The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP)

Promoting agricultural innovation in the tropics

To feed a growing population and meet the challenge of climate change, agricultural production must intensify in a sustainable way, and innovation is key to make that happen. A sustainable intensification of agriculture is particularly needed in the tropics, where FAO is involved in the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP).

Initiated by the G20 and generously supported by the European UnionTAP focuses on the development of national capacities for agricultural innovation in the tropics, where most of the developing countries are located and the capacity gap is especially wide. By helping to bridge the capacity gap, TAP aims to pave the way for agricultural innovations that meet the demands of its principal users - small farmers, small and medium-sized agribusinesses and consumers. 

To achieve these goals, TAP has embraced the so-called  Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) perspective, acting as a multilateral dynamic facilitation mechanism that enables better coherence and greater impact of Capacity Development (CD) interventions in AIS

G20 establishes TAP

TAP was launched at the first G20-led Meeting of Agriculture Chief Scientists (MACS) in September 2012, Mexico, and FAO was requested to lead its development. The G8 leadership also endorsed the development of TAP. 

TAP has formed a coalition of more than 40 partners, including national agricultural research, education and extension institutions as well as civil society actors, farmers’ organizations and key regional and international fora, networks and agencies. 

To consolidate the different existing approaches to agricultural innovation, TAP Partners have approved the TAP Action Plan, which included in 2015 the development of a Common Framework on CD for AIS. In January 2016, following a thorough and highly participatory development process, the TAP Partners have approved the Common Framework for its use by TAP partners and others. The first TAP Action Plan covered the period 2015-2018.

Concepts and principles of the TAP Common Framework have been tested in eight countries in Africa (Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda), Asia (Bangladesh, Laos) and Central America (Guatemala, Honduras), as part of an initiative called CDAIS, or Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems

The implementation of the TAP Action Plan and the work in eight countries has been possible thanks to the financial contribution of the European Union to the CDAIS project, to FAO through its staff involvement, to the German government through an Associate Professional Officer and to TAP Partners engaged in the Steering Committee and working groups.

Since August 2018, FAO El Salvador has implemented a CDAIS project, funded by the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS).

In June 2019, the European Union and FAO have signed an agreement for the implementation of a five-year EU-funded project: “Developing capacities in agricultural innovation systems: scaling up the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) Framework”, in short "TAP-AIS project", with a budget of EUR 5 million. The project is a component of the EU initiative “Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture” (DeSIRA). Drawing on lessons learned from the CDAIS project, the new TAP-AIS DeSIRA project will improve, update, and expand the use of the TAP Common Framework. 

The second TAP Action plan, supported by the EU through the above mentioned TAP-AIS DeSIRA project, covers the period 2018-2021 and its goal is to strengthen agricultural innovation capacities at country level. It has a strong focus on improving TAP governance, expanding the political mandate of TAP at international, regional and national level, greater involvement and commitment of TAP Partners in all aspects of implementation, financial sustainability and country ownership of the agricultural innovation agenda.