ALIN Awarded 2011 Access to Learning Award by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
James Nguo, ALIN Regional Director, rejoices after the announcement in San Juan, Puerto Rico by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo: © BMGF
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
On Farm training - The way to go
Farming is best learnt by doing it. Traditionally farming was an art that was passed from one generation to another. Farming training could start at child early age where the student farmer could learn from elderly people so that when he/she grow old she can take the next step of establishing his/her own farming enterprises for substance farming or barter trade.
According to the farmers this on farm training method enabled the student farmers to familiarize with farming techniques as he/she grows. The Farmers from Kyuso District of Kitui county of Kenya can remember when the Farmers Field School existed. These schools were dubbed School without walls and they say that even the farm yield was high as compared to today’s.
The FFS training could takes into account the trainee’s needs, difficulties and plans. It could not last long and knowledge is quickly gained. The farmers had opportunity of seeing how things are done since the training took place in field
According to elderly farmers this has changed drastically, since the introduction of field/agricultural extension officer it has become hard for the farmers to conceptualize the extension officer’ training due to the techniques used. They added that these officer goes to school learn broad agriculture and numerous technique. They bring all this techniques to them and expect them to understand.
One of the issue that arise is that this learned extension officer are young and therefore don’t talk in a language that they can understand. These officers come with flip charts, pens, cameras which sometime divert the farmers’ attention to training.
The farmers feel that they would rather have a on farm training once a month than numerous under roof/shade. Kyuso Maarifa centre which is one of the ALIN centre disseminate the information to the community in a format suitable to the group. We use on farm training, video and Farmer-Farmer extension approach. The photo above show Kyuso Maarifa Centre trying to understand the causes of Kale drying even after watering with Kakoongo Dam Group.