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Technicians from the Tico livestock sector were trained in the methodological approach of Field Schools

  • They improved their knowledge of this methodology in order to train livestock producers livestock producers

October 8, 2020. Around 100 Costa Rican technicians linked to the livestock sector who are in charge of extension processes in public and private institutions will strengthen their capacities in the use of participatory tools and aspects related to the Field School methodology (ECA, its Spanish acronym). This was part of the virtual sessions that began on August 27 and ended on October 8. 

The virtual working sessions were coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG, its Spanish acronym,), with technical support from CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) and in collaboration with the Costa Rican Livestock Development Corporation (CORFOGA, its Spanish acronym) and the National Chamber of Milk Producers (CNPL, its Spanish acronym).

The technicians who participated belong to MAG, CORFOGA, CNPL, the School of Agricultural Economics of the University of Costa Rica (UCR, its Spanish acronym), the National Learning Institute (INA, its Spanish acronym), FUNDECOPERACIÓN and BAC.

Jorge Segura, coordinator of MAG's National Livestock Program, commented during the closing of the sessions that the process was very beneficial. "It gave a new idea of how to approach our work at the technical level and generated important ideas for the FFS process that will begin in the country, to provide technical options and assistance to our producers in a different way, demonstrating that it can be produced sustainably," said Segura.

In addition, Segura stressed that this is a first step within the strategy of NAMA livestock, a space in which they hope to continue to have the support of CATIE. 

On behalf of CORFOGA, Marco Fallas thanked all the participating technicians and related institutions. "This was a good exercise to channel the capacity building processes we have to carry out.  The process allowed for technical growth,  as well as visualizing a different way of working with the producers who are our reason for working in the sector. The FFS is a form of participatory work, with a very humanistic approach, and that is what I highlight most about the whole FFS process. It has also allowed us to get to know the environment, the initiatives and projects that are underway and that we didn't know about, which are important to us because we serve the sector," said Fallas.

Carlos Salazar, from CNPL, shared his gratitude for having incorporated the dairy sector in the working sessions and highlighted the experience and teaching skills of the teachers who gave the sessions. "We will take advantage of this training to improve on strategic issues. FFS allows for the empowerment of producers, they are taught by doing, which makes learning easier because it is on the farm. This methodology will help us to strengthen NAMA's objectives and to better address what is coming up as a sector," Salazar added.

During the working sessions, current experiences were shared on the methodologies used by different Costa Rican institutions to strengthen the capacities of livestock producers. In addition, participatory exercises and concepts about the FFS methodology were carried out, tools that facilitate the transfer of knowledge to livestock producers, so that they can adopt new technologies and practices on their farms more easily and safely.

"It was really rewarding to facilitate this process and have active participation of all involved. It allowed us to show the methodological approach of the FFS and to show the results we have in the region. It covered from the definition, objectives, principles, stages, main elements of the FFS, to the knowledge of participatory tools, tools to solve conflicts and to identify problems and causes. We are pleased that the learning objectives raised have been covered. We hope that from now on they will incorporate the most important elements of the FFS in their work and that they will implement this approach in the new learning processes with producers. For CATIE it was a very enriching process," said Claudia Sepulveda, leader of CATIE's Livestock and Environmental Management Unit.                                                                                                                                

The different sessions were given by CATIE researchers, as well as researchers from the UCR School of Economics, an expert from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala and part of the technical team of the Biodiversity and Sustainable Agro-Silvopastoral Landscapes project, known as BioPaSOS, as part of its scaling-up and South-South cooperation strategy.


More information:

Francisco Casasola
Livestock and Environmental Management Unit
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Written by:

Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication
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