By Guta Eshetu
Horizontal learning is peer-to-peer learning. It is how farmers learn, share new information and good practices with each other. Horizontal learning can be boosted by organizing activities such as expositions, and exchange visits. These are commonly used to bring together different groups for field learning.
This strategy was also used to share and spread knowledge on liquid biofertilizer in the Arsi Zone of the Oromia region. In this zone, the regional office of agriculture is promoting the use of liquid biofertilizers across 25 woredas. Horizontal learning field days were prepared at Digelu-Tijo woreda with more than 300 participants per field day, from 156 Woredas across the Oromia region. The participants visited farms that made use of liquid biofertilizers: Farms with Teff production using only liquid biofertilizer, and farms with wheat production that used biofertilizer in combination with synthetic fertilizer. The farmers of these farms shared that using the liquid biofertilizer boosted their production with around 50% on the poorly fertile soils.
These field days are of high importance to promote the liquid biofertilizer to other communities outside the project areas. It also provides the farmers with the right knowledge and inspiration to adopt this technology on their own. Moreover, the persons participating during the field days can also share this technology with others; resulting in a snowball effect of information spreading. This enables further scaling of the liquid biofertilizer and thus a broader transition towards regenerative agriculture.
This horizontal learning process can be boosted further when farmers are trained, encouraged, and incentivized to capture and share good practices using smartphone videos. This can be achieved using a combination of training, competitions, screenings, and social media. Several testimonials of farmers using the liquid biofertilizer are recorded and can be found on the Green Future Farming YouTube cha