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Farmer field school_approach

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Farmer field school_approach

  1. 1. Technical ManualFarmer Field SchoolApproach
  2. 2. Published 2010 by Sustainable Agriculture Information InitiativeDesign & Layout: Skyward Design & Marketing Ltd.Printed in 2010 by Assup Enterprises P.O. BOX 67275-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.Correct citationSUSTAINET EA 2010. Technical Manual for farmers and Field Extension Service Providers: FarmerField School Approach. Sustainable Agriculture Information Initiative, Nairobi.ISBN 978-9966-1533-4-0SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION INITIATIVE (SUSTAINET EA)P.O. Box 10375-00100, NAIROBI, KENYAKARI/NARL Campus, Waiyaki wayEmail: info@sustainetea.orgWeb site: www.sustainetea.org.Sustainable Agriculture Information Initiative is a regional network, non-profit non-governmental organization that promotes sustainable agriculture along value chains to improvethe quality of lives of the rural poor through participatory approaches, documentation, lobbyingand advocacy, knowledge and information management and sharing, and capacity buildingwith stakeholders in the Eastern Africa region.DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FÜR TECHNISCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT (GTZ)Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg 1-5, 65760 EschbornTelephone +49 6196 79-0Telefax +49 6196 79-1115Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbHPostfach 5180, 65726 EschbornDeutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) -Sustainable Management ofResources in Agriculture (NAREN) programme addresses sustainable production systems,genetic resources, cultivated biomass, soil, water and climate. One of its priority areas is‘cultivated biomass’.Promotion of Private Sector Development in Agriculture (PSDA) is a bilateral developmentprogramme jointly implemented by GTZ and the agriculture sector ministries in Kenya. PSDAis supporting SUSTAINET to scale up Conservation Agriculture along the value chain in WesternKenyaFAO HEADQUARTERS, VIALE DELLE TERMEDI CARACALLA, 00153, ROME ITALY,Telephone: (+39) 0657051, Fax (+39) 0657053152Email: FAO-HQ@fao.orgThe Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations leads international efforts todefeat hunger. Since 2004 and together with partners such as ACT and governments, it hasbeen implementing a a project in East Africa entitled ‘Conservation Agriculture for SustainableAgriculture and Rural Development (CA-SARD)’ during which training constituted a majorproject activity.AFRICAN CONSERVATION TILLAGE (ACT)Headquarters: P.O. Box 10375-00100, Westlands, Nairobi, KenyaEmail: info@act-africa.org; Website: www.act-africa.orgThe ACT Network promotes the sharing of information and experiences and facilitates theadaptation and adoption of conservation agriculture technology across Africa.ACT collaborates with SUSTAINET in implementation of Conservation Agriculture projects inEastern Africa.
  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTSPREFACE............................................................................................ v1.0. Introduction........................................................................... 11.1 What are Farmer Field Schools?.............................................11.2 Why FFS?........................................................................................12.0 Essential elements of FFS...................................................... 12.1 The group .....................................................................................12.2 The Field ........................................................................................12.3 The Facilitator ..............................................................................12.4 The curriculum ............................................................................12.5 Programme leader......................................................................22.6 Financing .......................................................................................23.0 Characteristics of the farmer field school approach........... 23.1 Farmers ..........................................................................................23.2 The field .........................................................................................23.3 Extension workers ......................................................................33.4 The curriculum ............................................................................33.5 Training ..........................................................................................33.6 Meetings .......................................................................................33.7 Learning Materials ......................................................................33.8 Group Dynamics. ........................................................................44.0 Steps in conducting FFS ....................................................... 55.0 KEY CONCEPTS AND TECHNIQUES USED IN FFS.................. 65.1 Ecosystem......................................................................................65.2 The Concept of What is This? What is That? ......................65.3 Agro Eco Sytem Analysis (AESA) ............................................6Purposes of AESA are:...............................................................................65.4 Participatory Technology Development (PTD).................75.5 establishing PTD in FFS sites...................................................75.6 VILLAGE IMMERSION (DO IT YOURSELF).............................8Case Study of PTD Development: Eotulo Farmers’ Group, MeruDistrict, Tanzania................................................................... 9
  4. 4. PREFACEThere are several initiatives in Eastern Africa to promote sustainable agriculture practices as environment-friendlyand alternative to conventional agriculture. However, little has been done to document the good agriculturalpractices or even lessons learnt from these initiatives. Farmers today still lack access to information on sustainableagriculturepractices.Sustainableagricultureseeksanenvironmentallysound,sociallyequitableandeconomicallyviable ways to produce to meet the needs of the present without compromising those of future generations.SUSTAINET EA as a regional Network operating in Eastern Africa endeavours to bridge the information gapon Sustainable Agriculture to reach smallholder farmers through publication of simplified technical manuals ongood agricultural practices. These manuals contain useful technical information on good agricultural practicesthat offer practical answers to questions normally asked by farmers of what, why, how. The manuals’ focuses areon:1. Agroforestry practices2. Dairy Goat Improvements3. Soil and Water Conservation4. Conservation Agriculture5. Nine-seeded Hole6. Integrated Agriculture System7. Organic pineapple production8. Certification of organic products9. Groundnut Production10. Farmer Field School.This manual is part of SUSTAINET’s effort to promote sustainable agriculture in the region. It is developed toreflecttheexperiencesandviewssustainableagriculturepractitioners(farmers,researchers,memberorganizationsand institutions of higher learning).This manual is intended primarily for farmers and field extension service providers. It is written in simple Englishlanguage with illustrations, and easy to understand.The process of documenting and publishing the manuals was supported by funding from GTZ, and FAO. Wethank our member organizations and collaborators for their useful contributions to the manuals’ development.Manual Development Process.This manual was prepared from good agricultural practices (GAPs) documented and published in 2006. Theprocess was participatory and interactive among the key stakeholders. This interactive process culminated into awriteshop that was held in Naivasha. The writeshop process was facilitated by Chancery Media.The writeshop began with presentation of the GAPs by the facilitators. The participants included extension stafffrom various organizations in East Africa, ACT and SUSTAINET staff, research scientists from Nairobi andSokoine universities, and artists. The participants were divided into groups to discuss the GAPs and develop theminto manuals. This was followed by plenary presentations where participants gave positive critiques. Anothergroups’ discussion to include comments from the participants were held, followed with plenary presentations.Chancery Media then refined the language and presentations.Tom ApinaExecutive Secretary SUSTAINET E.A
  5. 5. 1SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACH1.0. Introduction1.1 What are Farmer Field Schools?• Farmer Field Schools (FFS) consist of groups offarmers who get together to study a particulartopic.• The topics covered vary from conservationagriculture, organic agriculture, animal hus­bandry, and soil husbandry, to income-generating activities such as handicrafts.• FFS provide opportunities for learning by doing.It teaches basic agricultural and managementskills that make farmers experts in their ownfarms.• FFS is a forum where farmers and trainersdebate observations, experiences and presentnew information from outside the community.1.2 -Why FFS?• Empowering farmers with knowledge and skills• Making farmers experts in their own fields.• Sharpening the farmers’ ability to make criticaland informed decisions.• Sensitizing farmers in new ways of thinking andproblem solving• Helping farmers learn how to organizethemselves and their communities.2.0 Essential elements of FFS2.1 The groupThe group comprises of individuals (20-25 innumber) who have a common interest, formingthe core of a Farmer Field School. The FFS tendsto strengthen existing groups or may lead to theformation of new groups2.2 The FieldThefieldistheteacher.Itprovidesmostofthetrainingmaterials like plants, pests and other facilities. Inmost cases, communities provide a study site with ashaded area for follow-up discussions..2.3 The FacilitatorThe facicilitator is a technically competent personwho leads group members through the hands-onexercises. The facilitator can be an extension agentor a Farmer Field School graduate.2.4 The curriculumThe curriculum follows the natural cycle of thesubject, be it crop, animal, soil, or handicrafts. Thisallows all aspects of the subject to be covered inparallel with what is happening in the FFS field.
  6. 6. 2SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACH2.5 Programme leaderThe programme leader is essential to support thetraining of facilitators, get materials organized forthe field, solve problems in participatory ways, andnurture facilitators. The programme leader shouldbe a good leader who empowers others.2.6 FinancingThis is an important element since Farmer FieldSchools can be expensive or low-cost depending onwho implements them and how they are conducted.3.0 Characteristics of the farmer fieldschool approach3.1 FarmersFarmers are experts conducting their own fieldstudies.Trainingisbasedoncomparisonofactivitiesthat they conduct.3.2 The fieldThe field is the learning place where farmersworking in small groups collect data, analyze andmake decisions based on their analyses then presentthe decisions to other farmers for refinement.
  7. 7. 3SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACH3.3 Extension workersThey are facilitators not teachers. Once the farmersknow what to do the extension workers takes a backseat only offering guidance when need be.3.4 The curriculumThis is integrated to include crop husbandry,animal husbandry, land husbandry and other areasin relation to ecology, economics, sociology andeducation.3.5 TrainingTraining is related to the seasonal cycle of thepractice being investigated such as land preparation,cropping, harvesting, livestock feeds and so on.3.6 MeetingsThese are held at regular intervals depending onwhat activities need to be done.3.7 Learning MaterialsThese are generated by farmers and are consistentwith local conditions. Even illiterate farmers canprepare and fuse simple diagrams to illustrate thepoints they want to make and actions to be taken.
  8. 8. 4SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACH3.8 Group Dynamics.Training includes communication skills building,problem solving and leadership and discussionmethods. Farmers implement their own decisionsin their own fields.
  9. 9. 5SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACH4.0 Steps in conducting FFSGround working activities• Identify priority problems• Identify solutions to identifiedproblems• Establish farmers’practices• Identify field school participants• Identify field school sitesTraining of facilitators on:Crop/livestock production and protection technologies; messagedelivery mechanisms using non-formal educationmethods (NFE);participatory technology development (PTD) with emphasis onthe approaches and developing guidelines on conducting PTD;non-formal education methods with emphasis on what, whenand how to use NFE in FFS; Group dynamics; special topics to beaddressed at every stage of training.Establishment andrunning FFSWith the guidance offacilitators, the group meetsregularly throughout theseason and• Identify PTDs• Carries out experimentsand field trials related tothe selected enterprise• Implement PTDs (Test andvalidate)• Conduct AESA andMorphology and collectdata• Process and present thedata• Group dynamicsEvaluating PTDsAnalyse collecteddata• Interpret• Economicanalysis• PresentationField DaysDuring the periodof running theFFS, 1-2 field daysare organizedwhere the restof the farmingcommunity isinvited to sharewhat the group haslearned in the FSS.Farmers themselvesfacilitate duringthis dayGraduationsThis marks the endof the season-longFFS. It is organizedby the farmers,facilitators andthe coordinatingoffice. Farmersare awardedcertificates.Follow up by facilitatorsThe core facilitators backstopon-going farmer run FFSFarmer run FFSFFS farmer graduates nowhave the knowledge andconfidence to run their ownFFS.
  10. 10. 6SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACH5.0 KEY CONCEPTS AND TECHNIQUES USED INFFS5.1 EcosystemThis entails both living and non-living things foundin an area and the environment they are in. Theactivity helps in identifying the functions of theorganisms found in the ecosystem and how theyinteract with each other.5.2 The Concept of What is This? What is That?It is a discovery-based learning in which questionsare used to answer questions.It leads the learner to the answer by asking questions.The purposes of this concept are:• to promote learning by discovery and leadlearners towards their own analysis• to guide farmers to critically analyze and makebetter decisions on their own fields.The idea is to promote learning by discovery and tolead the person toward his or her own analysis.5.3 Agro Eco Sytem Analysis (AESA)Making the group management decisionPurposes of AESA are:• Promote learning by discovery and learnerstowards their own analysis.• Guide farmers to critically analyze and makebetter decisions on their own fields.Why AESA?• It improves decision-making skills, through afield situation analysis by observing, drawingand discussing.• improves decision-making skills by presentingsmall group decisions for critique in the largegroup
  11. 11. 7SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACHName of farmer field school:AESA No.Group No.Plot No.Problem addressed:Date:Week No.General informationVariety:Date planted:Age of crop:Spacing:Fertilizer:Weather:Time of observation:Plant populationGermination %MeasurementLength of leaves:Width of leaves:No. of leaves:No. of diseased leaves:No. of dead leaves:Length of plant:No. of pods:TreatmentTreatment schedule:Management practices:Insect pestsPests seen:Plant drawing Natural enemiesNatural enemies seen:ObservationsSoil moisture:Diseases:Insect pests:Plant health:Deficiency:Weeds:Predators:RecommendationsWhat management practices should be applied?5.4 Participatory Technology Development(PTD)This is a process of collective inquiry with thepurpose of initiating community action on solvinglocal problems.PTD in farmer field schools empowers participantswith analytical skills to investigate problems infarming practices in three ways:a) It empowers because of the specific insight,new understandings and new possibilitiesthat participants discover in creating betterexplanations about their social worldb) Participants learn how to learnc) It liberates when participants learn how to createnew possibilities for action.5.5 establishing PTD in FFS sitesTo conduct PTD, seven (7) important steps arefollowed:Step 1: Conduct Ground-working activitiesThe participants introduce themselves and theprogramme to build up a good relationship. In theprocess ideas about the attitudes, values and normsof the people in the community can also be sharedduring this stage.Step 2: Conduct village immersion activitiesThe participants are immersed in the villageidentified as possible FFS sites. Participants validatelocal field problems and current farming practicesgathered during Ground-working activities.Step 3: Prioritizing field problemsA baseline survey tool is utilized to obtain morespecific details of the field problems in the proposedFFS sites. Field problems are then prioritized.
  12. 12. 8SUSTAINET E.A: FARMER FIELD SCHOOL APPROACHStep 4: Plan and design PTD activitiesAfter prioritizing field problems, the planningand designing of PTD activities commence. Theparticipants identify which PTD activities will beset up.Step 5: Implement PTD activitiesParticipants should jointly evaluate all activities.The participants and facilitators should agree uponthe decision as to what PTD activities should be set-up in the FFS sites.Step 6: Collect and interpret result of PTDactivitiesParticipants should be able to collect and interpretPTD results. This helps the participants to developinnovations or discover technology gaps or newproblems for consideration in succeeding PTDactivities.Step 7: Utilize result in succeeding PTD activitiesPTD results should be continuously utilizedand innovations developed. In conducting PTDactivities innovations developed should be utilizedin addressing similar field problems in the future.5.6 VILLAGE IMMERSION (DO IT YOURSELF)5.6.1 Purposes of village immersion are to:• Acquaint with the area, know and be known• Make farm and home visits• Verify the baseline data collected during groupworking• Pay courtesy call to the village elders• Develop or verify the village map• Identify/appreciate the resources within thevillage• Help to understand the cultural norms/socialpractices within the area.5.6.2 Methods:• By using a village guide map• Village guides or contact person
  13. 13. Case Study of PTD Development: EotuloFarmers’ Group, Meru District, Tanzania.TheEotulelogrouphadseveralquestions:shouldtheyploughas usual, use a ripper before planting, or plant without usinga ripper? And would it be better to plant lablab (Lablabpurpureum, a type of legume) or pigeonpeas in between therows of maize? They rented an acre (0.4 ha) of land to use astheir field school site. They divided the field into five plots,each with a different combination of techniques:• Rippedplot,plantedwithmaizeintercroppedwithlablab.At the end of the season, this plot yielded 58 kg of maize,and no lablab because of drought.• Direct planting without ripping plot, maize intercroppedwith lablab (yield: 40 kg of maize, no lablab because ofdrought).• Ripped plot, planted with maize intercropped withpigeonpeas (yield: 35 kg; no pigeonpeas because ofdrought).• Direct planting without ripping plot, maize intercroppedwith pigeonpeas (yield: 15 kg maize, pigeonpeas driedand were not harvested).• Farmer’snormalpractice:ploughingtwice,thenplantingmaize intercropped with beans,pigeonpeas and pumpkins (yield: 12 kg maize,pigeonpeas not harvested).
  14. 14. PARTICIPANTS IN THE PRODUCTION OF THIS MANUALName, Designation and Organisation E-Mail and telephone contacts1 Alfred OmbatiArtist / Designer, Skyward Design and Marketing Ltd.aholiabsart@yahoo.com+254 723 350 628 + 254 20 3169122 Ayub GitauSenior Lecturer, University Of Nairobigitauan@uonbi.ac.ke, gitauan@yahoo.co.uk+254 722878029, + 254 318262 Ext 4523 David DodovaTeacher and Translator, Alliance Francaise, Nairobi andLanguage Solution Business Centermudhoy@yahoo.com+254 0726667804, 0734677712, 07211627284 David Kangangi NjokaDisaster Risk Reduction/Small Programmes Coordinator.CCSMKE, Kerugoya, Kenyakangangi_d@yahoo.com+254 720735449, +254 7339657025 Francis NjangeHead of Education and Training Dept. Molo, Kenyatraining@sustainableag.org, francis.njange @gmail.com+254 725777421, +254 20 4187176 Hellen BradburnPrograms Coordinator,Arusha, Tanzaniawadec@habari.tz, hellenbiseko@yahoo.com+255 754621020 +255 7876210207 Jacinta MurungaStudent, University of Bonn-Germanys7jamuru@uni-bonn.de, j_murunga@yahoo.co.uk+254 718220529, +49 152014849188 Karani SekieteProgramme Co-ordinator, Moshi, Tanzaniasekiete@hotmail.com+255 754695191 +255 27 27527659 Lucy Stephen MvungiPrincipal Agricultural Field Officerlucymvungi@gmail.com+255 784654968, +255 65565496810 Mary MateProgramme Co-ordinator, Diocese of Embu‑IRDP, Embu,Kenyamarymate06@yahoo.com, doelrdp@salpha.co.ke+254 721535413, +254 68 31415, +254 31638, +254 3154011 Mathias MiburoTeacher, Mparamirundi, Burundicapadshirukubute@yahoo.fr+257 79117741, +257 22217902,12 Nganga KihupiAssociate Professor, Sokoine University of Agriculture,Morogoro, Tanzanianikihupi@yahoo.com+255 32 604216, +255 786796313 Nyotumba BonaventureArtist / Graphic Designer, Skywarddesign and Marketing Ltdnyotsz@yahoo.com+254 20 316912, +254 723 66 77 8814 Patrick RukwaroMedia Consultantpnrukwaro@yahoo.com, rukwaro@chancerymedia.com+254 20 2508492, 712-37373715 Philip OmugaProgramme Co-ordinator AEP, Homa Bay, Kenyaphilipomuga@yahoo.com, dids.homabay@yahoo.com+254 59 22098 +254 59 22624, +254 72099501316 Stephen KileoProgramme Co-ordinator, Chema, Karagwe, Tanzaniachema@sationet.net+255 28 2223226, + 255 754 756429, +255 222322617 Tom ApinaExecutive Secretary, SUSTAINET EA, Nairobi Kenyatom.apina@sustainetea.org+254 20 4444252, +254 072294078918 Richard ApamoConsultant, SUSTAINET EA, Nairobi Kenyarichard.apamo@sustainet.org, r_apamo@yahoo.com+254 725 527207
  15. 15. For more information contact:Executive SecretarySustainable Agriculture Information Initiative (SUSTAINET E.A)KARI-Narl, Waiyaki Way, P.O. Box 10375-00100, Nairobi KenyaTel.:+254 20 2604616, Fax: +254 20 2604617,Email: info@sustainetea.org, Website: www.sustainetea.orgSUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURESustainable agriculture is a farming practice that is economically viable and socially acceptable. Practice aims atconserving land, water and genetic resources for future generations.This manual is for farmers and extension workers in Eastern Africa region. It is intended to assist farmers andextension workers to scale up identified and tested Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) based on the farmerexperience. The manual therefore contributes to improving agricultural productivity, conserving natural resourcebase and building resilience of farmers to the negative effects of climate change.This manual is based on the experience and skills of innovative farmers practicing Good Agricultural Practices(GAPs) in Eastern Africa region. GAPs refer to practices which work particularly well and are therefore exemplaryin character. For SUSTAINET EA, a GAP must have measurable output/results, transferrable to other regions,easily adaptable, sustainable and environmentally sound. Other characteristics are economic viability, and socio-cultural acceptability.This manual is written in clear and simple easy-to-understand language with simple illustrations. Case studies inthis book demonstrate how farmers have adopted and practised the Good Agricultural Practice in a sustainable wayISBN 978-9966-1533-4-0

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