Farmer to Farmer Extension: international learning event

  • 21st June 2016
  • by secretary
14 – 17 June 2016. Kigali – Rwanda. In this event professionals actively involved in farmer to
farmer extension systems learn more about “Twigire Muhinzi”. The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) organized this event in collaboration with the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) with support from One Acre Fund/Tubura, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Swiss Cooperation, EU and African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS).

The Rwandan Twigire Muhinzi extension model, a home-grown extension model operating in all Rwandan villages, was taken as a case study for in depth analysis. Around 350 national and international participants got a better understanding of how Twigire Muhinzi works and what its success factors are. Participants included government staff working in extension as well as staff of various organizations such as NGOs, Development partners, universities, private sector, and farmers’ organizations, among others. 

  • Twigire Muhinzi is the home-grown decentralized, farmer-oriented national agricultural extension and advisory services delivery model of the Rwanda government.
  • Twigire Muhinzi extension model combines two different kinds of Farmer to Farmer Extension approaches: Farmer Promoters (FP) with demonstration plots and Farmer Field Schools (FFS) with experimental plots.
  • The idea is that if one farmer in a village is empowered with better skills to improve his yield, neighbors too will learn from him or her. Thus the Farmer Promoters program was born, with the motto, “Seeing is Believing”. At the same time, it was recognized that farmers also need to get in depth knowledge to understand why certain technologies work better than others. And so the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) Approach was born, with the tagline “The plant is the teacher”.
  • Twigire Muhinzi has front line extension agents comprising 14,200 Farmer Promoters (one in each village) and 2,500 FFS facilitators who have been recruited from local communities and work on voluntary basis. Thanks to this model, the access to advisory services in Rwanda has increased from 32% in 2012 to 69% in 2015.The Facilitators are farmers who got an intense training to become a facilitator. They facilitate the knowledge transfer between the plant and the group members, because it’s the plant who is the teacher
  • There are now more than 14.600 farmer promoters who are trained by Farmer Field School Facilitators. Their role is to invite farmers to the village demo plot 3 times per season and to give them an easy access to inputs (seeds, fertilizers, etc.)
  • This extension model is enabling farmers to increase agricultural productivity significantly and those reached by Farmer promoters experience more than 12% increase in yields while those reached by the FFS approach benefit more than 37% increase in yields.
  • On the international scene, FFS program in Rwanda was among the 10 Finalists for the global prestigious DAC Prize 2015 for taking development innovation to scale. 

The 4-day event was kicked off with an exciting opening show featuring videos, interview, debates and live performances. It also featured an interactive workshop about all kinds of Farmer to Farmer extension and in-depth field experiences to give participants the opportunity to observe and analyze the model. Participants were invited to present their own experiences and results in a structured manner. The event combine several activities that provide a different kind of experience from what you usually get at a conference. Among the activities were a TV Talkshow and Debate, interactive workshops and Plug and Play sessions focusing on related ICT.

“We hope that the event will trigger participants to reflect on their own experiences working with farmer to farmer extension in their countries leading to self-discovery of what is applicable for their own context,” explains Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources. “For us and partners, this will be a moment of learning, reflection and shaping Twigire Muhinzi to deliver better.” The minister expressed gratitude to the Belgian government not only for the support extended in the process of developing the decentralised extension system but also for the overall success achieved in the country’s strategic plan for agriculture transformation.

“The results are impressive. Production is higher and income is higher too. The results are not only economic but also social. I am happy to see how farmers were trained to be facilitators and later on became professional service providers. When we talk about investment in the private sector, this is a good example because it is not only about building factories but it is also about investing in people to become more productive,” Arnout Pauwels, the Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda

Recent Documents

Innovative and successful Farmer Field Schools experiences in Rwanda. Interview avec Jean-Pierre Busogoro, Conseiller technique Recherche et Vulgarisation, CTB Rwanda. Il évoque les principaux résultats obtenus depuis la mise en place du système en 2009.