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Global Farmer Field School Platform

Partners

This page includes the profiles of platform partners. Partners are actors involved in field school or related approaches globally.

Farmer Field Schools- ACF Experience
ACF-US has implemented the FFS approach in various contexts: first in Uganda in 2008, until recently in South Sudan in 2016. The evaluation findings in Uganda revealed a successful approach where there was improved production practices and transfer of acquired knowledge in agronomical practices (land preparation, seed selection, planting, weeding, and pest control) from FFS gardens to individuals’ Cultivations; sustained increase in agricultural production capacity; diversified household food and income sources, enhanced greater availability of disease resistant crops; enhanced asset generation and management capacity through gender inclusivity, local resource mobilization and interest-based lending with their collective FFS capital. The approach contributed positively to increased resilience to livelihood shocks1. The FFSs was supported by FAO in the two countries. Despite the short duration of those projects the positive results reinforced our commitment to use FFS approach where feasible. The type of FFS mainly focused on crop production though there was a deliberate effort of diversification. ACF-US is committed to promote FFS in context particularly affected by climate change and resource constraint.

1 ACF Farmer Field School Evaluation Uganda, 2009

Contact: Alfred Ejem (FSL technical advisor)

Face à la variabilité du climat, l’ANACIM s’est engagé depuis 2007 à travers plusieurs projets, à mettre en place dans certains localités (Fatick, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Sédhiou, Ziguinchor, Kolda) un dispositif expérimental mais aussi de vulgarisation (sous forme de champs de démonstration) afin de permettre d’une part, aux producteurs de comprendre l’importance de l’intégration de l’information météorologique et climatologique dans leur processus de production et d’autre part, d’apprendre aux producteurs la méthodologie d’intégration de ces informations dans leur système de production. Ces dispositifs sont dans la même philosophie que les champs écoles paysans. Ainsi dans le cadre du projet résilience climatique de la FAO, nous intégrerons cette technique dans le paquet technologique des champs école existant. La capitalisation de tout cela nous permettra d’améliorer nos dispositifs déjà existants.

Contact: Oumar Konté

Face à la crise qui touche les  filières africaines de coton depuis 2001, les producteurs de coton africains se sont mobilisés pour défendre leurs intérêts sur la scène internationale. Ainsi, les producteurs de coton de 12 pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre se sont rencontrés en Décembre 2004 à Cotonou pour donner naissance à l'Association des Producteurs de Coton Africains, AProCA, avec les objectifs suivants :

  • Représenter les producteurs de coton africains et défendre leurs intérêts aux niveaux régional et international,
  • Aider les plateformes nationales à réaliser ce travail de représentation et de défense des intérêts à l’échelle nationale,
  • Promouvoir l’amélioration de la productivité et de la qualité du coton africain et des cultures assolées  en vue de maintenir sa compétitivité.

Aujourd'hui, l'Association compte 15 pays membres: le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Centrafrique, le Cameroun, la Côte d'Ivoire, la Gambie, le Ghana, la Guinée, la Guinée Bissau, le Mali, le Sénégal, le Tchad, le Togo, la Zambie et l'Ouganda. Le siège de l'Association (Secrétariat permanent) est basé à Bamako au Mali. 

La GIPD, introduite par la FAO, promeut une agriculture saine et durable et  a comme outil privilégié les champ-écoles des producteurs (CEP).  Elle a donné des résultats tangibles au Burkina Faso, au Mali et au Sénégal à travers une phase pilote menée par la FAO. Pour apporter sa contribution dans la promotion des bonnes pratiques agricoles en vue de permettre aux producteurs de maximiser leurs profits mais aussi de protéger l’environnement, l’AProCA a implémenté le projet « Projet de diffusion de la Gestion Intégrée de la Production et des Déprédateurs (GIPD)» avec l’accompagnement financier de l’Union Européenne et technique de la FAO. Au regard des résultats obtenus à travers le projet et de l’engouement des producteurs de coton pour la GIPD, l’AProCA   entend consolider  les  acquis des CEP au Bénin et au Togo et étendre  l’approche GIPD/CEP dans les autres pays membres de l’AProCA.

Contact : Youssouf djimé Sidibe

Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontière (AVSF) est une association de solidarité internationale reconnue d'utilité publique, qui agit depuis 1977 pour soutenir l'agriculture paysanne. AVSF soutient l’agriculture paysanne avec des actions de mise en valeur des agro-écosystèmes, d’apprentissage et de développement des communautés. AVSF cherche à donner aux paysans des possibilités de jouer, à travers les champs-écoles, un rôle actif dans des filières porteuses. Ainsi, les actions d’AVSF visent à l’amélioration des revenus des paysans par le développement de systèmes de production et de commercialisation reposant sur les principes de l'implication et de valorisation du savoir–faire des paysans. C’est ainsi qu’AVSF met en œuvre des projets  avec une logique d’apprentissage en milieu paysan.

C’est le cas du projet de Lutte contre la désertification par l’appui au pastoralisme, exécuté au Sénégal, où des maraichers sont appuyés avec une expérimentation comparative du digestat à d’autres fertilisants. Ce sont, ainsi, les producteurs, eux-mêmes, qui recherchent les bonnes pratiques durables, en comparant les productions et en faisant leurs propres bilan-agro économiques, sous l’appui d’AVSF. De ce fait, toutes les conclusions ressortent des producteurs,  qui assurent, ainsi, naturellement la diffusion des bonnes pratiques. La même démarche est adoptée dans le cadre de l’aviculture, les étables laitières qui sont des ateliers d’apprentissages et d’échanges. AVSF est  fortement engagé dans la promotion de l’approche Champs-Ecole.

Contact : Bertrand Mathieu

Bioversity International is the operating name of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and a member of the CGIAR Consortium.  Bioversity is a global research-for-development organization that delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.  Bioversity International works with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.

Bioversity supports the enhancement of equitable linkages and representative partnerships for farmer management of crop genetic (crop varietal diversity) across FFS partners from local to national levels.  By introducing the added value and integrating the use of crop varietal diversity or within species diversity into the FFS methodology through Diversity Field Forum (DFF) and Community Bioversity Management (CBM) groups, capacity is built for farmers to analyze and manage their own crop plant genetic resources to increase agricultural productivity and ecosystem resilience in their fields and farms.  Diversity Field Forum (DDF) involves the organization of men and women teams (usually 25-30) by gender to assess crop genetic diversity.  Farmers groups test both improved and local cultivars taking into account the preferred selection of women and men.  Farmers are trained in the multiplication of quality diversity seed of both local and modern selected cultivars, which are then multiplied and disseminated within and outside DFF and FFS groups.  Through weekly meetings farmers are also informed about international and national conventions and legislations relevant to exchange of plant genetic resources.   Community Bioversity Management (CBM) is a similar multistep participatory process that focuses specifically on strengthening the local decision-making and governance capacity of communities, rural institutions, and FFS to utilize crop genetic resources. It follows the principals of (1) let local stakeholders lead by empowering farmers and their local institutions, (2) build on local innovations, practice and resources, (3) diversified biodiversity-based livelihood options, and (4) provide a platform for social learning and collective action.

Contact: Devra Jarvis and Sognigbe N’Danikou

The Belgian development agency BTC implements the development cooperation programmes of the Belgian government in its 14 partner countries. The agency also works for other donors.

BTC started in 2009 in Rwanda and in 2014 in Burundi to implement the FFS approach, as part of the agricultural development programmes of the Belgian cooperation. Through these programmes, more than 200,000 Rwandan and 12,000 Burundian farmers are empowered, by building up their observation and analysing skills. The impact is a productivity increase of 45% (worth $100 per family) as well as multiple social benefits. This discovery-based learning process is facilitated by intensively trained farmers called FFS Facilitators. They follow a season-long training focused on technical, facilitation and group-building skills. They spend a total of 60 to 90 days in residential training in various sessions, while working with their first group between training sessions.

The innovation introduced by the Belgian development agency in Rwanda is the service-delivery model: The FFS facilitators are organized in service cooperatives who are hired as professional service providers in order to reach an ever increasing number of farmers. Besides making the extension service much cheaper, these peer trainers also fully understand the local challenges and use the proper language and attitude to achieve behaviour change. The creation of professional proximity service providers makes the approach sustainable, as they can be hired by the Government, NGO’s, Farmer’s Organizations and the private sector.

Contact persons: Rwanda: Raf.somers@btcctb.org  Burundi: Valerie.delaunois@btcctb.org

CABI is an intergovernmental not-for-profit development-led organization that can trace its origins back to 1910. Our mission is to improve people's lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. Our mission and direction are influenced by government representatives from our 48 member countries who help guide the activities we undertake. These include scientific publishing, development projects and research, and microbial services. We are also leading a major new initiative, Plantwise, which aims to improve food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses. We have over 500 staff based in 16 countries and have offices in Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK and the USA.

From mid-nineties to mid-two thousand, CABI was part of the Technical Support Group of the FAO Global IPM Facility. CABI contributed in planning, execution and evaluation of FFS programs in Africa, Caribbean, Asia and Latin America. This was followed by a period of several years where CABI worked with other international and national partners to refine the Farmer Field School approach to IPM training and its adaptation to new cropping systems, its application to testing and validating indigenous pest management knowledge and its role in putting research into use. Recently, CABI has been working towards linking its Plantwise program to FFS activities globally, initially by training FFS facilitators as plant doctors in Rwanda and Mozambique. This was followed by the creation of a National task force in Nepal to prepare and implement modalities for linking Plantwise to FFS activities and oversee joint implementation of identified linkage activities.

Contact: Janny Vos & Martin Kimani 

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Our seven decades of experience show that when you empower a girl or woman, she becomes a catalyst, creating ripples of positive change that lift up everyone around her. That’s why girls and women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education, health and economic opportunity for everyone.

One of our key tools to promote agricultural development is the Farmers’ Field and Business Schools (www.care.org/ffbs) where we integrate agriculture, marketing, nutrition, and gender equality as part of a curriculum that focuses on the needs of women farmers.  After extensive piloting, CARE is now using the FFBS approach to reach 175,000 farmers in 7 countries and is continuing to scale. Last year CARE worked in 90 countries and reached more than 72 million people around the world.

Contacts: Pierre KadetMaureen Miruka and Emily Janoch

Le CSE est un Centre d’excellence spécialisé dans les technologies spatiales notamment en matière de collecte, de saisie, de traitement, d'analyse et de diffusion de données et d’informations sur l’environnement et les ressources naturelles. Grâce au programme « Veille Environnementale et Sécurité Alimentaire », le CSE fournit un soutien aux divers organismes gouvernementaux et les institutions de recherche sur des questions telles que : Suivi de la végétation, suivi pastoral, suivi de la campagne agricole, suivi des feux de brousse, caractérisation et élaboration de plan gestion des unités pastorales, élaboration de plans d’adaptation aux changements climatiques, Analyse de vulnérabilité aux changements climatiques.

Le CSE est partenaire de la FAO dans l’exécution du projet Intégration de la résilience climatique dans la production agro-pastorale pour la sécurité alimentaire dans les zones rurales vulnérables à travers l’approche des champs- école paysans. Le CSE a pour ambition d’intégrer cette approche  dans ses projets et programmes.

Contact: Amadou Sall et Abdoulaye Faye

CIP’s experience with FFS
CIP has been a pioneer in the adaptation of the FFS approach for participatory research and training related to potato and sweetpotato.  The experience involved countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the adaptation was carried out in close collaboration with national research and development organizations.  In the case of Peru, the phase of adaptation took place between 1997 and 1999 when CIP and other organizations from Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru received training from FAO.  After that there was a replication phase between 2000 and 2004 where other organizations started to use FFS, during this phase CIP collaborated with CARE-Peru; and then a period of institutionalization between 2005 and 2014 when a number of other organizations started to use the method for different topics (crops and livestock).  CIP played an active role in the first two phases, particularly for the design of FFS manuals related to the potato crop management, and the assessment of outcomes and impact of the FFS as a participatory research and training method.  Evaluations confirmed significant learning (increase in knowledge) of FFS participants, and an association of increased knowledge with increased productivity.  A similar process occurred in Bolivia, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Uganda. During the institutionalization phase in Peru, CIP has played an advisory role for some organizations, particularly helping with training of facilitators.  CIP also assessed the factors that facilitated or limited involvement of stakeholders in FFS or other participatory methods.  At the current stage, CIP is analysing establishing an agreement with el SINEACE (national system for the evaluation and accreditation of educational quality) from the Ministry of Education in order to certify facilitators of FFS.

 Contact points: Ricardo Orrego (r.orrego@cgiar.org) and Oscar Ortiz (o.ortiz@cgiar.org )

Development in Gardening (DIG) is an international US non-profit that was founded in 2006 out of a collaborative garden project with the Infectious Disease Ward at Fann National Hospital in Senegal. DIG initially started as an organization supporting facility gardens but adapted our programming based on the expressed needs of PLHIV, young women and other community groups for household support and farmer training. Using a community-led model, DIG enables vulnerable communities to become more resilient, healthy and connected through nutrition-sensitive and climate-smart agriculture. 

DIG adopted FAO’s Farmer Field School (FFS) approach in 2010 in Kenya working with HIV support groups. DIG has continued to adopt the approach throughout our programs in Kenya and Uganda to meet farmers’ specific nutritional vulnerabilities and expressed needs.  DIG has graduated 2,000+ farmers through the FFS and Farmer Field Business School working in a wide range of geographies and diverse communities. DIG addresses these key impact areas through the FFS approach - climate resilience, food security, nutrition, income generation, and social support.

Kenya Program Coordinator: Olivia Nyaidho 
Uganda Program Coordinator: Lauren Masey
US Contact: Noah Derman

FFS promotion services

FFS Promotion Services (FFS-PS) is a 'company limited by guarantee' started in Kenya in 2006. It was initiated by FFS professionals and trainers who had been involved in the introduction and expansion of the Farmers Field School approach in Africa since 1995.

FFS-PS facilitates stakeholders in the agricultural sector to support innovation and embrace participatory and experiential learning approaches aimed at ensuring food security, sound environmental management and empowerment of local communities.

FFS-PS focuses on facilitation, capacity building, quality enhancement, knowledge sharing and scaling up of people-centered learning approaches among agricultural service providers and stakeholders in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Contact: Godrick Khisa

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Its goal is to enable poor rural women and men to improve their food and nutrition security, increase their incomes and strengthen their resilience.  

IFAD’s focus on smallholder farmers and rural poverty makes the FFS approach highly adapted to its operations in the field. IFAD’s engagement with FFS dates back to 1999 through grants in support to FFS in Eastern Africa followed by several grants to assess FFS effectiveness and scale them up. Presently, FFS is the approach most commonly used for extension in several of IFAD’s investment programmes globally. This is especially true for the Eastern and Southern Africa, West and Central Africa and Asia and the Pacific regions and to a lesser extent for the Near East and North Africa and Latin America and Caribbean regions.

The FFS thematic areas include integrated vegetable production in greenhouse and open fields, staple food crops, Integrated Pest Management, seed production, conservation agriculture, integrated fruit tree production, livestock production, pastoralists and rangeland management, food processing and integrated homestead gardens for women groups, marketing, among others. The widespread use of the FFS approach implemented by various actors in different countries, however, has raised concerns about the quality of FFS being promoted. This is due to a variable understanding of the basic FFS principles, inappropriate methods of training of facilitators and farmers, and improper curriculum development and implementation.

Contact: Wafaa El Khoury 

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as the implementing agency for providing Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) in an integrated fashion, carries out international cooperation with developing countries.

JICA has started using the FFS approach to social forestry extension in 2004 in Kenya. Using three core activities, Agro-Eco-System Analysis (AESA), Group Dynamics and Special Topics, the project in Kenya (2004-2009) contributed to both environmental conservation and livelihood enhancement of farmers. Before then, FFS had mostly focused on agriculture, thus the project innovated the approach by adapting it to social forestry, including a combination of agriculture and forestry components, and strategies to raise interest of farmers in forestry fields. In the project, directors of district forest offices (DOF) also contributed to the backstopping and quality control of the workshops. This creative model of FFS approach and its experiences have been widely shared to other African countries through third country training sessions since 2014 as a good practice. In total approximately 40 people from 17 countries have participated in the training workshops as of December 2016.  The FFS model to social forestry was also used in a sustainable forest conservation project in Ethiopia since 2007 and is currently being used in the ‘Sustainable Natural Resource Management through FFS in the Rift Valley Area of Oromia Region’ project in Ethiopia, started in 2012.

In addition, JICA has also approached using FFS in agriculture projects in Niger and Burkina Faso.

Contact: Emi Teshima (Ms.) (Natural Environment team)

Oxfam Novib is world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty. Around the globe, we work to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. Oxfam Novib works towards sustainable rural livelihoods, gender and youth inclusion, transparent and accountable finance, conflict transformation and rights in crises and provides humanitarian aid.

Oxfam Novib’s Sowing Diversity equals Harvesting Security (SD=HS) program challenges unequal and unsustainable aspects of seed and food production systems globally in multiple ways. SD=HS is implemented by a unique (in size and global coverage) consortium of eight international organizations: ANDES, CTDT, GRAIN, ETC Group, Third World Network, South Centre, SEARICE and lead by Oxfam Novib. The scope of this consortium enables the program to influence local and global policies and institutions on both access to and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, in order to achieve food and nutrition security.

SD=HS supports and helps build Farmer Field Schools, where traditional and scientific knowledge is utilized for PGRFA management for climate change adaptation. Farmer Field Schools are tried and tested method where local farmers collectively learn to define problems, seek solutions and set targets. The program has developed self-explanatory Farmer Field School curricula that can be adapted by a wide range of stakeholders within and beyond the scope of the program. For SD=HS, Farmer Field Schools are the entry and exit strategy to move from an anecdotal to a high-impact phase in terms of program results, sustainability, and outreach.

Contact: Gigi Manicad, Programme Leader, Sowing Diversity= Harvesting Security (SD=HS)

The overall goal of the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR) is to enhance the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity for meeting human needs by improving knowledge of all its different aspects.   

Integrating agrobiodiversity into FFS goes beyond crops. It includes crops, animals, fish and wild plants used by people in agricultural landscapes. It encompasses integrating biodiversity in the wider agro-ecosystem and provides important ecosystem services. Under the principals that agrobiodiversity is not just ”out there” but is a result of the continuously changing relationship between farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers, fishers and their natural environment; PAR supports the FFS Global agenda through:  (1) its development of an adequate agrobiodiversity knowledge base through collating, synthesizing and disseminating agrobiodiversity knowledge, making available the relevant tools and practices that support improved use of agrobiodiversity, and identifying areas where information is lacking and new knowledge is needed including in FFS; (2) through identifying ways in which agrobiodiversity can contribute to addressing some of the major global challenges faced today (e.g. environmental degradation, poverty alleviation, climate change, water quality and scarcity, and new global disease threats) by making available the information and options that ensure the contribution of agrobiodiversity in FFS; and through (3)  facilitating  relevant new and innovative research partnerships, that strengthen multidisciplinary and participatory agrobiodiversity research, and involve work on different agro-ecosystem components (such as livestock, crops, soils, pollinators, etc.) and contribute to building agrobiodiversity research capacity, particularly in the developing regions. PAR has carried out evaluations of the diversity of crop and livestock enterprises among agro-biodiversity and non agro-biodiversity farmer field schools (ABD-FFS).

Contact: Toby Hodgkin 

Practical Action is an International Development organization established in 1966 with the objective of reducing poverty through wider use of appropriate technologies in developing countries. With the Head Office in the UK, Practical Action works through its Country and Regional Offices in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Peru.

Across the different countries, Practical Action works in (1) Access to energy (2) Agriculture, Markets and Food security (3) Urban Water, Sanitation and Waste and (4) Disaster Risk Reduction. In addition to these, Climate Change, Making markets work for the poor and Practical Answers to Poverty are considered as cross cutting sectors. We also mainstream gender across all our programmatic works. The main objective of the organization is to change the people’s life through adopting and using technologies, sharing knowledge and influencing for impact at scale.

Brief description of our work:
Across the different offices, we have been implementing FFS (Farmer Field School), Climate Field School (CFS), promotion of climate resilient varieties, women friendly technologies, Early Warning System (EWS) and climate adaptive practices to improve livelihood and build the resilience of farming community. We closely work with community, government, stakeholders and private sectors in all our areas of work.

Below are the key highlights of our work:

  • FFS in vegetable, fruits, grains, cacao and in seed production of small grains (cowpeas, sorghum, pearl millet, bambarra nuts),
  • CFS in three sub-sectors: vegetable, spices and goat to enable farmers to understand the climate change impacts in these sub-sectors and discuss the local solutions and adopt the climate resilient varieties and  adaptive practices
  • EWS to help communities save their lives from natural disasters like flood through hydrology station and SMS alerts
  • Weather information and agro-advisory services to help communities make informed decision to undertake agriculture practices
  • ICT based call centre to respond to farmer’s queries
  • Pumpkin cultivation in Char

Name of the focal persons:

Under the initiative of Dr Iftikhar Ahmad (late), SOFT came in to being a private sector custodian of FFS learning system professional facilitators working across Pakistan. SOFT is a not for profit society created in 2009, after a 10 years of implementation of FFS-based IPM from the platform of National IPM Programme of PARC (Pakistan Agricultural Research Council) assisted by FAO and related agencies in Pakistan. It was created by a group of professionals with a mission to empower people through developing capacities of individuals, groups and institutions to pursue sustainable and peaceful livelihood development through FFS learning system without compromising their freedom and quality of life. The SOFT represent a Network of 40+ national and international member organizations. Over the years the SOFT has successfully completed 23 key projects for farmers, women and youth with a cadre development of 870 facilitators and trainers skilled on FFS learning system on field crops, water, pulses, seed production, food processing, bee keeping, poultry & livestock, kitchen gardening, agribusiness, nutrition and ecological based transformative agriculture. Currently SOFT is pursuing and implementing ICT based e-FFS learning management system along with Irrigation Field School (IFS), in addition to other farmer-led participatory learning models with the help of ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research). 

Contact: info@softpakistan.org