The Farmer Field School (FFS) approach is gaining prominence as an extension approach but its usefulness in influencing farmers to understand and uptake new technologies is still a question lingering in the mind of many FFS practitioners. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the approach in knowledge acquisition, adoption and dissemination of soil and crop management (S&CM) technologies among small-scale farmers in Kenya. Eight technologies were scaled-out using the approach and the conventional extension methods. A survey with an ex-post facto design was employed with a sample frame consisting of 940 farmers. A sample of 60 FFS graduates and 60 non-FFS (NFFS) farmers was chosen for the study. There was a significant difference in knowledge acquired in S&CM technologies by FFS compared to NFFS farmers. About 50% of FFS farmers had acquired high to very high level of the knowledge of all the eight technologies disseminated while the majority (>80%) of the NFFS farmers had acquired less than 50% of the same knowledge. About 45% of the FFS farmers had adopted 50% of the technology components while only 17% of NFFS farmers had adopted the same percentage of the technology components. The FFS participants were significantly (P<0.05) better disseminators of S&CM technologies than the non-FFS farmers. It was recommended that all stakeholders in agricultural development in Kenya be sensitized on the potential effectiveness of FFS methodology in scaling-up agricultural technologies and also monitor how the application of knowledge acquired by FFS farmers is impacting on their livelihoods.
Keywords: Comparative Analysis, Extension Methods, Knowledge Acquisition, Technology Adoption and Dissemination