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Participatory and collaborative learning through the farmer field 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.
dark green: previous working districts;
light green: districts in 2007
WOCAT database reference: QA NEP4
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
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