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Farmer Field and Business Schools (FFBS)

CARE’s proven, women-focused Farmer Field and Business School (FFBS) approach helps small-scale farmers and producers build the skills they need to increase production, improve resilience, adapt to climate change, diversify diets and boost nutrition.

The FFBS approach also enables farmers to access markets and sell at competitive prices, collaborate with one another, and engage in beneficial and efficient decision-making. FFBS transforms the status and recognition of women by supporting them to be successful farmers, producers, businesspeople, leaders and agents of change. Such support includes:

  • Facilitating participatory capacity-building on sustainable agriculture, marketing and nutrition.
  • Demonstrating improved agricultural practices to the rest of the community via demonstration plots and farmer-to-famer field visits and encouraging “learning by doing.”
  • Promoting gender dialogues on topics such as land and input access, decision-making (household and nutrition), workload sharing, income control, role models for men, interpersonal relations, listening, gender-based violence (GBV) and envisioning empowerment.
  • Facilitating linkages to markets, land allocation and inputs acquisition.
  • Participatory monitoring that promotes self-assessment by farmers/producers.

The FFBS support and training cycle follows the seasonal calendar, ensuring that learning and other activities do not require extra commitment from already time-constrained women farmers. FFBS builds on existing village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) and producer groups that already have established social capital
and basic governance mechanisms. The model is based on adult learning principles that offer practical lessons through participatory approaches. Farmers can then translate this learning and adapt it into their own fields, creating ownership and sustainability of adoption. The FFBS model integrates multiple components including sustainable agriculture practices, market engagement, gender and equity, food and nutrition security, group empowerment and monitoring and evaluation, which ensures that the knowledge, skills and practices of women farmers are built upon in an
integrated manner.

Over the next six years, CARE will scale up the FFBS approach in at least 35 countries (18 of which will be new) to improve the income, resilience, nutrition, agricultural yields, and gender equality of 25 million producers and their families. This will be accomplished through four pathways.

The FFBS Four Pathways to Scale

Expanding FFBS to 18 new countries

Deepening FFBS Programming to reach new populations and impact areas

Engaging farmers with global markets via a certification model

Promoting the adoption of FFBS by governments


FFBS Innovation Brief

This 4 page document highlights the approach and evidence behind CARE's Farmers Field and Business School.

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FFBS: A Pathways Programming Approach

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in Ghana, Malawi, Bangladesh, India, Mali, and Tanzania, Pathways is designed to improve the food security and livelihood resilience of poor smallholder women farmers and their families.

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Farmers Field and Business Schools (FFBS) Facilitation Tools

This tool helps build practical skills and helps Farmers Field and Business Schools (FFBS) facilitators feel informed and confident about their role and ability to facilitate a participatory learning session.

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FFBS Agricultural Tools

This session provides an overview of scope and format of FFBS activities to be completed for the agricultural season. This will serve as a basis for incorporating modules for other Pathways components (markets, nutrition, gender, and group empowerment) in the farmer workgroup meetings.

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FFBS Marketing Tools

This tool is to introduce the marketing of farmers produce and to come up with a common marketing vision for the group. The idea is to set the scene for farmer engagement with different market actors.

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FFBS Gender Tools

This tool covers how to introduce spouses to the program and be sure that they understand the program and how they will be encouraged to be involved and to support their spouses.

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FFBS Nutrition Tools

This tool can be adapted for any specific problem that arises from undernutrition. Undernutrition is a multifaceted condition, with a variety of factors that surround agriculture, women’s empowerment, and access to food.

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FFBS Monitoring Tools

This exercise helps farmers of a producer group to discuss which practices they are adopting and the benefits they may be experiencing from such new adoptions.

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Developing Country-Specific Gender Monitoring Indicators for Men and Women

An award-winning case study on our work with gender equality and measuring outcomes.

Read the report on USAID Learning Lab