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Promoting agricultural innovation to improve rural livelihoods

Innovation in tropical rural areas is key to driving sustainable growth and poverty reduction through climate smart and socially inclusive agricultural systems.

It also important in fulfilling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; especially 1 – ending poverty, and 2 – ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

CDAIS –Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems –supports the development of policies and approaches at the global level, and tests these with national and local innovation partnerships. CDAIS is a partnership developed and implemented by Agrinatura and FAO, and is supported by the European Union.


At the national level

CDAIS uses continuous learning cycles to improve the functional capacities for innovation in Africa, Asia and Central America. In eight pilot countries, CDAIS brings togeether key partners and actors to address commonly identified challenges and opportunities in specific reegions or value chains. Together, international, national and local partners come together to develop and implement capacity development plans for agricultural innovation.

At the global level

CDAIS provides support to the Tropical Agriculture Platform to review knowledge on capacity development for agricultural innovation systems and consolidate concepts and approaches into a common framework. This is used to assess and improve the innovation capacities of individuals and institutions, and is enhanced through continual feedback through lessons learned from national and local actions. This framework, approved by TAP partners in 2016, focuses on functional capacities.

Read more about the Common Framework on Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (pdf).

Functional capacities

functional_capacities1To successfully innovate together, stakeholders need two types of capacities: technical and functional. Functional capacities, which are the focus of CDAIS, deal with the aspects needed for innovation partnerships to function effectively: the capacity to navigate complexity, to collaborate, to reflect and learn, and to engage in strategic and political processes.

CDAIS Mission

Contributing to more efficient and sustainable agricultural innovation systems, by identifying challenges and solutions together with farmers, agri-business and consumers.

Making agriculture more productive and sustainable, improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and helping to increase food security and fight rural poverty.

To make an impact, the CDAIS partnership will mobilize political support at global, regional and country level through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP)

  • receive technical support from AGRINATURA members and FAO,
  • respond to demands from governments, and to the needs of stakeholders.

The Common Framework on Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation System

The Common Framework is designed to promote better coherence and greater impact of Capacity Development (CD) in support of Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) in the tropics.

The Common Framework focuses on

  • consolidating the diversity of approaches to CD for AIS
  • promoting a shift of mind set 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 Common Framework was developed during the first phase of the CDAIS project in 2015 through a highly participatory process, incorporating inputs from a wide range of experts chosen from donors, research, extension and education institutions as well as international organizations involved in the field of agricultural innovation.

Discover the Common framework:

  • Synthesis document
Synthesis document
  • Guidance note
Guidance note
  • Conceptual background

Conceptual background