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New publications: Training farmers how to help farmers

Wheat residues on an experimental plot under conservation agriculture. Photo: X. Fonseca/CIMMYT.
Wheat residues on an experimental plot under conservation agriculture. Photo: X. Fonseca/CIMMYT.

A new study has found that farmers are the best people to talk to farmers about new agricultural practices.

The study looked at farmer-to-farmer extension (F2FE) to help overcome information gaps and increase adoption of conservation agriculture principles in Malawi.

Researchers found that the motivation of the lead farmer was the greatest factor in F2FE’s effectiveness. They suggested that extension agencies who train the F2FE’s lead farmers should motivate these individuals with small, performance-based incentives, such as boots or bags of seeds.

The authors note that the best-case scenario for increasing the adoption of conservation agriculture practices is a complementary approach. Farmers, they say, are most likely to adopt new farming practices if they learn about the information from multiple sources. In Malawi’s pluralistic extension system, coordinating efforts to diffuse consistent messages about conservation agriculture practices to smallholder farmers, which include lead farmers and several extension systems, could be the key to expanding conservation agriculture in the country.

Check out the full article: “Awareness and adoption of conservation agriculture in Malawi: what difference can farmer-to-farmer extension make?” 2018. Fisher, M., Holden, S.T., Thierfelder, C., Katengeza, S.P. (May 2018).

This is an output from the ‘Adoption of Conservation Agriculture Technologies in Malawi’ project of the School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The data collection and most researcher time was funded by the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council and the NORAD-funded NORHED ‘Climate-Smart Natural Resource Management and Policy (CLISNARP)’ project. Researcher time to contribute to this publication was also supported by the  CGIAR Research program on maize (MAIZE).

Check out other recent publication by CIMMYT staff below:

  1. Capturing farm diversity with hypothesis-based typologies: An innovative methodological framework for farming system typology development. 2018. Alvarez, S., Timler, C.J., Michalscheck, M., Paas, W., Descheemaeker, K., Tittonell, P., Andersson, J.A., Groot, J.C.J. In: PLoS ONE v. 13, no. 5, e0194757.
  2. Optimizing winter wheat resilience to climate change in rain fed crop systems of Turkey and Iran. 2018. Lopes, M.S., Royo, C., Alvaro, F., Sanchez-Garcia, M., Ozer, E., Ozdemir, F., Karaman, M., Roustaii, M., Jalal-Kamali, M.R., Pequeño, D. In: Frontiers in Plant Science v. 9, art. 563.
  3. Root ideotype influences nitrogen transport and assimilation in maize. 2018. Dechorgnat, J., Francis, K.L., Dhugga, K.S., Rafalski, J.A., Tyerman, S.D., Kaiser, B.N. In: Frontiers in Plant Science v. 9, art, 531.
  4. Threat of wheat blast to South Asia’s food security: An ex-ante analysis. 2018. Mottaleb, K.A., Singh, P.K., Sonder, K., Kruseman, G., Tiwari, T.P., Barma, N.C.D., Malaker, P.K., Braun, H.-J., Erenstein, O. In: PLoS ONE v. 13, no. 5, e0197555.
  5. Treatment strength optimization for maize (Zea mays L.) against saline conditions using biplot analysis. 2018. Ahmad, K., Aslam, M., Imtiaz, M., Ahsan, M., Saleem, M.F. In: Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences v. 55, no. 1, p. 1-12.
  6. Can lead farmers reveal the adoption potential of conservation agriculture? The case of Malawi. 2018. Holden, S.T., Fisher, M., Thierfelder, C., Katengeza, S.P. In: Land Use Policy v 76, p 113-123.