22 May 2012, Dangala, Central African Republic - Farmer Field School (FFS) facilitator Samson Dangaza (center) discussing with local farmers the outcome of an improved peanut cultivation. - http://foodtank.com/assets/images/head/farmer_field_school.jpg

Training programs cultivating a new generation of farmers

Photo  credit: Food Tank 

22 May 2012, Dangala, Central African Republic – Farmer Field School (FFS) facilitator Samson Dangaza (center) discussing with local farmers the outcome of an improved peanut cultivation. – http://foodtank.com/assets/images/head/farmer_field_school.jpg

As the global farmer population ages, training new farmers becomes critical to sustainably feeding the world.
(search.creativecommons.org)

Growing Farmers Around the Globe

Worldwide, the average farmer is around 60 years of age. Recruiting new and young farmers and helping them get the training they need to sustainably feed the world is essential to long-term food security. Here are 10 training programs cultivating a new generation of farmers.

A project of the Cargill Sustainable Cocoa initiative, Cargill’s Farmer Field Schoolsreach 25,000 farmers annually at 300 locations around the world, including Côte d’Ivoire, Vietnam, Brazil, and Indonesia. The Field School is a 10-month intensive course on agricultural techniques, bookkeeping, personal health, and environmental and social issues. Upon completing the course, farmers are eligible for sustainability certification through Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance.

Apprenticeships in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems provide training in organic and small-scale farming. The six-month course, held at the Center’s 30-acre farm and 3-acre garden, teaches a variety of organic and sustainable farming techniques through hands-on experience with greenhouses, gardens, orchards, and fields.

The University of Vermont’s (UVM) Farmer Training Program combines classroom learning and field experience on the university’s 10-acre Catamount Educational Farm. Students learn sustainable farming from expert farmers and educators, and graduate with a Certificate in Sustainable Farming from UVM.

In Zanzibar, the International Fund for Agricultural Development has established over 700 farmer field schools in nine rural districts. Each field school is led by smallholder farmers and has 15 to 20 members, 62 percent of whom are women. The groups get together throughout the growing season to learn new skills and techniques from each other, a method which has shown tangible results for reducing poverty, improving food security, and increasing incomes for farmers.

Read the full article: Food Tank

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.