Notore Farmers’ Learning Centre is where farmers come together regularly to share farming techniques and also learn new farming practices from an extension worker to improve their yield. It is primarily made up of demonstration farms.
Each demonstration farm consists of two equal sub-plots: a best practice sub-plot and a common practice sub-plot. On the best practice sub-plot, as the name implies, the farmers are led by an extension worker to implement a set of recommended best practices for specific crops in the region. Similarly, on the common practice sub-plots, the farmers are required to implement the most common set of practices in their community. The two sub-plots are maintained side by side in order to enable the farmers carry out a proper observation and comparison of the development of the crops on both of them over the planting season.
Participants in the Centre
The participants in Notore Farmers’ Learning Centre session include one extension worker and thirty selected farmers from the target communities. These farmers comprise representatives from every group that plays an active role in the community’s farming activities such as elders, youths, farm owners, sharecroppers and farm labourers. They are selected by members of their communities with the expectation that they will enrich their communities with the knowledge they gain from the learning centres. In addition to the thirty participants, interested residents and non-residents of the community are welcome as observers during the learning centre sessions.
There are two principal channels employed in sharing the lessons learnt at the Farmers’ Learning Centre with non-participating farmers:
1) Farmer-to-farmer diffusion where each participant shares the knowledge he has gained with three to four neighbouring farmers by word of mouth as well as by implementing the practices on his farm for them to see clearly.
2) Field days during which non-participating farmers within and outside the community are invited to a special learning session. During these sessions, the participants educate them on the two sub-plots and explain the practices to them.
Notore Farmers’ learning centres are located in key rice and maize farming communities in 16 states across Nigeria. About 120,000 small-scale farmers are currently learning about how to improve their farms from the learning centres.