The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says it has trained no fewer than 51 agricultural workers under its Farmer Field School (FFS) in the North East. This was disclosed on August 23 by FAO’s Communication and Reporting Officer, Ms. Patrina Pink, in Maiduguri said that the training was to provide farmers with extension services information (farming and pastoral advice), market access and financial capital.
Pink said the organisation had on August 18, graduated the second batch of trainees to support conflict-affected farmers in the northeast with the skills to set up and run at least two farmer field schools. She said the school was an interactive and participatory ‘learning by doing’ approach which involved groups of 20-25 farmers, pastoralists or fisher folk and a trained facilitator.
According to her, the group members experiment with best practices and discuss challenges and solutions to agriculture related issues in their own local context.
“FFSs usually comprise of resource-poor participants who typically face limited access to education, information, extension (for farming and pastoral advice) services, market access and financial capital,” Pink said in a statement. She quoted Mr Suffyan Koroma, the FAO’s Representative in Nigeria, as saying that the school was another entry point for the organisation to support the most at-risk farming households in the Northeast. Koroma said in the statement that the UN agency planned to install at least 100 of the farmers’ school in 2018 with regional partners.
“Smallholder farmers face huge hurdles in managing increasingly complex agro-ecosystems. Through FFSs, farmers will learn how to create sustainable solutions to farming and pastoral issues.
“FAO works closely with farmers to ensure that inputs they receive are being properly utilised, and that they are employing the most effective techniques in the management,” Koroma said.”