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Partnerships is at the core of the AATF strategy and is recognised as the means by which the Foundation will deliver on its mandate of accessing technologies from providers, and stewarding the technologies it accesses and products there from until they reach the smallholder farmers. The activities of AATF are driven by its vision of greater prosperity for farmers and a food secure Africa, and its mission of accessing and delivering affordable, productivity-enhancing agricultural technologies and products to the continent’s resource-poor agricultural producers. It strives to achieve its mission and realise its vision through innovative partnerships and effective technology/product stewardship along the entire food value chain.
AATF helps to create public/private partnerships between organisations that own new technologies and products and those that wish to use them to increase agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. This requires complex and often sensitive negotiations among and between organisations with divergent institutional purposes and values.
An AATF “partnership,” then, normally involves two or more separate and independent organisations – public or private – agreeing to participate in and share responsibility for one or more AATF projects. These partnerships are usually governed by agreements that define the roles and responsibilities of those involved and that attempt to identify and articulate shared risks and are viewed as separate from stakeholders.
The stakeholders include smallholder resource-poor farmers, African scientists and technology providers and investors. AATF works closely with smallholder resource-poor farmers to identify their needs and match them with technologies suitable for adaptation to African ecologies and farming systems, and to address constraints to access and use of appropriate agricultural technologies. It also works with African scientists serving as the bridge that allows them access the ‘tools’ they need to get the final product into the hands of the farmers and contribute to capacity development within SSA institutions. To technology providers and investors, AATF ensures appropriate use of the technologies combining the best practices from the public and private realms, balancing concerns for expense, simplicity and effectiveness for sustainable adoption of the technologies by the smallholder farmers.
The Foundation’s strategy for achieving its objectives is to facilitate collaboration and partnerships among competent institutions in Africa and elsewhere, responding on a project-by-project basis to the expressed needs of African farmers.
The nature of AATF’s collaborations and partnerships will vary depending on the specific requirements of each project. Some AATF partnerships are primarily strategic in nature while others are operational. They may involve organisations from both the public and private sectors (public/private) or public sector entities only (public/public) or private sector organizations (private/private). In all of its activities, AATF acts as a facilitator, with delivery and implementation carried out by public, private and NGO partners.
Management of partnerships is guided by the different partnership models that will be defined by each relationship. For each partnership entered into, AATF seeks to have clearly defined agreements that will guide expectations by the partners. It invests in understanding what it takes to make such partnerships effective and seeks to identify areas of common interest shared by different entities in order to benefit all involved.
AATF continues to collaborate in successful project related public-private partnerships. These include partnerships in the control of Striga in maize production, in improving cowpea productivity and in improving banana productivity.