The NASFAM mission, as indicated, is to operate a network of business organisations. A major challenge facing NASFAM in SDP III, therefore, is strengthening NASFAM associations to operate as increasingly successful smallholder-led businesses. Under SDPIII, NASFAM associations will transform their Association Management Centres into Innovation and Productivity Centres (IPCs); each IPC will develop and operate an Innovation and Productivity Programme which, among other things, provides support for agreed-upon programs of affiliated associations.
Within this overall context, three major strategic directions will guide programme choice and decision making throughout the NASFAM system:
- Responding to the impact of climate change: Promoting the demonstrating the benefits of conservation agriculture and intensifying tree planting and management of trees to members and communities.
- Association-directed, area-focused growth: Strengthening the capacity of area-based associations to identify and carry out plans and programmes for area economic growth.
- Smallholder-led solutions to livelihood challenges: Working with smallholder farmers to develop and apply solutions that bring about livelihood improvements because the farmers themselves take ownership of both challenges and solutions.
- Market and business linkages: Assisting associations to define and implement market and business development initiatives across a much wider range of crop and non-crop initiatives.
To provide the basis for broadening the focus of the NASFAM system from headquarters-initiated programming and definition of functions based on current practice and crop focus, NASFAM SDPII introduced concepts associated with transforming Association Management Centres (AMCs) into NASFAM Innovation and Productivity Centres (IPCs). The work of the IPCs, to begin in the final phase of SDPII and continue into SDP III, will take centre stage in the SDPIII technical programme as the IPCs provide the basis for further decentralisation of the NASFAM system. As SDPIII progresses, IPCs will showcase the work of NASFAM associations as agents of change. In keeping with the NASFAM Mission, NASFAM IPCs will operate as effective catalysts for area development and support the ability of NASFAM member associations to operate as increasingly effective business development organisations.
Each Innovation and Productivity Centre works with its affiliated associations to define targets for income generation, member expansion and service package delivery, as well as to develop the plans needed to support achievement of such targets. Each IPC develops a composite Area Impact Plan based on the individual plans of participating associations; plans spell out commitments and expectations from all parts of the NASFAM system. To facilitate planning within the IPC structure, NASFAM resources are grouped into a menu of easily accessible support services packages designed to backstop association and IPC activities.
IPC Menu of Association Support Services:
- Traceability Programme for Targeted Crops Crop Marketing Support Services
- Financial Services
- Association Governance and Management Conservation Agriculture Services Production Support Services
- Value Chain Linkages
- Business Development Support Member Development
- Food Security Services Communications
Both IPCs and their participating associations will target development and implementation of financially sustainable activities; for example, through expansion of market-linked initiatives, increases in member participation, diversification of crop focus, addition of value-added and income-generating activities. Above all else, the IPC is an entity through which participating associations take a major role in shaping new livelihood options for area smallholder farmers.
NASFAM’s overall Innovation and Productivity Programme will be produced based on synthesis of IPC plans to support 1) realisation of changes affecting the lives and conditions of farmers specifically in the areas in which IPCs are located, 2) development and implementation of NASFAM’s broader economic growth platform, and 3) identification of opportunities for linkages and business possibilities across IPCs.
The IPCs will operate under the direction of General Managers who are responsible to NASFAM and IPC member associations for delivery of services and achievement of results. IPCs will operate under cost-sharing arrangements with NASFAM and arrangements for such cost sharing will be worked out as the programme gets underway early in SDPIII.