How do we build capacity in agriculture innovation to increase productivity and farm incomes while continuing to develop systems sustainably? That was the topic of a special side event organized as part of the FARA 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW7) in Kigali.
Investors, stakeholders, and researchers met for to review and accelerate transformation of Africa agriculture. During the side event discussions centred on a new framework for capacity development for agriculture innovation systems.
Innovation holds the key to higher farm productivity income, and to reducing poverty and improving food security. Yet many tropical countries lack the resources and capacities to sustainably develop their agricultural innovation systems In response the agriculture ministries of the G20 (an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from major economies) established the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) where different stakeholders can come together to share information and forge partnerships.
A common capacity development framework, approved by TAP partners in January 2016, is now being validated in countries in Africa, Asia and Central America. The framework brings together a range of organizations and enterprises with supporting institutions and policies in the agricultural and related sectors that deliver existing or new products, processes and forms of organization into social and economic use.
The framework addresses four fundamental capacities: the capacity to navigate complexity; to collaborate; to reflect and learn; and to engage in strategic and political processes. These are the capacities that can help national agricultural innovation systems adapt and respond in order to realize the potential of innovation in agriculture.
The case study of Rwanda has shown a significant improvement on selected implementation niches. At the irrigation sites of Matimba and Rwangingo several hectares of land are being used with sufficient and reliable water resources. The horticulture, cassava and dairy value chains have been improved through community processing centers and the mainstreaming of nutritional plans through Twigiremuhinzi which is a home grown solution, and an initiative policy.
The lack of resources and capacity development in Africa no longer will be factors to hinder agriculture: opportunities are on the table, especially for small scale farmers. This is a truly collaborative approach that enables different country governments and agricultural stakeholders to come together to find innovative solutions to the world’s agricultural issues.