The Impacts of Farmer Field School Training on Knowledge and Farm Technology Adoption: Evidence from Smallholder Maize Farmers in Oromia, Ethiopia

Admassu Tesso Huluka, Workneh Negatu


This study examines the impact of Farmer Field School (FFS) training program on farmers’ knowledge and farm technology adoption. The FFS program was sponsored by the Ethiopian government and launched in 2010. The study aims to compare the impact of the training on knowledge and agricultural technology adoption of those FFS graduate and non-FFS graduate maize farmers in Oromia, Ethiopia. For this, data was collected in 2013 from 446 randomly selected households of three districts consisting of 218 FFS graduate farmers and 228 non-FFS graduate farmers. The analytical procedure has involved two stages: in the first stage, descriptive analysis was used to detect existence of difference in the household and farm characteristics of the two groups of farmers. In the second stage, a semi-parametric impact evaluation method of propensity score matching with several matching algorithms was employed to estimate the program impacts. The result reveals that although FFS graduate farmers have relatively higher knowledge test score than the non-FFS gradate farmers, farm technology adoption index of the later farmer group exceeds the former groups. This finding suggests that there is no necessarily linear relationship between increased knowledge and increased technology adoption. This further implies that the mental attitude of the smallholder farmers in study area is not actually shaped by misconceptions of technology as claimed by the Ethiopian government, but rather because of their firm understanding of what works and does not work according to their own realities. The policy implication of this finding is that knowledge can be translated into practices if a set of enabling factors and conditions exist. These factors including farmers’ positive perception of the technology benefits, access to complementary inputs, availability of crop insurance scheme, arrangement of credit facilities and favorable output markets as incentive for adopting full technologies.

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