The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ran the East African Sub-Regional Project for farmer field schools (FFS) from 1999-2008 in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania across 8 pilot sites. A second expansion phase of the project started in October 2005 and ran for 3 years in Tanzania’s Bukoba, Muleba, and Missenyi districts. The objectives were to make FFS more cost effective, sustainable and more responsive to farmer’s needs. The project focused on empowering rather than instructing participants, and aimed to improve the impact of agricultural research and technology transfer.
A study on the impact of the FAO FFS program in Tanzania surveyed nearly 380 farmers, around 270 who had been engaged in an FAO FFS. Compared to non-FFS farmers, FFS farmers produced 23% more crops and 6% more livestock, whilst earning 2 times the amount of household income per capita. The impact on women was even more significant. Female-headed households showed a 53% increase in crop productivity following participation in an FFS, and female income from agriculture increased by 155%. FFS training had the largest impact on those with no education, who showed an increase in crop income of 129% compared to 29% for those with a primary education and 11% for those who had some secondary education.