Moving ahead with the triple helix platform in Jordan, South Africa and Uganda


In the first and second quarter of this year three Triple Helix Platforms were launched in Jordan, South Africa and Uganda under the lead of Maastricht School of Management as part of the Orange Knowledge Programme projects. The Triple Helix (3H) approach aims at linking academia, government and industry players to find local solutions for local problems faced by farmers. One key aspect of multiple parties working together is to narrow the skills gap of graduates and the industry and strengthening entrepreneurial skills of students, graduates and teachers to stimulate self-employment in the sector.

The start of collaborations in Jordan

Now a couple of months after the launch the project team has been working on getting the platform started. One of the first challenges that the team came across after the launch was that the platform needs strong partners to carry and lead the 3H partnerships. The farmers involved in the 3H are interested to join and see the University of Jordan as a strong and trusted leader of the platform. The university is also part of the 3H platform and is aiming to start three 3H partnerships in different sectors and geographies before the end of this year.

What is also convenient with the university being in the lead is the greenhouses that they own. These greenhouses are of interest for the local farmers which can help develop further collaborations. These greenhouses can be made available to the private sector for demonstration and experimentation which is an interesting aspect for the private sector farmers to collaborate within the platform. The basis of partnering on the greenhouses between university and private sector can open up new opportunities for internships and apprenticeships. However, before starting a collaboration however, a relationship needs to be built which is being done by visiting farms and discussing the farmers needs and how the 3H partnership may assist in resolving some of their challenges, in particular on water management. The universities’ team started talks with a farm in Jordan Valley and will gradually move towards other farms as well.

Furthermore, a conversation was had with an agricultural TVET college in the South of Jordan on the production and processing of low-grade apples. The farmers were interested to collaborate with a local association that will help process the apples into apple vinegar which can then be sold to local traders. The university as well as the local TVET will assist in this process.

Currently the 3H platform in Jordan is going to focus mainly on 3 sectors, namely the apple/vinegar sector, olives sector and the water sector. Around these three subjects’ workshops will be organized to further move ahead with the establishment of the triple helix platform.

About the project in Jordan
MSM together with its consortium partners CINOP, University of Amsterdam, Q-Point, Profyta and Acacia Water capacitate the University of Jordan, Al-Balqa Applied University, Shoubk University College and Al-Huson University College to contribute to End hunger, double smallholder productivity and income, and ensure the sustainability and resilience of food production systems by 2030 (SDG 2).

Triple Helix progress in South Africa

In February of 2021, the first inaugural meeting of the triple helix platform between Maastricht School of Management and Stellenbosch University took place. From this inaugural meeting the first Triple Helix (3H) Platform was launched in the provinces of Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga in South Africa.

Since the inaugural meeting good progress has been made in South Africa. Multiple discussions have taken place at the local level between the TVET colleges and the private sector about the partnership. A (a la carte) menu is being developed to identify common interests where concrete cooperation can happen. Some of the local partners show quite a strong sense of ownership and initiative, which means that things can move fast. Due to the discussions that have taken place partners got to know each other which makes it possible to move from face-to-face meeting to online meeting which leads to more efficient communication.

Furthermore, a few large agribusiness companies have been approached to participate in the 3H partnerships and one partnership with a company, located in the Northern Cape, is soon to be established. In the Northern Cape also a 4th working group might be established that is linked to the construction of a greenhouse and the MOU between partners is ready to be signed.

MSM is building multiple 3H partnerships in several countries and we often come across the same challenges around communication, giving good feedback, being flexible to adapt and showing commitment. Especially the commitment and ownership questions comes back often as a strong organization needs to feel a high sense of ownership and commitment to be in the lead of the platform. Luckily, in South Africa we have found that the private sector is interested and prepared to play a leading role.

As well as in other projects, in South-Africa, the 3H partnerships will also be formed around the Greenhouses from the educational institutes. This will put the TVET’s and universities at the center stage when managing the 3H partnerships. Currently, three partnerships are being formed around fruits, vegetables and water management.

About the project in South Africa
The project combines the promotion of agriculture growth and sustainable & equitable water use. It will concentrate on the educating young people in the field of optimizing water usage & climate smart agriculture. The consortium bases its focus on improving the skills and employability of TVET graduates, the TVET programs must be based on the needs in the agriculture and water labour market.

The project is managed by Maastricht School of Management in collaboration with Stellenbosch University. MSM and SU together with the consortium that exist out of Graafschap College, CINOP Global, Q-Point BV, Acacia Water BV, SaltFarm Texel, AgriColleges International (ACI) andAcademy for Environmental Leadership (AEL) capacitate Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, Boland College, Vhembe TVET College, Motheo TVET College, Nkangala TVET College and Northern Cape Rural TVET College.during the Labour Market Needs Assessment workshops. The establishment of the triple helix platform, which is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of 2021, will be based on partnerships with private and government actors established during the labour market needs assessment.

Horticulture Innovation Platform progress in Uganda

In April the Triple Helix platform successfully launched in Kampala. With the goal to drive innovations through information exchange and joint project activities. The 3H approach aims at linking academia, government and industry players to find local solutions for local problems faced by farmers. One key aspect of multiple parties working together is to narrow the skills gap of graduates and the industry and strengthening entrepreneurial skills of students, graduates and teachers to stimulate self-employment in the sector.

In Uganda, we moved from the launch to implementation and had a first operational meeting soon after the launch where structures and proceedings were discussed. There was also significant input on the priority themes around which the team can start clustering the partners.

The team managed to catch up with everyone involved in the 3H platform and the working groups have already met twice, agreeing to roles and responsibilities, structures and priority topics. Three working groups were established around “skills and knowledge gap”, “Marketing” and “Innovation”. In the last meeting, the issue of IP came up when partners work on product development or other competition sensitive innovations and we proposed to allow for 2 ways of collaboration; a “ vertical” one, where the lead agribusiness retains the right to select the partners it wishes to work with and a “horizontal” one in which all the partners in the working group are involved.

About the project
This project titled “Strengthening skills and training capacity in the horticulture sector in Uganda“ is managed by MSM who together with consortium partners Q-Point B.V., Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Ecopolis Europa and Egerton University  capacitate Kambogo University (KyU) and Bukalasa Agricultural College (BAC). The project aims at strengthening the skills to improve the horticultural situation in Uganda. This is mainly achieved via strengthening the educational situation at A-TVET level. The project focuses on three main output areas: curriculum review and development, institutional capacity development at KyU and BaC and the establishment of a triple helix horticulture innovation platform. Main activities of the project are curriculum development, module development, training of teachers in activating didactics, strengthening linkages with the horticultural practise, and stimulating horticultural entrepreneurship.

Orange Knowledge Programme
These projects are part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

Related news
Launching the Triple Helix Platform in Jordan

Launch of a Triple Helix Platform in Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga Provinces

Kick-of Meeting of the Horticulture Innovation Platform at Kyambogo University