In each FFS session we will have one (sometimes two) “special topics”. Usually these topics are a response to what happened in the previous FFS session. For example, if during field observations we saw that a certain pest is causing a lot of problems, then the next week’s special topic could be to learn more about this specific pest. Or farmers could have come up with a question, and the facilitator decided to prepare a special topic related to that question. It is always a good idea to let the farmers decide what special topic we need to include in the next session.
Preparing for special topic
Before the next session we need to prepare well for the special topic that was selected by the farmers:
- Collect background information
- Prepare materials (pest specimens, flip charts, etc.)
- If needed, invite a specialist to help you with the special topic
- Design exercises about the special topic to carry out with the farmers
- Prepare guiding questions that help you to facilitate the discussion
Examples of special topics
- Components of the Ecosystem
- Energy flow in the Ecosystem, food chains, food web, etc.
- Soil health, micro-organisms, nutrients, etc.
- Fertilizer management, soil testing
- Composting and mulching
- Weed management
- Quality seeds (germination test, selection of varieties, etc.)
- Life cycle and management of an important pest (use insect zoo)
- Life cycle and behavior of an important natural enemy (use insect zoo)
- Bio-extracts (farmers prepare and set up experiments to test them)
- Hazards of pesticides
- Risk reduction
- Disease management of an important disease
- Bacillus thuringiensis (set up experiments to learn how it works, field and/or insect zoo)
- Soil-borne diseases, use of Trichoderma