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Farmer Field Schools

Farmers Field Schools in Egypt: Introduction

Indiscriminate use of pesticides disrupts agro-ecosystem balances, leads to even increase pest problems due to development of pests resistance towards which can lead to use of higher dosages and increase the human health hazards, disrupt of pest natural enemies and environment pollution. Because of these problems, the integrated pest management (IPM) FFS approach emerged out of years of developing participatory farmer training activities in Egypt. In 1990, The Egypt-Finland Agricultural Research Project (EFARP) was established in 1990 to strengthen applied research in Ismailia Governorate. In 1998, they shifted the objective from support to local research towards improving the availability and utilization of local research findings on farm level. Using the experience of the Egyptian-German IPM project with implementing FLG, the EFARP started to develop and implement FFSs on animal production.

Agricultural extension and farmer education programs are key policy instruments for governments seeking to improve the productivity of agriculture while protecting the environment. In recent years, a number of development agencies and organizations, including the FAO, UN, World bank, ICARDA, NEPAD, UNIDO, have promoted farmer field schools (FFS) as a more effective approach to extend science-based knowledge and practices to farmers. Though pioneered and first promoted farmer field schools by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), while FAO provided technical support in the different fields of crop production and protection has been provided which has laid down a solid foundation for a new pattern of agricultural development based on the introduction of new farming systems and new technology packages of intensification, diversification and modern irrigation technologies., development of highly productive hybrids for the planted species in the country, IPM technology and environment friendly agronomic practices; improvement of the agricultural production potentials for vegetable production with new techniques (soilless culture and protected cultivation), and the concept of Green Food from Green Roofs in Urban and Peri-urban Environments has been introduced into Egypt.

Beside the role played by FAO in diffusing knowledge-intensive in integrated pest management (IPM) concepts through FFSs, FAO provided technical assistance in the preparation of the Egyptian agricultural strategy vision 2030 and its plan of action for agricultural development which has been adopted and is being implemented by the government in the different governorates to improve crops productivity and food security.

Farmer field schools are built upon an adult non-formal education approach – the field is the classroom and learning occurs through learning by doing, experimentation, observation and reflection. Operationally, the FFS are organized around a season-long series of weekly or biweekly meetings, focusing on insect zoo and their biology as well as agronomic and crop management issues, wherein farmers conduct agro-ecosystem analyses, identify problems and then design, carry out and interpret field experiments using farmer‘s practice to improve practices comparisons.