For which target groups? The approach is appropriate for a wide range of target groups, including women, youth, and the poor. It is particularly useful for increasing the proportion of women extension providers and women’s access to extension services. In many places, extension services are able to recruit higher proportions of women farmer-trainers than women front-line extension staff.
For which innovations? F2FE is appropriate for a wide range of innovations but may not be appropriate for high-risk and very technical enterprises and practices (e.g. certain crop spraying practices), innovations where cost of an error may be very high (e.g. treatment of livestock diseases), or for what are essentially permanent decisions (e.g. siting of water control structures).
In which ecological and institutional settings? F2FE has been reported not to work well in areas of low population density where transportation is a constraint. It appears to work best where farmers are organised, that is, farmer- trainers are serving members of a farmer group or a producer organisation, as trainers then have a ready clientele. It may be less suited to high-income, commercial systems, where the opportunity cost of labour is high and social networks may be weak.
The approach fits into a wide range of extension modalities such as private, government, NGO, and farmer organisations providing extension services. Extension services are generally the initiators of F2FE programmes and extension staff often supervise the farmer-trainers. The more that extension services facilitate ownership among local institutions (e.g. producer organisations, local government), the more sustainable the programmes are. They can do this through ensuring that local institutions participate, and even lead, in selecting farmer-trainers and monitoring and evaluating them.
The F2FE approach is widely adapted and used in combination with many other extension approaches. For example, contact farmers in the ‘training and visit’ approach and field-school leaders in the ‘farmer field school’ approach fall into the category of F2FE.