The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development

19 March 2019. ADRA (Denmark Adventist Development and Relief Agency), a global humanitarian organization working to alleviate poverty, successfully undertook the first-ever Farmer Market Schools Master training in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event brought together participants from eight countries, including representatives of NGOs, Ministries of Agriculture and FAO.

The master trainers’ course in Ethiopia aimed to further disseminate the FMS approach after ADRA implemented pilot activities in Malawi and Zimbabwe in 2016-17.

  • The Farmer Market School builds on similar principles and discovery learning as used in Farmer Field Schools (FFS). 
  • In a FMS, smallholder farmers gain knowledge and skills on how to explore markets, what the market can offer and how to develop market decisions. 
  • FMS however differs from Farmer Business Schools in its pedagogic approach, as FBS are based on a theoretical and individual approach, emphasizing less on practical and collective experiences.
  • The duration of Master Training was two weeks. A total of 19 men and 2 women participated from 7 different countries: Ethiopia (6), Sudan (6), Uganda (2) Malawi (4), Zimbabwe (1), Eritrea (2) and Kenya (1). These included a smallholder, extension workers, project managers, and FFS trainers with experience within agriculture at different levels and broad knowledge of production, administration, field-schools, VSLAs (Village Savings and Loans Association), ASC (Action for Social Change), etc.

An evaluation of the two pilot projects in 2018 identified many positive findings. Farmers had responded very well to the challenge of researching the market for their products, many had established new business relations with value chain actors and started to bulk for collective marketing. 

The evaluation report recommended that to enhance capacity on FMS, a three-level Training of Trainers system is effective. Training master trainers is the first step. They then will train farmer representatives in Farmer Market Schools, and these representatives will train the other members of the groups they belong to.

Upcoming event:
The next FMS master training is to be held in June 2019 in Zambia.


Source: PAEPARD FEED