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The Global Forum is building the essential capacities of people and institutions in agricultural research, education, extension and enterprise within countries, and sharing what we have learned regionally and globally to hasten development. We are ensuring more coherent global action to build institutional capacities through initiatives such as the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP). We are transforming the quality of formal agricultural education and informal learning, and strengthening rural advisory services. GFAR is also drawing on new technologies to improve data and knowledge sharing and access within and between countries.

Building Institutional Capacity

Weak and outdated Institutions are a major challenge to agricultural innovation and research. The Global Forum aims to strengthen institutional capacities, to align them with national and regional policy frameworks and to close the capacity “gaps” that constrain agricultural innovation systems in developing countries.

The Global Forum supports the Tropical Agricultural Platform (TAP) , a G20 initiative focused on more effective and streamlined capacity development in innovation systems in tropical agriculture. TAP was created to focus specifically on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), more than 90% of which are located at least partly within the Tropics.

TAP provides the means to exchange ideas, knowledge, experiences, and practices, and to work in a more coordinated way. Interventions acknowledge national leadership and ownership and are aligned with national plans and demands. The result is more coherent development solutions at scale with lower transaction costs. TAP also works closely with other multi-partner initiatives that promote coherent institutional approaches, such as those by Regional Fora and international agencies.

Reforming Agricultural Education

Agriculture, driven by highly competitive globalized markets, is becoming more knowledge intensive. Yet young people are not attracted to take up agriculture as a profession and are not inclined to study agricultural sciences, which limits  the spread of new knowledge, skills and technology.

GFAR is reforming national education systems - their governance, curricula and capacities - to attract more young students to agriculture and related subjects and to improve the overall quality of education to meet the needs agricultural communities.

The Global Forum supports the Global Confederatin of Higher Education Associations for the Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA)  in bringing together universities and other tertiary education providers to advocate for more resources and to globalize their teaching, research and outreach programs.

Strengthening Rural Advisory Services

Rural advisory services are an essential link in the chain in getting innovation to farmers. Through advice, training and demonstrations, they can learn about critical issues such as climate change adaptation. Rural advisory services can help build information-sharing networks and organize producers.  They can make credit, inputs and output services easier to access promote gender equality, and facilitate better knowledge management. Worldwide, stakeholders in the rural advisory sector have expressed demand for a dynamic, proactive, and formal structure to assure a credible and clear voice for RAS. At local and regional levels there is a need for greater development of rural advisory services and a sharing of experience.

GFAR is a co-founder, and a Steering Committee member of the Global Forum on Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS). The GFRAS vision is to see rural advisory services effectively contributing to the sustainable reduction of hunger and poverty worldwide. Its mission is to provide advocacy and leadership on rural advisory services within the global development agenda and to advocate for creating and resourcing effective advisory services.

The Global Forum participated in the Facilitating Information and Innovations for Empowering Family Farmers  meeting held in 2014 in Iran, and the Reaching the Millions International Workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2015 at which the Hanoi Statement on Rural Advisory Service Systems was endorsed.

Opening Doors to Data and Knowledge

Innovation thrives when every actor in the agricultural value chain can easily access, share information, skills and technology, including input suppliers, farmers and producers, processors, marketers, consumers, extension agents, scientists and policy makers and effectively use it. The Global Forum is strengthening agricultural information systems through advocating and building capacities for opening access and effectively using data, information and knowledge through the Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development platform (CIARD) and Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) platforms.

In the context of the two initatives, GFAR manages three global platforms that facilitate data sharing:

  • The CIARD RING, a federated and curated global directory of agri-food datasets and data services. 
  • The GODAN Action Map of agri-food data standards, a global directory of data standards used for agri-food data.
  • AgriVIVO, a search portal built to facilitate connections between all actors in the agricultural field, across separately hosted directories and online communities. The search portal facilitates searches for peopleorganizations and events engaged in agricultural development to foster greater collaboration and partnerships in agricultural research and innovation. 

GFAR is a partner in the GODAN initiative and a member of the GODAN Secretariat and Steering Committee. In GODAN, GFAR is contributing especially to discussions, papers and events related to issues of data rights (data ownership, farmers' rights to data).

In the past, before CIARD and GODAN were born, GFAR already used to advocate for more and better- targeted investment in agricultural information systems and improved integration and coherence through the Information and Communications Management for Agricultural Research and Development (ICM4ARD) initiative.

GFAR also enables and supports activities in Forward Thinking ICT use in Agriculture especially on research and innovation trends and needs.