President ECOSF addresses the FAO FFS Training of Facilitators at Tandojam Pakistan
On 30 March 2022, President ECOSF Prof. Manzoor H. Soomro was invited to visit the ongoing Farmer Field School (FFS) Training of Facilitators (ToF) at Tandojam- Pakistan. FFS is an inquiry-based learning approach used by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations for capacity building of agriculture extension and development personnel as well as the farming community. However, before the farming community is trained, the Training of Facilitators (ToF) is organized to build the capacity of trainers as facilitators. Since, the FFS approach in Pakistan was pioneered by the team that included Prof. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, who in early 2000s worked for FAO-UN, he was invited by the FAO FFS Expert and National Programme Officer (NPO) Mr. Jam M. Khalid, to join the ToF on 30 March 2022 and share his experiences and wisdom with around 30 district officers across Sindh province as trainees.
Prof. Soomro was warmly received by Mr. Jam Khalid and Dr. Ashfaque A. Nahiyun the FFS Coordinator for Sindh at the ToF. The NPO introduced Dr. Soomro to the participants and invited him to speak with the participants.
Dr. Soomro shared the original development of the programme in Pakistan by saying that FFS for integrated pest management (IPM) was first piloted in Pakistan by Dr. M. Ashraf Poswal from the CAB International Pakistan in 1996, and then in an EU funded Regional FAO IPM Programme for Cotton in Asia by the troika- Dr. M. Ashraf Poswal (CABI), Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad (PARC-GoP) and Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro (FAO) in 2001.
He also shared how the impact the IPM FFS was assessed and that the programme not only increased the knowledge, empowerment and decision making capacity of the participating farmers, but it had reduced the poverty of trained farmers by 12%. It also helped the biodiversity conservation and rural development as a whole, he said. Dr. Soomro also emphasized on the participants to train the participants in hands-on activity for climate change education and shared with them that ECOSF is holding a training workshop for school teachers in climate change education and would be happy to support the FAO programme of FFS in Pakistan and beyond in the ECO Region.