Farmers are more inclined to adopt new practices when they are introduced by fellow rice growers.
Higenio Cuento, a graduate of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Rice Extension Services Program training in 2019, observes this as he trains fellow tillers in the Masaganang Bukid Farm in Nagcarlan, Laguna.
Cuento observed that farmer-participants were eager to learn about the technologies promoted by RCEF in Farmer Field School (FFS); however, not all of them were easily convinced to adopt these technologies.
“[Emphasizing that I’m also a farmer increases the likelihood of technology adoption. I’m one with them in reaching their goals],” he said in FIlipino.
On pest management, he said that oftentimes, farmers easily switch brands without considering the ingredients giving them similar results, so he shared the importance of understanding the difference between ingredients and brands of pesticides to his farmer-students. With his explanations, Cuento had convinced the farmers to prioritize the contents or ingredients rather than the brand when purchasing inputs such as pesticides.
“Communicating with farmers using their own language or terms is essential in convincing them to adopt a technology,” Cuento said.
Rather than simply instructing farmers to use 1kg of fertilizer per square meter, he took a more practical approach by demonstrating the amount of fertilizer that could fit in a hand in grams and how many times it should be applied to reach 1kg.
“For me, this method of estimation is more effective in helping farmers understand and recall the information,” he shared.
Ilee Dorado, a farmer-graduate of Cuento’s farm, attests to the effectiveness of the farmer-to-farmer approach to hasten technology adoption.
“Observing him and his son implement the practices and technologies on their farms not only establish them as credible trainers, but also reinforces their perception of them as knowledgeable individuals in agriculture,” Dorado said.
Moreover, he emphasized that the presence of farmer-trainers in their town significantly facilitated access to rice information.
Since 2022, Masaganang Bukid Farm has conducted eight batches of RCEF FFS in Laguna with 200 farmer-graduates.