Глобальная платформа фермерских полевых школ

Celebration of the training of facilitators and master trainers in Burundi: A Key Step towards Sustainable Agriculture in Burundi


The graduation ceremony for master trainers and facilitators of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach in Burundi, which took place on Friday February 09, 2024, was a major event in the advancement of Burundian agriculture. Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock (MINEAGRIE), it highlighted the significant progress made in training and skills enhancement.
The ceremony saw the presentation of certificates to seven master trainers and sixty farmer field school facilitators, testifying to their commitment and expertise after thirty-three intensive days of training. Based on the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach and aimed at promoting Climate Intelligent Agriculture (CIA), the training took place in the Gitega region between August 2023 and February 2024.

Funding for this initiative was made possible by project GCP/BDI/037/LDF: "Projet de réhabilitation des paysages naturels et d'adaptation au changement climatique dans les provinces de Bujumbura et Bujumbura Mairie à travers l'approche des Champs Écoles des Producteurs". The program, designed to balance theory (25%) and practice (75%), benefited from the expertise of two international master trainers, supported by a team of master trainers and national experts.

A distinctive feature of the course is its sequential approach, involving five intensive on-site sessions with a strong emphasis on practice. Comparative learning plots in Gitega and model grower school fields were established, offering trainees full immersion in the various phases of production cycles. This approach was favored after an evaluation revealed the limitations of a short-term training model.

An essential component of this approach is the complementarity between the FFS and the Outreach Centers. The latter focus on an agricultural or livestock activity with a relatively high level of investment, enabling production to be intensified in a remarkable area. This socio-economic innovation is likely to contribute to the emergence of a new development model, creating income and jobs for unemployed young people.

The certificate award ceremony was an opportunity for the authorities present to express their satisfaction with the quality of the training provided, illustrated by the remarkable development of the learning fields, tackling major issues in Burundian agriculture. They also recommended that this model be duplicated in all the country's provinces, underlining the importance of collaboration between the FFS and the Outreach Centers.

This FFS approach, recently implemented in Burundi, offers a valuable opportunity to strengthen the national agricultural extension system, by integrating participatory research and community-based agricultural services.

In the future, a national workshop will be organized to share the results of capitalizing on the training and pilot experience of FFS-Outreach Center integration. This event will bring together all the players involved, from the public and private sectors, extension, scientific research, teaching and agricultural innovation.