Research and Extension Systems

Developing capacities for agricultural innovation

The role of agricultural research systems and Extension and Advisory Services (EAS) has been changing in order to shift from a research-driven process relying on technology transfer to an approach that enables and rewards innovation. In many low- and middle-income countries, weak capacity to innovate is a real obstacle to this transformation. It is essential to establish an environment where the needs and demands of resource-poor farmers and consumers are heard and their voices influence the national research and EAS agenda. FAO assists its member countries to develop their capacities for agricultural innovation.

FAO hosts the Secretariat of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), a G20-supported facilitation mechanism comprising 46 global, regional and national partners, representing agricultural research, education and extension, and international technical, development and funding agencies. TAP 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. Under the TAP Common Framework, support to capacity development for agricultural innovation has been reinforced in several countries.

Through the European Union-funded Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) project, implemented by FAO and Agrinatura from 2015 to 2019, capacity development was supported in eight countries: Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Rwanda. Since 2019, FAO has been running the 5-year European Union-funded project called “Developing capacities in agricultural innovation systems: scaling up the Tropical Agriculture Platform Framework”, which focuses on nine countries: Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Eritrea, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malawi, Pakistan, Rwanda and Senegal.