An assessment of the factors that impact the level of success of farmers field school training in Tanzania: a descriptive study
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Farmer Field School (FFS) is a participatory extension approach that started as an effort to implement participatory farmer training activities in the Philippines. The FFS aimed at empowering farmers to be able to face different problems in their fields, look for alternative solutions to problems and decide on the best solution from alternatives. However, FFS extension approach has not been as successful as expected from the efforts made by the government and outside funding agencies. Thus, this study was conducted to assess the factors that impact the level of success of farmer field school (FFS) training in Tanzania. The Specific objectives of the study were to: identify the demographic characteristics of the participants in the study, identify farmer’s motivational factors towards Farmers Field School Training, describe factors affecting implementation of Farmers Field School that addresses farmer’s priority problems, and describe the impact of Farmers Field School training to FFS members and Non-FFS members. Data were collected from 80 farmers respondents using questionnaires.
Data were processed and analyzed using the program from the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The findings of the study indicated that young people were not participating much in agricultural activities as expected as potential power. Females engaged more in FFS training than males, especially married couples. Due to misinformation about FFS, reasons for joining the FFS training includes seeking for knowledge, money incentives expectation, and being convinced. Majority of farmers used a very small area of land for farming, and most of them had low income. The FFS training showed positive impact on crop productivity, market information, and relationship among farmers and between farmers and extension agents. Also, FFS reduced burden for government funding and for extension agent’s ability to reach many farmers through farmer-to-farmer knowledge spread. The study recommended that much effort be made by the district office to arrange training for new extension agents on FFS, farmers be given correct and detailed information about the FFS, and the district council to make sure to avoid politics in agricultural activities by interfering with professional activities. Future researchers should consider looking specifically at motivational factors affecting implementation of FFS training that addresses extension agent’s problem as it seems to highly affect FFS training.