The project activities are mainly articulated around:
- Institutionalization of the FFS approach in the national extension system
- Provision of quality assurance for establishment and operationalization of the FFS approach
- Capacity development through specific training around the FFS approach addressing the challenges faced by farmers.
On the specific aspect of capacity development, the plan is to empower a critical mass of Farmer Field Schools Facilitators within the Government extension service system. At least 600 FFS Master Trainers and 8,000 Community Based Facilitators will be trained. They in turn will support at least 13,400 community outreach groups with over 400,000 productive farming families. These farming families will be assisted to sustainably address issues caused by climate change, improve agricultural productivity, increase diversification and income generation. Hands-on capacity building activities using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach are performed at different levels comprising (i) training at 3 Residential Training centres (RTCs) in Thuchila (Southern region), Lisasadzi (Central region) and Mzuzu (Northern region), (ii) practical exercise with 30 outreach groups of farmers around the RTCs and (iii) training of 2,700 community based facilitators around 90 CBF training sites.
At the end of the 3rd year of implementation, the following main achievements are to be highlighted
- Support, through letters of agreement (MK1,016,611,742), to various governments institutions (5 ADDs and DARS Lunyangwa Research station) involved in the implementation of Farmer Field School Master Trainers Course, community-based facilitator’s course, and establishment of banana orchards
- Facilitation of district participation in providing oversight of project implementation for a cumulative amount of MK 348,320,000
- Trained a total 277 (30% female) extension workers (FFS master trainers) from across the10 Action Districts
- Enrolled 5049 (45% female) and undergoing the CBF training
- Enhanced linkage with AFIKEPO (nutrition) as overall 14.6% of the trained CBFs are either members of Care Group clusters or Promoters
- Established 45 outreach groups benefiting 1,249 households in the vicinity of the 3 RTCs (Mzuzu, Lisasadzi and Thuchila)
- Co-opted 26 national MTs (27% female) as national FFS Resident Master Trainers as a way to effect FFS programme sustainability through strengthening the national capacity
- Developed and implemented a practical banana module which has been incorporated in the national FFS curriculum to specifically build capacity of the learners on Integrated Crop Management (ICM) addressing all the issues (including BBTV) affecting the banana sector in Malawi
- In close collaborations with DARS (Lunyangwa Research Station) and Department of Crop Development (DCD), supplied and distributed to date 68,142 clean suckers of 14 local varieties and established 61 hectares of orchards in 232 sites
- In addition to the initial banana orchards and macro-propagation chambers at the 3 RTCs, the banana orchard at Thuchila RTC has been expanded by 6.5 hectares, whereas similar arrangements are underway to expand the one at Mzuzu RTC by additional 3.5 hectares
- Iinstallation of solar powered water supply and irrigation systems at the 3 RTCs of Mzuzu, Lisasadzi and Thuchila
- Promotion of climate smart income generating activities among FFS CBF and community outreaches including, livestock and crop enterprises (44 units of goats rearing, 11 units of piggery, 3 units of poultry production 3 units of aquaculture/ fish ponds, mushroom production, over 10 acres of pineapple production, beetroot, over an acre of cocoa and coffee)
- Supported mobility of front line staff through procurement and handover of 6 Motor vehicules, 150 motor cycles and 4,307 bicycles
- In support to improving the control of Fall Army Worm, set up validation field studies with farmers’ participation to test efficacy of various FAW control options and practices [use of botanical pesticides (Tephrosia vogelli, Neem leaves, sisal effluent, crushed birds eye chilli, and Mphanjovu as individual concoctions), synthetic pesticides and scouting for FAW eggs/larvae and crushing] with results showing interesting trends of the locally available and environmentally friendly methods.