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Earlier, Farmers Training Centres were a major feature of rural extension programmes in developing countries but they have recently fallen in popularity as it is often difficult for rural people to be leave from their farms and homes for a lengthy period. If they exist, they can be used to train people in the ideas and practices of agriculture, either as specific courses or as components of a wider agricultural course.
A farmers training centre should provide the following facilities:
- Accommodation for 20 or more people with residential and dining facilities
- Training areas complete with the necessary class room facilities and equipment and farm facilities such as nurseries, plantations etc
- Courses in appropriate topics devised to last from 2 days to about 4 weeks
- Clear objectives for each training programme, such as to show that farming can be carried out together
- An aim to create in the participants’ minds the desire to apply the information acquired on their own lands
- The facilities to teach them some of the joint skills required in agriculture
- The facilities to provide both the necessary theoretical and practical training to achieve these objectives
- Skill to provide leadership training in conjunction with these other activities.
- To fulfill this role, farmers’ training centres must be integrated with current extension programmes to the extent that:
- Subjects covered in the training contribute to the educational objectives included in extension programmes
- Participants are selected on the basis of their leadership potential and through recognised leader recruitment processes and,
- Participants on completion of the training are utilized in planning and implementing extension programmes.
Where such centres exist and are having difficulty in attracting sufficient candidates they may convert to training and motivating young men and women who do not yet have the work or family ties as older persons and can devote the time to undertaking short training programmes.