From workshop to woreda: Farmers’ on-farm financial management skills to receive a boost
Sustainable and successful seed sector development only happens when the entrepreneurial spirit and skills of farmers and other private sector stakeholders are leveraged for innovation and collaboration. Developing and nurturing these skills is a key aim of ISSD and partners.
Most farmers in Eastern Ethiopia have limitations of recording their incomes and expenses. This is mainly because of either farmers may have an acute knowledge and skill gap of farm literacy and numeracy or no practice/habit of recording their income and expenses. As result farmers do not record their farm activities, which results in poor decision-making for their farm businesses.
To address this challenge, BENEFIT-ISSD Ethiopia, Oromia East Unit organized a training of trainers (TOT) session about on-farm financial literacy. The participants are cooperative development agents from respective seed producers’ cooperatives (SPCs) as well as scaling-up partners, namely Haramaya and Oda Bultum Universities, Fadis Agricultural Research centre and Chercher Oda Bultum Farmers’ cooperative union.
The training wasconducted at Harar city, Ras Hotel from June 28-29, 2018.
Scaling-up financial knowledge and skills
The ToT sought to improve participants’ knowledge on the concept of on-farm financial literacy, but also to enhance their knowledge and skills on multiple topics, including:
- financial management;
- technical skills on farm record-keeping, cost, income and profit calculation;
- financial analysis and economic decision-making;
As a ToT, participants were also taught about the principles of adult learning and how to relay their newly acquired knowldge and skills to many other stakeholders in their areas. To this end, the training began by focusing on developing skills of participants on how to design, prepare and facilitate trainings for farmers. Participants formed groups and asked to discuss and reflect on their previous experience they used to transfer training to farmers including how to plan, design and implement training; methods and tools they used to transfer training; and their perception on effects of training on farmers.
Participants will return back to their seed producers cooperatives (SPCs) and each will provide training to members of SPCs. It is planned to train about 10 participants in each respective SPCs for this year agricultural season.
Mr. Beyan Husen, is ISSD focal person from Chercher Oda Bultum Farmers’ cooperative union. He appreciated the training styles and methods used in conveying messages. Moreover, he acknowledged different training tools he grasped that will help him in designing and delivering training to farmers. He further added; “
I like the training content very much. I also like the manual developed in local language. The manual will help both development agents and farmers to grasp every costs benefit analysis of farm businesses. This is a great move by itself. I never come across any training that used such different learning modes”.
He further confirmed that, the training will change farmer’s behaviours and attitude in recording income and expenses. He showed his interest in working with development agents to provide the training to farmers immediately after return to their organisation.
Capitalising on each other’s experiences
From group reflection we observed acute knowledge and skill gap of the participants on design and delivery of training. To fill this gap, plenary presentation focusing on developing skills of participants/trainees through adult education presented.
Moreover, drawing lessons from the experience of previous years, this year’s financial literacy training has been done differently. First, cashbook manuals and cash recording books were developed in Oromo language and shared with participants during training. This helps participants to grasp training content and lessons very easily.
Testimonials from the participants
Male and female farmers benefit from the training
Mr. Abdukarem Aliye, a cooperative development agent from Guba Koricha woreda, said that: “Farmers in my woreda are not recording income and expenses of their farm activities. As a result they do not make right decision for agricultural investment. The training I acquired today from ISSD project will help me in assisting farmers in recording costs and benefits. It further improved my expertise as I closely working with cooperatives on daily basis”. Finally, he acknowledged the importance of the training and its advantage for farmers.
Ms Roma Mustefa, a cooperative development agent, from Fadis woreda appreciated different training methods like individual test, group work, role play, and plenary reflection that helped her to grasp training content easily. She said that the financial literacy training is very important for farmers. It will help them to register and calculate their costs; and help farmers to make informed decisions of their farm business. In addition, she confirmed that,
“I am a woman and I know women farmers’ problems too. Women farmers in my village are actively involved farm business and different income generating activities, but they do not know how to calculate their income and expenses. So, I will give special attention to them in the training I am going to deliver for farmers in the village”.
She planned to provide training to men and women members representatives from seed producers’ cooperatives.