Farmer Field School
“Thanks to training, I have learned a lot and now work differently. In the past, we cut open the cocoa pods with machetes. Now, we open pods with wooden clubs so that the beans are not damaged.” Kouamé Kokroko, cocoa farmer
A focus on productivity and product quality
Farmer Field Schools offer an intensive, practical approach to learning that takes place outside traditional classrooms on a local cocoa farm. Different techniques are used to communicate information that participating farmers can use to improve their farms and grow healthier crops.
The main activities of the Farmer Field Schools include training and sensitization in these areas:
- Sustainable cocoa production techniques with a focus on productivity, including weeding, pruning and maintenance
- Harvest and post harvest operations with a focus on cocoa quality
- Farm management, taking into consideration the entire production system
- Safe labor practices and, in particular, the issue of child labor
One of the farmers participating in the Farmer Fields School volunteers part of his or her farm to be used to create a demonstration cocoa plot. Groups of up to 30 to 40 farmers participate in the training sessions at the demonstration plots. Training sessions take place every 2 weeks for 12 months.
The trainers are external experts specialized in cocoa production. Farmers who have been trained, in turn, train other farmers in the cooperative. In this way, the newly acquired skills are retained, and the training process can be maintained by the cooperative members themselves.