farmer field school

Farmer Field Schools Lead to Lasting Changes for Douglas

My name is Douglas. I’m 43 years old, married with 3 children, and I’m a member of a Farmer Field School. I’ve worked the land all my adult life, growing corn and beans on my 5-hectare (12-acre) plot. We used to have set planting times, and prepared the land by burning and raking. Our yields weren’t so good, so we had to go to pick coffee on other farms for a few months a year to earn money for food and home expenses.

Thanks to the training workshops, I’ve made a lot of changes over the past year. They include waiting for the best time to plant by consulting with others and listening for crop and weather information on the radio. And instead of burning and raking, leaving the ground naked, I use careful placement of organic refuse to protect the soil from erosion. I’m also trying out different drought-tolerant seed varieties.

Now, I don’t just grow corn and beans, but have filled our land with other food plants. Corn and beans are expensive to cultivate, and have not yielded well in past years. Instead, we are planting more crops for our families to eat, and we are also learning to grow coffee, cocoa and other cash crops. In fact, I’m even intercropping my bananas, chocolate, coffee, and cassava to use my land more efficiently.

These changes have helped my family’s wellbeing. We’re improving our house, have bought a cow, and have replaced a part of our land that we had sold. Now we only go to the coffee harvest for a couple of weeks a year. I am working at convincing more of my neighbors try these new techniques so they can know the same success I have had.

FRB’s local partner, AMC, says that an initial needs assessment on each farm allows them to invest resources wisely. AMC staff has learned that adapting new practices is a long-term process with the farmers, so individualized technical visits to farms are a priority. Attendance at workshops is not necessarily an indicator of success, so follow-up with participants after workshops is a must to promote lasting change in attitudes in the farming families.

Nicaragua-Farmer encompasses 7 communities, 361 households, and 1, 625 individuals

04/10/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Kenya, Farmer Field School graduates work together on poultry production and water collection

FRB’s Kenya Ganze-Jaribuni program supports smallholder farmers in coastal Kenya by organizing them into Farmer Field Schools (FFS) to learn conservation agriculture methods, agroforestry and animal raising. In Jaribuni there are 306 farmers in eight FFSs. The following profile of one FFS shows how the farmers have continued to use their skills to

03/12/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Uganda, Chandiru’s training on hygiene and gardening brings her “new life”

Chandiru, a single mother of three, is a member of a Farmer Field School (FFS) in FRB’s Uganda-West Nile program. The schools train farmers on sustainable farming technologies and other subjects related to food security, including sanitation and nutrition.

In communities such as Chandiru’s, many households do not have toilets or other sanitary facilities, exposing the communities to health risks such as cholera, diarrhea, and infections. Chandiru said that, before she joined the group, issues of sanitation and hygiene were not important to her, but now that’s all changed through the trainings she’s received.

03/05/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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