Cluster Based Farmer Field Schools

Farmer Field Schools The Farmer Field School approach allows farmers to learn about alternative crop and livestock management practices and technologies with the aim of improving their own productivity; i.e. learning new ways to cope with old problems related to agriculture or livestock rearing (van den Berg & Jiggins 2007). At the same time, the approach allows farmers to investigate for themselves the costs involved and the different benefits of traditional and alternative practices, thus leading to swifter adoption of the successful practices or varieties of crops tested. The Farmer Field School learning process builds on the existing knowledge of farmers, enabling them to combine and evaluate new and existing technologies in their own fields and to adapt new technologies to their own environments. Once farmers are able to combine and evaluate these technologies they will become more responsive to changing conditions, such as that of Striga and soil fertility, and will thus be able to develop cropping systems that are more productive, profitable and sustainable (van Mourik, et al., Undated). Farmer-to-farmer video In West Africa, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) built on experiences gained by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in developing a series of ten farmer-to-farmer videos. The ten films are now being widely shown to support rural learning on practical and affordable ways to control one of Africa's most serious weeds - striga. Strong participation of farmers has been key to the film making process. First and foremost, the knowledge and farming techniques shared in the videos have been developed over a number of years within farmer field schools. ICRISAT and partners established the schools, starting in the early 2000s, to support farmer experiments on a wide range of striga control options. The result was the development of an integrated set of striga and soil fertility management practices (ISSFM) for use in sorghum and pearl millet cultivation.

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Additional Information

Field Value
Website http://cg-parade.wikispaces.com/profile4
Contributing organisations International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Contact person Tom Van Mourik
Participatory approach / method to address complexity
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Tool manual/User guide Van den Berg, H. and Jiggins, J. (2007) Investing in Farmers – The impacts of farmer field schools in relation to integrated pest management. World Development, 35, 663-686van Mourik, T. A., Toure Ir. S., Traoré, S. and. Loeffen, Ir. M.A. Undated. Manual for implementing Cluster Based Farmer Field Schools (CBFFS) for Integrated Striga and Soil Fertility Management (ISSFM). ICRISAT.van Mourik, T. A. 2012. Farmers on film in the fight against striga. New Agriculturist, March, 2012.
Citation Van den Berg, H. and Jiggins, J. (2007) Investing in Farmers – The impacts of farmer field schools in relation to integrated pest management. World Development, 35, 663-686 van Mourik, T. A., Toure Ir. S., Traoré, S. and. Loeffen, Ir. M.A. Undated. Manual for implementing Cluster Based Farmer Field Schools (CBFFS) for Integrated Striga and Soil Fertility Management (ISSFM). ICRISAT. van Mourik, T. A. 2012. Farmers on film in the fight against striga. New Agriculturist, March, 2012.