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Understanding the Farmer Field School agro-ecosystem analysis board










Jam, M.K. 2021. Understanding the Farmer Field School agro-ecosystem analysis board. Multan, FAO.




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    Policy brief
    What have we learned from trees? Three decades of farmer field schools on agroforestry and forestry 2022
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    Over the last three decades, Farmer Field Schools (FFS) have proven to be an effective discovery-learning-capacity building approach to help rural populations to innovate with more clarity and purpose while building the social skills needed for rural transformation and empowerment. The diverse forestry and agroforestry applications of the FFS demonstrate a high impact on fostering ecological literacy and unlocking creative capacities in problem solving. Producers are encouraged to take ownership of change occurring at the local level. FFSs in forestry and agroforestry can help rural families and producer organizations develop multiple ways of reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture and contribute to rehabilitating ecologies and restoring ecosystems. The experiences of farmer field schools (FFS) around the world show a tremendous potential to advance small-scale forestry and agroforestry. By applying the FFS approach to agroforestry and forestry, it is possible to: Enable family farmers to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and social organization to achieve a more regenerative natural resource stewardship in and through small-scale and family farming, and to collectively contribute to sustainability and climate change targets. Support people-centred forest extension and community-based forestry by demonstrating the key role of better education and ecological literacy in empowering change in rural communities. Develop “response-ability”, i.e. the capacity of small-scale producers to respond to challenges in agriculture, food and natural resources management with renewed creativity, knowledge and technological development. Develop multiple ways of reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture while ensuring food security and nutrition and contributing to ecosystems restoration, climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as biodiversity conservation.
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    Project
    Support to the Government of Rwanda in Sustainable Control and Management of Fall Armyworm - TCP/RWA/3608 2020
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    With the Fall Armyworm (FAW) pest affecting over 80 crop species in Rwanda in 2017 alone, many farmers saw their yields decrease and incomes depleted. Despite pest management and containment efforts, FAW in Rwanda has remained active since then, given its resistance and adaptability to the country’s climate and ecology. FAW was reported in all of Rwanda’s 30 districts by April 2017, affecting an estimated 38 percent of all maize crops (equal to 17 521 hectares), an essential cash and food crop among the national population at large. This was mainly due to limited capacities of the national research and extension service systems in ensuring early detection and timely response. As a transboundary insect with rapid spreading potential due its natural biological nature – and easily transmitted through trade and commerce – the FAW was found to pose a threat to livestock as well due to FAW-infested feed. In response to the need for integrated pest management (IPM) and early warning systems, the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) requested FAO’s technical support to mitigate FAW-related damage to crops and mitigate their impact on food security. Thus, in strengthening the capacities of the RAB, MINAGRI and District Directorates of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the project ensured a holistic approach to combatting the FAW by leading inter-institutional coordination consultations, capacity assessments, information management initiatives and community-based trainings for community farmers, district and sector agronomists, extension agents, Farmer Field School (FFS) Facilitators and RAB researchers. In addition, FAO’s Fall Armyworm Early Warning System (FAMEWS) mobile application and IPM guidance principles helped drive the training-of-trainers activities. As such, the project’s combination of programmatic coordination, technical assistance and equipment delivery made for a timely response ahead of the September - December 2017 agriculturalseason.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Enabling "Response-ability
    A stocktaking of farmer field schools on smallholder forestry and agroforestry
    2023
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    Forestry and agroforestry education and extension programmes for forest and farm communities have not kept up with needs in many places. However, the success of achieving international sustainability goals and implementing global commitments with respect to sustainable production, halting land degradation, ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation is contingent on having capacity in place at local levels, or building it, across a large part of the world’s rural lands. This publication reviews the current and potential application of farmer field schools (FFS) to strengthen the capacities and skills of smallholders and family framers in sustainable forestry and agriculture production. From 2020 to 2021, FAO conducted a stocktaking study to identify opportunities, challenges and lessons learned in the application of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach on forestry and agroforestry. Through the review of over 400 documents (peer-reviewed and grey literature), 36 in-depth key informant interviews and a stakeholder workshop, this stocktaking identified twenty-one majors FFS programmes in forestry and agroforestry, with over 200 000 graduates distributed across every region of the Global South. Three decades of FFS experience on forestry, particularly agroforestry, has taken place in multiple geographic, environmental, and social contexts – from arid and semi-arid savannahs to high rainfall mountain environments. This experience represents a diverse, well-tested, decentralized and, locally situated knowledge base on which to build future programmes aiming at strengthening farmers and forest dwellers’ capacity to create sustainable agricultural systems that include trees and perennial crops. This stocktaking argues that though enhanced understanding of agro-ecological dynamics and farmer-led experimentation, the FFS can enable farmers across the globe to sustain or improve productivity while reducing their dependence on externally based inputs. Forestry and agroforestry applications promise to enhance the environmental integrity and socio-economic impacts of FFS, mainly by increasing the presence of perennials in production systems, useful for stabilizing food security and strengthening on-farm ecosystem services.

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