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What are FFS?

Farmer Field School (FFS) is an approach based on people-centred learning. Participatory methods to create an environment conducive to learning: the participants can exchange knowledge and experience in a risk free setting. Practical field exercises using direct observation, discussion and decision making encourage learning-­by­-doing. The field is the space where local knowledge and outside scientific insights are tested, validated and integrated, in the context of local ecosystem and socio-economic settings. Community-based problem analysis is the entry point for a FFS group to develop a location specific curriculum. A growing range of technical topics are being addressed through FFS: soil, crop and water management, seeds multiplication and varietal testing, IPM, agropastoralism, aquaculture, agroforestry, nutrition, value chain, and link to markets, etc.

FAO and other development organizations have been promoting FFS to address a broad range of problems and technical domains in over 90 countries.

A Farmer Field School offers space for hands-on group learning, enhancing skills for critical analysis and improved decision making by local people. FFS activities are field based, include experimentation to solve problems, reflecting a specific local context. Participants learn how to improve skills through observing, analysing and trying out new ideas on their own fields, contributing to improved production and livelihoods.  The FFS process enhances individual, household and community empowerment and cohesion.