The Agricultural Productivity Programme for Southern African (APPSA) expands to other countries in the SADC Region
The Agricultural Productivity Programme for Southern African (APPSA) is a six-year project (2013 – 2019) financed by the World Bank. The project supports the objectives of the World Bank’s Africa Action Plan, which identifies regional integration as an important element for achieving higher economic growth and poverty reduction. APPSA is coordinated by CCARDESA, and supports the objectives of increasing agricultural productivity and improving food and nutrition security as set out by African countries through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The overarching goal of APPSA is thus to increase agricultural productivity and growth in Southern Africa, focusing on priority commodities.
APPSA presents a paradigm shift in the way agriculture is undertaken in the SADC region. Each country implementing the project is expected to establish a Regional Centre of Leadership (RCoL) to take the lead in research and development in a focus commodity of priority to the country and the SADC Region. Implementation of APPSA is based on partnerships and collaborations among countries to facilitate ease of sharing of information and technologies across borders so that technology investments in one country can create substantial benefits in others. The project started with three countries collaborating (Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia), focusing on priority commodities (Malawi=maize; Mozambique=rice and Zambia=food legumes).
After commencement of APPSA in 3 countries, CCARDESA undertook missions to some SADC countries to create awareness about the project. It was expected that those countries that learn about the benefits of APPSA and its contributions to improving the capacity of the NARS and improving food production and productivity would develop an interest in joining the project. Following awareness creation of the project, Angola and Lesotho successfully prepared their proposals to join APPSA, with technical support from CCARDESA and the World Bank. Angola will establish a Cassava Regional Centre of Leadership while Lesotho will establish a Horticulture Regional Centre of Leadership. The two countries will also focus on the commodities that were adopted by the first three APPSA countries, i.e. maize, food legumes and rice. During the 1st quarter of 2019, the APPSA Grant Agreement between CCARDESA and the World Bank was signed. The two countries are expected to sign their grant agreements for the projects to commence soon.
The expansion of APPSA to Angola and Lesotho makes use of the lessons drawn from the project to dates, such as the need to include the relevant stakeholders, particularly extension/advisory service providers, the private sector and farmers to ensure that the improved technologies reach end users. Through APPSA, sharing of germplasm, other technologies, innovations and management practices across countries were made easier as scientists were networked across the countries.
Through CCARDESA coordination, the APPSA implementing countries demonstrated a comparative advantage in regional collaboration in Research and development interventions on the focus commodities. Other countries are encouraged to emulate the Angola and Lesotho example to strengthen the regional efforts to increase agricultural productivity and improve food and nutrition security, both of which are key to building human capital in the region.