A Farmer’s Field School (FFS) is a group-based learning process, and this methodology has been used to carry on the training activities on Correct Use of Agricultural Inputs. The main principle of farmers’ field school is “Learning by Doing”. During FFS, farmer carried out experiential learning activities that helped them to understand the agro-ecology of their cropping lands. These activities involved simple experiments, regular field observations and group analysis. The knowledge gained from these activities enabled participants to make their own locally specific decisions about crop management practices. A FFS on Potato crop was conducted at Bhorle, Naukunda Rural Municipality for 15 potato growing farmers to demonstrate the farmers about the improved method of cultivation of potato crop by the comparative analysis of demonstrative plot and farmers plot with following sessions:
The result of this farmers field school revealed that the farmers can obtain15% more production and profit if they adopt some improved technology like application of fertilizer and manure as recommended by government to that locality, proper spacing of the plants, split application of N-fertilizers, timely irrigation if possible, regular monitoring of the crop from initial stage till harvesting. The planting practice of farmers without ridge and furrow was proved more efficient for potato cultivation to that dry region for faster growth rate of the plants.
Likewise, the FFS classes on rice was conducted at five villages of Naukunda Rural Municipality for altogether 90 rice growing farmers with following sessions:
1. Nursery raising of seedlings
2. Transplanting of seedlings in the main field
3. Intercultural operations: Weeding and Top dressing of Urea- 1st
4. Insect pest, diseases and weed management
5. Intercultural operations: Weeding and Top dressing of Urea- 2nd
6. Crop harvesting and data recording
The rice growing farmers were fascinated to have the practical training on rice comparing the demonstrative plot and farmers plot. They learnt on improved method of cultivation of rice with optimum density, spacing, manure and fertilizer application, pest management and so on. The final session of FFS-paddy was Crop harvesting which was followed by data recording and its analysis to obtain the comparative analysis of FFS over the farmers’ practice.
The seed rate of farmer was more than 50% higher than demonstration plot since the seed used by them was local variety. Likewise, farmers used higher plant density at conventional method than improved method. The average grain yield of rice under experimental plot was 3.3 ton/ha than 2.8 ton/ha of farmers plot. That means the grain yield was nearly 18% higher in improved method over the conventional method of farmers. However, the straw yield was higher for farmers’ practice. The net revenue for the improved method in demonstration plot was 43 % superior over the farmers’ conventional method. Hence, the farmer’s field school on potato and rice at Naukunda Rural Municipality was able to provide technical know-how to the 105 farmers on the improved method of their cultivation through on farm practical demonstration on it from seeding to harvesting and its superiority over the farmers’ conventional method in terms of seed, fertilizer application, grain and straw yield or tuber yield and net revenue.