La Plate-forme pour l'agriculture tropicale (TAP)

FAO brings together EU DeSIRA projects in support of agricultural innovation systems in Africa

A virtual consultation to explore areas of collaboration and creating synergies among four EU-funded DeSIRA projects in Africa was held on 16 September 2021. The projects, which seek to spur innovation through Africa’s agricultural regional research architecture, are led by FAO, Agrinatura, GFAR, and the ‘CAADP ex-Pillar IV organizations’ (AFAAS, ASARECA, CCARDESA, CORAF, FARA), respectively. Forty participants attended the meeting including representatives from the EU Commission, Agrinatura, FAO, GFAR, IFAD and heads of regional research and extension organizations.


This event initiated a dialogue among DeSIRA projects working with the CAADP ex-Pillar IV organizations. It informed on the TAP-AIS, CAADP XP4, LIFT and GFAR projects, their approaches and their progress to date, as well as exploring synergies among them. The partners expressed the need for better coordination among the projects and a desire to continue the discussion initiated at this meeting.


The meeting was organized by the TAP-AIS projectimplemented by FAO’s Research and Extension Unit (FAO-OINR). The project aims to strengthen agricultural innovation systems (AIS) by promoting the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) Common Framework for capacity development and its approaches and tools, at national, sub-regional, regional (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean) and global levels. In Africa, the TAP-AIS project provides technical support to the CAADP ex-Pillar IV organizations to strengthen their capacity to scale the TAP approach via their networks. This is done in close collaboration with and support from other DeSIRA projects.

Two regional studies, presented respectively by FAO (
Joint rapid appraisal on strengthening agricultural innovation systems in Africa, Asia and Latin America) and ASARECA (Capacity Gap Analysis), provided insights into main capacity gaps and entry points in the region.

Potential common areas for collaboration and synergies among projects were then identified in break-out groups and plenary discussion.

In his closing remarks, Selvaraju Ramasamy, Head of FAO-OINR and of the TAP Secretariat, highlighted eight action points emerging from the meeting:

1.    Develop a common, shared understanding of the innovation systems approach through revised TAP Common Framework

2.    Enhanced and joint action to promote knowledge management and dissemination of good practices around AIS through TAPipedia

3.    Policy dialogue and related processes on AIS for policy-level support and investments through country projects

4.    Develop facilitation skills at country level to make the process locally driven, including via multi-stakeholder innovation platforms

5.    Coordination of DeSIRA actions at multiple levels: country, regional and global

6.    Integration of functional and technical capacities, including understanding functional capacities in different technical contexts

7.    Broader cooperation also beyond DeSIRA with close engagement of regional research and extension organizations and achieving Malabo declaration and its targets

8.    Joint resource mobilization by the partners for further strengthening capacity of CAADP XP4 organizations.


The collaborative way forward for the four DeSIRA projects involves:

·       Frequent meetings among the DeSIRA project partners

·       Aligning the work plan with the priorities to avoid duplication and pool resources

·      Integration of activities of the DeSIRA project partners relevant to the priorities identified in the JRA and CAADP Capacity Needs Assessment reports into the TAP Action Plan (2022-2025)

·       DeSIRA LIFT has started and can provide new opportunities for further collaboration among the partners.