Farmer field schools on integrated plant nutrient systems

Participatory and collaborative learning through the farmer fi eld school approach

There are different ways of carrying out agricultural extension. Farmer field schools represent a participatory approach that directly reaches farmers and addresses their day-to-day problems. The concept of farmer field schools builds on the belief that farmers are the main source of knowledge and experience in carrying out farm operations, in contrast to conventional top-down approaches that place most value on scientists’ findings.

The term ‘farmer field schools’ came from the Indonesian expression ‘sekolah lapangan’ which means ‘field school’. It is a group based learning approach, which brings together concepts and method of agro-ecology, experiential education, and community development. The first field schools were established in 1989 in central Java when 50 plant protection officers tested and developed field training methods as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) training of trainers course. Two hundred field schools were established in that season involving 5,000 farmers. The following season, in 1990, an additional 45,000 farmers joined field schools run by 450 crop protection officers.


  • Lack of effective and efficient ways of transferring technologies to farmers
  • Conventional approach of technology transfer, where farmers are believed to have poor knowledge and skills
  • Farmers are always perceived as a recipient of technology and knowledge


  • Transfer of technology to farmers on soil and plant nutrition management
  • Empowerment of farmers
  • Production of healthy crops without negative environmental effects

WOCAT database reference: QA NEP4

Location: Nepal

Land use: Cropland

Climate: Humid subtropical

Related technology: Improved cattle shed for urine collection (QT NEP1); Legume integration (QT NEP3); Organic pest management (QT NEP4); Improved compost preparation (QT NEP7); Better quality farmyard manure through improved decomposition (QT NEP8); Improved farmyard manure through sunlight, rain and runoff protection (QT NEP9); Cultivation of fodder and grasses (QT NEP23); Urine application through drip irrigation for bitter gourd production (QT NEP24)

Target Users: Land users, SWC specialists/extensionists

Compiled by: SSMP

Date: June 2007