Gabriele Stoll
Natural Crop Protection in the Tropics
Letting Information Come to Life
Letting information come to life
We Too are Proud to be Researchers
Farmer participatory training and research
in traditional pest and disease management in Kenya
by Martin Kimani (CABI Kenya), Nehemiah Mihindo (KIOF),
Stephanie Williamson (CABI UK )

Smallholders in the central highlands of East Africa grow cash crops such as coffee in mixed cropping systems with vegetables and increasingly apply pesticides on a calendar basis. The cost of agrochemicals absorbs a large proportion of farmers' income and sometimes pesticides destined for coffee are diverted onto vegetables and other food crops, for which they are not recommended and may pose risks to human health. Many small-scale farmers in these areas have virtually abandoned their coffee bushes due to low coffee prices and the rise in pesticide costs. Although alternative pest and disease control options exist, there is very little readily available information on
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and
Integrated Crop Management (ICM)
which reaches this group of farmers, while many of the NGOs promoting organic farming focus on kitchen gardens and subsistence crops only.

Project history
Farmer Field School (FFS) projects had been run successfully in vegetable crops in Asia and the issue was whether this training approach could be useful for the crop production problems experienced by Kenyan smallholders.
In 1995, a pilot Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training project in coffee and vegetable cropping systems was initiated in four districts in Kenya. Its aim was to introduce sustainable pest management methods for farmers to enable them to avoid the hazard posed by pesticides to their own health and to consumers in produce residues and to improve farmers’ income, mainly by reducing production costs on agrochemical inputs.
The project started with a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in four villages of the target districts to identify important pest problems and opportunities for IPM intervention. This was followed by a Training of Trainers (ToT) course in 1996 involving 8 government extension service staff and 3 trainers from an organic farming NGO.

The key objectives of the FFS pilot training project were:
• Identify constraints of crop production and develop appropriate training curriculum on IPM for the target smallholder farming systems.
• Develop and implement a Training of Trainers (ToT) course for government extension staff and NGO field officers.
• Formulate appropriate IPM options for Farmer Field Schools (FFS) suitable for local farming systems.
• Extend the FFS approach to small groups of farmers in the area targeted by the pilot project and, in collaboration with the farmers, formulate suitable participatory methods to address key production constraints.

After the success of the training work in 1996 further objectives were:
• Develop appropriate farmer experiments to validate the efficacy of botanical extracts and other physical/cultural methods of control suggested by farmers.
• Refine ToT and FFS curricula with the aim of building the trainers’ facilitation skills and improving farmer experimentation and innovation.
• Enhance information sharing between FFS groups through exchange visits.
• Collect colour pictures of natural enemies, insect pests and diseases of vegetable/coffee for publication as posters/booklets.
Ohter experiments carried out by farmers with researchers in 1998
The printed version contains more information about the following themes:

-Organizational structure
-Motivations and expectations of farmers
-Research approach, methodology, management, outputs
-Tomato Nursery Experiment
-Sustainability of approach
-Assessment and learning points
-Conclusions and recommendations