Capacity building for agricultural innovation: the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP)

CIRAL headquarters, Montpellier

What would come to your mind if you first heard about a “TAPipedia”? Something similar to Wikipedia? An encyclopaedia on topics related to the TAP acronym? A toy children that makes a ” tap tap” noise?

What can a tag cloud tell us about TAPipedia?

What can a tag cloud tell us about TAPipedia?

Well, you may not worry about this, but the agricultural ministers of the G20 countries will soon worry about what TAPipedia means. The reason is that, a couple of years ago that they first met as part of the G20 assemblies, it was agreed that action will be taken to support, facilitate and spur agricultural innovation in the tropical countries (that is, countries from all sides of the world like Costa Rica, Panama, Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia). As an instrument to achieve this, a partnership of more than 40 organisations and networks around the world has been set up, bringing together some quite prestigious entities such as FAO of the UN, the CGIAR, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), CABI, the Chinese Academy of the Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agriculture Sciences (CATAS), and the International Fund for Agricultural Research (IFAD) – a full listing is available here.

A G20 initiative, that is.

A G20 initiative, that is.

The result is the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), aiming to promote agricultural innovation in tropical countries. To achieve this goal, TAP acts as a multilateral and dynamic facilitation mechanism that enables more effective and streamlined capacity development interventions in agricultural innovation systems. To achieve this, the partnership will develop a generic framework that will synthesise and highlight the various components of agricultural innovation systems (AIS) and outline a process for representing the stakeholders and actors in a given environment (e.g. a specific country or region), assessing their capacity development needs, designing and implementing capacity building interventions, and also monitoring and evaluating how these interventions resulted into an improved innovation capacity throughout the whole system.

So there is a global partnership that tries to bring together existing expertise and experience. And a group of highly skilled experts from all around the world that wish to put together some precious knowledge about how this framework can be put in use in the tropical countries. There is a tremendous amount of information to be shared and knowledge to be exchanged. And also a need for existing knowledge to be further localised, enriched, adapted and further shared from the application of the framework in various countries, regions and value chains.

I know what you are thinking: “this is where someone like Agro-Know would be of use”. Indeed, this is exactly where we have been recruited to help by the FAO Research & Extension team that hosts the TAP secretariat. Because we are the right team to support the TAP partnership find ways in which existing information may be shared and discovered. And to think about appropriate IT tools and mechanisms that can help the TAP interventions scale using online channels.

After three intensive days of meeting and brainstorming at CIRAD’s headquarters in Montpellier with an international group of experts on capacity building for agricultural innovation systems, I got back home with the task to develop a conceptual design of the first components of the IT solution that can make this possible – the so called TAPipedia system. In the next couple of months this conceptual design will be developed and discussed with the TAP network, in order to then inform the actual development of the IT system. Stay tuned with our blog news feed, we will keep you updated with the latest developments as this ambitious project takes shape and moved forward…

So many experts, joining the TAP discussion; good things will definitely come out

So many experts, joining the TAP discussion; good things will definitely come out

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