Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa (APPSA)
APPSA is a World Bank funded project to improve agricultural technology generation and dissemination within and among participating countries in Southern Africa. It initially involves three countries: Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Other SADC countries will 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 by:
(i) establishing Regional Centers of Leadership (RCoLs) on commodities of regional importance, allowing regional specialization around priority farming systems
(ii) supporting regional collaboration in agricultural training and dissemination; and
(iii) facilitating increased sharing of agricultural information, knowledge and technology across boundaries of participating countries.
The approach of the project is that each country will establish a RCoL in its respective commodity area that distinguishes it as a leader in the region and beyond. Following are the initial countries and their specialities:
Malawi : maize-based cropping systems;
Mozambique: rice-based cropping systems;
Zambia: food legume-based cropping systems.
Technology Generation and Dissemination under APPSA
The technology generation and dissemination activities under the project are associated with the commodity or commodity group being targeted by the Regional Centres of Leadership (RCoLs). These activities are guided by a regional Research and Development (R&D) agenda, and focus on regional as well as national priorities. 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 MoAFS/Chitedze Research Station), in some cases, another entites such as a civil society organization, university, or private firm, could be selected to undertake implementation of an R&D project. Each country is expected to devote the largest share of its R&D funding to R&D projects related to the commodity farming system being targeted by the RCoL that it is hosting, but a portion of its R&D funds will go to support projects related to the commodity farming systems being targeted by RCoLs hosted by other countries.
APPSA R&D Project Cycle:
The R&D projects are developed through the following process:
National planning conference – to identifying and endorse priorities
Concept note development at national level
Concept note endorsement at regional level
R&D project preparation
Peer review: to provide feedback on the relevance & quality of R&D project proposals
Technology generation priorities:
Research priorities are expected to cover the full range of issues associated with the commodity or commodity group, including germplasm collection and characterization, germplasm improvement (plant breeding), crop management, and post-harvest activities including processing and storage.
Technology dissemination priorities:
APPSA will support the dissemination of improved technologies by providing resources for RCoLs to engage with a range of partners in scaling up the use of promising innovations of relevance to the targeted commodities. Technology dissemination activities will be designed to encourage participation by diverse partners, and are expected to focus on: (i) Improving the content and accessibility of technology messages and knowledge products, including the use of information and communication technologies (ii) Improving the capacity of advisory service providers through technical training of Lead Farmers, extension agents, and other actors in private sector or civil society (iii) 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 (iv) Establishing or improving platforms for dialogue and consultation around technology priorities with farmers, private sector, and civil society (v) Improving farmer-research-extension feedback mechanisms to obtain a better analysis of farmer preferences (vi) Exchanging information and experiences with other participating countries (vii) Conducting research on technology dissemination methods or tools, including those targeting gender specific issues such as household nutrition and food safety.