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Farmer Field School Platform

A Farmer Field School offers space for hands-on group learning, enhancing skills for critical analysis and improved decision making by local people. FFS activities are field based, include experimentation to solve problems, reflecting a specific local context. Participants learn how to improve skills through observing, analysing and trying out new ideas on their own fields, contributing to improved production and livelihoods. The FFS process enhances individual, household and community empowerment and cohesion. More here.


The Farmer field school (FFS) approach has been, in its various forms and local adaptations, used worldwide for decades. It has become evident that FFS contribute not only to technical capacity of farmers but also significantly to community development including social dynamics, gender equality or social inclusion when talking about social vulnerabilities. Therefore, quality FFS represent a huge potential for the improvement of livelihoods of vulnerable groups and reduction of rural poverty by empowerment of rural communities.

This FFS Guidance Document focuses on the process and critical decisions that are necessary when starting a new FFS programme, and guides the reader through the essential steps required to establish a solid basis for such programmes, in tune with the specific local conditions. It also defines the essential elements and processes required to ensure programme relevance, quality, growth and sustainability.


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FFS in Jamaica
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FFS, gender equality, women's empowerment, social inclusion and community empowerment

FFS approach represents an important tool for the empowerment of the rural poor, improving their access to information, critical analysis and decision making, optimizing productivity, improving food and nutrition security, strengthening rural institutions and having a positive impact on the sustainable management of natural resources. All these aspects are particularly relevant for vulnerable groups and may contribute to social protection in terms of community empowerment/cohesion and its own social safety nets.

FFS have a positive effect not only on the capacity of participants to make informed decisions, but also on the community as a whole as well as on interpersonal dynamics at the household level.  The participatory nature of the FFS strengthens community relations and promotes better interactions by listening to other opinions, formulating and expressing different points of view and finding a common solution through interaction and debate.

Evidence from different countries indicates that significant changes occur at household level as a result of participation in a FFS. Decision-making, division of labour are discussed in the household resulting in different dynamics.