Research & Extension

Tropical Agriculture Platform: facilitating capacity development for agricultural innovation in the Tropics

Several tropical countries lack the resources and capacities to develop their agricultural innovation systems. The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) aims to address this gap: established by the G20 and facilitated by FAO's Research and Extension Unit, TAP is a multilateral dynamic facilitation mechanism, which fosters better coherence and greater impact of capacity development for agricultural innovation systems in tropical countries.                                             

The difference that TAP will make:

The strategic goal of TAP is to contribute to the development of national capacities in agricultural innovation in the tropics. TAP's activities enhance the integration of regional and international capacity development programmes, encouraging interventions to be aligned with national plans and policies. The platform will strengthen existing partnerships and broker new ones between actors of all types, facilitating the emergence of agricultural innovation systems that increase farmers' income, food security, nutrition and environmental sustainability. Ultimately, small and medium- scale producers will benefit from TAP's activities. 


Regional Assessments of Priorities, capacities and needs in agricultural innovation systems

Needs assessments, carried out by TAP partners in selected tropical countries in Africa, Central America and Asia, identified three major constraints: Capacity development is not sufficiently targeted to meet the needs of agricultural innovation systems; interventions by different actors are often incoherent, remain small in scale and narrow in scope and neglect the institutional and organizational capacity dimensions; a lack of political and operational mechanisms limits the coordination of interventions. TAP offers three services to address these challenges: a Policy Dialogue to enhance the coherence of policies for capacity development for agricultural innovation in the tropics; a Marketplace to broker effective capacity development approaches and partnerships; and TAPipedia to stimulate knowledge exchange in support of capacity development.

TAP Action plan 

Based on the regional assessments TAP partners agreed on an Action Plan with global and country-level activities. A Common Framework for capacity development for agricultural innovation systems will be developed in 2015 and will include:  tools for the assessment of capacity development needs at policy, organizational and individual levels, as well as tools for design, M&E and impact assessment of capacity development interventions. The Framework will be validated through country-led multi-stakeholder processes and its adoption will be advocated through global and national policy dialogues. It will result in a clearer understanding of the capacity development needs of the various stakeholders along value chains and in greater coherence among the many capacity development interventions. TAP will support countries to apply the Common Framework, to build partnerships and capacity development programmes that lead to demand-driven, efficient and sustainable agricultural innovation systems.

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