Integrated Soil Water and Nutrient Management and Dry ... - Icrisat

Integrated Soil Water and Nutrient Management and Dry ... - Icrisat

Citation: Citation: Rusike J, Heinrich GM, Masendeke D and Hughes O. (Eds).

2004. Integrated soil water and nutrient management and dry season feeding of

livestock farmer field schools in Zimbabwe. Proceedings of a Review and Planning

Workshop, 19-20 Dec 2002, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. PO Box 776, Bulawayo,

Zimbabwe: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.


This document summarizes the discussions and recommendations from a review

and planning workshop on the Integrated Soil Water and Nutrient Management and

Dry Season Feeding of Livestock Farmer Field Schools (FFS) held at Bulawayo,

Zimbabwe from 19 to 20 December 2002. Seventy-three participants, including

farmers, extension officers, agricultural researchers, and representatives of fertilizer

companies and nongovernmental organizations, attended the workshop. The

workshop objectives were to review the activities and outputs of FFS from the 2001/

02 season; evaluate the impact of FFS relative to other extension approaches and

managerial implications for mainstreaming it in the Department of Agricultural

Research and Extension (AREX) programs; present and review plans for the 2002/

03 cropping season; discuss results of surveys of FFS schools and micro-dosing

fertilizer trials; and map the way forward.

Farmers found FFS superior to the Master Farmer training and group

approaches, as it emphasizes knowledge sharing, and learning-by-doing gives farmers

the confidence to apply the techniques on their own fields. The extension officers

facilitate rather than teach; farmers make decisions themselves; and even illiterate

farmers are able to apply the techniques. However, farmers were disappointed at the

poor group cohesion and lack of cooperation within groups.

The results of the project Integrated production and pest management Farmer

Field Schools in Zimbabwe were discussed, and those of a study by AREX and

ICRISAT evaluating the performance of FFS relative to traditional approaches. The

latter study recommended that the Master Farmer approach be restructured and

integrated with the FFS approach, that investments for farmer-led FFS development

be increased, and that investments by NGOs and agribusiness firms be targeted to

complement public investments in FFS.

Integrated Soil Water and Nutrient Management

and Dry Season Feeding of Livestock Farmer

Field Schools in Zimbabwe

Proceedings of a Review and Planning Workshop

19-20 December 2002, Bulawayo

Edited by

J Rusike, GM Heinrich, D Masendeke and O Hughes


International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not

necessarily those of ICRISAT. The designations employed and the

presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of

any opinion whatsoever on the part of ICRISAT concerning the legal status

of any country, territory, city, or area, or concerning the delimitation of its

frontiers or boundaries. Where trade names are used, this does not

constitute endorsement of or discrimination against any product by the



Synthesis of Workshop Outputs and Recommendations...................................... 01

Introduction .......................................................................................................... 07

Review and Evaluation ........................................................................................ 08

Planning ............................................................................................................... 17

Survey Results ..................................................................................................... 25

Integrated production and pest management Farmer Field Schools

in Zimbabwe

Judith Kwaramba ....................................................................................... 25

Responses of farmers and extension officers to alternative extension ..............


Joseph Rusike and Richard Foti............................................................... 33

Participants .......................................................................................................... 53


Synthesis of Workshop Outputs and


The Review and Planning Workshop for the Integrated Soil Water and

Nutrient Management (ISWNM) and Dry Season Feeding for Livestock

(DSFL) Farmer Field Schools (FFS) was held at the Rainbow Hotel,

Bulawayo, from 19 to 20 December 2002. The objectives were to:

• review the activities and outputs of FFS from the 2001/2002 season;

• evaluate the impact of FFS relative to other extension approaches and

managerial implications for mainstreaming it in the Department of

Agricultural Research and Extension (AREX) programs;

• present and review plans for the 2002/2003 cropping season; and

• report and discuss results of surveys of FFS schools and micro-dosing

fertilizer trials and map the way forward.

Seventy-three participants from different organizations and from diverse

backgrounds attended the workshop. They consisted mainly of farmers, field

extension officers, agricultural researchers, and representatives of fertilizer

companies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The workshop

comprised an opening session; a review and evaluation session; and planning,

survey result reporting, and concluding sessions.

Opening session

The opening session began with a welcome address by Geoff Heinrich. He

provided workshop background and reviewed the soil fertility problem in the

semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe and the hypotheses being tested through the FFS


Review and evaluation session

The review and evaluation session consisted of presentations by FFS farmer

representatives from Gwanda, Tsholotsho, and Zvishavane. Farmers argued

very strongly in support of FFS. They expressed their strong preference for

FFS because they found them superior to the traditional Master Farmer (MF)

training and group approaches for inducing practice changes in soil fertility and


water management. Farmer Field Schools increase knowledge and sharing

through farmers visiting each other in fields and evaluating whether or not to

apply what they learn in FFS plots to their fields. This is because learning-bydoing

gives farmers the confidence to apply the techniques on their own fields.

The main role of government extension officers becomes facilitation rather

than teaching; the farmers decide almost everything by themselves; no

decisions are imposed on them; discussion and sharing of ideas among farmers

helps to build an integrated, farmer-driven curriculum; observing crops

throughout the season as a group builds the confidence of individual farmers to

apply the knowledge in their main arable fields; building leadership and

problem solving through doing is important to get all members to support the

program; farmer-farmer and farmer-extension officer interaction builds

diverse knowledge and skills in individual farmers and helps put theory into

practice; and farmers’ contributions are put together so no-one feels inferior or

superior. The FFS concept makes farmers feel that what they do is theirs and

they do it themselves for their own benefit. Farmers also prefer the FFS

approach because even illiterate and elderly farmers are able to do practical

work without requiring theory. Field days and trials help promote adoption of

technologies that enable farmers to harvest better yields even if there is very

little rainfall. Farmer Field Schools build cohesion in groups and sharing of


At the same time, farmers also expressed disappointment with the lack

of cooperation within some groups; poor group cohesion, which makes it

difficult to punish members who do not turn up as per agreement without

threatening the survival of the group; and free-riding by some members.

Betserai Mundeiri synthesized the presentations during a discussion of

the commonalities and differences of the experiences of FFS groups. He

observed that five common elements cut across different FFS group


• Group formation as a result of the joint effort of extension staff, farmers,

and researchers; the most common objective being to increase the

productivity of staple food grain crops.

• Use of participatory tools to identify with farmers their problems and

perceived solutions. Problems identified were low moisture within

production zones and low soil fertility within the areas, and the main

perceived solution was applying water-harvesting structures, which was

then tested in the trials.


• Increased crop and variety diversification by FFS farmer-members from

maize to sorghum and pearl millet and cash crops such as cowpea,

groundnut, and Bambara nut, and growing short-season varieties.

• Field days to share information and knowledge with other non-FFS farmers

in the community.

• Expansion and adaptation of FFS concepts to a variety of crop management

problems (choice of techniques for soil nutrient sources such as manure,

inorganic fertilizer, and anthills; application methods and rates of nutrient

sources; rainwater harvesting, crops and varieties to match soils and rainfall;

weeds and pest control; postharvest management; and grain marketing) and

situations (plot, field and whole farm management levels and group and

community development).

Planning session

During the planning session district teams from Gwanda, Tsholotsho,

Zvishavane, Chivi, and Zimuto presented plans for the 2002/2003 seasons.

These were discussed and recommendations were made for improvement.

Survey results session

The findings of surveys of farmers, frontline extension officers and key

informants to determine the impact of Integrated Production and Pest

Management (IPPM) FFS and ISWNM FFS compared to MF and

Participatory Agricultural Extension (PAE) approaches were reported during

this session. The IPPM study found that FFS increased farmers’ skills for

making better decisions according to crop, weather, and field conditions and

led to increased use of inorganic fertilizer, areas planted to cotton, and use of

protective clothing, and reduced pesticides. Although yields did not increase,

farmers’ profits increased because of reduced input costs. The comparison of

FFS, MF, and PAE approaches found that FFS graduates have higher

knowledge scores for improved rainwater harvesting and soil fertility

management compared to non-FFS farmers. They also have higher adoption

rates of improved soil fertility management practices compared to non-FFS

farmers, and average yields that are 10% higher for sorghum and 40% higher

for maize. The extension officers’ survey reported that the FFS model has

been shown to be a solid and practical mechanism that communicates new

ideas to convince farmers with low literacy and numeracy levels that the


technologies offer significant benefits under the prevailing conditions, and

helps them develop skills to implement the technologies and reduce likelihood

of failure and risk.

Concluding session

The ZFC marketing manager and Provincial Chief Agricultural Extension

Officers (AEOs) reviewed the survey findings and mapped the way forward.

Jabulani Ndambambi, ZFC marketing manager, commented on the company’s

approach to fertilizer market development in smallholder areas. He noted that

the company has the capacity to supply 500,000 tons of fertilizer annually.

The potential areas in which ZFC could support FFS are demonstration plots,

organizing field days, and training agro-dealers through Care and Citizens

Network. He said that unfortunately agro-dealers were operating at a loss

because they were unable to recover transport costs under the existing price

controls. This raises the question of their sustainability. In addition to

supplying fertilizers, ZFC supplies herbicides and agronomic advice. The

company has expertise in horticulture and trial management and evaluation.

The company is committed to assisting farmers to grow to their potential.

Agro-dealers can access a credit facility from ZFC of up to 3 months.

The Chief AEO for Midlands Province, NM Ncube, noted that

internalizing FFS in extension is still just an idea and much empirical analysis

remains to be done in order to draw definitive conclusions about its feasibility

and desirability. She observed that all agricultural extension specialists in

agronomy, training, livestock and soil and water conservation should be trained

in all aspects of running FFS. District AEOs should complement FFS

implementation and liaise with specialists.

The Chief AEO for Matabeleland South, BM Sibanda, expressed his

belief that the bottom line was that farmers had already accepted FFS. The

need therefore was to train field extension staff in order to better facilitate

FFS, and to closely monitor and evaluate their performance.

The Chief AEO for Matabeleland North Province, M Nyathi, observed

that the major point of departure was that farmers, the main stakeholders, had

already accepted FFS. He argued that AREX should adopt FFS. Farmer Field

Schools have thus far been in the pilot phase. A key challenge is achieving

financial internalization. The sustainability of FFS can be ensured by the Chief

AEOs because they are custodians of budgets. Because the provincial AREX’s


udgets are now activity- and performance-based, the Chief suggested that

one could budget to support some non-extension work and the bulk to support

delivery of services. Because the FFS are bottom up from farmers, they can be

supported. However, travel and subsistence comprise the major share of costs

and the challenge is to mobilize funds to support these costs. The Chief

expressed his belief that the provincial budgets can support a few resource

requirements such as seed and fertilizers for running FFS. Farmers should also

contribute with non-cash inputs such as seed. Focusing on piloting, he noted

that AREX had pilot tested several extension approaches. These were

successful during the trial phase but not replicable because budgets were not

provided to support scaling out and up. In addition AREX requires resources

because its government-voted appropriations are limited. Consequently,

scaling out and up needs to be complemented with NGO and private sector

investments such as CARE- and ZFC-supported fertilizer demonstrations

around rural traders.

The Director of the Department of Agricultural Engineering, RJ

Chitsiko, moderated the concluding session. The mandate of the Agricultural

Engineering’s Department includes soil and water conservation. The director

discussed the fact that FFS involves an informal training process carried out in

the farmers’ fields. He said that as people grow older their fear of failure

increases and that the adoption of more informal and farmer-friendly learning

methods actually encourages them to acquire new skills. The Director cited

field extension officers’ reports which mentioned that during simultaneouslyconducted

sessions of MF training and FFS, farmers opted out of MF to FFS.

This is because in FFS what they are doing is tangible. Another advantage of

FFS is that since farmers train other farmers, the shortage of extension

workers can be overcome, and FFS can exploit multiplier effects.

The Director noted that despite the advantages there are three major

problem areas that researchers and practitioners need to emphasize and focus

on. The first is that although there are 5 districts participating, surprisingly, all

district programs for 2002/03 cropping season on SWNM focused only on tied

ridges. He said that this was more than mere coincidence, and that field

extension agents need to identify with farmers their needs. The second

addresses the open-mindedness of the technocrats. Are extension agents

willing to accept feedback from stakeholders? During the discussion when

AREX’s technology recommendations and knowledge base was challenged,

the extension officers became defensive and formed a laager. Yet feedback


that is well received can be beneficial. The third was the issue of

institutionalization and internalization of FFS by AREX.

The Director observed that while institutionalization is necessary,

internalization is not good enough. The latter needs to be accompanied by

institutionalization and assimilation, and to take into account culture. He

argued that FFS should be implemented with discretion because the method

has its weaknesses. In much the same way that the Training and Visit extension

system was found too costly to scale out after successful initial piloting, FFS

could be very expensive. Still there remains a challenge for all technocrats to

shift from farmer involvement to empowerment. When farmers are

empowered they occupy the driver’s seat and demand what they want

extension agents to do. The FFS approach and ISWNM both take place in the

field. The Director concluded by making the case for taking the technologies

back to the field for application.




Background and objectives of the workshop

Geoff M Heinrich, Regional Representative, ICRISAT-Bulawayo

Welcome to the workshop. Farmer Field Schools are an effective way of

sharing knowledge and learning about crop and livestock production. Your

assessments are extremely important and provide much guidance. We will

consider practical aspects of FFS in this review meeting

By way of background, we note that soil fertility in general is declining in

all South African Development Community (SADC) countries in both areas

under crops and grazing. Because soil fertility is going down, poverty increases

despite all that we do. The least-cost way to reverse the declining trend is the

use of inorganic fertilizers. Farmers can maintain soil productivity by recycling

crop residues. But inorganic fertilizer use in the dry areas has not been

increasing over the last 30 years. Consequently, per capita food production is


How do we reverse the declining trend? The hypothesis we are testing is

that smallholders can increase crop and livestock production in the drier areas

if farmers

• understand the principles of soil fertility and water management,

• have local access to fertilizers and other inputs in affordable size packages,


• have access to markets for their products

The Rockefeller Foundation has contributed greatly to improving soil

fertility management in Southern and Eastern African countries. The

Foundation supported ICRISAT and AREX in testing the hypothesis that

knowledge plus input access plus markets facilitates increased productivity.

The Foundation supported all the surveys, policy and market studies, and

comparison of extension methods. AREX is piloting FFS on ISWNM in

Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is providing direct assistance to

AREX through the FAO/Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) grant. The


two projects – Rockefeller-funded and FAO/AREX – are complementary and

help us to study the FFS methodology. The FAO/TCP grant supported the

inception planning in April 2002. Participants agreed to focus on both

livestock and ISWNM. Participatory curriculum development was performed

between July and October 2002, ensuring relevance to farmers. The facilitator

training for DSFL was done in August 2002 and that for ISWNM in

September 2002. The DSFL FFS was initiated in August 2002 and ISWNM

FFS in October 2002. Bridging funds were drawn from the Sorghum and

Millet Improvement Program (SMIP) between September 2001 and May

2002. The objectives of this workshop are to

• review activities and outputs of FFS from the 2000/2001 and 2001/2002

cropping seasons, focusing on farmers’ perspectives;

• review progress and constraints;

• present and review plans for the 2002/2003 cropping season; and

• evaluate FFS as an extension approach and the management implications

for institutionalization by AREX if FFS are efficient, cost effective, and


Review and Evaluation

Farmers’ perspectives: Tsholotsho: Mkhubazi

Aaron M Dube, Chairperson, Mkhubazi, Njibatshiba Village Farmer Field

School, Tsholotsho

Tsholotsho is a dry area with mostly sand and clay soils. There is very little

rainfall in the area; average annual rainfall ranges from 400 to 600 mm.

Farmers mostly grow maize, sorghum, millet, Bambara nuts, groundnuts,

sunflower, and cowpeas.

The farmers called a village meeting including village heads to discuss

problems that result in low crop yields. Volunteers joined and were registered.

The FFS was organized with a membership of 27 households, consisting of 7

households headed by males and 20 by females. Most of the farmers are

women because the men are away in temporary labor migration in South

Africa, and youths are not interested in farming.


The farmers decided on the experiments by first holding a meeting with

the community and listing problems affecting yields, such as dry spells and

shortage of moisture due to the inadequate rainfall in the area. They decided

to make ridges in order to harvest runoff water. The topics covered were based

on crop and soil conditions and operations carried out from land preparations

and planting up to harvesting and storage.

A committee was formed and a FFS plot chosen, after which work began.

The land – about 0.4 ha – was first tilled, and about half a ton of manure

applied. Ridges were made on half of the plot and the rest was left without

ridges, so that farmers could compare the differences between planting on

ridges and on flat land. They then planted sorghum variety Macia on ridges

and on the flat land, and the maize farmer variety Bhabhadla on ridges and on

flat land.

The farmers greatly appreciated and welcomed the program. They were

happy that it enables even illiterate people to do practical work without

needing to learn only theory. The results, they felt, are very encouraging – the

methods learned help them maintain soil fertility and moisture in their land,

and enable them to harvest better yields even if there is very little rainfall.

Farmers are willing to share information with others and spread the FFS

by introducing more FFS to the community in the area. However, they

expressed their need to be supported with seeds, fertilizer, and more

knowledge because they are not trained.

Ten of the 27 members of the FFS have taken up the practices. Tied

ridges involve a lot of labor but farmers have developed a method that uses an

animal-drawn plough. Some farmers hire extra labor from neighbors.

Farmers’ perspectives: Tsholotsho: Manzimahle

Joram Ndlovu, Chairperson, Manzimahle Farmer Field School, Tsholotsho

Tsholotsho falls under natural regions 4 and 5, which have very short growing

seasons. The rainfall averages 450 to 600 mm per season, which is too low for

attaining good crop yields. The moisture retention capacity of the soils is very

low. The soils found in the area are black clays and sandy soils. The crops

commonly grown here include maize, millets, cowpeas, groundnut, and

bambara. Farmers prefer to plant hybrid maize, especially on fields with black


clay soils, while farmers with fields on sandy soils mostly plant millet. Soil

fertility varies greatly from place to place and so do the required nutrients.

Farmers’ preference for growing maize given the sparse rainfall limits the


A few farmers started working with ICRISAT in individual trials. Field

days hosted by trial farmers led other farmers to become interested in the

trials. However, it was not possible to involve everyone in these. At this point,

FFS were initiated in order to be able to accommodate at least 25 farmers in

the program. After village level meetings and discussions, meetings were

organized with AREX officials and researchers. The farmers identified and

ranked the major crop production problems they face: low rainfall, poor soils

and very low yields. They agreed to do something about these in order to get

better yields. Interested farmers volunteered to form the group. About 36

people initially volunteered but only 22 remained active farmers. Current

members consist of 20 female and 2 male farmers. As in Mkhubazi,

membership is mostly made up of women because the men are working in

South Africa. After formation, farmer-members elected a committee to lead

the group.

The farmer group decided on the site after the village head and villagers

agreed to allow them to set up the project. Plots were marked, tied ridges

constructed, furrows opened, and farmyard manure applied. Different rates of

fertilizer were applied in different plots and the seed was planted on the same

day, as required for the experiment.

During the 2001/2002 cropping season the group was very successful.

Although the plot was small, the farmers were able to understand and teach

each other the differences made by the treatments. Their trials looked at

developing crops that could mature earlier, and how moisture could be

retained in the field. They planted hybrid maize SC401 and sorghum variety

Macia, comparing tied ridges versus flat land (Table 1). They also tried to

compare the use of farmyard manure versus chemical fertilizer to see which

was stronger and more beneficial and by how much. They observed that where

they applied organic manure and top dressing, crops matured quickly,

produced good yields, and did not get burnt, as commonly believed.

The farmers focused mostly on soil nutrient management, moisture

conservation, crops suitable to the region, and other operations performed

throughout the growing period of the crop, such as application of inorganic

fertilizer and pest control up to harvesting time and storage.


Table 1. Manzimahle Farmer Field School results.

Treatment Maize Sorghum

Ridges Flat Ridges Flat

Zero 1.6 0.7 1.7 1.5

Manure 2.0 1.5 1.6 1.3

Manure +AN 2.5 0.7 1.5 1.5

Compound D 2.5 0.6 2.3 1.5

Compound D+AN 3.4 1.9 1.8 1.7

The FFS concept is best for communal farms where many elderly

farmers live. The concepts make these farmers feel that what they do is theirs

and they do it for themselves for their own benefit. No decisions are imposed

on them; they decide almost everything themselves. The other advantage is

that whether educated or not, they all gain the same knowledge because

learning is by practice and not by paperwork. This makes it easier to

understand and remember than if learned by reading or being taught as theory.

Many farmers have accepted the concept, as it is more learner-friendly than

the MF Training, which is selective, as you need to know how to read and

write. The MF Training involves much paperwork with little or no practical

learning, which sometimes daunts even better-educated farmers.

The farmers are now trained to solve major crop production problems

that have been affecting them year after year. They have learned new methods

of conserving water in fields, and of diversifying from maize to millets and cash

crops such as cowpea, groundnut, and Bambara nut. They have realized that

short season crops give good rates of return on investment and significant

income benefits. Manzimahle FFS organized a field day, after which most

members adopted the new technologies. For example, all members have

adopted ridges. Animal manure is being heavily promoted, as inorganic

fertilizers are not available.

The farmers are more than willing to share with other farmers all that

they learnt in the FFS. They appreciate the need for those who have graduated

to open more new FFS as a means of scaling up the program, provided the

resources are made available to procure seeds and fertilizers. They also suggest

that some amount be paid by AREX to farmer facilitators to use in travel

expenses and maintenance of their bicycles, which they use for traveling.


Farmers’ perspectives: Gwanda: Mnyabetsi

Ntswariseng Maluta, Chairperson, Mnyabetsi Farmer Field School,


The Mnyabetsi FFS started during the 2000/01 cropping season with the help

of the local leadership. It comprised a group of 25 members from 10

households headed by females and 15 by males.

The farmers began by diagnosing common problems that they all face,

such as low moisture retention, low fertility, and high rainfall runoff, and

discussing how to overcome these. In the field school plot, they constructed

contours about 5 m wide and dug 1 m-deep infiltration pits with the channel.

Extension staff assisted with pegging of contours. The field was tilled using


The members drafted bylaws and decided to impose a fine of Zimbabwe

$5.00 on members who arrive late for meetings, and $50.00 for nonattendance.

This money is used to hire extra labor during peak periods in order

to achieve the operational targets.

The group derived several benefits from the FFS. The FFS helped build

cohesion in groups and sharing of responsibilities. The FFS also helped

increase knowledge and sharing through farmers visiting each other in fields

and evaluating whether or not to apply what they learned in FFS plots to their


The FFS has been operational for two seasons. The field school plot

belongs to the group. During the 2001/2002 cropping season the group

harvested 100 kg SV4 sorghum (1 t ha -1 ); 100 kg sunflower ( 1 t ha -1 ); 50 kg

groundnuts (0.5 t ha -1 ); and 100 kg cowpeas ( 1 t ha -1 ). The farmers all agree

that the water harvesting technology they learned and applied was the major

reason for these good yields. This has spurred them to advise and encourage

other farmers to start new FFS.

Farmers’ perspectives: Gwanda: Fumukwe

Irine Ncube, Chairperson, Fumukwe Farmer Field School, Gwanda

The Gwanda FFS started during the 2000/2001 season, when extension staff

visited and asked farmers to form farming groups. Those who were interested


egistered to become members of the FFS. A total of 30 households

registered, of which 12 were headed by males and 18 by females. A

committee was formed to manage the operations of the FFS. One farmermember

offered a plot for group trials. Because the group had identified

severe moisture limitation as the major constraint to increased food

production, they pegged contours and dug infiltration pits to capture water. As

a result, they managed to realize some yields from experiments despite it

being a very dry year.

The FFS meets once every week. Absent members pay a fine of

Zimbabwe $100 and those who come late pay $50. This money is used to buy

food when the group needs to work late.

The major lesson learned was that where the group had constructed

moisture conservation structures and infiltration pits, water was retained, and

where there were no such structures, it was just lost as runoff. The moisture

conservation methods being used in this FFS have encouraged other farmers to

visit the school. Interest began to grow when the FFS fellow members worked

together to dig contours and infiltration pits in their own fields and

subsequently obtained good yields of maize and groundnuts. For example in

the 2000/01season they obtained 0.5 t ha -1 of maize each while neighboring

farmers suffered a total crop failure. During the 2001/2002 cropping, FFS

members were the only ones with seed; others failed to harvest anything. The

FFS then organized field days, which led to an increase in membership to 50.

The Gwanda FFS requests ICRISAT to train them so that they can assist other

farmers to share this knowledge and thus increase the number of FFS

members in the area.

Farmers’ perspectives: Zvishavane: Mazvihwa

William Nhedzi, Vice-Secretary, Tsungirirai Mwedzi Farmer Field School,


The AREX extension officer promoted the formation of the Tsungirirai

Mwedzi FFS. It was organized with a membership of 35, consisting of 20

households headed by males and 15 by females. During the first meeting they

resolved that record keeping was important to the group’s activities. They also

selected a three-person member committee to manage the activities. A


timetable was drafted, it was decided that members would meet once every

week and twice when necessary, and a constitution was drawn up, which

helped group effectiveness. It is important to have enthusiastic and

committed members. Enforcement of rules agreed on in the constitution

improved the group’s working relations and engendered a spirit of

togetherness among members. The objectives of the group were to evaluate

soil water management technologies, focusing on a comparison of planting on

the flat versus on tied ridges; and soil fertility management technologies,

focusing on comparison of inorganic fertilizers and anthill soils. Soil samples

were taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

The FFS lessons were conducted in field because this is a hands-on

approach. This was a significant departure from earlier years when extension

officers lectured to farmers and some farmers pretended to understand the

knowledge but were unable to implement them in practice.

The FFS group was the focus for discussions on the effects of the

generation gap between young and old members and how to solve problems

arising from this; crop production problems, causes, and solutions relevant to

small-scale farmers; use of organic and inorganic nutrients and nutrient flows

in the farming system; ways to improve efficiency of nutrient use; weed and

pest control; postharvest management; and principles of grain marketing. The

actual experiments conducted during the 200/2001 season involved a

comparison of three sorghum varieties SV2, SV3, and SV4 with anthill soil

compared to soil with chemical fertilizers and planted on the flat compared to

ridges. Compound D and ammonium nitrate fertilizers were applied at 160 kg

ha -1 . Table 2 reports the results.

Table 2. Results from the Tsungirirai Mwedzi Farmer Field School, 2000/01 season.

Treatment Sorghum yield (t ha -1 )

Anthill flat 2.28

Inorganic manure flat 2.67

Ridges only 2.97

Flat only 1.47

The rainfall during 2000/01 was 536 mm. Germination was higher on

ridges (75%) compared to the flat (50%). Yields were higher on ridges

compared to the flat. Use of chemical fertilizer resulted in a greater increase in

yields compared to anthill soil.


The farmers appreciated the fact that in the FFS approach the main role

of AREX officers is to facilitate rather than to teach. They agreed that learning

in the field “proved to be the best teacher”; discussion and sharing of ideas

among farmers helped to build an integrated, farmer-driven curriculum; and

observing crops throughout the season as a group builds the confidence of

individual farmers to apply the knowledge in their main arable fields. The

group also felt that building leadership and problem solving through doing is

important to get all members to support the program; farmer-farmer and

farmer-extension officer interaction builds diverse knowledge and skills in

individual farmers and putting theory into practice; and farmers’ contributions

being pooled ensured that no-one felt inferior or superior to others.

During the 2002/03 season the group placed an order for sorghum Macia

seed and every member is growing this crop variety using techniques learned

in FFS. The farmers are working to form more FFS groups in the

neighborhood and adjacent communal areas, and are more than willing to

share information with farmers outside the group. For example, they held

field days in April 2001 to advertise the work of the FFS. Farmers in the area

have been late receiving food aid this year because officials knew that FFS

groups had better harvests. The group wants to encourage farmer-led FFS, and

its message to other farmers is: “Just as iron sharpens iron, a farmer can

sharpen another farmer. Please take this message back home and apply it”.

Farmers’ perspectives: Zvishavane: Ziruvi

Josephine Mpesi, Secretary, Mubatanidzwa Farmer Field School,


The Mubatanidzwa Farmer Field School started in October 2000. The farmer

members proceeded to select a three-person committee composed of a

chairperson, secretary, and treasurer, and formulated a constitution and

bylaws. The bylaws specified that members would be expelled if they were

absent more than thrice during a season.

They chose a learning strategy involving learning-by-doing and carrying

out experimental trials. One member gave a field to establish the FFS trials,

and the farmers used their draft animals to till the plot. They then established

trials to compare planting on tied ridges versus flat. They set up a recordkeeping

system including maps of the area, with a rain gauge for recording


ainfall. A total rainfall of 560 mm was recorded. The sorghum yield was

0.7 t ha -1 on plots for tied ridges and 0.3 t ha -1 on the flat, showing that

ridges conserve moisture and result in higher yields. The major benefit of

the FFS method is that learning-by-doing develops farmers’ confidence to

apply the techniques to their own fields. The farmers are so appreciative of

the FFS method that they want to share their experiences with nonmembers.

Four representatives from their FFS will be implementing

farmer-led FFS during the 2002/2003 season. The group is inviting other

farmers to attend FFS and also share ideas and work together as a team.

During the past two seasons, they have invited other farmers to attend

their group and field days, and plan to continue exchange visits inside and

outside the area.

The FFS members would like the leaders to be remunerated in some

way. They also feel that it would be encouraging if all members were

awarded certificates after graduation. They would also benefit if they had a

place from where they could get seed locally.

The salient features of the 2000-2002 stakeholders’ reports

Betserai Mundeiri, District Agricultural Extension Officer, Tsholotsho

The observations focused on presentations by the following FFS:

• Tsholotsho District: Mukhubazi and Manzimanhle

• Gwanda District: Mnyabetsi and Fumukwe

• Zivashane District: Tsungirirai Mwedzi & Mubatanidzwa

These FFS share the same agroecological zone and crop production

systems. The soils range from sandy soils to clays, and the commonly grown

crops include maize, sorghum, millet, groundnut, and Bambara nuts. All the

groups showed a common group development pattern:

• Stakeholders’ meetings were held involving local leaders, extension staff,

and researchers, and the most common objective was to increase food


• Volunteers were asked to participate in the program.

• Groups were organized and office bearers elected.

• Constitutions were drafted and adhered to.


The groups discussed problems affecting crop yields in their areas. A

participatory problem analysis was carried out and the following main

problems identified: insufficient moisture, low soil fertility, and high rainfall

runoff from the fields. It was then agreed by the group members that the

following activities should be carried out to resolve the problems:

• Construction of water harvesting structures, contours, ridges and

infiltration pits.

• Use of farm yard manure

• Use of inorganic fertilizer

• Use of anthill soil

Agreed sites were chosen and the demonstration plots were set up.

During the discussions it was noted that

• Many other farmers are now interested in the FFS

• There was better crop performance when farmers used inorganic fertilizer,

manure, and water harvesting techniques

• The impact of the field demonstration was very significant

• Crop diversification was encouraged, for example, the growing of

groundnut, cowpeas, and sunflower

• Farmers were teaching other farmers

• There was need to quantify and specify result data

• Records were meticulously being kept

• Farmers were adopting the FFS practices on their own lands

• Labor for tied ridges could also be obtained by working as teams and using


• More knowledge was being disseminated through farmers, visits, and field

days organized within the communities


District program for 2002/2003Tsholotsho: Trainers of trainers and

farmer-led FFS facilitators

The planning was done for programs in Ward 12 to Ward 19 on both ISWNM

and DSFL. Maize yields in the area average 0.8 t ha -1 . The main problems in

the area as noted from surveys are moisture stress because of uneven rainfall

distribution, infertile soils, poor storage of stover resulting in low quality feed,

and limited grazing area.


The FFS formed in the district are 19 for ISWNM and 11 for DSFL.

The objectives of the ISWNM FFS during the 2002/03 season were to

• evaluate the impact of soil moisture conservation techniques (tied ridges)

versus conventional practices (flat), and

• evaluate the effect of chemical fertilizers on crop yields versus no fertilizer.

The parameters to be monitored included germination percent, growth

rate, days to tasselling, leaf color, days to physiological maturity, yield, and

production costs. The progress on implementation was as follows:

• 19 groups were formed

• 9 groups performed land preparation

• 4 sites were planted

The problems encountered were as follows:

• Plan sites: no inputs delivered, late effective rains, weak draft animals

• Support material from coordinator was not available (stationery, work suits,

rain gauges)

Table 3. The participants of the Tsholotsho District Program for ISWNM, 2002/03.

Ward Site Participants Average Male Female

9 1 27 25 10 17

2 23 6 17

10 1 28 31 4 24

2 35 7 28

11 1 28 30 9 19

2 39 11 28

12 1 30 28 11 19

2 35 9 26

3 29 5 24

13 1 40 34 10 30

2 29 5 24

14 1 28 28 4 24

15 1 37 37 5 32

16 1 26 25 2 24

2 25 9 16

17 1 25 25 5 20

18 1 14 14 4 10

19 1 27 27 11 16

20 1 35 35 7 28

Total 19 560 28 134 426


• Fuel shortage

• Low mileage rates

• Farmer-led FFS facilitators not yet trained

• Seed came late

• Bicycles were not maintained well

The objective of the dry season supplementation of feeding for livestock

was to evaluate the effects of well-stored and treated stover in the feeding of

livestock compared to grazing.

The parameters measured included induction mass, fortnightly mass

gains and losses, condition score, final mass, and partial budgets.

• Progress on implementation of DSFL:

• 11 groups were formed.

• Land preparation was done for 10 sites

• Planting was as follows: Sorghum – 6 sites, Bana grass – 5 sites, and

groundnut – 1 site DSFL – Wards 10 – 13, 15 (11 sites)

The treatments given were in accordance with those given in the area in

earlier years, and as advised by AREX.

Table 4. The participants of the Tsholotsho District Program for DFSL, 2002/03.

Ward Site Participants Average Male Female

10 1 28 31 4 24

2 35 7 28

11 1 28 30 9 19

2 32 11 21

12 1 30 10 20

2 20 26 7 13

3 30 16 14

13 1 40 33 10 30

2 27 7 20

15 1 32 36 9 23

2 40 7 33

Total 11 342 97 245

District program for 2002/2003: Gwanda: Trainers of trainers

The plans were for three participating wards, Ward 11, Ward 16, and Ward 17.

Most of the FFS groups had just been formed. Each FFS group was to carry


out soil water and nutrient management and DSFL. Surveys revealed that the

major livestock production problems included low levels of stover for dry

season feeding and livestock diseases such as contagious abortion and foot rot.

The objectives of ISWNM during the 2002/03 season were to:

• Evaluate the effect of soil moisture conservation techniques (tied ridges)

versus conventional practices (flat)

• Evaluate the effect of manure on crop yields versus no manure

Treatments during the 2002/03 season were

1. 0.2 ha sorghum with and without manure

2. 0.2 ha sorghum SV4 with tied ridges versus flat

The objective of the DSFL is to evaluate effects of urea-treated stover

from maize and sorghum in the feeding of livestock versus the use of local hay.

Treatments given are

• Treated (Stover) for maize, sorghum + urea

• 0.4 ha Bana grass

• Local hay

Eight groups were formed in all.

Table 5. The participants of the Gwanda District Program for DFSL, 2002/03.

Ward Site Participants Average Male Female

11 1 31 30 7 24

2 27 15 12

16 1 30 30 5 25

2 29 22 7

17 1 25 28 16 9

2 30 10 20

3 28 7 21

4 30 10 20

Total 8 230 92 138

Problems faced were draft power shortages, deaths of animals, and low

mileage rates. Discussions identified the fundamental problems:

• No learning is taking place among ToTs;

• Farmers are not happy about tied-ridges when there is no draft power;


• Pre-planting tied ridges are not appropriate for small grains and soil types;


• No participatory adaptive trials are carried out.

District program for 2002/2003: Zvishavane: Trainers of

trainers and farmer-led FFS facilitators

The plans were for the trainers of trainers (ToT) for FFS and farmer-led

facilitators. Each of the five ToT FFS would be implementing ISWNM and

DSFL studies, which gives a total of 10 sites per study. Four farmer-led FFS

facilitators have already been identified. The farmer-led facilitators would be

implementing ISWNM studies on four sites. Farmer-led facilitators are still

waiting for modalities of how they will be implementing the FFS.

The experimental trials included treatment to test use of ridges and cross

ties as soil water management options, comparison of inorganic fertilizer

microdoses with AREX recommendations, and comparison of silage and other

locally available feed resources as dry-season supplementation for livestock.

The experiment on using ridges and cross ties as a soil water management

option was being implemented because most of the rainfall in Zvishavane

District (Natural Region IV) comes in short intense storms, which result in a

loss of water by runoff. Farmers decided to plant the crops on prepared ridges

(using normal ox-drawn ploughs), and then block the furrows at regular

intervals. These ties act as mini-dams, which collect rainwater and minimize

the flow of water off the field. The ridge and cross tie structure has another

advantage in that the steep slope of the ridges encourages runoff into furrows,

concentrating the water in this zone. In addition to the concentration effect,

the extra water penetrates deeper into the soil where it is protected from loss

by evaporation from the soil surface.

The combination of ridges and cross ties provides flexibility in

overcoming variations of weather. In a wet season, the crop is elevated on the

ridge and suffers less waterlogging. Ridges provide good drainage through

increased surface area, thereby reducing the chances of waterlogging. The

furrows of the ridges also help to drain water from the field. In a dry season,

the trapping of rainfall and its conservation in the field enhances soil moisture

and, therefore, crop yield. This is a flexible system in that ties can be built or

destroyed as the weather dictates.

The objective of the experiment was to compare the performance of

crops grown on the ridges with cross ties with crops grown on the flat


(control). The treatments included ridges, cross ties, and conventional

method (flat) The disadvantages of tied ridges are that they require much

draft power and labor, weeding by cultivator is difficult, the farmer may lack

required implements (the normal ox-drawn plough may be used for ridging),

and cattle sometimes destroy ridges in winter because they are left to graze

freely in arable fields during this season.

The reason for doing the experiment to test and evaluate the impact on

crop production of using micro-doses of chemical fertilizer compared with the

ideal amounts recommended by AREX was that poor soil fertility is the most

important constraint to smallholder agriculture. Some farmers use chemical

fertilizer to replenish depleted soil nutrients. Both socioeconomic and

knowledge constraints appear to limit fertilizer use. Farmers perceive fertilizer

use to be too risky in an environment of low and uncertain rainfall like

Zvishavane district.

The respondents commonly cite financial constraints to fertilizer

purchases. However, this also reflects the availability of competing investment

opportunities such as education of children and livestock purchases. Another

constraint is the failure of the input market to ensure fertilizer availability

closer to the farmer. Some farmers report better response to AN application as

a top dressing than to the use of Compound D as a basal application. There

also seems to be a wide knowledge gap between fertilizer users and non-users.

Non-users believe that fertilizers are too risky as fertilizer is said to burn the

crop. There is growing awareness that AREX blanket recommendations were

too high and these rates have to be revised downwards.

The objective of the study was to teach farmers how to compare the

performance of crops grown on subplots applied with different rates of

chemical fertilizers and assess the optimal rates of chemical fertilizer

application, which give highest returns. Treatments included:

1. T1 – 0 kg ha -1 Compound D + 0 kg ha -1 AN (Control)

2. T2 – 0 kg ha -1 Compound D+ 50 kg ha -1 AN (Those who apply AN only)

3. T3 – 50 kg ha -1 Compound D+ 30 kg ha -1 AN (Those who apply at

affordable rates)

4. T4 – 150 kg ha -1 Compound D+ 100 kg ha -1 AN (Research


Ten FFS have established focusing on soil, water and nutrient management.

Five kg of sorghum seed, and 1kg of pearl millet have been supplied to each

FFS. Only 250kg of compound D was supplied. Land preparation has been


completed in all FFS. Installation of ridges and planting not yet carried out

because the rains have been erratic.

Table 6. Average and total number of participants per FFS and by gender.

Name of Facilitator Name of Group Ward Male Female Total

Muperi P Indava North Indava 16 9 25

Indava South Indava 18 12 30

Mbetu E Mabhula Res. Chenhunguru 12 23 35

Makovere Chenhunguru 14 24 38

Chikanda K Ingome Dayataya 5 20 25

Kwata Mtambi 15 20 38

Sibanda S Man’ono Vukuso 4 24 38

Mapirimira Mapirimira 20 15 35

Midzi T Wedza Mhondongori 20 9 29

Mabwematema Ture 16 14 30

District Total 10 groups 8 wards 140 170 310

Average 14 17 31

The experiment on feeding of livestock during the dry season using silage

of good fermentation and nutritional quality was being carried out because of a

shortage of natural pasture (veld), the major animal feed resource in

Zvishavane district. Most cattle face severe grazing shortage and nutrient

inadequacies because livestock numbers in communal areas are more than the

recommended stocking rates, resulting in overgrazing and resource


Meanwhile, most farmers produce lots of crop residues; maize; sorghum;

and legumes such as groundnuts, cowpeas, and Bambara nuts; all of which

have great potential as fodder if conserved, treated, and utilized during the dry

season. However, most farmers do not conserve these crop residues. They

leave them in the field for animals to graze despite the fact that their livestock

face severe dry season feeding scarcity, resulting in weakness, leading to

reduced draft power, less milk production, and low income at markets and all

eventually leading to poverty for the farmers.

The problem can be addressed by producing sufficient dry season fodder

from maize, small grains, groundnuts, cowpeas, and Bambara nuts. Newly

developed low cost silage-making practices producing silage of good


fermentation and nutritional quality can be widely disseminated and adopted

by most smallholder farmers.

The objective of the experiments was to teach farmers techniques for

different methods of stover storage; for conserving stover and the importance

of conserving and utilizing stover; and for using area to improve the quality of

the stover. The treatments involve feeding three animals of the same age, sex,

and mass with untreated stover and the three others with urea-treated stover.

Measurements will be made on induction mass, intermediate mass, final mass,

score condition of livestock, and performance.

The experiment on growing fodder crops to maintain livestock body

condition was done because most livestock in the smallholder-farming sector

of Zvishavane district face severe grazing shortage and nutrient inadequacies

during the dry season and heavy mortality in extreme drought years. This is

driven by both biophysical and socio-economic factors. This shortage of feed

results in low animal performance, low offtake, low milk yields, and reduced

draft power, leading to late planting, low crop yields, low income at markets

and all these factors consequently leading to abject poverty of farmers. The

production of fodder crops including grasses/cereals like sorghum, Bana grass/

Napier grass, and legumes like Lucerne will go a long way toward alleviating

shortage of feed, maintaining livestock body condition, and improving

livestock production during dry season.

The objectives were to teach farmers the required knowledge and skills

to grow fodder crops; alleviate dry season livestock feed shortages; maintain

livestock body condition; improve livestock production during dry season; and

harvest, treat, conserve and utilize fodder during the 2003 dry season.

The treatments included feeding 3 animals of the same age, sex, and

weight with Bana and legume silage and feeding 3 animals of the same age, sex,

weight as above with untreated stover. Measurements include induction mass,

intermediate mass on day 31, final mass on day 60, production costs and

condition score animals on day 1, day 31 and on day 60.

Each FFS implementing ISWNM studies would also be implementing

DSFL studies so as to have a holistic approach.

Farmer Field Schools encourage smallholder farmers to adopt improved

and livestock production methods. For the successful implementation of the

project, the project coordinator has to procure and deliver stationery and


The discussion focused on the narrow range of routine management

techniques being taught through FFS. Participants asked if there are


wider options available and whether the breakeven yields for some high

fertilizer rates being tested were attainable. Although the activities being

reported resulted from participatory discussions between AREX officers and

FFS farmer-members, some participants argued that there was a need to look

at more options for FFS for soil water management. There was a need for

adaptation of technologies, and permitting farmers to observe and adapt these

technologies. Given the different soil types it was felt that AREX officers

were pushing the same technologies in areas that are different. It was argued

that the dry season feeding experiments needed to focus on how farmers

should balance nutrient sources such as stover left on field with removing it to

the kraals to feed livestock.

District program for 2002/2003: Chivi: Trainers of trainers FFS

One FFS group was formed, comprising 18 households headed by females and

7 by males. The experimental studies will emphasize presenting farmers with

a basket of different crop production technologies.

District program for 2002/2003: Zimuto: Trainers of trainers


In Zimuto FFS studies would be at two sites. The treatments would include

tied ridges and intercropping of maize and groundnuts. Two bags of single

superphosphate fertilizers were delivered. Seed had not yet been received.

Survey Results

Integrated production and pest management Farmer Field

Schools in Zimbabwe: Survey results and the way forward

Judith Kwaramba, Coordinator, IPPM Zimbabwe, AREX


The problems faced by smallholder farmers and their lack of information is

due in part to a poorly supported and overburdened extension system.

Farmers themselves however could be responsible for this situation due to


their lack of self-organization and lack of trust in each other to solve their own

local problems. Sustainable farming technologies that address both production

and environmental degradation are needed to improve the plight of

smallholder farmers. Integrated Production and Pest Management is one such

technology that seeks to improve farmer practices aimed at creating higher

profits while improving environmental quality and community health. It

involves the use of a combination of all possible pest control measures namely

mechanical, physical, biological, and chemical, where chemical control is

regarded as the last resort where non-chemical methods have failed and pest

damage threatens to exceed economic threshold levels. This technology has

been disseminated through the use of the FFS or Field School Group (FSG)

extension methodology. This has been shown to be sustainable as it empowers

farmers and provides an opportunity for them to make informed decisions

based on their own environments rather than based on the blanket

recommendations traditionally given for the whole country. Field School

Groups basically refer to an open school that takes place at the farmers’ fields

as opposed to the conventional way of training where farmers have to come

together from all over the province or country and be given theory in a

classroom and then expected to practice it when they go back to their homes.

Here, they learn in their own field. Many such FSGs have been set up since

the project started in 1997. There was need therefore to assess the impact of

the IPPM as a technology and FFS/FSG as an extension methodology. Hence,

a survey was conducted nationwide to document the impacts.

Since 1997, 80 extension and research officers have been trained in three

full season ‘training of trainers’ courses in Zimbabwe. Two of these courses

were on cotton, run at Kadoma Training Centre in Mashonaland West Province

and one was on horticulture, run at Deure Irrigation Scheme in Birchenough in

Manicaland Province. However, unfortunately, two of these trained officers

have since died and more than seventeen have left the civil service for greener

pastures, which has impacted the project adversely. The few officers left still

have a lot of farmers to train and farmer-led FSGs to organize considering that

there are a greater number of farmers to be serviced today. This report

contains the impact assessment for the whole country.

It was very clear that most of the main findings were the same for all

provinces. The impact assessment of IPPM as a technology and FFS or FSG as

an extension training methodology was evaluated. This was initiated by the

FAO Global IPM Facility. The organization sponsored the evaluation surveys


for the whole country. Provincial teams conducted the survey and submitted

individual provincial reports. A workshop was then held in Gweru to present

those reports and map a way forward as the Dutch-sponsored IPPM project

was ending. There was need to establish the impact of these two before the

project ended in December 2002. As a result, all extension officers trained

since initiation of the project in 1997 were invited to help each other evaluate

the project, IPPM as a technology, and use of FSGs as an extension


Objectives of the project

The objectives of the first phase were to:

• Improve and accelerate dissemination of research findings from the station,

and the performance of the new technologies under farmers’ conditions by

involving farmers in experimentation and building on their local knowledge,

thereby strengthening critical feedback to research, and in the process

relieving research systems of the need to extend their capacity for locationspecific


• Increase the ability of farmers to make informed decisions of what works

best for them, based on their own observations of experimental plots in

their FSGs, and to explain their reasoning.

• Establish coherent farmers groups that facilitate the work of the research

and extension workers, providing the demand of a demand-driven system

but also creating conditions allowing farmers to graduate from continuing

dependence on external support. Field School Groups exist on an intensive

basis for one or two growing seasons only, with some lighter support needed

for another year or two. The groups continue to exist, however, as contact

points for extension and research.

The objectives of the second phase were to:

• Increase the competence of the extension system to provide farmer

education that responds more effectively to local resources and conditions

through FSG

• Improve national and international communication between government

and nongovernmental organizations, extension, research, and farmer groups

through an IPPM newsletter

• Establish a national IPPM policy that prioritizes sustainable crop production

and protection practices and programs within government agencies

• Empower smallholder and marginalized farmers by improving their


understanding of the determinants of farm performance and their

awareness of technical options to improve food security, raise their standard

of living, and enhance the sustainability of agricultural land use

• Increase production in communal and small-scale farming areas of

Zimbabwe through better crop management improving crop protection


The objectives of the impact assessment were to:

• Evaluate the impact of IPPM as a farming technology

• Evaluate the standard of living of the trained farmers

• Evaluate FSGs as an extension methodology

Research approach

The methodology was standardized through the use of a questionnaire

developed by provincial coordinators. Each provincial team visited at least two

FSGs in their provinces and interviewed at least five farmers from each group

randomly selected. (Individual provincial reports are available from the author.)

The results were discussed at a workshop held in Gweru in October 2002.


IPPM impact

• It was very clear that information was obtained from extension services,

other farmers, during field days and shows, and over the radio.

• Farming experiences differed from district to district within one province

depending on what crops farmers grew.

• More farmers were now using a combination of compound fertilizers as

basal and organic fertilizers.

• Few farmers have increased hectarage in cotton since the training.

• There was no significant change in yield but profits have increased due to

lowering of input costs, especially that of chemicals for pest control in

cotton and tomatoes.

• There has been a reduction in the frequency of pesticide applications per

season for both cotton and tomatoes.

• Use of protective clothing increased and improved. Agro-ecosystem

analysis (AESA) was well understood and being used in farmers’ fields.

Impact of FSGs

• This methodology was effective, as farmers did not have to move from their

homes for training.


• Participating farmers liked sharing ideas in their own environment.

• Participants understood the relationship between their crop and their own

field or locality.

• The FFS approach was considered very practical and empowering as

farmers had to make decisions according to what the crop, the weather and

the field dictated.

• The FFS approach was perceived as very sustainable, as in most provinces

farmers indicated that they were willing to contribute towards running of

their own FSGs.

• The methodology was seen as cheap and simple.

• A combination of theory and practice in their own field was perceived as the

best thing that had been brought to the farmers.

• It encouraged group work, creating togetherness among trainers and

farmers themselves and was very participatory.

• It was sustainable and applicable to any enterprise.

• It gave farmers an opportunity to discuss other social problems in their


• Because it accommodated illiteracy, FSG methodology seemed very



IPPM provided an alternative method for cost-effective and high impact

extension programs that empowered the few farmers and farm communities

to solve their own production problems. Evidence from other countries and

indeed Zimbabwe has demonstrated that pesticide use can be reduced while

maintaining production outputs and increased profits. IPPM enhanced

ecological awareness, decision-making and other business skills, and farmers’

confidence; and FSGs have enhanced local organizations. Communities were

empowered to such an extent that farmers were confident and willing to train

other farmers. Earlier dependencies on centrally designed production

packages in areas with trained farmers were abandoned. As the government,

through AREX, is supportive of problem-solving participatory extension

approaches, FSGs are a sustainable methodology to adopt. Farmers were

willing to contribute financially and materially for the smooth running of their

local FSGs. This could be a breakthrough in the problem of lack of knowledge

as information could be shared amongst farmers and extension officers.

During field days more knowledge sharing can happen with neighbors and

friends who might not have managed to attend FSGs during the years when


the project was sponsored. Many trained farmers were willing to train other

farmers, although some advocated for a fee or allowance along with

guaranteed backup from extension personnel.

Suggestions made by participants:

• Farmers who were trained wanted more farmers to be trained, as this would

spread the knowledge faster and thus help improve environmental quality

and community health more quickly.

• The program should be continuous.

• More facilitators should be trained.

• Trained groups should be encouraged to participate in competitions.

• Farmers need more reference material like pamphlets and the IPPM


• Farmers should be able to visit other FSGs to exchange information across

districts or even provinces.

• Prices of agricultural products produced under IPPM should be sold at

higher prices than the conventional products.

• The program should target secondary schools and youths.

• Refresher courses are necessary for trained ToTs and farmers.

• Continued visits to trained farmers by trained officers after graduation for

monitoring and continuity are necessary to ensure that farmers continue


• Each farmer could have his/her own plot besides the group one during

training so that the trainers can visit them and see who has understood what

is being taught and who has not.

• It is necessary to include more crops and livestock during training.

• The public media should be used to publicize the technology and


Points to note:

• Some trained farmers have been resettled elsewhere. This could help in the

dissemination of information into new areas, but sharing this information

will be difficult as the farmers are no longer close together as they are not in

villages any more but plots that are far apart.

• Some districts do not have a single trained officer and this means farmers in

those districts have not yet received this technology yet.

• Trained extension agents were and still are, overburdened by other projects

and programs, and so their time for each particular project is limited.


• There is high staff turnover of late in the civil service, which is directly

impacting the project.

Strategies for future implementation:

As a way forward, officers suggested the following:

• There is a critical need to network with the different agro-industries and

NGOs in respective areas. It was suggested that officers approach seed

houses and chemical companies to assist in input supplies.

• Farmers should contribute more in terms of inputs. They could be

encouraged to establish revolving funds in their localities towards running of

FSGs. From donors and the current self-financing scheme, the government

should then chip in and provide travel and subsistence and stationery costs

for the officers. This way sustainability could be enhanced.

• Facilitators trained in the full-season courses should train provincial staff

with assistance from the extension workers who trained together with

farmers using the training branch budgetary allocation. The course could then

be one of the many in-service courses run by the ministry/ department.

• There is need to encourage facilitators to write pamphlets about IPPM in

the vernacular. There was however need to develop a culture of writing in

the extension personnel.

• There is need for a refresher course for ToTs and farmers so they can update

each other often on activities in their respective provinces and share

experiences. Tours may be necessary for those success stories so others can

adapt and adopt some of the successful methods.

• Proposals for potential donors such as FAO (UN), FACHIG, NRI, and the

Rockefeller Foundation should be developed at different levels for

continuation of FFS and to train the youths, and for more farmers in IPPM

in their areas.

• Inclusion of IPPM in school curricula at the different levels should be


• Incorporation of FFS into the current AREX delivery system. The required

inputs should be sourced from the relevant budgets i.e. crops vote for crop

production and livestock vote for livestock production. They would then be

treated as normal AREX demonstrations.

• The IPPM/FFS certificate could be recognized at national level just like the

MF Training Certificate, to encourage farmers to fund their own FFS

operations in anticipation of the certificate.


• There is need to publicize IPPM as a technology and FFS as an extension

methodology through the media, both electronic and print, to have a wider


• Farmer-led FFS should be promoted based on the fact that most farmers

interviewed were willing to train others.

• Follow-up programs on trained officers and farmers should be intensified.

• Trained farmers in newly resettled areas should be identified and

encouraged to create and facilitate farmer-led groups with backup from the


• Competitions for best FFS and best facilitator of the year should be held to

further enthuse the farmers.

• There is need to train more officers at provincial level using the ToTs as

facilitators. All those extension workers who participated during the

running of FSGs should be encouraged to run more FSGs in their areas with

backup from the ToTs.

The focus crops to date are cotton, soybean, maize, and horticultural crops like

tomato and sugar bean.

NB: One of the trained officers has embarked on small livestock IPPM in



A strong plea for continuation of the project was put forward, particularly with

its long-term sustainability in mind. It is important that a further period be

looked at during which time more enterprises and involvement of other

stakeholders with a larger geographical area must be considered. It was most

encouraging to note the impacts of the technology and methodology to such

levels that it seems most sensible to improve and expand the project so that it

becomes a self-financing ongoing program. From the information gathered

countrywide, both IPPM and FSG had positive impacts in their intended

purposes. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Adoption of IPPM as

a technology and FSGs as an extension training methodology has been positive

but definitely more resources are required. It is important that the farmers’

suggestions be considered for future planning.


Responses of farmers and extension officers to alternative

extension approaches

Joseph Rusike and Richard Foti, Special Project Scientist and Scientific

Officer, ICRISAT


The Department of Agricultural Research and Extension (AREX) of

Zimbabwe and ICRISAT are testing the efficiency and effectiveness of FFS

for presenting to farmers and scaling out knowledge-intensive, intangible, and

complex ISWNM technologies. The study is evaluating the performance of

FFS relative to the traditional MF extension approach and the PAE approach.

During the 2000/01 cropping season, seven FFS were established in Gwanda,

Tsholotsho, and Zvishavane. During 2001/02, the schools were expanded

from 7 to 40 schools with additional support from Plan International and the

FAO-TCP project Integrated Natural Resource Management in the Semi-Arid

Regions of Zimbabwe. The expansion was through establishment of new

schools in the original three pilot districts (Gwanda, Tsholotsho, Zvishavane)

and expansion to two new districts (Chivi and Zimuto). Because of a

combination of political disturbances and drought, only 13 of the 40 schools

organized at the beginning of the season remained functional throughout the

cropping season and produced trial results. Table 7 shows the distribution of

existing and new schools established by target district.

Surveys of participating and non-participating farmers and extension

officers were implemented between August and November 2002 to collect

Table 7. Distribution of existing and new Farmer Field Schools by target district,

southern Zimbabwe, 2001/2002 cropping season.

District Existing FFS New FFS Total FFS Realized FFS

(established (established 2001/2002 2001/2002

2000/2001) 2001/2002)

Gwanda 2 2 4 2

Tsholotsho 3 24 27 8

Zvishavane 2 2 4 0

Chivi 0 3 3 3

Zimuto 0 2 2 0

Total 7 33 40 13


data for the comparative analysis of the impact of FFS, traditional MF, and

PAE approaches. This paper reports the results of the survey. The impact of

the extension approach is tested by a number of indicators, including changes

in farmers’ knowledge and practices, changes in extension knowledge and

practices, farmer empowerment and cost-effectiveness.

Research approach

The farmer sample was drawn from lists of FFS members, Master Farmers,

PAE graduates and non-participating control farmers in neighboring villages in

four pilot districts: Chivi, Gwanda, Tsholotsho, and Zvishavane. All graduates

of the FFS, MF and PAE who could be located were interviewed. For control

farmers, households were randomly selected from population lists and

interviewed. The final sample included 369 farm households. These consisted

of 97 households that had participated in both MF and FFS training programs,

126 households that had participated in FFS only, 15 households that had

participated in the PAE approach, and 53 households drawn from control

groups receiving normal extension. In addition, focused group discussions

were conducted with FFS members. For the extension officers’ survey, 100

questionnaires were distributed to all field extension officers through the

District AEOs for completion and return to ICRISAT. The return rate

averaged 60%.

Results and discussion

This section discusses characteristics of survey households and extension

services and the impact of alternative extension approaches. The analysis

focuses on interaction between household typologies, main sources of farming

advice, contact with government extension staff, characteristics of extension

services provided by government officers, and observed economic


Characteristics of participating and non-participating survey households

The survey revealed considerable heterogeneity among sample households in

household head characteristics, family size and labor, farming experience,

members sending remittances, and farming assets. Household size averages 7,

ranging from 1 to 33 members. The age of the household head averages 53


years, ranging from 23 to 87. On average a household has access to 3.1 ha,

ranging from 0.4 to 9.7 ha.

To identify factors determining household differentiation and evaluate

how they interact with characteristics of extension services and result in the

observed performance, factor analysis was first carried out. Nonmetric

variables were included using dummy variables. The procedure extracted 8

factors with Eigen values greater than 1. The scree test showed that only the

first three factors are significant and these were retained for further analysis.

To interpret the factors the VARIMAX method was used to obtain orthogonal

rotation of factors (Table 8).

After rotating the factor axes, the variables with high statistically

significant loadings on Factor 1 included number of members working on

Table 8. VARIMAX-rotated component analysis factor matrix, southern Zimbabwe,


Variable 1 2 3 Uniqueness

Croplabo 0.68808 -0.03725 -0.11600 0.51170

Hhldsize 0.64468 -0.10472 -0.14982 0.55098

Cultivat 0.62445 0.06450 -0.05644 0.60272

Farmarea 0.55666 -0.42858 0.02962 0.50557

Ploughs 0.55132 0.11087 -0.39051 0.53126

Draftcat 0.54917 0.33146 -0.26302 0.51937

Harrows 0.53369 0.31335 -0.18665 0.58215

Carts 0.48901 0.18710 -0.42028 0.54923

Agehead 0.47972 -0.43676 0.10874 0.56728

Sprayer 0.41106 0.12300 -0.08316 0.80899

Cattle 0.40906 0.35568 -0.40408 0.54288

Animlabo 0.33750 -0.08203 -0.20594 0.83695

Barrow 0.31904 0.32160 -0.36185 0.66385

Hmaway 0.21931 0.22782 0.00940 0.89991

Bicycle 0.16970 0.53035 -0.17856 0.65804

Goats 0.16375 0.26193 -0.63383 0.50284

Farmsize 0.15742 0.18713 -0.22334 0.89032

Dmale 0.14784 -0.53857 -0.43818 0.49608

Sheep 0.14030 0.02323 -0.32833 0.87197

Cash 0.13402 0.22958 -0.05455 0.92635

Donkeys 0.09599 -0.06032 -0.84658 0.27045

Draftdon 0.07610 -0.09583 -0.84546 0.27023

Deffem 0.07135 0.67665 0.35021 0.41441

Radio -0.00317 0.53887 -0.33226 0.59921


crops, household size, cultivators, farming experience, ploughs, draft cattle,

harrows, carts, and age of household head. We identify Factor 1 as capturing

well-resourced households with full set of farm equipment. Variables that load

very high on Factor 2 include de facto female head, radio, bicycle, cattle, draft

cattle, wheelbarrows, harrows, goats and cash in the positive direction and

farming experience, age of household head, and male head husband resident in

the negative direction. We identify Factor 2 as capturing average households,

mostly de facto female-headed households with access to salaried incomes and

remittances, cash for investing in farming and consumer durables such as radio

and bicycles. Variables that have significant loadings on Factor 3 are mostly

negatively associated with donkeys, draft donkeys, goats, male-head husband

resident, carts, cattle, ploughs, wheelbarrow, radio, sheep and draft cattle.

Therefore we interpret Factor 4 as reflecting poorly resourced mostly de jure

female-headed households.

Focus group discussions with farmers revealed that they recognize three

household typologies based on community-derived wealth criteria such as

ownership of draft animals and farm equipment, land-holding size, farming

knowledge, and access to salaried incomes and remittances. These include

wealthy, average and poor households. Wealthy households have adequate

draft animals to inspan and a full set of equipment, including ploughs, harrows,

cultivators, and carts. They are generally male-headed households with a

resident husband and have access to pension, business income, or salaried

employment in the rural area. They have grown-up children whose education

is complete, and who are assisting them. They do not have major expenses

such as school fees and health costs. Some can afford to hire local casual

laborers and full-time workers to help with farming tasks. Average households

have inadequate animals and equipment for inspanning. They share draft

animals and implements and combine with others. They are mostly femaleheaded

households with husbands away or male-headed households with

retired or elderly household heads. Poor households have access to land but do

not have draft animals and farm implements. They have to hire draft power

from other farmers. They often sell labor for weeding and harvesting and

herding cattle; collect insects and natural resource products and sell them and

ask for help. Some poor households brew beer, breed poultry, make clay pots

to sell, and exchange human labor for animal draft services. These are usually

female-headed households.


Government extension officers and NGOs were reported as the most

frequently consulted source of information on new crops and varieties and soil

fertility for all farmer groups (Table 9).

Table 9. Main sources of advice on new crops and varieties and soil fertility methods

by gender and marital status of household head, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/02.

Male-head De facto De jure All

female-head female-head

Percent farmers reporting receiving advice

New crops and varieties

Public extension officer 60 62 55 60

NGOs 16 18 18 17

Other farmers 7 6 17 7

Radio 10 7 7 9

Other (firms, shops) 5 4 1 5

None 3 2 2 3

New soil fertility methods

Public extension officer 59 61 55 59

NGOs 17 20 18 17

Other farmers 7 5 17 8

Radio 9 7 7 9

Other (firms, shops) 5 4 1 5

None 3 3 2 3

De jure female-headed households ranked neighbours as more important

sources of advice compared to male-headed and de facto female-headed

households. In contrast, male-headed and de facto female-headed households

rated agribusiness firms as more important sources than de jure female-headed

households. These patterns reflect the severity of resource constraints among

different household groups. De jure female-headed households are more

resource-constrained and more likely to find the advice provided by

commercial companies difficult to implement because it requires more

resources than they have. Consequently they seek advice from neighbours

who have adapted to the farming and screened projects that offer competitive

returns to investment. Proportionately more de jure female-headed

households have no contact with government extension staff compared to

male headed and de facto female-headed households (Table 10).

For households with extension contact, proportionately more de jure

female-headed households have statistically significant lower frequencies of


Table 10. Extension contact by gender and marital status of household head during

the cropping season, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/02.

Male-head De facto De jure All Significance

female head female head

Households without 30 28 54 32 0.00

extension contact (%)

Frequency of extension contact

for households with contact (%)

Less than once/month 57 53 62 57 0.01

Monthly 30 11 24 29

Fortnightly 5 16 2 5

Weekly 7 20 12 8

Frequency at which household

would like extension contact (%)

Less than once/month 43 46 44 43 0.02

Monthly 32 13 21 30

Fortnightly 3 12 1 4

Weekly 21 29 34 23

contact with government extension agents than male-headed and de jure

female-headed households. This is despite the fact that proportionately more

de jure female-headed households wish to see extension staff more frequently

than male-headed and female-headed households. Clearly de jure femaleheaded

households have the least access to formal extension services. A

question that emerges is whether or not FFS enable de jure female-headed

households to gain better access to extension.

Characteristics of agricultural extension services

Government field extension officers reported that they allocate roughly 80%

of their time to extension activities and the balance to administrative and

regulatory duties (Table 11).

Of the time used for extension activities, three quarters is allocated to

group discussions, MF training, individual farm visits, and demonstrations.

Because most group activities and direct visits to the farms are currently for

providing technical backstopping to the MF training, the bulk of extension

time is spent on the MF scheme. Around 7% of extension time is on

Participatory Extension and 5% on FFS. Of the time used for administrative


Table 11. Allocation of government extension staff time, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/02.


Cropping season Winter season Before rainy season

Activity (October to April) (May to July) (August to September)

Extension 77% 77% 79%

Regulatory and administrative 23% 23% 21%

Proportion of extension time used on

Group discussions 0.21 0.26 0.27

MF training 0.20 0.23 0.20

Individual farmer visits 0.18 0.16 0.17

Demonstrations 0.14 0.11 0.12

Participatory Extension Approach 0.09 0.08 0.08

NGO-related activities 0.07 0.07 0.06

FFS 0.05 0.05 0.07

Field days 0.06 0.04 0.04

Proportion of administrative and

regulatory duties time used on

Regulatory duties 0.31 0.45 0.36

Water conservation 0.23 0.27 0.22

Crop forecasts 0.25 0.10 0.11

In-service training 0.08 0.05 0.14

Training other extension staff 0.07 0.07 0.13

Teaching in schools 0.06 0.06 0.05

and regulatory duties 37% was spent on regulatory activities (land

resettlement, migratory pest control, firearms processing, and farm input

scheme), 24% on water conservation, 14% on crop forecasts, and the balance

on in-service training, training other extension staff, and teaching in schools.

The MF, FFS and PAE approaches have different mixes of methods,

tools, and criteria for targeting different farm households. The MF approach is

characterized by higher levels of use of classroom and board teaching, written

notes and examinations, and individual farm visits. In contrast, FFS use to a

large extent group building exercises, experiments and trials, energizers and

look-and learn-visits. The PAE approach is characterized by high use of

training for transformation and look-and-learn visits. However, all the three

approaches employ to a similar extent field demonstrations and practicals and

group meetings. Farmers have limited voice in lessons that they study under

the MF approach, moderate voice under FFS, and a large voice under PAE.


This is because for the MF approach there is a predetermined syllabus that

must be followed in order to graduate and farmers look up to the extension

officer as the expert and teacher. But farmers can select topics and crops they

would like to study from a list and farmers discuss in groups and report

findings to the trainer. In the FFS farmers learn as they do things, lessons are

drawn from problems faced by farmers, most of the lessons are selected by

farmers from their experience, extension only guides the farmers in making

decisions, and farmers take trials into their farming systems. In PAE the trainer

asks for participation from farmers, farmers select topics and crops, lessons are

drawn from farmers’ problems, farmers are able to organize and run field

demonstrations, and look-and-learn exercises are used to broaden options

available to farmers.

Extension officers reported they target better resource-endowed

households with livestock, implements and land, especially families who can

read and write for the MF approach. FFS targets all interested households in a

community on a voluntary first-come-first-serve basis. PAE targets existing

farmer groups and clubs that are mostly self-selected. To graduate under the

MF approach farmers explained that they have to attend at least 24 lessons,

pass written tests, build a clean home with 5 rooms, 4 granaries, 3 cattle pens,

2 goat kraals, a shed for farm implements, toilet, rubbish pit, and a fruit

orchard. They also have to implement the practices taught by extension

officers, especially winter ploughing, making contour ridges, and sole

cropping; and obtain marketable surpluses and sell crops to commercial

market outlets such as the Grain Marketing Board. Although requirements are

less stringent for the PAE, households still need to know all things that are

taught, and implement the practices in their fields. By contrast, under FFS,

farmers graduate when they think they are ready provided they continuously

attend lessons. This is because the learning process goes on and farmers are

always learning new technologies and practices.

Because of the stringent requirements for participation and graduation,

the MF approach is mostly for male-headed households. Less stringent

requirements for PAE broaden participation to poorer households but selfselection

still results in domination by male-headed households. Flexible

requirements result in the FFS drawing membership from more broadly

resource-based households, including de facto and de jure female-headed

households. We conclude that FFS does indeed offer de jure female-headed

households access to extension.


Impact of Master Farmer, Farmer Field Schools and Participatory

Agricultural Extension approaches

This section discusses the impact of alternative extension approaches in terms

of farmers’ knowledge of practices, changes in farmers’ practices, changes in

extension practices, empowerment, and cost-effectiveness. Households are

classified according to the main approaches used to provide extension services

and the impact of the extension approach is assessed by comparing changes

among different categories.

Farmers’ knowledge of soil nutrient and water management technologies

During the interviews farmers were given a knowledge test consisting of

questions on improved practices for soil conservation, rainwater harvesting, soil

fertility management, and working together in groups. The answers were graded

using a scoring method from 0 for incorrect answers to 100% for correct answers

in each category. PAE graduates had a statistically significant higher mean

knowledge score for soil conservation across the five categories (Table 12).

Table 12. Mean knowledge levels of farmers of improved soil and water conservation,

soil fertility, and group building practices by extension approach, southern

Zimbabwe, 2001/2002.


Knowledge levels Knowledge scores (0-100%)

Soil conservation 54.6 a 65.3 a 54.5 a 77.3 b 51.9 a

Rainwater harvesting 64.2 a 74.9 b 74.7 b 80.2 a 49.7 a

Soil fertility improvement 82.2 a 82.5 a 81.7 a 89.3 a 62.5

Working together in groups 45.2 a 52.2 ab 41.8 a 61.5 ab 37.7 a

a. Different letters indicate numbers are statistically significant at the 0.05 probability level.

The joint MF and FFS graduates and pure FFS graduates had statistically

significant mean knowledge scores for rainwater harvesting compared to the

pure MF, PAE and control groups. The pure MF, MF combined with FFS, pure

FFS, and PAE groups had statistically significant higher mean scores compared

to the control group. But the differences in the means among the different

extension groups were not statistically significant. Finally the joint MF and

FFS and the PAE groups had statistically significant mean scores for working

together in groups. PAE is instrumental in improving farmers’ knowledge of

soil conservation; the joint MF and FFS and pure FFS approaches for soil


water conservation; the pure MF, joint MF -FFS, pure FFS and PAE for soil

fertility; and the joint MF-FFS and PAE for collective action. Mirror

interviews with extension agents show that they perceived FFS as inducing

most changes in farmers knowledge and skills of soil and water conservation,

soil fertility management and pest control; PAE in collective action; and MF in

general livestock and crop management. This is consistent with farmer


The knowledge patterns reflect in part the content of the different

extension approaches and in part processes used to communicate with

farmers. Farmers were asked what they learnt in the MF, FFS, and PAE

approaches. Farmers’ responses show that the MF approach places most

emphasis on general knowledge of livestock and crop production and new crop

varieties and planting methods. The PAE places equal emphasis on new crop

varieties and planting methods. By contrast, the FFS approach most

emphasizes soil and water conservation followed by new varieties and planting

methods, general knowledge of crops and soil fertility.

Farmers’ practice change

Farmers were asked if they changed their farming practices as a result of what

they learnt from the extension approaches and details of specific changes they

had implemented. The proportion of farmers changing practices was highest

for the joint MF-FFS and pure MF graduates followed by PAE, FFS and

control groups (Table 13).

Table 13. Practice-changes by extension approaches, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/


MF MF /FFS FFS PEA Control Significance

Farmers reporting (%)

Changed practices 91 92 71 81 51 n.s.

Practice change

Soil fertility 36 25 42 28 27

Soil and water conservation 33 40 38 72 45

New varieties and planting methods 20 16 7 0 9

General knowledge crops 9 11 10 0 10

Other (buildings, farm 2 5 0 0 9

management, marketing)

General knowledge livestock 0 3 4 0 0


Compared to the control group, the MF and joint MF-FFS approaches

make the largest impact on new varieties and planting methods, the pure FFS

on soil fertility, and the PAE on soil and water conservation. Caution is needed

when interpreting these results. Farmers explained that most of the changes

they made under the MF scheme were compulsory. Farmers implemented

these changes in order to graduate and obtain a certificate and badge which, in

turn, enabled them to receive priority for land resettlement, agricultural

credit, extension, and farm input distribution programs. By contrast the

changes under the FFS and PAE approaches were voluntary and farmers made

them to improve yields.

When asked why they made changes in their farming practices, FFS and

joint MF-FFS graduates reported that they had discovered that there is a

difference between old methods and new ones, new methods work well in

their conditions and are easy to follow and implement, and new methods are

more profitable than the old ones. PAE graduates explained that they were

primarily applying water conservation practices. Master Farmer graduates

indicated that they were following extension agents’ instructions because the

extension officer moves around to check that farmers are doing the right thing,

and because farmers get punished if they are found not implementing

recommended practices. Clearly, the greater impact of FFS on soil fertility

practices is because learning by discovery and carrying out experimental trials

convince farmers that the new technologies give a competitive rate of return

on investment under farmers’ conditions, while learning-by-doing develops

farmers’ skills and experience to apply the techniques in their fields and make

better decisions about the technologies, thereby reducing likelihood of failure

and risk. The greater impact of PAE on soil and water conservation is that the

technologies are labor intensive and households are able to resolve labor

constraints through collective action and labor-sharing work parties.

Because of higher adoption rates of improved soil fertility management

practices, FFS graduates have average sorghum and maize yields that are 5% to

32% higher than those of control farmers (Table 14). Combining the MF and

FFS results in higher mean yield differences.

Table 14. Average sorghum and maize yields of FFS and non-FFS farmers during a

severe drought year, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/02.

MF MF /FFS FFS PEA Control Sig.


Maize 376 224 142 207 107 0.000

Sorghum 138 128 71 102 67 0.000


Extension agents’ practice changes

Extension agents interviewed for this study were asked if they had made

changes in their practices as a result of the extension approach that they used

and what specific changes they had adopted. About 95% of extension officers

reported that they had changed their practices as a result of MF and PAE

training programs they had conducted compared to 70% for the FFS.

However, the differences are not statistically significant.

Cross-tabulating the kind of changes with the extension approach reveals

that FFS caused the most statistically significant changes, inducing extension

to use more trials and demonstrations, getting farmers to do extension, and

using group discovery and group-building methods (Table 15).

Table 15. Changes in extension practices by extension approach, southern

Zimbabwe, 2001/02.

Type of change MF Farmer Field School PEA All Significance

Number of responses 91 25 53 169

Percent of responses

Encourage farmers 9 12 9 10 0.000

to do extension

Facilitate not teach, 30 36 47 36

learn from farmers’


Extension in groups 23 40 42 31

Trials/demonstrations 9 12 2 7


Other (plough setting, 30 0 0 16

planting methods,

using harrow,

cattle dosing, pests)

PAE caused changes inducing extension to become facilitators rather

than teachers, learn from farmers’ experiences, and use bottom-up extension

and group extension. The MF approach most caused changes in extension of

general farm management messages such as farm budgeting, plough setting,

planting methods, and livestock dosing.



Farmers were asked whether, as a result of the trials, households in the area

were better positioned to solve local agricultural problems on their own; and

whether they were making new demands on extension agents and researchers.

Most MF, MF-FFS, FFS and PAE graduates indicated that the community was

better able to solve local agricultural problems compared to control farmers.

However, the differences among different extension approaches were not

statistically significant (Table 16).

Table 16. Farmer empowerment by extension approach, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/02.

MF MF /FFS FFS PAE Control Significance

Farmers reporting (%)

Number of households 91 92 71 81 51

% reporting better position to 85 83 83 79 49 0.001

solve local agricultural problems

on their own

% reporting making new demands 23 21 23 53 0 0.000

Farmers who reported that households were better positioned to resolve

local agricultural problems on their own argued that this was mostly because

they had learned and acquired new farming knowledge and skills. Farmers are

now applying in their own plots the improved farming practices that they

tested in the trials, and are able to carry on even without extension officers.

Furthermore, farmers are now able to teach each other the new practices

without the assistance of extension officers. Farmers interviewed for this

study explained that participating households had improved their probability

of getting a yield despite the low rainfall, and have improved their yields and

overall harvests. If there is enough rainfall farmers obtain really good harvests,

sell surplus output, and generate income for investing in livestock. In contrast,

farmers who felt that households had not yet been empowered indicated that

the majority of farmers did not have the required knowledge, needed more

information, and were still learning; when research started the weather has

been unfavorable hence it is difficult to see really appreciable benefits which,

although they are there, are not yet visible to everyone; and that farmers are

not well organized, undermine each other and do not want to share



There were marked differences in new demands to extension officers

and researchers. Although only a fifth of the MF, MF and FFS, and FFS

graduates reported making new demands to extension officers and

researchers, more than half of PAE graduates indicated making new demands,

compared to none for control farmers. The high proportion of PAE graduates

demanding services from extension officers is because under the PAE,

households are trained in transformational leadership skills, which reduce

dependency on donors and external support and increase self-reliance.

Farmers who reported making demands explained that this was because:

• they realized that their knowledge of farming practices was inadequate so

they wanted to work with extension agents to carry out more trials on

farming and practice some more of their techniques so that they get seed of

the best varieties and better access to complementary inputs and increase


• farmers were now used to researchers and extension, knew that extension

officers and researchers would listen to their problems and help them;

• farmers were confident about and wanted to get maximum use of

extension; and

• they feel they have the right to make such demands.

Farmers who reported not making demands indicated that this was because:

• they did not know how to make demands and had no power;

• they were satisfied with the advice they were receiving;

• they did not usually see researchers and extension; and

• they believed that it does not help because extension officers lack capacity

to meet the demands.

Most of the demands were for redoing variety trials; providing farmers

with seed of drought-resistant varieties suitable for their area and crop

management advice; improving community and commercial seed and fertilizer

supply systems; expanding FFS, farmer participatory trials and

demonstrations; organizing field days; providing study materials and farming

magazines; making more individual visits to fields; and pegging fields for

construction of dead level contours.

Mirror interviews with field extension officers generally confirmed

farmers’ responses. Extension officers reported that PAE resulted in the

greatest improvement in farmer empowerment. This was because more

farmers were now applying to join, there was formation of new groups,


farmer-to-farmer visits, a sense of oneness among farmers at meetings,

compliance with the constitution and paying of fines, organized input buying

and market crops in groups, farmers were willing to take field competitions

and trials. Farmers were also better able to identify their own problems and

solutions and more self-reliant in planning and implementing their programs

and acquiring loans, and more confident about carrying out farming

operations. Farmers no longer accepted everything brought by extension

agents; and were now able to demand extension services, select their own

leader, organize their own meetings and field days, and liaise with other

agencies and NGOs. Farmers no longer accepted top-down decisions; were

trying out new ideas; making better decisions about what they want to grow,

choosing varieties that suit their area; and had changed attitudes towards

maize varieties. They implemented better crop spacing, use of rain gauges, and

maintenance of storm drains; farm management and budgeting annual income;

proper use of improved soil practices; and were able to peg fields and use good

techniques of manure conservation. Farmers were achieving better food

security; marketing crops in groups; able to choose markets; and deciding on

prices to sell their produce.


Because FFS are labor and knowledge intensive, they are more demanding

with respect to time, skills and training materials than traditional MF and PAE

approaches. Consequently FFS have lower throughput as measured by groups

per extension officer per year. Because extension officers spend more time

traveling and working per group, FFS have higher operating and salary costs

per farmer. During the 2001/2 cropping season, total operating and salary

costs for government extension officer-led FFS averaged US$ 17.00 per

farmer compared to US$ 14.00 and US$ 7.00 per farmer for PAE and MF

approaches (Table 17).

The higher costs per farmer for the extension-led FFS are mostly due to

higher travel, subsistence, and stationery expenses. Because travel and

subsistence costs constitute the largest share of total costs of running FFS, unit

costs can be drastically reduced and effectiveness improved by establishing

farmer-led rather than government extension officer-led FFS. Focus group

discussion and interviews with key informants revealed that the costs of

farmer-led FFS are reduced by as much as 65% to about US$ 6 per farmers

and the quality of training services improved by engaging farmer facilitators.


Table 17. Operating and salary costs in US$ per farmer graduate by extension

approach, southern Zimbabwe, 2001/02.

MF Extension-led FFS PAE Farmer-led FFS

Transport mileage 1.68 7.08 1.83 0.00

Bus fare 0.50 0.84 1.48 0.84

Subsistence 2.02 4.03 5.85 0.00

Stationery 0.29 1.49 1.10 1.49

Training aids 0.55 0.66 0.72 0.66

Training materials 0.56 1.00 0.93 1.00

Operating costs per farmer 5.60 15.11 11.90 3.99

Salary cost per farmer 1.41 2.10 2.01 2.10

Total cost per farmer 7.01 17.20 13.90 6.09

Field extension officers recommended that the FFS approach is best

used when farmers are not convinced that new technologies will work in their

situations and extension agents want to prove that some technologies offer

significant benefits by making farmers experiment on their own and discover

in groups in order to achieve common goals; training decision-making skills for

day-to-day field crop management in response to changes in rainfall and prices;

imparting knowledge and skills through practical work and field days; and

more efficient use of manure inorganic and fertilizers. Farmer Field Schools

also have a comparative advantage for presenting technologies to large

numbers of farmers in groups over a wide geographical area, training for

transformation to the farming majority, and complementing MF training when

resource constraints limit MF training. The MF approach is best equipped for

delivering basic farming knowledge and practices to households starting to

farm; and the farmers in well-resourced households, literate, and investing in

crop and livestock production. The MF approach is also superior when

extension officers have adequate resources for training (teaching aids, training

materials, and financial support); extension agents can make individual field

visits to some farmers; and farmers are provided with strong incentives such as

seeds, fertilizers, certificates, and badges in order to participate. The PAE

approach is best suited to all farming situations when creating space for poor

farmers; engaging whole communities in all stages of decision-making in

projects; starting with project identification through planning,

implementation, monitoring and evaluation; and group action learning. PAE is

also superior for spreading new innovations being developed by a few farmers


to the majority of farmers, conducting training for transformation, and group

building. PAE is comparatively superior for farmer empowerment so that

farmers play a leading role in problem identification, selection and

implementation of most beneficial projects as a group, and helps them achieve

a feeling of project ownership for sustainability. Extension agents argued that

AREX should adopt PAE as the major extension approach for use in the field

and all staff members in the department receive training for implementing

PAE methods.

Sustaining and institutionalizing Farmer Field Schools

The FFS and PAE piloted to date have been mostly supported by donor funds.

This raises the question of how FFS can be sustained and scaled out and up

after withdrawal of donor funds. The government budgetary allocations to

extension services are declining in real terms such that extension agents cannot

operate effectively. At the same time there has been a decline in donor support

and private sector funding. Poor salaries and working conditions are resulting

in declining staff morale, loss of staff to the private and NGO sectors, and loss

of community respect. There have also been substantial public extension staff

losses resulting from HIV/AIDS. Yet, at the same time, the demand for

extension services means they have to provide more services especially to

newly resettled farmers. How can AREX expand FFS in order to meet the

rapidly growing demand for extension services and generate more impact in

existing smallholder with dwindling resources?

Focus group discussions and farmer and extension interviews showed

that there are three areas of leverage with significant potential to replicate FFS

and make them sustainable. The first is reallocating the annual budgets for

national extension programs at the provincial levels to directly support FFS.

AREX recognizes FFS as one of the main extension approaches for providing

services to smallholders. But performance appraisals for field extension

officers emphasize MF training as a key result area. A key objective for each

field officer is “to recruit 100 Ordinary Master Farmers at the beginning of the

year and continue to provide effective training services to old trainees by

slavishly adhering to the AGRITEX MF curriculum throughout the year”

(AGRITEX 2001). Extension officer interviews revealed that the MF

approach needs to be revamped to make it more farmer-driven, permit

farmers to choose their syllabus and how they want to be trained, assess the

performance of old graduates and new trainees, and improve its relevance to

farmer needs. Because the provincial budgets are now activity- and


performance based, FFS, which are bottom-up, can be supported by allocating

most of the funds to extension instead of to administrative and regulatory

duties. But travel and subsistence constitute the major share of costs and the

financial requirements far exceed available funds. Integrating FFS in the MF

training scheme allows for exploiting strategic complementarities and

achieving synergy between the two approaches while containing travel and

subsistence costs.

The second area is expansion of farmer-led FFS and community-based

PAE groups. Farmer Field School graduates reported that although there are a

few farmers who do not want to share information, most graduates are willing

to share information with other farmers and facilitate the formation of more

FFS in their communities if provided with financial assistance to procure seeds

and fertilizers, and to give allowances to farmer facilitators to use in travel

expenses and maintenance of their bicycles, which they use for traveling.

Investments are also required to train farmer skills to share knowledge learnt in

FFS with other farmers, facilitate starting of new FFS groups, strengthen farmer

groups, generate their own financial resources and increase their sustainability.

The third area of leverage is targeting investments of NGOs and

agribusiness firms to complement and synergize public investments. Because

AREX-voted appropriations are limited it requires additional resources and

scaling out and up needs to be complemented by NGO and private sector

investments and agribusiness firms.

Conclusions and recommendations

Public and private sector investments in agricultural research and extension in

Zimbabwe in the past 50 years have resulted in the development and supply to

farmers of improved genetic and crop management technologies that have

significant potential to greatly increase yields and improve human welfare if

applied to all smallholder farming areas. Smallholders have widely adopted

improved varieties, but farmers have been slow to adopt improved crop

management practices. Consequently, average farm yields remain low, per

capita food production and farm incomes are declining, and food security is

worsening. Many analysts have argued that farmers are not adopting improved

crop management practices because of market constraints and lack of

information. AREX and ICRISAT pilot-tested the efficiency and costeffectiveness

of the FFS approach to resolve the information and marketing

constraints compared to the traditional MF and PAE approaches.


This study conducted a comparative analysis of the impact of alternative

FFS, traditional MF, and PAE approaches on promoting adoption of ISWNM

technologies. Impact was measured using a number of indicators including

changes in farmers’ knowledge, farmer practices, extension agents’ practices,

farmer empowerment, and cost-effectiveness. Results show that the FFS

training had a positive impact. FFS graduates have higher knowledge scores for

improved rainwater harvesting and soil fertility management compared to

non-FFS farmers. Compared to non-FFS farmers, FFS graduates have higher

adoption rates of improved soil fertility management practices and average

yields that are 5% higher for sorghum and 32% higher for maize.

Farmer Field School graduates interviewed in this study indeed

expressed their strong preference for FFS because they find it is superior to

the traditional MF training and group approaches for inducing the adoption of

soil fertility and water management technologies. FFS increase knowledge and

sharing through farmers visiting each other in fields and evaluating whether or

not to apply what they learn in FFS plots to their fields. This is because

learning-by-doing develops farmers’ confidence to apply the techniques on

their own fields. The main role of government extension officers becomes to

facilitate rather than to teach; the farmers decide almost everything

themselves; no decisions are imposed on the farmers; discussion and sharing of

ideas among farmers helps to build an integrated, farmer-driven curriculum;

observing crops throughout the season as a group builds confidence of

individual farmers to apply the knowledge in their main arable fields; building

leadership and problem solving through doing is important to get all members

to support the program; farmer-farmer and farmer-extension officer

interaction builds diverse knowledge and skills in individual farmers and helps

them put theory into practice; and farmers’ contributions are put together and

therefore no-one feels inferior or superior. The FFS concepts make farmers

feel that what they do is theirs and they do it for themselves for their benefit.

Farmers also prefer the FFS approach because even illiterate and elderly

farmers are easily able to do practical work as compared to learning theory.

Field days and trials help promote adoption of technologies that permit

farmers to harvest better yields even if there is very little rainfall. FFS build

cohesion in groups and sharing of responsibilities.

The study makes three recommendations. The first is to restructure the

MF approach and integrate it with the FFS approach. The second is to expand

investments for the development of farmer-led FFS. The third


ecommendation is to target investments by NGOs and agribusiness firms to

complement public investments in FFS.


AGRITEX. 2001. Guideline to Extension Workers and Officers Performance

Appraisal Plan for Year 2001. Harare: AGRITEX.



Alibaba, S

Provincial Agronomist


P O Box 326


Tel: 084 22307

Fax: 084 22307


Bepete, Elisha

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 72


Tel: 0878 262

Chezhira, Munodawafa

Livestock Specialist – Mat. South


P O Box 326


Tel: 22394/6

Fax: 22307

Chikanda, Kenneth

Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 8


Tel: 051 2018

Fax: 051 3833

Chitsiko, R J


Dept. of Agricultural Engineering

P O Box CY 639



Tel: 725016

Fax: 730525

Dhliwayo, Mike George

Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 740


Tel: 62125

Dimes, John

Scientist – Systems modeling


P O Box 776


Tel: 083 8311

Fax: 083 8253


Dube, Aaron M



Mkhubazi line

P O Box 44


Tel: 0878 262

Dube, Adolf

Livestock Specialist – Mat North


P O Box 1927


Tel: 09-67161

Fax: 09-67136

Dube, Leslie



P O Box 214


Tel: 084 – 22382/22468


Dumisani Mbikwa Nyoni

Princ. Agricultural Extension Specialist



P O Box 1927


Tel: 09-67161/2/3

Fax: 09-67136

Foti, Richard

Scientific Officer


P O Box 776


Tel: 083 – 8311

Fax: 083 – 8253


Gopoza, Wilson

Business Development Manager

ZFC Limited


P O Box 385


Tel: 04-753882/9

Fax: 04-753881


Gumbondzvanda, Doubt



P O Box 776


Tel: 083 8311

Fax: 083 8253


Heinrich GM


P O Box 776


Tel: 083 – 8311

Fax: 083 – 8253


Hove, November

Member (Tsungirirai FFS)


Chivizina Secondary School

P Bag 608


Hove, Orpheus

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 72


Tel: 087/8 262

Hughes, O

Integrated Natural Resources Officer


P O Box 3730


Tel: 791407


Kwaramba, Judith

Horticulturist/IPPM National Co-ord


P O Box CY 550



Tel: 011 400 768/091 370 998

Fax: 04 – 730525


Kwela, Isaac

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 214


Tel: 21125

Makamure, Bridgita


Kuwirirana FFS

Mutatiri School

P Bag 9017

Zimuto – Masvingo


Makumbe, Willie

Senior Agricultural Extension Officer


P Bag 514


Tel: 037 – 339

Fax: 037 – 432


Makuvise, E

Agricultural Extension Worker


P Bag 514


Tel: 284- 037

Malutha, Ntswariseng



Hnahna School

P Bag 429


Masendeke, DN

INRM National Coordinator


P O Box 1927


Tel: 09 – 67161

Fax: 09 – 67136

Mbetu, Elizabeth

Agricultural Extension Supervisor


P O Box 8


Tel: 051-2018 011744889

Mhere, Owen

Senior Research Technician

AREX Matopos

Matopos Research Station

P Bag 5137


Tel: 0838-264/212

Mkwananzi, E

Member Farmer Field School

Zimiseleni Farmer’s Club

Mkubazi School

P O Box 44


Moyo, D

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 72


Tel: 0878 – 262

Moyo, Kudzayi

Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 72


Tel: 0878 262

Moyo, Zephania

Scientific Officer


P O Box 776


Tel: 083 – 8311

Fax; 0838253


Mpesi, Josephine


Mutanidzwa Ziruvi B

Ziruvi School

P O Box 156


Mundeiri, Betserai

District Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 72


Tel: 0878 262


Mungwari, D

Project Manager


8 Ross Avenue, Belgravia


Tel: 727986/8


Muperi, Patrick

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 8


Tel: 2018

Muposhi, Fungai

Provincial Agronomist


P O Box 233


Tel: 054 - 25036/9

Fax: 054 – 21936


Mutsaka, Samuel

Agricultural Extension Worker


P Bag 514


Tel: 284 - 037

Muwunganirwa, James Simbarashe

Principal Agricultural Extension

Specialist (Livestock)


P O Box 233


Tel: 054 - 25036 - 9

Fax: 054 - 20936

Ncube, Innocent P

Agricultural Extension Worker


18 DA’s Camp


Tel: 084 22468

Ncube, Irine

Chairperson (FFS)

Butric Enterprises

P O Box 439


Ncube, NM

Chief Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 233


Tel: 054 - 25036/9

Fax: 054 - 21936

Ncube, Olina

Farmer (FFS Member)

Butric Enterprises

P O Box 439


Ncube, Richard



P O Box 72


Tel: 0878-262

Ncube, Shadreck

Research Officer

Matopos Research Station

P B K 5137


Tel: 0838-264/5

Fax: 0838-289


Ndabambi, Jabulani S

Marketing Executive

ZFC Limited

P O Box 385


Tel: 04-753882/9

Fax: 04 - 753881



Ndebele, Crispen

Crop Research Officer


Matopos Research Station

P Bag K5137


Tel: 0838 - 294

Ndhlovu, Joram


Manzimahle FFS

Mvundlana School

P O Box 45


Cell: 011 763 172

Ndlovu, Annahstazia


Sunday News

P O Box 585


Tel: 888871 - 9 Ext. 300

Fax: 888884

Ndlovu, N

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 214


Tel: 23138

Ndlovu, OT

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 72


Tel: 0878 – 262

Ndlovu, Venson

Agricultural Extension Worker


Melimo General Dealers

P.A Bengale


Tel: 23138

Nduna, Mdongo

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 72


Tel: 087-8-262

Nhedzi, William


Tsungirirai Mwedzi FFS

Mapedza School

P Bag 608


Nhoro, Elimon


Zerubi Mubatanidzwa B

Zerubi School

P O Box 156


Nkiwane, F

Member of Mvundlana FFS

Manzimahle FFS

Mvundlana Primary School

P O Box 45


Nkomo, Honest

Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 72


Tel; 0878 262

Nyamwenda, S

Soil & Water Conservation Specialist

Dept of Agricultural Engineering

P O Box 233


Tel: 054 25036/9

Fax: 054 21936



Nyathi, Maximillion

Chief Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 1927


Tel: 09/67161 – 884546

Fax: 09 – 67136

Rusike, Joseph

Special Project Scientist


P O Box 776


Tel: 083 – 8311

Fax; 0838253


Shirichena, MZ

District Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 8


Tel: 051 - 2018

Sibanda, BM

A/C Agricultural Extension Officer

AREX - Mat. South

P O Box 326


Tel: 084 - 22394-6

Fax: 084 – 22307


Sibanda, Sibangilizwe

Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 72


Tel: 0878 – 262

Sibanda, Simbarashe

Agricultural Extension Worker


P O Box 8


Tel: 2018

Sikosana, Joseph

Chief Research Officer


Matopos Research Station

P B K 5137


Tel: 083-8327

Fax: 083-8289


Sithole, SZ

SPS/Food Safety Policy Advisor

Southern Africa Global Competiveness


P O Box 602090,



Tel: 267 3900884

Fax: 267 3901027


Tapfumaneyi, L

Chief Agronomist

Agricultural Engineering

P O Box cy 639



Tel: 04 794381-04

Fax: 04- 730525


Tendai, Midzi

Agricultural Extension Worker

Zvishavane AREX

P O Box 8


Tel: 051-2018

Fax: 051-3833

Tenga, Luwanika

Agricultural Extension Officer


P O Box 72



Tsikisayi, Sylvester



P O Box 3755


Tel: 251861/8

Fax: 250925


Twomlow SJ

Principal Scientist


P O Box 776


Tel: 083 – 8311

Fax: 083 – 8253


Woodend, John

Managing Director

Agricultural Market Development Trust


7 Fleet wood Road

Alexandra Park


Tel: 04-745768/745827/8/30/31

Fax: 04-745829




The semi-arid tropics (SAT) encompass parts of 48 developing countries including most of

India, parts of Southeast Asia, a swathe across sub-Saharan Africa, much of southern and

eastern Africa, and parts of Latin America. Many of these countries are among the poorest

in the world. Approximately one sixth of the world’s population lives in the SAT, which is

typified by unpredictable weather, limited and erratic rainfall and nutrient-poor soils.

ICRISAT’s mandate crops are sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut –

five crops vital to life for the ever-increasing populations of the SAT. ICRISAT’s mission is

to conduct research that can lead to enhanced sustainable production of these crops and to

improved management of the limited natural resources of the SAT. ICRISAT

communicates information on technologies as they are developed through workshops,

networks, training, library services and publishing.

ICRISAT was established in 1972. It is supported by the Consultative Group on

International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an informal association of approximately 50

public and private sector donors. It is co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture

Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme

(UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank.

ICRISAT is one of 15 nonprofit, CGIAR-supported Future Harvest Centers.



Patancheru 502 324

Andhra Pradesh, India

Tel +91 40 23296161

Fax +91 40 23241239


The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a non-profit, non-political, international

organization for science-based agricultural development. ICRISAT conducts research on sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea,

pigeonpea and groundnut – crops that support the livelihoods of the poorest of the poor in the semi-arid tropics

encompassing 48 countries. ICRISAT also shares information and knowledge through capacity building, publications and

ICTs. Established in 1972, it is one of 15 Centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural

Research (CGIAR).

Contact information:


(Regional hub ESA)

PO Box 39063, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel +254 20 524555

Fax 524001


(Regional hub WCA)

BP 12404

Niamey, Niger (Via Paris)

Tel +227 722529, 722725

Fax 734329


BP 320

Bamako, Mali

Tel +223 2223375

Fax 223 2228683


Matopos Research Station

PO Box 776,

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Tel +263 83 8311-15

Fax +263 83 8253/8307


Chitedze Agricultural Research Station

PO Box 1096

Lilongwe, Malawi

Tel +265-1-707297/071/067/057

Fax 707298


c/o INIA, Av. das FPLM No 2698

Caixa Postal 1906

Maputo, Mozambique

Tel +258-1-461657

Fax 461581


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines