Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa (APPSA)
Image Source: CIAT/Palmer
APPSA is a World Bank funded project focused on improving agricultural technology generation and dissemination within and among participating countries in southern Africa. It has initially involved three countries: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia with other SADC countries expected to join in the future as the project evolves and expands.
The objectives of APPSA are to improve the availability of agricultural technologies within and across SADC countries through the following interventions:
- Establishing Regional Centers of Leadership on commodities of regional importance, allowing regional specialisation around priority farming systems
- Supporting regional collaboration in agricultural training and dissemination
- Facilitating increased sharing of agricultural information, knowledge and technology across boundaries of participating countries
The approach of the project is for each country to establish a RCoL by focusing in its respective commodity area, that distinguishes it as a leader in the region and beyond. The current focus is as follows:
- Malawi: maize-based cropping systems
- Mozambique: rice-based cropping systems
- Zambia: food legume-based cropping systems
Technology Generation and Dissemination under APPSA
APPSA works through the Regional Centres of Leadership to support the generation and dissemination of technology associated with each respective commodity system through the project’s Research and Development (R&D) agenda. All R&D projects are collaborative in nature, and involve the participation of at least two countries. While most R&D projects are implemented by the RCoLS (ZARI, IIAM, or DARS/Chitedze Research Station), in some cases, other entities such as a civil society organisations, universities, or private sector actors, are selected to undertake R&D project implementation.
Each country is expected to devote the largest share of its R&D funding to projects related to the commodity farming system being targeted by the RCoL that it hosts. Remaining funds are shared to support R&D projects across each of the Regional Centres of Leadership.
Technology research priorities are expected to cover the full range of issues associated with the commodity or commodity group, including germplasm collection and characterisation, germplasm improvement (plant breeding), crop management, and post-harvest activities including processing and storage.
APPSA supports the dissemination of improved technologies by providing resources for Regional Centres of Leadership to engage with partners in scaling up the use of promising target commodity innovations. Technology dissemination activities are designed to encourage the participation of diverse partners, and are expected to focus on:
- Improving the content and accessibility of technology messages and knowledge products, including the use of information and communication technologies
- Improving the capacity of advisory service providers through technical training of Lead Farmers, extension agents, and other actors in private sector or civil society
- Strengthening the capacity of dissemination officers or technology transfer specialists in research institutes, to enable them to engage more effectively with farmers, extension agents, and advisory service providers
- Establishing or improving platforms for dialogue and consultation around technology priorities with farmers, private sector, and civil society
- Improving farmer-research-extension feedback mechanisms to obtain a better analysis of farmer preferences
- Exchanging information and experiences with other participating countries
- Conducting research on technology dissemination methods or tools, including those targeting gender specific issues such as household nutrition and food safety