Farm Business School handbook: Training of farmers programme for South Asia


Farm Business School handbook: Training of farmers programme for South Asia

Download Full Report 2.0Mb

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok 2011


Dramatic changes are taking place in farming worldwide as a result of globalisation, liberalisation, and rapid urbanisation. Farmers are intensifying existing patterns of production and diversifying their farm enterprises in an attempt to improve their livelihoods. Technical know-how is not enough. In order to be competitive and take advantage of the new opportunities that are arising, farmers increasingly have to adapt their farm business to market changes and improve efficiency, profitability and income. Farmersí skills and capacity can only be built through a process of learning and practice. The Farm Business School (FBS) has been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to help farmers learn how to make their farming enterprises and overall farm operations profitable and able to respond to market demands. The learning takes place at the village level and farmers' capacity in entrepreneurial and management skills is built via a "learning by doing" approach. Extension officers and lead farmers are trained as facilitators and then organise seasonal training courses, where farmers work in small groups at their own pace using materials that have been specially designed for the schools. The Training of Farmers Programme consists of two parts: 1) the manual which provides the facilitator with step-by-step guidelines to the Farmer Training Programme and 2) the handbook which is a reference book for farmers to use during and after the FBS meetings and outlines key concepts as well as experimental exercises to help facilitate farmersí learning. This publication presents the handbook.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Diagnosis and planning
Module 1: Starting the Farm Business School (FBS)
    Meeting 1: Rationale for a Farm Business School
    Meeting 2: Developing group ownership and scheduling meetings
Module 2: Understanding basic business concepts
    Meeting 3: Farming as a business
    Meeting 4: The farmer as an entrepreneur
    Meeting 5: Farm business profitability
Module 3: Where are we now
    Meeting 6: Assessing current farm situation
    Meeting 7: Translating analysis into action
    Meeting 8: Understanding enterprise profitability
    Meeting 9: Understanding marketing and markets
    Meeting 10: Preparing for a market survey
Module 4: Knowing where we want to go
    Meeting 12: Developing a vision and goal for the farm business
Module 5: Developing a farm business plan
    Meeting 13: Choosing an enterprise
    Meeting 14: Components of a farm business plan
    Meeting 15: Preparing a farm business plan
    Meeting 16: Preparing an action plan
Module 6: Keeping records
    Meeting 17: Overview of record keeping
    Meeting 18: Practice of keeping farm business records-I
    Meeting 19: Practice of keeping farm business records-II
    Meeting 20: Agreeing on sessions and schedule

Part 2: Implementing
Module 7: FBS Meetings during production season
    Meeting 21: Mobilizing finance
    Meeting 22: Group marketing
    Meeting 24: Group buying and saving
    Meeting 25: Understanding contract farming
    Meeting 26: Contract appraisal
    Meeting 27: Assessing and managing business risks
    Meeting 28: Benchmarking
    Meeting 29: Characteristics of an effective entrepreneur
    Meeting 30: Value addition

Part 3: Evaluating and re-planning
Module 8: Reviewing past business and planning for the next season
    Meeting 31: Assessing the benefits of the Farm Business School
    Meeting 32: Assessing the performance of the business plan
    Meeting 33: Choosing farm enterprises for the next season
    Meeting 34: Preparing a farm business plan
    Meeting 35: Developing an action plan

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

ISBN 978-92-5-106818-2

All rights reserved. FAO encourages reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product. Non-commercial uses will be authorized free of charge upon request. Reproduction for resale or other commercial purposes, including educational purposes, may incur fees. Applications for permission to reproduce or disseminate FAO copyright materials, and all other queries concerning rights and licences, should be addressed to:

Publishing Policy and Support Branch
Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension - FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
or by e-mail to: [email protected]

For copies write to:Agriculture and Food Systems Group (AFS)
FAO Regional office for Asia and the Pacific
Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 2 697 4000
Fax: (+66) 2 697 4445
E-maill: [email protected]

© FAO 2011