The program continued to give priority to capacity building trainings at different levels of implementation, more specifically to both NARS and farmers at country level as well as through long-term graduate level studies. This is in line with the concept of sustainability which is embedded in the program design. SIMLESA program managed to strengthen the capacity of smallholder famers in good agricultural practices through an array of initiatives such as farmer- to – farmer exchange visits, specific trainings on improved agricultural practices, information exchange and participation in IP meetings.
The program prioritized capacity building of researchers and extension practitioners as shown by the number of people who got enrolled at different levels to improve their academic and professional qualifications so as to enhance implementation effectiveness and efficiency. This was also done with an ultimate aim to improve the capacity of young researchers in the areas of agricultural economics and plant science in an effort to build Eastern and Southern African national agriculture research and development capacity. A cumulative total of 65 students (42 students pursuing Master of Science degrees and
23 PhD students at national universities in SIMLESA partner countries) were being supported. Field days and exchange visits have continued to improve knowledge transfer which has led to increase in yield of both maize and legumes thereby resulting in improved food security in SIMLESA operational sites.
Through the 58 innovations platforms across SIMLESA countries including spillover countries, links were formed with agro dealers facilitating improvement of market systems for farmers thereby boosting their incomes and widening market opportunity options. Efforts were being made for the innovation platforms to give more benefits to the program acknowledging that the IPs have great potential to address the issue of sustainability.
Linkages with the private sector and some seed companies across the SIMLESA countries continue to bring huge benefits in terms of expertise for NARS as implementers and program participants (farmers) in good agricultural practices.