burkina Faso)
- S. Eshetu, PhD, Capacity and Institutional Development Specialist, African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), ex-CDAIS innovation facilitator: Challenges for bringing together and coordinating organizations providing ISS at national level

- O. Muhinda, Assistant FAO Representative Rwanda: Challenges to improving the policy environment for AIS and ways forward



Sum up and broader view from Agrinatura perspective: the LIFT support program to the EU-funded Desira Initiative