Building resilient agriculture through farmers’ education

Report
from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Published on 09 Dec 2019

FAO to buttress Farmer Field Schools in Eastern Africa

09 December 2019 Addis Ababa:- Agricultural experts and academia drawn from Eastern and Southern African nations called on governments to increase the reach, impact, and institutionalisation of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) through adaptive approaches to ensure that farmers in Africa are fully engaged in sustainable agricultural production and farming as a business.

At FAO’s Subregional Workshop on Farmer Field Schools Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework, held from 19 to 21 November 2019 in Addis Ababa, participants reiterated that governments should enact supportive policies and strategies to implant fully FFS in the agriculture extension system, where farmers can learn new skills, solve practical problems and acquire modern technologies.

The objectives of the workshop were to introduce and discuss FFS Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework, as well as to share good practices on FFS.

Addressing the meeting, David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator tor Eastern Africa and Representative to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, remarked that pragmatic, field-based and farmer-centric education plays a key role in making agriculture more productive and sustainable.

“Expanding FFS as a holistic farmer education platform is a critical means to address rural poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. Hence, FAO will continue to make the schools more relevant to the farmers in terms of quality, accessibility and impact so as to improve the day-to-day practices, which farmers are applying to manage their agricultural land,” said Phiri.

The FFS approach, developed by FAO and partners, promotes farm-based experimentation, group organization and decision-making. The approach applies a learning-by-doing method to provide a setting where farmers and development agents discuss, modify and experiment new agricultural innovations and ideas in a contextualised situation. Under the guidance of a trained facilitator, farmers discuss, experiment and decide on a wide range of topics, such as management of soil fertility and water resources, seed quality, risks associated with toxic pesticides and farm management.

The FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa seeks to build on the ongoing efforts to improve the quality of FFS in the subregion. To this effect, the Office, along with government and partner organization, plans to develop and put into practice a contextualised and practical toolkit, based on a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework that was first initiated at a global workshop in Bangkok, Thailand.

FFS have been widely used across Africa, Asia and Latin America, reaching an estimated 15 million farmers. This year, FAO celebrated 30 years of continuous FFS interventions in the world.

For more information Contact:

Abebe D. Banjaw
FAO SFE Communication Consultant
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 214
Abebe.Banjaw@fao.org
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tezeta Meshesha
FAO SFE Communication Specialist
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 193
Tezeta.Hailemeskel@fao.org
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia