Farmer-to-Farmer Extension: Issues in Planning and Implementation
This technical note provides a synthesis of findings from national assessments of F2F extension programs in Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi (Franzel et al., 2014; Tsafack et al., 2014; Kundlande et al, 2014), a survey of lead farmers in Cameroon and Malawi (Khaila et al., 2015; Tsafack et al., 2015), supplemented by a prior survey of lead farmers in Kenya (Kiptot and Franzel 2014) as well as other studies. In total, representatives of 84 organizations using the approach (26-30 organizations per country) were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. In all three countries, focus group discussions were held with lead farmers in order to determine key issues and to help in designing the questions for the structured survey that followed. In Malawi and Cameroon, 203 and 160 lead farmers, respectively, were randomly selected for the survey. These supplemented a survey of 99 randomly selected lead farmers from a dairy project in Kenya conducted previously.
The objectives of this three-country study were three fold: first, to assess how organizations select, train, monitor and reward lead farmers; second, understand the organizations’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the F2F extension approach, challenges to implementation and benefits, as well as how they have modified their use of the approach over time; and third, explore what measures can be taken to enhance the sustainability of the F2F approach. The research explored two additional questions in greater detail, specifically: in the absence of salary, what motivates lead farmers to volunteer and continue to serve in this capacity? And, does use of the F2F approach help organizations achieve gender balance – specifically the proportion of women serving in and reached by extension efforts? After providing a summary of the characteristics of organizations using the F2F approach the remainder of this note is organized around six critical issues related to the design and implementation of F2F extension efforts.