Under Fruit and Vegetable Development Project, mango, citrus and vegetable growers are being trained through Farmer Field School (FFS) system by a participatory approach i.e. Learning by Doing. During current year 48 mango FFSs, 48 citrus FFSs each in their 4 respective districts and 81 vegetable FFSs in 12 districts are in operation by the well trained facilitators.
Farmer Field School System
Farmer Field School is an unusual site. School without walls where farmers and facilitators gather on weekly/fortnightly basis to analyze the progress of a crop, learn the biotech interactions between soil, plants & insects, chart the dynamics of insect population and finally bring this knowledge together to make informed crop management decision.
Components of FFS
Farmer Field School System (FFS) comprises of following four components:
- Master Trainer
Master Trainer is a key trainer who trains the facilitators. He plays a complex role as an experienced facilitator, organizer, coordinator and evaluator. 11 Master Trainers i.e. Assistant Director Agriculture are conducting “Training of Facilitators” (ToF) on each Monday at DDA/HO office in accordance to the curricula developed for each crop.
FFS facilitator is more than a teacher or an instructor. He plays a complex role of an experienced farmer, a questioner, a confidante, an organizer, and a coordinator. 43 teams of facilitators are running the FFS activities in project districts. Each team comprises one Agricultural Officer and one field Assistant.
- Member Farmer
Farmers with piece of land under cultivation, willing to participate in FFS activities throughout the crop season and have the decision powers to implement the farm operations. During current year, 25 farmers per FFS (4425) have been selected in all project districts, keeping in view their practical engagement in self cultivation with level of interest.
- Demonstration Plot
A field with a specific crop which act as primary learning material for the training of farmers/facilitators, from where they collect, analyze and compare field data. It also acts as a class room for FFS. 48 mango, 48 citrus blocks of 5 acre each and 81 walk-in tunnels (120x10x7) for off-season vegetables along with 162 open field vegetable plots of 2 kanals each have been established at the respective FFS sites.