Agriculturists complete Farmer Field School

GIS: The Project Provided Training in the Areas of Agribusiness, Pest and Disease Management, and Agronomy.

Professionals in every field are often reminded that it is never too late for one to learn. That saying is true even for those who engage in the profession of farming. Farmers and other producers of agricultural products are often reminded that they should view themselves as agri-entrepreneurs.

On April 26, a batch of farmers from throughout the fourth agricultural region, which stems from Praslin, and covers the entire Micoud district, began a journey to heighten their expertise via a program called “Farmer Field School.” The program is being conducted jointly by the Extension and Advisory Services Division of the Department of Agriculture in Saint Lucia, and the Taiwan Technical Mission which has been instrumental in supporting the development of the local agricultural sector.

Farmer field school is an ongoing process in which participants engage in hands-on activities enabling them to learn by doing. This latest training was conducted over a period of three months suring which the farmers were refreshed in areas of agribusiness development, pest and disease management and general agronomic practices to name a few.

The lessons learnt during the program were acquired while growing a crop of melons from inception through the entire production process all the way to the market. The process of growing the crop economically and viably was imparted to the participants during the training.

The course began with approximately 37 farmers and agricultural officers with all but one individual completing the program and being rewarded with certificates for their achievements.

On Sep. 15, the closing ceremony for the training was held at the Anse Ger Agricultural Center, during which the certificates were handed to each of the participants who completed the program. The graduates, while elated to have completed the process, expressed sadness that the months of togetherness and comradery had come to an end. They were very pleased to have acquired new the skillsets which they say would be used to improve on their production. One participant requested that the organizers of the Farmer Field School should seek to get the program accredited by a recognized academic institution locally or regionally.

The Farmer Field School approach was first used in Indonesia some time towards the end of the 1980s.

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