Beyond the Farmer Field School: IPM and empowerment in Indonesia
To many scientists and researchers, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is only about pests. But this overlooks the important role that IPM can play in building farmer's capacities for innovation and problem-solving. This paper attempts to reaffirm the importance of farmer participation in IPM. Using three detailed case studies from Indonesia, it demonstrates that farmers can solve problems to improve their productivity when given the opportunity to do so.
The Farmer Field School (FFS) is the first major step of an IPM programme, building farmers' skills for making decisions and taking action through experimentation and hypothesis-testing. However, this is not the end of the process; the skills learnt allow farmers to continue innovating, as well as to address problems in their daily lives. The FAO Programme for IPM in Rice follows up the FFS with action research in villages, which further develops these skills.