IPM AND RESOURCE-POOR FARMERS - EXPERIENCES IN ZANZIBAR
GCA BRUIN, AA LAURENSE, MR SAID and MC SPITTEL
Plant Protection Division of Zanzibar, PO Box 1062, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Background and objectives
Results and conclusions
Problems: the various farmer IPM groups started with a series of discussions with the farmers on what were perceived as major limitations for crop production, food security and income generation. Ways of tackling these problems were discussed, and a plan of training and research activities was made. Declining soil fertility and marketing problems were sometimes considered more acute than crop protection problems. Initially, activities were focused on training, while later on-farm technology development was also included. In some groups social, technical and political issues interfered, e.g. some farmers were not willing to devote much time to just one of their crops.
Solutions: a careful choice of farmers is decisive for a successful IPM group. During the second round of establishing farmer IPM groups, selection occurred following participatory rural appraisal (PRA) procedures. An intensive training-of-trainers course was organized in cooperation with two IPM experts from Ghana, who introduced agro-ecosystem analyses and a variety of other tools for facilitating learning processes in farmer groups. On-farm technology development through experimentation by farmers is essential at this stage. Gradually, training and experimentation became more farmer-owned.
An IPM programme was implemented, focusing on alleviating production constraints through empowerment of farmers, developing their own local technology. The FFS concept was adapted to Zanzibar conditions. As soil fertility and socio-economic constraints dominate, the scope of the programme went far beyond the crop protection discipline. Packages have been developed, including agroforestry in cassava and the use of a leaf extract of Tephrosia vogelii as a botanical pesticide against rice hispa. Changing researchers and extensionists into participatory team members is not easy: social skills and enthusiasm are needed even more than technical knowledge on insects and pathogens. The challenge is to combine the FFS activities with long-term on-farm experimentation, leading to appropriate sustainable crop management technologies. Farmers will be empowered to make better decisions on pest, disease and crop management. The programme will be expanded beyond the 20 farmer groups presently active.