THE FARMER FIELD RESEARCH UNITS
A FFRU is conceived as learning space, where research, restoration, innovation, demonstration, SI education, extension and capacity building (workshops, field visits) are realised. Inside the FFRU, researchers, partners and selected stakeholders (farmers, development agents, representatives of farmers’ union, public institutions) exchange inputs, integrate WP-related knowledge, experiment a wide range of issues directly and practically on the field (i.e. management of soil fertility and water resources, crop variety selection, risk associated with toxic pesticides, etc), in a continuous and mutual exchange between tacit and academic knowledge.
FFRUs promote a virtuous process that includes marginalised and/or abandoned lands and existing agricultural lands into novel best practices aimed to increase yield potential through active participation, collaboration, cooperation between researchers, farmers and stakeholders.
FFRUs are intended to set up a virtuous process of permanent dialogue between stakeholders through the use of virtual and material research/relational platforms. FFRUs aim to find a balance between the needs of communities related to economic support, social fairness and environmental protection through the sustainable use of available resources (natural, human, financial etc.). Permanence beyond the project time as well as identification of FFRUs as a new operating model will be the greatest ambition.
Critical Issues of the Study Areas
A total of 18 Farmer Field Research Units (FFRUs) have been identified in the six African project countries.
A participatory field evaluation to identify a series of NUS have been carried out in the FFRUs.
Promotion of most performing Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS)
Integrated soil fertility management strategies and land recovery (use of compost; biochar; intercropping cereals and legumes; Conservation agricultural techniques; Technical improvements on traditional water harvesting techniques; Agri-livestock Integration)
ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT
Development of Economic models for new technologies and practices
Sustainable Intensification Indicators for agricultural practices promoted within EWA-BELT and tested in the FFRUs