Farmers Teaching Farmers: Challenges and Opportunities of Using Volunteer Farmers in Technology Dissemination E. Kiptot, B.Lukuyu, S.Franzel and F.Place World Agroforestry Centre and International Livestock Research Institute
To get perspectives of farmer trainers about their motivational incentives, technologies disseminated, number of farmers reached, distance covered, how training sessions are organised, venues of training sessions, costs incurred, benefits, challenges and opportunities that exist in improving the effectiveness of the approach.
It is expected that such information will assist the project partners to design and implement strategies that will improve the effectiveness of this approach and also ensure its sustainability
Group discussions were held in each of the sites with 5-20 trainers
Topics discussed were length of time served, distance covered, mode of transport used, challenges faced and opportunities to improve the approach among other issues.
Study sites and number of farmer trainers who participated Country Site Male trainers Female trainers Total Kenya Mweiga 18 5 23 Olkalou 10 3 13 Kipkaren 8 1 9 Cheptalal 8 2 10 Longisa 5 6 11 TOTAL 49 17 66 Uganda Jinja 11 6 17 Mukono 1 2 3 Mityana 7 2 9 TOTAL 19 10 29
Costs and benefits Costs Benefits Snacks/drinks Acquire new knowledge Transport/fare/maintenance of bicycles Improved social status/fame/popularity Training materials Increased social networks Airtime (mobile phones) Monetary benefits( sale of seed, fodder and charge for services) Lunch Self satisfaction Opportunity cost for family labour Exposure Time Gain self confidence Trampling of their crops during farmer visits An Availability of improved feeds to own animals
Monetary benefits Type of seeds sold and services offered Unit Cost (US$) Rhodes grass 6.5/kg Calliandra seedlings 0.1/seedling Calliandra seeds 32/kg Silage making (service) 10.75/tonne Hay baling (service) 1/bale Sale of hay 2.6/bale Sweet potato vines 0.1/bundle Napier canes 0.1/cane Forage sorghum seed 1.6/kg Columbus grass (Sorghum x almum) 2/kg
The farmer trainers approach has the potential to disseminate technologies in a cost effective way, however for trainers to remain motivated, various incentives need to be explored. These include;
Linking farmer trainers to seed companies so that they can produce seed on contract basis in order to generate income and also ensure a reliable supply of seed to the community.
Various cooperative societies need to explore opportunities of having dairy farmers trained meet the costs of training provided by farmer trainers by embedding the costs in a wider service package through a check off system.
To ensure quality of information disseminated, farmers trainers need to be linked to extension service providers for technical support .