AATF Strategy

Click here to download the AATF Refreshed Strategy document – pdf [448KB]

The strategy document, Impacting Lives Through Improved Agricultural Technologies, describes AATF's vision, mission, values and guiding principles; presents AATF's three strategic thrusts and outlines the challenges, strategies and measures of success for each one; explains how these thrusts are implemented; and discusses the organisation's structure, governance and resources.

AATF's vision is A prosperous and a food secure Africa, enabled through AATF 's catalytic role in bringing innovative technologies to smallholder farmers. Its mission and core values (integrity, dedication and accessibility) follow from this vision.

Its guiding principles recognise the urgency of helping agriculture play a stronger part in Africa's economic development, supporting an increasing role for the private sector whilst reinvigorating the contribution of the public sector in African agriculture, developing the role of proprietary technology, mitigating the risks associated with the adoption of new technology, and facilitating productive partnerships that strengthen Africa's agriculture.

Strategic Thrusts

AATF bases its activities on three strategic thrusts, each associated with a set of challenges, strategies, and criteria for success.

  • Negotiating access to proprietary technologies enhancing African agricultural productivity
    AATF engages in technology scoping, interaction with technology developers, and negotiation. It keeps abreast of the latest information about agricultural production constraints and priorities in Africa and is familiar with major national, regional and Africa-wide policies on agricultural development. AATF devotes the majority of its attention to proven technologies, rather than those that are in the concept stage.
  • Managing partnerships to introduce innovative agricultural technologies to African farming systems
    AATF identifies and develops partnerships with the most appropriate organisations for product development. These may be public or private organisations at the national or international level. AATF 's attention to product delivery includes working with partners to strengthen retail distributorships or access complementary inputs at a reasonable price. AATF may also pursue access to funds for limited and targeted subsidies or output-based contracts. Partnerships may also include investments for information provision (such as farm-level demonstrations). AATF ensures that intellectual property management is addressed and assists its partners to comply with the relevant regulatory and biosafety regimes. It ensures that its partners are investing the required resources in product stewardship and develops workable liability arrangements.
  • Managing knowledge and information
    AATF develops access to information on production constraints in African agriculture, the technical characteristics of candidate technologies, and relevant regulatory, biosafety and IPR requirements. AATF also develops its own knowledge base about issues related to the enabling environment for agricultural technology. Much of AATF's information provision is related to its specific products. AATF presents information to stakeholders on the performance and potential of its products and engages in issues training with its partners. AATF also ensures that it is providing information about the potential and performance of its products to those who are concerned with biotechnology and with broader agricultural technology development.


AATF pursues its long term objectives following a phased approach. AATF continuously undertakes intelligence gathering on technological breakthroughs locally and internationally with a view to generating ideas that can be nurtured into projects for addressing constraints to crop productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa (Phase 0).

Promising ideas are discussed and screened for feasibility through consultations with stakeholders, leading to the formulation of Project Business Plans (Phase 1). For each project, the Business Plan serves as a key document for guiding project implementation and the interactive mechanisms for collaborating partners during research, testing and adaptation of products as well as technologies in target areas (Phase 2) and for guiding activities critical for product deployment to reach smallholder farmers and other end users (Phase 3).

The entire process of identification, formulation and implementation of AATF projects does not follow a top-down, linear approach but adopts a flexible and iterative scheme involving periodic wide-ranging stakeholder consultations with built-in triggers for ‘go or no-go' decisions.

Structure, Governance and Resources

AATF is a not-for-profit, limited liability entity. Its governance structure creates a clear separation between the responsibility for setting and monitoring strategy and the management of operations. The management of AATF includes an executive director, a technical operations manager, a regulatory affairs manager, a legal counsel, a seed systems manager, a project manager for cowpea, a project manager for WEMA, an agribusiness specialist, a communications and partnerships manager, and an administration and finance manager. AATF's mandate requires a small but highly qualified staff and AATF 's core of technical, legal, business, communication and regulatory expertise will necessarily remain small.

AATF is supported by donor commitments for the first five years of the Foundation's life. AATF plans to use its initial funding to leverage additional contributions from other donors and from the private sector. The precise composition of AATF 's financial resources will depend to a large extent on the nature of the technologies it pursues and the pace of growth in Africa 's commercial, legal and regulatory institutions

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