Twenty-five case studies presented in the Annex are further summarized in this section in order to provide a brief overview.
Because the Indonesian IPM program was the first, the longest and largest Farmer Field School effort, it has attracted a variety of impact studies.
Case 1: Evaluation began in 1993 with a large-scale effort to examine the change in pest management behavior of farmers graduated from IPM Farmer Field Schools. It was shown that training caused a change from preventative spraying to observation-based pest management, resulting in an overall 61% reduction in the use of insecticides.
Case 2: As the program changed gear from 1996 to encourage development of community-based IPM programs, six detailed case studies were conducted to describe local developments in different parts of Indonesia. Farmers reported strengthened relationships and more group cohesion after their training. Also, their technical and social skills improved and their awareness about their position and rights increased, causing Farmer Field School alumni to question government recommendations or counter pesticide promotions.
As appears from the material in Case 2 and 3, increased expertise achieved through the program resulted in impact at various levels. The illustration below is an attempt to organize these effects, outcomes and impacts in concentric circles of cause-effect relationships.
Furthermore, certain alumni had increased their status (e.g. to become consultants to other farmers), and had gained better access to public decision-making, including more leverage to negotiate or to protest. As a consequence, increased local support was given to IPM in a number of instances, and several local policies were changed due to the efforts of Farmer Field School alumni.
In addition to the above study that was organized along geographical lines, specific thematic sub-studies were conducted on the incidence of spontaneous activities, on pesticide sales and on farm-level economic benefits of the Farmer Field School. These sub-studies are presented in separate summary sheets in the Annex (Cases 3-5).
Case 3: A related study recorded the incidence of spontaneous (i.e. non-project) activities in each of 182 designated IPM sub-districts; spontaneous activities are considered impact of the Farmer Field School when they were triggered by the training. Sixty-two types of activities were recorded, related to innovations, dissemination, social gains, marketing, sources of funding, policy changes, etc. These impacts are indicative not only of farmers’ technical expertise, but also of their acquired capability to organize, lobby, educate and experiment. The diversity of activities implies a widespread creativity and local variability.
Case 4: Consistent reductions in insecticide sales and the number of pesticide shops operating in IPM sub-districts were reported during the 1990s, amid an increasing national trend. This suggests a broad impact of local programs on pesticide use.
Case 5: Furthermore, partial budget analysis indicated substantial benefits due to training, resulting from a reported 21% yield increase and a decline in insecticide use from 2.8 to 0.02 applications per season in the selected IPM sub-districts.
Case 6: In a participatory evaluation in West Java, farmers made photographs and descriptions of the impact of training on poverty alleviation in their situation. It is worth mentioning that this is an example of “listening to the voices of the poor”, a concept promoted by the World Bank. Farmers concluded that program activities, including the Farmer Field School and additional follow-up activities, increased their opportunities for learning, gave a more balanced diet through agricultural diversification, increased the scope for on-farm work, improved living conditions, and enhanced self-regard and reduced discrimination. Consequently, the community-based IPM program was found to address the causes of poverty.
Case 7: A SEARCA team conducted an independent study in six provinces and found a modest reduction in insecticide use and an increase in knowledge and improved practices attributable to the effect of training. Also, there were indications of important yield improvements due to training.
Case 8: A World Bank team examined long-term training effects on pesticide expenditure and yield. Data from 1991 served as the baseline. Data from the economic crisis season 1998/99 provided the reference point to measure impact of training that took place mainly during 1992-94. The results did not show a significant effect of training, which is inconsistent with findings of the studies mentioned above. Moreover, it claimed rising levels of pesticide use with declining yields for both groups of farmers. Comments on the methods used in this analysis are given in the Annex.
Case 9: In Bangladesh, where pesticide use in rice was moderate (on average 1 spray and 1 granular application per season), training reduced pesticide use to negligible levels and was consistently associated with an increase in yield.
Case 10: Training caused a drastic reduction in pesticide applications in eggplant in Bangladesh, from 7.0 to 1.4 applications per season. Also, a consistent yield increase of eggplant was observed. Preliminary results suggested that comparable benefits were obtained in three other vegetables.
Case 11: Results from Cambodia, where use of hazardous class Ia and Ib insecticides is high, training caused farmers to reduce pesticide volume in rice by 64% and to select relatively less hazardous compounds. FFS farmers were better aware of pesticide-related health risks than non-FFS farmers.
Case 12: Recent results on cotton IPM in China showed a decline in insecticide use from 6.3 to 3.1 applications per season a year after training, whereas control farmers continued spraying around 6 times per season. Pesticide volume declined with 82% due to a combination of lower frequency, lower dosages and a shift towards less hazardous chemicals. The change in spraying practices was readily diffused among villagers.
Case 13: A detailed study in China described how learning concepts evolved after field school education. During a period after training, farmers gradually increased their concepts about the agroecosystem. In comparison, a declining trend was found for message-based classroom-trained farmers. Hence, the experiential learning approach of the Farmer Field School was found to encourage continued learning in contrast to message-based training.
Case 14: A study in the Philippines showed that FFS graduates gained complex knowledge on agroecosystem management. The knowledge was retained over a period of at least five years. Even though the acquired knowledge was reportedly shared with non-FFS farmers, it did not readily diffuse.
Case 15: Studies in Sri Lanka found a similarly drastic reduction in insecticide use in rice due to FFS training, from 2.2 to 0.4 applications per season. Moreover, a substantially increased use of organic manure (through rice straw incorporation), a 23% yield increase and a 41% increase in profits were attributed to the effect of training. Consequently, the overall training costs (including costs for training-of-trainers), which were relatively low, could be recovered seven-fold within a single season. Impact was present six years after training.
Case 16: In a related study in Sri Lanka, farmers recorded the impact of Farmer Field School training in six villages, using methods similar to those of Case 6. A large number of impacts, ranging from crop diversification to new income-generating activities, were attributed to the effect of training. The number of impacts was highest in villages with the longest post-field school history, suggesting a gradual development process.
Case 17: Also in Sri Lanka, an independent study was conducted on pesticide-related health effects among FFS farmers, non-FFS farmers and non-farmers. Farming was associated with a high incidence of pesticide related symptoms, but FFS farmers spent considerably less time spraying pesticides than non-FFS farmers and accordingly exhibited lower cholinesterase inhibition level in blood samples. This indicates a positive effect of training on health.
Case 18: An ongoing evaluation of training effects in Thailand showed a 60% reduction in the use of insecticides and moluscicides in rice the season after training, and an increase in knowledge about pests and natural enemies.
Case 19: A study in Vietnam revealed reductions in pesticide use in rice more drastic than those initially reported from Indonesia. The decline was linked to improved farmer knowledge and to the development of innovative techniques. Insecticide use was reduced from 1.7 to 0.3 applications per season, but there were considerable differences between provinces. Fungicide use was reduced after training in the North but was increased in the South, probably due to a combination of factors (see Annex).
Case 20: An impact study on Farmer Field Schools for tea growers in Vietnam showed a 50-70% reduction in pesticide use and good prospects for improving crop management and to increase yield.
Case 21: Also in Vietnam, preliminary results on vegetable IPM demonstrated the potential of IPM to substantially reduce pesticide use in high-value vegetables while improved agronomic practices can help increase yield. However, more work is needed to study whether farmers adopt IPM.
Case 22: In Bolivia and Peru, the Farmer Field School model was adapted for potato. It was demonstrated that FFS graduates acquired knowledge necessary for the management of late blight, resulting in substantially increased income.
Case 23: Preliminary results from Burkina Faso showed that IPM methodology including the use of botanical insecticides had the potential to increase production of tomato, cabbage and onion.
Case 24: A global qualitative study compared the success factors between five approaches to IPM training. Success was defined in terms of acceptance by clients, efficiency, broad impact, sustainability and adaptability. It was concluded that the Farmer Field School contained the main ingredients necessary for successful extension on IPM. It was argued that, in contrast to the Farmer Field School, the No Early Spray approach (i.e. a rule-of-thumb for farmers not to spray rice the first 40 days after planting) did not support farmers’ responsiveness to local and dynamic conditions.
Case 25: A pilot project in Kenya showed through a simple and rapid test that respondents felt the Farmer Field School had increased their skills, profits and yields, and reduced risks.