Assessing farmer field schools process to improve the participation of local actors: a case study in Tunisia - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2022

Assessing farmer field schools process to improve the participation of local actors: a case study in Tunisia

Abstract

Advisory services have long been considered key instruments to improve farm and crop management by introducing innovative practices and technologies in agricultural systems. Departing from a simple "technology transfer" perspective, participatory approaches were developed over the 1980s to enhance the design and adoption of innovations. Farmer field schools (FFS), an advisory service strongly based on participatory principles, aimed at supporting and fostering farmers' innovation. FFS have been used and adapted since the 1980s to meet context-specific needs in crop or farm management and foster integrative approaches. In this study, we report on interviews with some FFS project leaders and we assess the effective participation in a specific FFS experiment in central Tunisia. We show that, despite numerous studies reporting on FFS experiments, there are generally no available records on how participatory approaches were applied and on the extent of stakeholders' involvement. We contend that evaluating stakeholders' participation level via an assessment of the FFS application process becomes a must to improve their quality and effectiveness. Our results show that there is a gap in applying FFS operationally. Thus, planned activities will not be adapted to local scope specifications. Therefore, they are not easily adopted and are even more rejected by farmers. In conclusion, we suggest introducing new tools (e.g., role-playing games) to create an interactive environment for discussions between stakeholders and to enhance the capacity of local farmers to contribute to the design of FFS experiments according to their needs.
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Dates and versions

hal-04277891 , version 1 (09-11-2023)

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R. Jaouadi, G. Lestrelin, N. Benaissa, E. Scopel, M. Ben Mimoun, et al.. Assessing farmer field schools process to improve the participation of local actors: a case study in Tunisia. 31st International Horticultural Congress (IHC) - Horticulture for a World in Transition / International Symposium on Agroecology and System Approach for Sustainable and Resilient Horticultural Production, International Society for Horticultural Science ISHS, Aug 2022, Angers, France. pp.251-260, ⟨10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1355.32⟩. ⟨hal-04277891⟩
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