Last year, APAARI and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) signed a letter of agreement to collaborate on the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) and its Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) project. CDAIS is a four-year global initiative funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented at the country level by AGRINATURA-EEIG – a consortium of European universities and research institutes – and FAO. It aims to make agricultural innovation systems more efficient and sustainable in meeting the demands of farmers, agri-business and consumers, taking into account the three dimensions of capacity development – individual, organization, and enabling environment, as well as functional and technical capacities. In the Asia-Pacific region, the project focuses on two countries – Bangladesh and Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

APAARI’s role has been to raise awareness on the TAP to promote CDAIS in the Asia-Pacific region by sharing relevant information, showcase good practices, facilitate contacts and linkages, reproduce TAP-related communication and advocacy material and promote online communication. Since the National Inception Workshop of the CDAIS project in Lao PDR in which APAARI participated from 8-9 February 2016, more project activities have taken place.

Firstly, a new approach to capacity development was piloted in a village in Northwestern Lao PDR to help farmers strengthen their innovation skills. The new approach, featuring a simulation game in combination with a questionnaire where farmers could evaluate their performance during the game, was tested by FAO and CIRAD in the context of the CDAIS project. Results showed that farmers were able to better understand the challenges they face and started to think about some initial solutions on how to address them. They were keen to follow up with local officials and also the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) on the issue of raising piglets in Lao PDR. Read more.

Secondly, the three main volumes (Synthesis Document, Conceptual Background, and Guidance Note on Operationalization) of the TAP Common Framework on CDAIS have been published by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). The Common Framework, developed under the TAP, is intended to advance agricultural innovation in tropical countries. More specifically, the Framework aims at promoting better coherence and greater impact of capacity development in support of agricultural innovation systems. The Conceptual Background and the Guidance Note on Operationalization provide concepts, principles, definitions, approaches and tools to better understand the AIS architecture, assess CD needs, and plan, implement, and evaluate CD interventions. The Synthesis Document summarizes the content of the Conceptual Background. Read more.

Thirdly, the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA), announced that it has adopted the Common Framework on CDAIS of the TAP, to apply it in relevant projects and programmes. Read more.
More information on the importance of innovation, application of the TAP Common Framework, and monitoring and evaluation of performance, can be found here.