Improving the management of agriculture demonstration sites in food security programs

Demo plots are a common feature of agriculture extension interventions. The majority of the food security programs implemented by World Vision feature demo sites. Demos are also common with other practitioners because they provide a platform to introduce new ideas and allow farmers to experience innovative practices first hand. Despite their popularity, implementation of demos is not always successful and there are many instances where demos fail to convince farmers to adopt new practices.

As such, this resource was developed through a grant from USAID TOPS for programme staff and extension agents to explore how demos can be made more effective. It pulls examples from World Vision food security programmes in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Niger to outline guiding principles across key factors influencing the effectiveness of demos, and combines findings from assessing current practices and provides recommendations for improving management of demos.   

The guide notes that the objectives of a demo should be cultivated together with farmers; they should be clear to allow objective measurement of results. Most importantly, demos should enable farmers appreciate how to experiment and try out new ideas for themselves.

World Vision’s hope is that this guide will stimulate dialogue and enhance learning.