The Acquisition and Diffusion of Knowledge: The Case of Pest Management Training in Farmer Field Schools, Indonesia

Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are an intensive training approach introduced in the last decade in many developing countries to promote knowledge and uptake of ecologically sensible production approaches, and in particular, integrated pest management which minimises pesticide use. Because of the high training cost, the viability of the program depends crucially on the effectiveness of knowledge diffusion from trained farmers to other farmers. This paper uses panel data from Indonesia to assess the extent of diffusion of knowledge regarding integrated pest management from trained farmers to other farmers. The results confirm that better knowledge leads indeed to reduced pesticide use, and that trained farmers make a modest gain in knowledge. However, there is no significant diffusion of knowledge to other farmers who reside in the same villages as the trained farmers. These results imply that revision in the training procedures and curriculum need to be considered if the FFS approach is to become viable and effective.

Feder, Murgai and Quizon (2004)


Rural.Difference in differences estimation.Farmer field schools.Modest effect of FFS on knowledge of participants. No effect on the knowledge of their neighbors. households in villages that had not yet been exposed to farmer field schools.