Article Index

Evidence of impact and potential scalability 

Only one study was found documenting the costs and returns of a farmer-trainer programme. Welllard et al. (9)
(9) Wellard et al. 2013. Op. cit.
 reported benefit–cost ratios ranging from 7-to-1 to 14-to-1 across four sites where Self Help Africa, an NGO, and local partners supported farmer-trainers in Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda. Several other studies show evidence of uptake of new practices promoted by farmer-trainers and evidence of community members’ and development organisations’ satisfaction with, and appreciation for, farmer-trainers. The rapid spread of the F2FE approach – most organisations using it in Cameroon, Kenya, and Malawi had adopted it only during the past decade – without backing of donors or international organisations is evidence of its demonstrated effectiveness in use.

There are many cases of the approach being scaled up successfully, e.g. the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture works with more than 12,000 lead farmers and the Peruvian Government, with 2,500 farmer-trainers (see Box 1).

Issues of sustainability of the approach 

Several factors appear to be associated with sustainability of F2FE programmes:

  • Ownership by local institutions: For example, in western Kenya, farmer-trainers were actively training farmers three years after the project supporting them had ended. The main reason was that local village authorities were supporting and promoting the trainers. (10)
    (10) Lukuyu, B., Place, F., Franzel, S. and Kiptot, E. 2012. Disseminating improved practices: Are  volunteer farmer-trainers effective? Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 18:525–554.
  • Understanding farmer-trainers’ motivations and finding low-cost incentives: Extension managers need to understand farmer-trainers’ motivations to volunteer and to implement low-cost incentives to reward them, especially those not paid for their services. In surveys in Cameroon, Kenya, and Malawi, knowledge and helping others were farmer-trainers’ most important motivations, followed by social status and project material benefits (e.g. inputs for demonstrations). The offer of increased training opportunities is an important incentive. For those farmer-trainers, motivated by helping others and social status, contests, certificates, t-shirts, and community recognition are important. Others are motivated by the ability to earn income from activities associated with their extension duties (e.g. selling seed from demonstration plots or providing training for a fee), which calls for consideration on how to build such opportunities into the design of F2FE programmes. (11)
    (11)  Kiptot, E. and Franzel, S. 2014. Volunteerism as an investment in human, social and financial capital: evidence from a farmer-to-farmer extension program in Kenya. Agriculture and Human Values, 31: 231–243.
  • Government policy support: Governments support and pay farmer-trainers in Peru (Box 1) and Indonesia. In other countries, such as Malawi and Rwanda, governments do not pay farmer-trainers but do support them technically.

This paper was produced by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), with financial support from GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), and PIM (the CGIAR Research Programme on Policies, Institutions, and Markets).

This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Funding support for this study was provided by the agencies with logos on the front page. This paper has not gone through IFPRI’s standard peer-review procedure. The opinions expressed here belong to the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of PIM, IFPRI, or CGIAR.