Unlocking potential of LFFS in Gisagara District

It is in after lunch hours in Save sector, Gisagara District, a group of around 20 people, all pig farmers, sit in a group discussing how to enhance pig farming. After studying, they are going to have a glance at pigs in a pigpen to do practices of what they have learned. They are not in any other class, they are in Livestock Field Famer School (LFFS)-Pig farming group.

Back in days, in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a play which was written in 1597, we got one of an ageless quote saying “What is in a name? That which we call a Rose by other name would smell as sweet.” We are not going to talk about the play, we are going to dive into Livestock Field Farmer School (LFFS) instead.

The Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board with the support of the Belgium Development Agency “ENABEL” introduced Livestock Field Farmer School aiming at training poultry and pig producers on practical production and business management, using a method of “learning by doing”. They train farmer facilitators who further train their fellow farmers across the country.

Pig Field Farmer School is a self-centered method where a pig breeder learns by doing. Within this approach, selected breeders are trained to be facilitators of breeding groups. Facilitators are trained by senior trained Facilitators.

Training is carried out in pigsty based on the class principle: pigpen is a school; the pig is a teacher. During the training, facilitator work with groups of pig farmers to help them learn by doing. They learn a proper way to feed a pig, pig monitoring by collecting pig information (weight, behavior, reproduction…)

Rachel Umugwaneza is LFFS facilitator in Save sector, she teaches her fellow pig famers. She says that she teaches them proper way to take care of pigsty, take care of piglets and monitoring pigs health etc.

Rachel accentuates that the Livestock Filed Famer School has a big role to breeders as it helps to revamp pig breeding in her area.

“Before the coming of Livestock Field Farmer School, pig was a worthless breeding, breeders did not know how well to breed pigs, so this class influenced pig farmers to fall in love with pigs, to do professional pig farming; it also helped us to do a business-oriented pig farming in order to improve our standard of living.” She said.

LFFS-Pig farming (P-FFS) does not intend technology development in pig farming, it instead to bring together farmers to discuss challenges they face and look how to get rid of them

It deepens into pig farming with the aim of empowering pig breeders with both knowledge and scientifical skills in order to do profitable pig farming.

Nteziryayo Rongin, a small-holder pig farmer who attends the school regularly, says that before to attend the class, he had no any other knowledge about pig farming far from feeding his pigs with grasses. But now, He testimonies that the story has changed since he attended LFFS.

“Before having this school in our village, I knew that farming a pig is to lock it in a pigpen and feed it with glasses only. I used to encounter losses due to low knowledge on pig farming but nowadays I come to know how to take care of pigpen, proper way to feed a pig etc. Now I am highly earning from pig farming.” He emphasized.

Field Farmer School was first initiated by Food and Agriculture Organization in 1989 aiming to train rice farmers in Indonesia on pest control.  In Rwanda, Field Farmer Schools were introduced in 2013 with aim to take care of cattle but as years come the school was extended to poultry in February 2021 and pig farming in April 2021.

Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board in partnership with ENABEL is implementing LFFS-Chickens in seven districts including: Rwamagana, Bugesera, Rulindo, Musanze, Rubavu, Rusizi and Muhanga district. It is also implementing LFFS-Pig in eight districts including: Rwamagana, Bugesera, Rulindo, Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyamagabe, Gisagara and Muhanga District.