Kwiza Mbumbeh, Maiduguri
The Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO) of United Nations is training 51 facilitators of the Farmers’ Field School (FFS) in Northeast.
According to the organization, the training of facilitators was to build their capacities to facilitate innovations in the agricultural sector of economy.
He said that the training and capacity building of farmers’ are funded by the Norwegian Government.
Declaring the training open, yesterday, in Maiduguri, the Head of FAO Northeast Office, Al Hassan Cissie disclosed: “FFS is a participatory approach in providing skills to farmers. The school is a platform for an enabling environment where farmers can meet and exchange to bring innovations in the agriculture sector.”
He said the innovations comprise farm management, good practices in agriculture, livestock and fisheries in Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Sokoto and Yobe states.
Besides, he added that the three-week training was to complement extension services; which had been disrupted in the over a decade insurgency.
Speaking on the importance of FFS, he said that it’s to help farmers to improve their productivity for food security, income generation and social cohesion.
Continuing, he said: “To o develop a strong and sustainable FFS programmes,” noting that there is need to begin by building the capacities of farmers; which are pillars of the agriculture sector,”
He explained that it’s an interactive and participatory learning by doing approach among farmers/pastoralists in their communities.
“The FFS activities are anchored in non-formal adult education approach,” said Cissie.
This, according to him, will enable learning through direct experience with the integration of scientific insights into local knowledge systems.
Restoring farmers’ livelihoods, he disclosed that the school has programmed from extension services to agricultural innovations platforms and focus on farmers participation in the innovation process.
He added that the school is a platform to respond to challenges of farming and livestock production by scaling up extension service delivery in the region.
He noted that after the training, the facilitators are to be provided with necessary support to implement what they have learned.
The support, according to him, include improved seeds and fertilizers during the rainy season.
While in the dry season, the same farm inputs are distributed for the production of food and cash crops.
On the impacts of climate change, Cissie said: “With the development of climate smart agriculture profile, we’re moving now to the next levels of developing agriculture investment plans.
He, therefore, urged the State Governments and partners to institutionalized climate smart agricultural practices among farmers.
Responding, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Bulama Gana said that farmers’ field school is a new innovation, as it’s participatory and interactive learning approach on problem solving and discovery based on field observations and testing of possible solutions.
He noted that these are how farmers could adopt the most suitable practices in the farming systems.