Farming Couples Course (FCC)

COURSE BACKGROUND
The FCC predates the Young Farmers Course, with the first course offered in 1972 and has become an important complement to the KYFC. In the 1970’s the emphasis of the FCC course was on skills such as sewing, cooking, chickens, vegetables, budgeting, banking and making furniture. In the 1980’s the emphasis was on spousal relationship and human development. In the 1990’s it preceded with strong emphasis on management. In recent years there has been strong emphasis on soil sustainability. However, like with all Tutu courses, the FCC has evolved over time. There is now increased emphasis on management of the farm household. Human development sessions play a key role in guiding participants’ management skills for modern village life.

The FCC aims to “assist and train farming couples to joyfully accept their call as rural farming families in their village situation”

To qualify for the FCC the couples from Cakaudrove, and now parts of Bua and Macuata, have to be married for at least four years, have their own house, and farm their own land. The husband is often a graduate of the KYFC. Young Farmers usually get married soon after graduation and it was found that many of these couples found the adjustment to the course skills as had not been part of the Tutu experience. FCC has then assisted with this adjustment phase. Applications are received two years in advance of entry. As with the other courses, there are no fees, couples contribute in kind through volunteer work and work in the community garden. Two couples share a house, accompanied by their children and they have a budget for daily living expenses.

The FCC aims ‘to assist and train farming couples to joyfully accept their call as rural farming families in their village situation.’ To achieve this aim, the course endeavours to heighten the awareness, motivation and skills of married people to make better use of their resources to enhance their livelihoods.

This is a six month course, comprising three terms with five-week oscillation between the centre and the couples’ home village. The men undertake modules dealing with topics such as sawmilling, engine repair and maintenance and the women undertake courses related to their own income-generating projects such as mat weaving and tapa printing. The couple jointly undertake courses on human relationship skills, budgeting and money management. Particular emphasis is put in the preparation of their five-year plan – which the couples prepare jointly. As with the KYFC this plan is regarded as the participants’ ‘graduation certificate.’

It is seen as the most successful of the courses offered because it concentrates on the farm household unit. To a large extent, the Young Farmer and Farming Couples courses are now closely inter-connected. It is common for graduates of the KYFC to return some years later with their wives to participate in the FCC. Initially there were two FC courses run every year. It was later reduced to an annual one until 1994. However, an annual frequency was found to be too demanding with staff resource constraints. The course is now offered every second or third year with the intake restricted to twelve farming couples.