Horti-economics of Farmers Field Schools
Over the last two years (2016 - 18) the Horticultural Livelihoods, Innovation and Food safety in Ethiopia (Horti-LIFE) supported development agents in 65 villages in the Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples and Tigray regions to create Farmers Field Schools (FFSs) on head cabbage, onion, tomato and green pepper production.
A FFS has 30 members who observe and discuss a package of 20 innovations that are applied on learning plots in the fields of four lead farmers. The innovation package consist of technologies that proved to work on commercial farms.
After the harvest the members compare the Cost of Production (CoP) for the learning plots with innovations and those with traditional production methods. The costs include opportunity costs of land and labour, irrigation costs, marketing costs.
The results of the innovations are very positive:
- the ROI for traditional farming is 0.8: every 100 birr invested generates a net income of 80 birr. Long term crops (tomato, pepper) have much better returns than short term crops (onion, cabbage) due to the higher capital requirements and more complicated plant protection.
- The ROI for the learning plot is 1.5;
- The ROI for the additional investments on the learning plot 3.1, and;
- the ROI for the additional forex used on the learning plot it is 9.7.
We are proud that three additional donors (Dutch, Canadian and Finnish) approached us with the question whether they could co-finance our work. This means we can expand our work to 324 Farmers Field School in 180 villages in the new season.
 The additional forex is calculated as half of costs for the seed and the additional costs for fertiliser and pesticides. The assumption is that the import price of these inputs is half the price that the farmers pay. This is based on an input supply survey that Horti-LIFE did with the Plant Health Regulatory Directorate of MoALR.