Farmer’s Field School

Farmers Field Schools are ‘schools without walls’ which are held in farmers’ fields. Typically, a group of about 25 to 30 vegetable farmers meet on a weekly basis and grow and study together in a vegetable crop of local relevance and choice from sowing to harvest. Through the educational tool ‘Agro-ecosystem Analysis’ farmers monitor crops and record data on observations of the crop situation. Data are analyzed by farmers and discussed in small groups.  Decisions are made and implemented with regards to the needed crop management. This Agro-EcoSystem Analysis (AESA) is done by farmers on a weekly basis and allows farmers to deepen their understanding of local crop ecology and needs for intervention. FFSs are facilitated by expert IPM trainers, who can either be Government or NGO extension workers or be FFS-Alumni farmers themselves. IPM Expert trainers have themselves undergone season long vegetable IPM training in so called ‘Training of Trainers Courses’[1].

Working strategy of the training program is that farmers, who have undergone IPM FFS training, are better able to identify pest and disease problems and have acquired the necessary skills and confidence required to avoid the unnecessary use of chemical pesticides without yield losses. IPM farmers are then also in a much better position to make informed decisions about growing a healthy, sustainable and profitable vegetable crop. Farmers are set on a path to explore new innovative and more environment friendly options for pest and disease management (such as bio-pesticides) during follow up group learning activities as to further reduce dependency on inputs of chemical pesticides.

FFS and other participatory research methodologies are commonly used platforms for our research-development projects in the Asia-Pacific region.


[1] For more details on the FFS approach to IPM training, various crops covered and an updated overview of # of farmers and trainers trained in each of the FAO Programme Member Countries, the reader is advised to consult the following website: www.vegetableipmasia.org.

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