Agroforestry Farmer Field Schools: Informed Farmers for Sustainable Landscapes
Endri Martini, James Roshetko
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Indonesia
Most of agroforestry extension methods are modified from methods developed for agricultural extension. These extension methods were mainly developed to enhance production of staple crops or short term crops with production cycles of less than one year especially in monoculture systems. The presences of perennial crops in agroforestry systems require more than 1 year to see the results of agroforestry extension programs. Also, the focus of agroforestry extension programs is not only focused on one commodity but tries to optimise production of different crops under one agroforestry system. Thus, agroforestry extension need to focus more on 'equipping' farmers with knowledge that can enhance their analytical skills in managing their agroforestry farms. Farmer field school (FFS) is one of the extension methods that facilitate the process of knowledge transfer. A two-way communication between farmers and extension agents in FFS facilitates the interactive learning process that enhances farmers' willingness to test technologies introduced through the extension program. Designing an Agroforestry Farmer Field School (AFFS) focusing on agroforestry farm management is expected to enhance agroforestry farm productivity. The objectives of the AFFS are to: 1) enhance farmers' analytical skills in managing agroforestry that support the sustainable landscape management; 2) provide innovative extension approach that enhance farmers' analytical skills and information networking; 3) utilize farmer demonstration trials and nursery as places to test and learn new agroforestry technologies; and 4) prepare expert farmers who will play a role as agroforestry extension agents. Topics learned in the AFFS are linked to sustainable landscape management with a broad spectrum from germplasm improvement to garden management. Combinations of different extension methods are used in the AFFS, ranging from scientist-to-farmer, farmer-to-farmer, field site visits and development of demonstration trials. The AFFS on agroforestry farm management was tested in Sulawesi, Indonesia under Agroforestry and Forestry project (AgFor) from 2013 to 2015. The implementation of AFFS has contributed to the enhancement of agroforestry as an important source of livelihood in sustainable landscapes of Sulawesi.
Keywords: AgFor, agroforestry extension, demonstration trials, expert farmer, Sulawesi
Contact Address: Endri Martini, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Southeast Asia Regional Program, P.O. Box 161, 16001 Bogor, Indonesia, e-mail: E.Martinicgiar.org