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WHAT IS FARM BUSINESS SCHOOL?


The FBS came out of a growing awareness that technical know-how is not enough. In 2011 report by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) it states that, ‘In order to be competitive and take advantage of the new opportunities that are arising, farmers increasingly have to adopt their farm business to market changes and improve efficiency, profitability and income.’[1]

The FBS, it was developed to improve producers' entrepreneurial and management skills. Operating on a group-based ‘learning by doing’ model, the FBS is designed to address ‘supply chain issues’ faced by smallholder farmers by a) providing a comfortable group-learning environment to conduct small-scale experiments to improve crop production and quality, and b) educating smallholder producers on market practices. The objective is to increase the socioeconomic benefits associated with participation in agricultural and market activities.

Three Stages of the FBS

After a model is selected and participants are gathered, the FBS proceeded with its three stages:

1) Diagnosis and planning – includes getting to know the farmers and the farmers getting to know each other, teaching basic business concepts, market assessment analysis (SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

2) Implementing – Farmers develop a vision and a goal for their farm business and then work with the trainers to develop a business plan; continue with business education

3) Evaluating and re-planning – Benefits and performance are assesses, an action plan is developed and participants prepare for the next season.

Sources:

"Farmer Business Schools Help Farmers Develop Essential Skills." Farmer Business Schools Help Farmers Develop Essential Skills. Australian Aid (AusAID), 7 Mar. 2012. Accessed on Mar. 2013. Available at: <

>.

"Farmer Business Schools." International Potato Center, Accessed on Mar. 2013. Available at: <http://cipotato.org/research/potato-in-lowlands/farmer-business-schools>

This is the fourth run of FBS in the Villar SIPAG Schools in Cooperation with DA, ATI Regions 3 and 4A.