The RIPAT Manual

J.M. Vesterager, The Rockwool Foundation, Denmark

D. Ringo, C.W. Maguzu, and J.N. Ng’ang’a, RECODA, Tanzani


Sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s most food-insecure region in spite of its abundant agricultural potential. In an attempt to contribute towards overcoming this problem, a flexible agricultural extension approach known as RIPAT (Rural Initiatives for Participatory Agricultural Transformation) has been developed over the period since 2006 through a series of projects in northern Tanzania. The RIPAT Manual explains step-by-step how to organize and implement a robust group-based agricultural development project. It should be read by those interested in improving the food security and incomes of small-scale farmers: primarily practitioners, but also teachers, researchers and decision makers. The manual is especially relevant for staff of NGOs and development organizations at programming and field levels, and for local government officials involved in agricultural extension and rural development. A RIPAT project is characterized by:


  • HELP TO SELF-HELP – avoiding DONOR SYNDROME and ensuring that farmers take full charge of their own development the use of a group demonstration field, where RIPAT takes THE BEST FROM BOTTOM-UP AND
  • TOP-DOWN EXTENSION APPROACHES giving farmers CHOICE regarding agricultural technologies and a VOICE regarding how they want to organize their group and work together
  • FORMALIZED COOPERATION with local government authorities and extension services for continuation and up-scaling.



Farmers’ Choice

Edited by Helene Bie Lilleør and Ulrik Lund-Sørensen

168 pages. Practical Action Publishing, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-85339-775-2


Food security is an urgent international priority. However, agricultural extension methods that relied on imposing centrally-developed technological solutions have often been ineffective, since small-scale farmers in developing countries often cultivate marginal land, working under constraints for which these solutions were not designed. Since 2006, a flexible agricultural extension approach has been implemented in Northern Tanzania, inspired by the Farmer Field School approach and offering farmers a "basket of technology options" from which they can choose what serves their needs and resources best. The focus is on extending improved low-cost farming techniques adaptable to local conditions in a pragmatic and flexible process. The interventions are organized under the name RIPAT, and they have received financial and technical support from the Rockwool Foundation. Farmers’ Choice outlines the RIPAT interventions, and examines how effective they have been. This evaluation should be read by all those interested in improving the food security and incomes of poor farmers in the Global South: agricultural scientists, anthropologists, staff of NGOs, researchers and students of development studies.


RIPAT Briefing Note

The RIPAT Briefing Note gives a short description of the results of the evaluation. For further information on the evaluation see the book Farmers´choice.

More papers on the impact of RIPAT and details on the evaluation is available here