On-farm demonstrations serve as one of the most effective Extension education tools. For Women in Agriculture, small demonstration plots provide a backdrop on which to demonstrate and teach appropriate technologies, as well as venues to test new methods side by side with traditional methods.
Although demonstrations require considerable time and effort, the payback comes when women more readily adapt practices they perceive to be effective and appropriate under local conditions. This is known as “seeing is believing.”
In Afghanistan, the University of Maryland has been given a 1.25 acre (5,000 m2) plot from unused land in Kabul belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock for demonstrations and teaching. In that location, WIA has established the project’s main training center and demonstration farm that showcases many different techniques and novel practices in organic farming and kitchen gardens. This includes compost production, IPM, apiculture, vermiculture, backyard poultry and small ruminant production, and urban gardening. Rather than utilize state of the art, expensive techniques and equipment, the AAEP WIA training center farm utilizes low cost/no cost/appropriate technologies that women can implement in their homes. The WIA demonstration plots are also available as a venue and a hands-on teaching tool for women farmers at Darulaman and in surrounding areas of Kabul. All demonstration plots are less than 50 m2 to better simulate the conditions facing the women farmer.
In Ethiopia, Women in Agriculture also utilizes demonstration farms. There are demonstration farms at each of our partner universities in Ethiopia: Debre Berhan University, Wolkite University, and Bahir Dar University. In addition to acting as a platform to educate women farmers, these demonstration farms also serve as research farms for university students to study different planting methods and technologies.