Introduction to Coffee Management through Discovery Learning
An integrated pest management (IPM) system, or an integrated crop management (ICM) system can never be a prescriptive, ‘off the shelf’ package. A grower must look at all the options available to him or her and make an informed decision as to which measures to take. Because each farmer’s situation is different, the types of IPM measures they implement may vary between regions and often even from farm to farm.
The farmer participatory approach aims to build farmers’ capacities to make their own crop management decisions, based on a better understanding of the agro-ecology of their own fields, and according to their own unique set of circumstances and priorities. With farmer participatory approaches, the role of extension becomes more the facilitation of a learning process by the farming community, and less the teaching of research messages.
A successful farmer participatory coffee IPM programme depends on:
- farmers’ sound knowledge of the agro-ecosystem and how this relates to pests, weeds and diseases;
- a practical approach to manipulating the cropping system to manage pests on a cost-effective and sustainable basis;
- willingness and ability on the part of both farmers and support systems (extension, research, others) to experiment, modify and innovate;
- participatory training approaches in coffee extension services;
- promotion of non-chemical methods in coffee management.
This Introduction to Coffee Management through Discovery Learning aims to give some basic information on the options available towards ecological coffee production. It is aimed at extensionists who are involved in farmer participatory coffee IPM. This source book is not intended to be comprehensive. The exercises should be viewed as guidelines and sources of inspiration rather than as rigid instructions.