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Capacity building with farmers in Western Leyte, Philippines through continuous improvement and innovation of education and training

Alberto A. Taverosa , Elenita Espinosaa, Eleah Piamontea Salvador Dagoya, Dolores Alcobera, Richard Clarkb Janice Timmsc and Simon J. Mored

a Leyte livestock Improvement Program, Visayas State College of Agriculture, Baybay, 6521Leyte Province, The Philippines
b The Rural Extension Centre, PO Box 1000, Gatton, 4343, Australia
c Innovative Rural Management, Department of Primary Industries, GPO Box 46, Brisbane, 4001 Australia
d School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, PO Box 125, Kenmore 4069, Australia

Abstract

The Education and Training Team forms part of an ongoing bigger program “Enhancing the contribution of livestock within mixed farming systems in the Philippines” or known locally as the Leyte Livestock Improvement Project. This project aims to impact on the wellbeing of smallholder farmers by building sustainable capacity and human infrastructure. Unlike the traditional method of research, this project uses the new paradigm of authentic partnership in applying the six-step Better Practices Process (Clark and Timms 2001) of Continuous Improvement and Innovation in the design and delivery of services to smallholder farmers.

Based on the outputs generated in Step 1 (“Situation Analysis”) which was conducted by both project staff and farmers at both sites (Hindang and Baybay) in Western Leyte, areas of high impact and high influence in the Pig and Chicken Production System were identified (Step 2 or Impact Analysis). One high impact opportunity was education and training. A ‘broad activity plan’ was developed with the key objective of equipping farmers through training and education to achieving continuous improvement and innovation of the current practices.

The Education and Training Team has achieved the following outputs and outcomes:

  • eight short hands-on training activities;
  • eight seminars on identified areas in pig production and chicken production;
  • quarterly newsletter to enable farmers to share their successful experiences; and,
  • educational visits to progressive pig farmers in Leyte.

Each activity was designed to enhance individual capacity to achieve continuous improvement and innovation. Continuous improvement and innovation of Education and Training is practiced throughout the program.

Introduction

The Leyte Livestock Improvement Program (LLIP) is an ongoing ACIAR-funded project that seeks to enhance the wellbeing of smallholder families in the municipalities of Baybay and Hindang, Western Leyte, Philippines by increasing farmers’ capacity to continuously improve their pig and chicken production systems. The work of LLIP is based on the application of the Better Practices Process (Clark and Timms, 2001), a six-step cyclic process that enables farmers to change their thinking, decision-making, processes, practices and performance. Within the Better Practices Process is a wide range of participative methods to support farmers and project team through each step.

The report of the situation analysis (Step 1 of BPP) six months after project start showed that the pig and chicken production systems of farmers at both sites are complex and dynamic. This implies the need to approach the system from several perspectives based on real and current needs of farmers. To support farmers and project team members achieve the project mission of farmer capacity-building through continuous improvement and innovation eight high impact and high influence sub-projects were created. The specialists within each supportive sub-project including the Education and Training team specifically play a role in providing technical and other support to assist farmers through the continuous improvement and innovation process.

This paper aims to describe: a) how the principle of continuous improvement and innovation is helping capacity-building with farmers in the two project sites, Baybay and Hindang, Western Leyte, Philippines; b) activities of the team that helped farmer capacity-building.

Processes

Enabling farmers to understand current issues, problems, constraints and opportunities

The current issues, problems and constraints and opportunities of the pig and chicken production systems at both sites were defined by farmers through situation analysis, impact and analysis and action designing (that is steps 1-3 of the Better Practices Process). From the responses of farmers, it was clear that many of them had previous access to seminars and trainings jointly sponsored by the local government unit and private-owned feed and drug companies. In many of these seminars and training, the promotion of new company products in the guise of providing technical information of animal production and health care became a common practice. The action plan of many farmers reflects this in that many of them indicated need for support for development of basic skills and knowledge.

Assessment of farmers’ training and education needs

The action design (Step 3 of the Better Practices Process) of all Leyte Livestock Improvement Program farmers were reviewed and used as guide to determine what skills and knowledge were needed to support farmers during action implementation. On account of the total number of LLIP farmers, a large number of opportunities for training and education emerged. These were broadly grouped according to commonalities and differences and ranked according to the number of votes each item received from the farmers. The ranking was then used as basis for sequencing training and educational activities and for the action design for the Education and Training team.

Below are examples of action plan of two farmers using the CSFs (critical success factors) /KPs (key practices)/KPIs (key performance indicators) framework (Clark and Timms, 2001) showing current need for specific skills and knowledge.

Table 1. Action plan of Jesus Borneo, Kilim farmer

Focus: Improve pig-housing facilities

Critical Success Factors

Key Practices

Key Performance Indicators

  • Knowledge in pig housing facilities
  • Attend seminar on pig housing facilities
  • Determine necessary housing facilities based on knowledge gained
  • Understanding of necessary pig housing facilities gained
  • New facility for pig house
  • Identify least expensive facility
  • Save money for facility
  • Buy facility from cheapest outlet
  • New facility in place
  • Improved performance of pig production

Table 2. Action plan of Bernabe Montejo, Kilim farmer

Focus: Improve waste management

Critical Success Factors

Key Practices

Key Performance Indicators

Knowledge on waste management

  • Attend seminar on waste management
  • Identify best way of waste management for me

Understanding of waste management enhanced

Technical assistance from expert how to go about option chosen

  • Seek technical assistance from LLIP on how to implement best option for me
  • Secure requirements for option
  • Arrange schedule with expert
  • Improved waste management
  • Neighbors stop complaining about odor of pig waste

Addressing farmer needs

Based on the broad groupings of opportunities for education and training of LLIP farmers, the following focuses for the activities to be undertaken by the project team were identified:

  • Skills development
  • Knowledge development
  • Visiting successful local pig and chicken farmers
  • Enable farmers to share successful experiences with others

In regards to the first three focuses, the Program Action Design framework (Clark and Timms, 2001) shown below was used by the project team to develop a broad activity plan for education and training.

Table 3. Program Action Design Tool

  • STEP
  • Step1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4 etc.
  • Activities
  • Roles
  • Skills
  • Resources
  • Outputs
  • Outcomes
  • Timeframe

The steps needed to achieve the focus were as follows: curriculum design, delivery of education and training, and evaluating impact of training/seminar. The details of the elements (activities, roles, etc.) in each step were identified.

The newsletter, “LLIP Balita” is released every quarter and distributed to all stakeholders. The first issues was key to addressing the background of the project, its mission, goals and objectives. Subsequent issues featured successful experiences of farmers and project team members as a result of continuous improvement and innovation. Information dissemination on topics about the different aspects of the chicken and pig production systems was also made possible through the newsletter.

Results

Opportunities for education and training

Table 4 shows the broad grouping of the opportunities for training and education and the ranking from highest to lowest “total votes”.

Table 4. Ranking of broad groupings of opportunities

Rank

Opportunity

1

Piglet castration

2

Boar management and training

3

Identification of common breeds of pigs

4

Diagnosis of common diseases of pigs

5

Right attitude of farmers towards pig production

6

Common diseases of pigs and chickens and their prevention

7

Preparation and administration of Newcastle disease and hog cholera vaccine

8

Pig waste disposal and utilization

9

Administration of dewormers to pigs

10

Record-keeping

11

Accessing to capital

12

Handling vaccines

13

Parenteral drug administration

14

Heat detection

15

Natural and artificial insemination

16

Use of antibiotics

17

Sharing of successful experiences with others

18

Visit to successful pig and chicken farms

19

Marketing

20

Utilizing local feedstuffs

Opportunities for improvement for farmer and project team

After the seminars, trainings and field tour, the Observations, Question, Ideas and Opportunities Technique (Step 6 of the Better Practices Process) was used to enable farmers to generate opportunities for improvement with respect to their current practices (Tables 5 & 6). Many of these opportunities were consequently included in farmers’ action plan and instituted or established by this time. As appropriate, the questions were immediately answered while the ideas and some of the questions generated are being carefully considered by the project team as opportunities for improvement for similar activities in the future.

Table 5. Observations, questions, ideas and opportunities generated by one farmer team about the field trip to one of the pig farms with regard to current practices

Observations

Questions

Ideas

Opportunities

There is an area for separating pigs from sow.

Is mixed feeding advantageous or not?

Using steel bars for the pigpen would solve the problem due to biting habit of pigs.

Build farrowing crates and separation pen for piglets using low-cost materials.

Mechanized feeders facilitate synchronized feeding.

Can the LLIP staff also share their thinking about the field trip?

Using nozzle waterers in the pen is a healthy and economical practice.

Look for a low-cost biodigester to produce gas from pig waste.

Feeding is more economical using mechanized feeders.

Can the LLIP help us regarding financing of our pig project?

Writing the breeding record of the sow on the board is an efficient technique.

Use pressurized water in cleaning pigpens.

There is a footbath at the farm entrance.

When and where is the next field trip?

Reproduce copies of pictures taken on farm facilities.

Make an isolation pen for sick pigs.

There is an isolation pen for sick pigs.

     

The facility for mass medication is simple.

     

Breeds common to the three farms are Landrace, Large White, Duroc and New Dalland.

     

The piglets are pinkish.

     

There is a recording board in front of each pen.

     

Table 6. Some observations, questions, ideas and opportunities generated by one farmer team about the trainings and seminars conducted with respect to current practices

Observations

Questions

Ideas

Opportunities

Knowledge gained from seminars improved understanding of many aspects of pig and chicken production.

Is it safe to deworm sows that are 100 days pregnant?

Use picture together with measurements to illustrate farrowing pen.

Improve existing farrowing pen to separate piglets from sow.

Hands-on training is better than demo or lecture.

Is it advisable to bathe sows that are about to farrow?

Use pictures to describe signs of diseases.

Revolve income from pig sales to improve pig house.

Shaky hands during injection for the first time.

Is there a design for a separation pen using local materials?

Ask other pig farmers of useful herbal medicines.

Deworm regularly to improve pig performance.

It is easy to use a thermometer.

Can we vaccinate and deworm a sow simultaneously?

 

Buy antibiotics enough for at least 3 days.

Good breeds of pigs need more care.

How can we assist the sow during difficult farrowing?

 

Use only herbal medicines proven to cure diseases.

Boars are like human beings in that they can still breed even if they are already old.

Is it okay if the sow eats the placenta?

 

Use pig waste as fertilizer.

Pigs grow fast if feeds contain plenty of corn.

What caused the abnormal legs of the piglets of my sow?

 

Manage waste properly to avoid quarrels with neighbors

It is not good to stop treatment until sick pig has fully recovered.

Can herbal medicines be used to treat pig diseases?

   
 

What happens to milk production after treatment of sow with antibiotics?

   

Conclusion

The results of the 6-month activities of the Education and Training team indicate that the application of the principle of continuous improvement and innovation for supporting farmers can be very effective approach in achieving sustainable farmer capacity-building. From the experience over the past six months, the active involvement of farmers at all stages of the work and the commitment of the project team to the process were the key issues to achieving outputs and outcomes evident of continuous improvement and innovation.

References

  1. Clark R. and Timms J (2000) Continuous Improvement and Innovation. Rural extension Centre, Gatton, Australia
  2. Clark R and Timms J. (2001) Continuous Improvement and Innovation. Rural Extension Centre, Gatton, Australia
  3. Leyte Livestock Improvement Program (2000) Record of Farmers’ Meeting. ACIAR, DASVM, ViSCA, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
  4. Leyte Livestock Improvement Program (2001) Record of Farmers’ Meeting. ACIAR, DASVM, ViSCA, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines

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