Research & Extension

Partners agree on the action plan and governance of the G20 Tropical Agriculture Platform

On 4 and 5 September 2013, the partners of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) met at the inception workshop held at the headquarters of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) in Haikou, Hainan Province of the People’s Republic of China with support of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. TAP is a G20 initiative which has been established to foster better coherence and greater impact of capacity development interventions in agricultural innovation systems in the least developed tropical countries, which contribute to food security and environmental sustainability. TAP was launched by the G20 in September 2012 in Mexico, and the workshop in China marked the end of the inception phase.

TAP is facilitated by FAO, which hosts the TAP Secretariat, and the inception workshop was co-organized by FAO and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

The inception workshop and the first Partner Assembly which immediately followed were very well attended with 45 participants representing 27 Partner Organizations (of 42 who expressed their commitment to contribute to TAP). Three Partners who were unable to attend the workshop provided their comments on the agenda prior to the meetings.

Adoption of a common approach to the development of capacities of agricultural innovation systems across the international community will provide the context for coherence in capacity development. TAP will promote and support national leadership to ensure that capacity development interventions meet the real needs and are aligned with national plans and policies. The Platform will strengthen existing partnerships and broker new ones between actors of all types to enhance agricultural innovation. It will give specific emphasis to South-South cooperation and to the role of the private sector in innovation.

A results framework and a series of work packages, which include a range of country-based, regional and global actions, have been defined based on the findings of three regional assessments and preparatory studies. One global and three regional Task Forces are foreseen, to be operated by the TAP Partners, and these will be established as soon as possible. The proposed services comprise: a Policy Dialogue Space for interaction between national authorities towards better and more effective policies; a Marketplace brokering existing demands and offers in capacity development of agricultural innovation systems; and the TAPipedia offering a global information system to share outputs of innovation, success stories and lessons learned.

Immediately following the workshop, the first session of the TAP Partner Assembly was held. The first annual activity report was approved, and the action plan and budget for three years was adopted by partners in principle subject to a final review after the workshop. The assembly discussed a funding strategy that will be put in place as soon as possible to resource the action plan. Many partners expressed their intent to provide in-kind resources such as knowledge products and staff time.

In terms of the governance of TAP, a TAP Charter was approved, and a Steering Committee was elected together with a Chair and Co-Chair. Finally, the first meeting of the TAP Steering Committee was held. The workshop and meeting were followed on 6 September 2013 by a field visit to the research stations of CATAS, one of the forty-two TAP partners, to learn more about their programmes on cassava, forage crops, rubber and ornamentals.