Farmer-to-farmer extension: a viable option to enhance agricultural dissemination? Evidence from Cameroon
Farmer-to-farmer extension: a viable option to enhance agricultural dissemination? Evidence from Cameroonwca2014-1099 Ann Degrande 1,*Sygnola A. Tsafack 1Steven Franzel 2Brent Simpson 3 1West and Central Africa Regional Programme, World Agroforestry Centre, Yaounde, Cameroon, 2World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, 3Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
The past decade has seen a renewed interest in investment in agriculture and particularly extension. However, donors and policy makers would like to see agricultural extension systems that are more participatory, demand-driven, cost-effective, efficient and sustainable. Farmer-to-farmer extension is such a bottom-up approach in which farmers share knowledge on agricultural innovations within their communities. However, for these new extension approaches to be institutionalized, they must demonstrate their superiority over old approaches. Unfortunately, such evidence is hardly available and there are concerns in the literature on the capability of farmers to take up extension.
This paper therefore examines the experience of 34 organisations (i.e. government, international and national/local NGOs and farmer organisations) with the farmer-to-farmer extension approach in Cameroon. Topics covered in the semi-structured surveys with extension managers include selection of lead farmers, their terms of reference, motivation and incentives, training programmes and other capacity development for lead farmers, dropout rates, challenges and lessons for successful implementation of farmer-to-farmer extension under varying circumstances.
The results from this study are of use to decision makers in search for low-cost, community-based dissemination approaches. Information is provided on opportunities that could be explored to improve the motivation and effectiveness of lead farmers and sustainability of farmer-led extension programmes.