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Are young professionals ready to engage in Agricultural Innovation Systems?

I recently returned from the 5th TAP partners assembly in Laos Thailand. What is that? And what does this mean for YPARD?

TAP an acronym for the Tropical Agriculture Platform  is a capacity development platform that seeks to build stronger capacities for individuals and institutions to engage in agricultural innovation systems (AIS). It was born out of the need to provide soft skills to help farmers link with others, negotiate, and engage in political processes to aid in the adoption of innovations and new technologies. In plain English, it means that the platform wants people and organizations that have the capacities to talk, exchange, network, influence decision making and work with others in order to develop and adopt innovations.

From 18th -23rd September, TAP brought together more than 60  participants mostly partners working to implement the TAP capacity building program. One of the primary approaches that TAP promotes for better individuals and institutions working better together is through the TAP Common Framework on capacity development. The framework is four-fold and focusses on

  • Consolidating the diversity of approaches to Capacity development for AIS
  • Promoting a shift of mindset and attitudes using an AIS perspective
  • Providing concepts, principles, approaches and tools to better understand the AIS architecture, assess CD needs, and plan, implement, and evaluate CD interventions
  • Emphasizing the role of facilitation, learning, documentation and knowledge management for enabling innovation

The TAP Common Framework proposes practical ways to agricultural innovation. It provides ways and means to better understand AIS, the capacity development needs, the implementation as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the same. This way, it brings to fore the crucial role of capacity development and knowledge exchange in agricultural innovations.

As the participants at TAP stressed, there are different stages of this framework, but you don’t need to do them all. It’s mostly common sense stuff – you look at which components best fits your situation and apply them as appropriate. As of now, there are eight in-country projects that are working with TAP to pilot the Common Framework referred to as the Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) projects. Currently, they are being piloted in Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos and Rwanda.

The YPARD network works on the basis that young professionals should be exchanging information and ideas with those outside of their area of expertise. We believe in the power of collaboration and that we can go further together than alone. As a partner in TAP, we believe that young people need some key capacities to navigate complexities, collaborate, reflect and learn, engage in strategic and political processes and adapt and respond. The TAP common framework could be a useful tool for young professionals seeking or working in the agricultural innovation systems with a capacity building component.

It would be interesting to synergize the capacity building needs of young professionals with the TAP common framework. If you are based in one of these countries and looking to partner with young professionals to get more engaged please let us know.