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Global Farmer Field School Platform

A Farmer Field School brings together a group of farmers, livestock herders or fisherfolk, to learn on how to shift towards more sustainable production practices, by better understanding complex agro-ecosystems and by enhancing ecosystem services. A FFS group meets regularly during a production cycle, setting up experimentation and engaging in hands-on learning to improve skills and knowledge that will help adapt practices to their specific context. The FFS empowers individuals and groups to move towards more sustainable practices and improve livelihoods.
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FFS and Livestock

In many countries, livestock are an integral part of the livelihoods of the poor, contributing to household income, food security and nutrition. FAO has, over the past two decades, integrated Livestock Farmer Field Schools (FFS) in several of its projects and programmes and contributed to capacity-building of stakeholders (NGOs, research institutes, etc.) for the benefit of thousands of livestock-dependent communities across developing regions. The approach has since been applied to different livestock production systems, including pastoralism and agro-pastoralism, dairying, poultry production, integrated rice-duck systems, rabbit production, pig production, camel production, small ruminant production and beekeeping. 

FFS and Fall Armyworm

One of FAO’s key steps for FAW work in Africa is “to support the design and implementation of a sustainable and ecological pest management programme for smallholder farmers in Africa”. Recommended management practices will be tried and adapted in the field via Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) with farmers and farmers’ organizations across Africa, in collaboration with research and advisory services. Farmer education and community action are critical elements in the strategy to best manage FAW populations. That is why FFS will be used to support implementation of an integrated ecological and sustainable FAW management approach. To maximize outreach, FFS will be combined with mass information campaigns, rural radio, participatory videos and short crash courses for farmers and rural advisors based on experiential learning.

Farmer Field School Guidance Document
The 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.

The Global FFS discussion group (Dgroup) is an e-mail group through which the global FFS community can interact by sharing information, knowledge and advice. Members discuss experiences and reflect on how to deal with specific challenges. With more than 1000 members from 107 countries, the d-group network is constantly growing. Webinars and facilitated discussions related to Field Schools or technical topics are organized through the Dgroup.