Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 79, No 2 (2014)

Sustainable Cocoa Production in Ghana: a Case Study of Farmer Field School and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Beloved Mensah DZOMEKU, Isaac Kwaku VIFA, Sylvanus Kwasi AGORDORKU

Pages: 125-131


A study was conducted to gather empirical evidence on the effectiveness of Farmer Field School (FFS) and the strengths of the approach in imparting knowledge and empowering farmers. The study was conducted on a cocoa farm where all activities were carried out during Field School sessions for an entire cocoa cropping season. There were 49 participants in the school. The FFS farm was divided into three plots: the integrated crop and pest management (ICPM) plot, ICPM+ fertilizer and farmer practice (FP). Data were collected on the FFS graduates and analysed. This study provides empirical evidence on four issues: the effectiveness of FFS training, the potential contribution of farmer–to–farmer diffusion, the positive change in farm management practices and the social impact of child labour and school enrolment. The results confirm the power of discovery learning and that farmers from the FFS were better informed than those without FFS training. FFS provided farmers with new skills and knowledge on cocoa ICPM and that FFS graduates demonstrated superior knowledge on cocoa ICPM as compared to their level of knowledge prior to the FFS. However, the tendency of FFS participants to retain knowledge and diff use new skills and practices more than concepts and principles suggests the need to review some aspects of the training and extend it to all cocoa growing areas in the country. Twenty –five FFS graduates spontaneously provided hands-on informal training to seventy–five other farmers on key ICPM practices, demonstrating a tremendous potential contribution of farmer–to–farmer diffusion. The study showed that FFS can be a strong starting point for farmer empowerment, but suggests that the social and technical outcomes can only be sustained if the appropriate local and national level institutions, support systems and policy framework in relation to agricultural extension and research are developed.


cocoa; Farmer Field School; integrated pest management

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