Blog Post

Farmer Business School: New E-learning Course Grant Awarded

The Food Security Portal and the PIM Value Chains Knowledge Portal teams are pleased to announce the awardee for a grant to produce a new e-learning course. Diego Naziri of the International Potato Center (CIP) submitted a proposal for an e-learning course aimed at training facilitators in CIP’s Farmer Business School(FBS) methodology.

FBS is an experiential learning model that aims to address constraints to effective market linkages by improving farmers’ business knowledge and strengthening farmer organizations. Trained FBS facilitators work directly with farmer groups to assist them in identifying market opportunities, conducting market assessments, developing new products, and forging stronger relationships with traders and other actors along the value chain.

Farmer Business School (FBS)

The impacts of these improved business practices are numerous. Naziri says, “FBS contributes to tackling poverty, improving livelihoods, and creating job opportunities that are more attractive to women and young people by strengthening the participation of small-scale farmers in value chains and building their capacity to respond to emerging market opportunities.” The methodology can also increase farmers’ resilience to shocks by helping them diversify their livelihoods. The FBS methodology was originally developed by researchers at CIP for use in root and tuber value chains but can be applied to any commodity, particularly ones that are locally produced and consumed.

FBS e-learning course

The proposed e-learning course will streamline the training process for FBS facilitators. At the end of the course and in combination with CIP’s FBS manual and other resource materials, facilitators will be able to properly implement and oversee the FBS process in the field.

Naziri says that building the capacities of FBS facilitators through a free online course will help open doors for the methodology to reach more participants. Currently, “ . . . only a small bunch of experts is highly familiar with the approach and has the ability to train the facilitators,” Naziri explains. The e-learning course will allow a broader range of participants to effectively facilitate and oversee the FBS process. Naziri is confident that this will lead to wider uptake of this important value chain development methodology which is an innovation that has been recently selected as Golden Egg by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and also featured in the CGIAR@50 campaign.

 The FBS e-learning course will consist of three units and will include quizzes and a final exam. It will be accessible through the Food Security Portal E-learning platform at the end of 2021. The course will be complimentary and open to all as a public good. In addition, Naziri will be featured in an upcoming PIM-FSP webinar to highlight the course and the FBS methodology.