Farmers during FFS introductory session

Introducing the FFS

Introducing the FFSWhen a group of farmers has been selected to start an FFS the first step is to organize an introductory meeting. During this meeting the facilitators and farmers get to know each other and start exchanging information:

  • Introduce the concept of IPM
  • Explain the training process: It will be a style of training they have never experienced before:
    • Participatory
    • Practical
    • Learning by doing
    • Experimenting
  • Farmers during FFS introductory session

  • Explain about comparing IPM plot with Farmers’ Practice (FP) plot*
    • Management IPM plot will be decided in FFS (using AESA)
    • Management FP lots is the same as farmers in the area
  • Start finding out how the farmers are currently managing their crop
    • Make cropping calendar
    • Get baseline data:
      • Field size
      • Type of crops / varieties
      • Inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, labor costs)
      • Outputs (production kg/area, price/kilo)
  • Farmers registration

  • Discuss about possible experiments (based on problems mentioned by farmers).
  • Start planning some (small scale) experiments, for example:
    • Compare crop varieties
    • Fertilizer experiment
    • Use of bio-pesticides
    • Plant compensation experiment
    • Etc.
  • Get commitment of farmers to be participants in the FFS. Talk about their expectations.
  • Facilitator during the introductory session of the FFS

  • Discuss some practical aspects
    • Which field to use for IPM and FP plots
    • Snacks during meetings? Who is responsible?
    • Agree place and time of meeting. Get commitment to be punctual.
  • Together visit the site where IPM plot will be and see the FFS meeting place.
  • During this first meeting also include a group dynamics exercise or ice-breaker to create a comfortable atmosphere in the group.

Visit to the FFS location

* Comparing an IPM plot with a FP (Farmer Practice) plot is essential in an FFS where participants are farmers with intensive pesticide use. However, sometimes an FFS could have participants who are not using pesticides (for example an FFS with the objective to teach rural women to grow homestead vegetables). That type of FFS would have only the IPM plot but no FP plot. But of course it would have several other experimental plots to provide additional learning opportunities.

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