Report for External Review: Site Visit
November 1-4, 1984
By P.E. Hildebrand
This project is comprised of genetic and socioeconomic
components. Within Guatemala, there is also an agronomy
component which includes both genetic and socioeconomic
activities. This site visit was requested because of some
continuing problems with the socioeconomic component. The
genetic component, as reported last year and as reported from the
site review at Cornell, is very siruny and will receive only
cursory treatment in this report.
The report is based on 1) lengthy telephone conversations
with Mel Blaze, Don Wallace, Harold Capener and Linda Russo prior
to departure for Guatemala; 2) discussions with ICTA personnel
on November 3 and 4 and AID/Guatemala on November 3; 3) a one
hour discussion in the Miami Airport with Larry Zuidema and Linda
Russo on November 4 following the site visit (Capener was to have
been at the Miami Airport meeting but was unable to make it); 4)
telephone conversations with Capener (Ithaca) and Fumagalli and
Zuidema (Guatemala) on November 6 and Wallace on Nov. 7.
ICTA progress in genetic, agronomic and socioeconomic
aspects of technology development, and, indeed, their leadership
in these areas is well documented. Beginning in about 1980, a
shift from socioeconomic to economic emphasis began in the
socioeconomic unit of ICTA. This resulted in part from a
decrease in the number of positions in that unit and in part with
difficulties in Guatemala of hiring sociologists or
anthropologists. Sociological studies were also made difficult
because of the political situation in the country. Sensing the
drift away from social and anthropological studies, but also
recognizing their importance, ICTA administration was interested
in obtaining the socioeconomic component of this CRSP. ICTA felt
it not only would help contribute to bean research, but also help
to once again incorporate sociological or anthropological
components into the Socioeconomic unit. These desires so far
have only partially been realized.
Problems with the socioeconomic component started at the
beginning of the project. The US Co-PI for socioeconomics had
personal political and moral problems concerning Guatemala which
negatively influenced her activities in that country and
effective communication with host country personnel.
Subsequently, the US Co-PI for the socioeconomic component was
changed. Although the new Co-PI was more senior and experienced,
communication was hampered somewhat because he does not speak
Spanish and the HC Co-PI does not speak English. A bilingual
administrator was hired by the project in part to alleviate the
communication problem and in part to facilitate administrative
and financial problems which had surfaced. This did facilitate
communication but did not completely eliminate the problems which
can exist when two PIs can not communicate directly. More
recently, a bilingual sociologist has been hired, to be located
in Guatemala, and this is also facilitating communication.
However, there is still not much direct communication between
Co-PIs in the socioeconomic component.
During 1984, one additional factor has further limited the
capabilities of the CRSP to effectively work with the
socioeconomic unit of ICTA. The Human Subjects Committee at
Cornell has decreed that it will not permit CRSP funds to be used
in any sort of field work involving farmers in G~uatemala.
Originally, this was interpreted to mean such activities as
surveys or farm records. MULe recently it has been interpreted
to mean support of any field work including on-farm trials with
small farmers. This stand by the Human Subjects Committee
conflicts directly with the well established ICTA methodology
which is based very heavily on working on farms and with small
farmers. It presents the possibility not only of essentially
eliminating support of on-farm work in the socioeconomic unit,
but also of influencing the genetic portion of the project
because much of that work is carried out on farms in
collaboration with farmers.
This review was undertaken in light of this rather critical
situation. Major emphasis in the review, after thoroughly
exploring all implications of the situation, was given to
searching for and discussing possible alternatives. A basic
constraint considered in the search for alternatives was that
support should remain strong for the genetic portion of the CRSP
both from the US and the HC. The genetic component is making
significant progress and certainly must be continued.
One of ICTA's objectives in the socioeconomic segment of the
CRSP was to obtain support for hiring a sociologist or
anthropologist, preferably a woman, to augment the socioeconomic
staff in the host country. Because of the Cornell constraint on
conducting field work in Guatemala, Cornell was unable to provide
funds for the anthropology position to ICTA. To partially
alleviate that situation, Cornell hired an American
anthropologist to work in Guatemala for 6 months early in 1984.
This person prepared a report which was used in a meeting between
I.CTA and the University in Ithaca, in June, 1984. However, to
date, that report is unknown to ICTA personnel. This is
apparently the article entitled "Agriculture in the Chimaltenango
Region and Its Relevance to the Bean/Cowpea CRSP" by Patricia
Netherly. Except for this report, which has not yet found its
way to ICTA, this reviewer was able to discover little
significant product of the 6 month tour in Guatemala other than
personal communication with.- TCTA staff. The host country PI for
genetics feels he did gain additional insight into the value of
working with social scientists to help improve bean production on
A second partial substitute for the anthropology position in
Guatemala is the presence of an American rural sociologist at
the time of the review and proposed for 9 months during 1985.
However, with the restrictions imposed by the Human Subjects
Committee of Cornell, this person may not be able to leave the
capital city except for short trips to ICTA's regional
headquarters. Given ICTA's methdology of working directly with
farmers, this is really not a substitute for the anthropology
Cornell has proposed, and ICTA accepted in principal, some
activities which the sociologist might carry out during 1985.
These are a series of seven seminars designed to help ICTA
document its methodological procedures and help prepare
presentations for the 1985 Kansas State Farming Systems Meetings.
Another activity of the sociologist will be to review all written
documents in ICTA in an attempt to help publish further
documentation on the history of that Institute. The seminars and
the documentation are both of interest to ICTA and receive their
support. However, there may be a significant problem if the
sociologist cannot leave the capital city, because ICTA desires
that most, if not all, of the seminars be held in the individual
regions where most of the ICTA personnel are stationed. ICTA
sees it as being very costly to have to bring their field
personnel into the capital city for seminar sessions.
Considering the needs and desires of ICTA, the objectives of
the CRSP, and the constraints imposed by the Human Subjects
Committee of Cornell, this reviewer makes the following
1) If it is possible for the American sociologist hired on the
CRSP to leave the capital city and to conduct the seminars
at the regional sites of ICTA, the proposed activities for
1985 be carried out.
2) Because of the severe constraints imposed on ICTA by the
Human Subjects Committee of Cornell it may well be necessary
to search for an alternative US institution to provide the
longer term socioeconomic component of this CRSP project.
This should in no way influence the genetic component of the
project which should remain at Cornell.
3) If Cornell finds it impossible to permit the sociologist
to leave the Capital city and conduct seminars in the
regions, then some other alternative may be needed even for
Note: The November 6 phone conversation with Fumagalli and
Zuidema indicated that Cornell and ICTA have come to grips with
the situation and are preparing a 1986-88 extension proposal.
1. Involvement and support from US institution.
A. Institutional integration.
1) Range of departments: Four departments: Plant Breeding
and Biometrics, Horticulture, International Agriculture and Rural
2) Number of persons: Four professionals plus one in
Guatemala, one adminsitrative person, one secretary.
3) Services utilized: Normal administrative and training
services plus a laboratory for air photo interpretation.
B. Institutional back-up support provided.
See item 1-A,3).
C. Institutional interest in continued involvement.
High for those involved. There are problems with respect to the
university itself, specifically with the implications of the
decree of the Committee on Human Subjects.
D. Action needed.
If the socioeconomic component of this project is to continue,
there will have to be a conciliation of, the actions of the Human
Subjects Committee with the needs and requirements of ICTA.
2. Project administration
A. Fiscal Management.
Has been barely adequate but slow. There is a continued problem
of non-coincidence of fiscal years dates (see 1983 review
B. Program management and logistics.
The major problem is with the delays in Washington in obtaining
approvals for equipment.
C. Actions needed.
Because of the bureaucracy involved in funds managed by ICTA, it
would probably be beneficial for` IICA or another entity such as
CIAT or BANDESA to manage the CRSP funds for ICTA. ICTA is
favorable to this possibility as is Cornell and action should be
taken. Also action must be taken by the MO to facilitate
equipment approval in Washington.
and one additional assistant is approved for the 1985 budget.
Also Carlos Gonzales (Rural Sociologist) is located in the HC.
2) Unpaid. In Socioeconomics: one "ingeniero agronomo",
two economists, and two "perito agronomos" working full time,
plus one secretary, 25%. In the bean program there is one Ph.D.,
the HC-PI, 50%. Also there are two "ingenieros agronomos"
working full time, one M.S. 50% and one "ingeniero agronomo" 75%.
In addition., working for both socioeconomics and beans there is
one "ingeniero agronomo" working 75%, four "ingenieros agronomos"
in the technology testing unit working 100% -and one secretary
working 25%. ICTA has very significant input into this CRSP
B. Adequate number and type.
The number of personnel is adequate except that socioeconomics
requires an anthropologist or sociologist, preferably female.
This was one of the their main motivations in the socioeconomic
component of the CRSP.
C. Involvement of women.
In Guatemala, the only women involved are secretaries. It is
very difficult to find and hire females who are trained in
anthropology, sociology or as an "ingeniero agronomo". In the
field, the role of women and children is taken into account as a
matter of course. This is and has been in the ICTA methodology
for some time.
D. Effectiveness. See item B.
E. Staff concerns.
The primary concerns are with respect to the uncertainty of the
future plans of the project. Concerns about conciliating the
needs of Socioeconomics with the constraints imposed by the Human
Subjects Committee need to be addressed. With respect to
genetics there are no specific personnel concerns. In general
most of the ICTA personnel are concerned about problems with
Cornell. In particular there is concern that the technology
testing team will lose confidence with the Bean program and with
the CRSP as they see that the arrangements are very informal.
This comes about as result of the changes in budget and in
program which are made after the fact.
F. Actions needed.
More stability needs to be brought into the project because it
affects the large number of personnel from ICTA working on the
4. Equipment and facilities.
More computer capacity is required. This capacity can come about
from various combinations of equipment. In addition, because the
genetic program works in several regions, additional sprayers,
humidity testers and scales are required in order to speed up
data processing. Because the program must borrow this type of
equipment from other programs in some of the regions, delays are
C. Actions needed.
Action should be taken in Washington on the request for another
Apple microcomputer. Facilitation of action in Washington not
only would speed up research but also will improve the rate of
5. Project Progress
A. Frequency and usefulness of US/HC team travel.
Travel is frequent but generally seen as very useful because it
improves overall communication (see 5-B). There could be some
question relative to the frequency of travel of the
administrative assistant, but this aspect was not addressed
B. Level of US/HC team communication and
communication with HC AID Mission.
Exceptional between Wallace and Masaya, the two principal PIs.
In socioeconomics the problem of language reduces the facility of
communication. This has been partly resolved with the presence
of Carlos Gonzales in Guatemala. Satisfactory communication with
HC AID Mission
C. Appropriateness of activities to goals.
Because the ICTA methodology is to work in the field, concerns
need to be raised about the appropriateness of the CRSP
socioeconomic participation as it is' restricted to the' capital
city. Some consolidation and documentation, as well as inward
reflection, is seen as beneficial by ICTA, but this is not the
type of activity they feel in need of in the future. With
respect to the genetic component, it appears that all activities
are very much oriented toward achieving the goals of the project.
D.Progress toward research objectives.
Genetics, no problem. ICTA is progressing in regard to the
socioeconomic objectives but they are frustrated with the
changes resulting from Cornell. However, the CRSP has
definitely rejuvenated the concern in ICTA with socioeconomics
and of the anthropological and social concerns within the
socioeconomic unit, itself. In addition, the principal HC/PI,
Masaya, has learned much about the influence of the family on
beans and bean production.
E. Progress toward training objectives.
With respect to beans, OK. With regard to socioeconomics,
training is behind schedule. This is a result of problems of
learning English among the candidates sent by the CRSP to Ithaca
for training. Later, budget cuts eliminated all training in
socioeconomics. A short course in photo interpretation is
planned for 1984 and three candidates from socioeconomics are
scheduled for training in 1986-88 if there is a three year
F. Attention to issues of related disciplines
Much of the socioeconomic input from the US has been from women.
ICTA understands the importance of having women in its
Socioeconomic unit and still would like to have that position
G. Contribution of work to small farmer systems.
In Guatemala most 6f the work of ICTA is directed toward problems
of small farmers. This category receives high marks.
H. Contribution of work to U.S. agriculture.
The information being gained from the genetic component is of
direct and high value to United States Agriculture. The
information which could be gained in the socioeconomic component
can have indirect implications in US agriculture as it modifies
methodological procedures in the US.
6. Active linkages established.
A. HC organizations.
INCAP, University del Valle (preliminary).
B. US organizations. BTI.
C. International centers. CIAT, INCAP, IICA.
D. Other CRSP projects. FSSP.
E. Actions needed.
Explore the possibility of managing the CRSP funds through IICA.
Even though they take an 8% overhead, there would be significant
gain. When ICTA manages all funds, they are immediately
converted by the government into Quetzales at the official 1:1
rate. Many suppliers in Guatemala have a dollar price~ and a
Quetzal price which reflects the effective exchange rate. IICA
can maintain the funds in dollars and therefore realize a savings
in purchases when offered.
7. Summary of status.
A. Specific strengths.
All aspects of the genetic component.
ICTA as a host country institution.
The desires of all parties to arrive at a workable solution.
B. Specific weaknesses.
The institutional constraints imposed on the use of funds managed
by the US institution.
The kinds of activities which are left open under that constraint
may well create a situation in which the US institution benefits
more than the HC institution.
Some of the procedures proposed under these constraints may be
undertaken in an office in the capital city. Many ICTA
activities,'however, require either direct field involvement by
the personnel or depend upon field involvement by other personnel
and cannot be very effective in the absence of farmer contact.
Locating homogenous farming systems areas which has been
attempted using secondary data is one such example.
C. Change from previous review.
Changes have been made and are being proposed to reflect the
constraints imposed on the CRSP by the Human Subjects Committee.
D. Expected schedule of future outputs.
Seven seminars are proposed in 1985. These should result in
three presentations at the Kansas State Farming Systems Meeting
by Guatemalans and one by the resident rural sociologist. Five
papers should be presented at the PCCMCA meetings: Genetics (3),
Agronomy (1), Socioeconomics (1). There should be one
publication from the genetic work for release in a Journal.
8. Sumrmary of Recommendations.
The ERP will have to examine, as a group, the proposals being
made for utilizing CRSP funds, given the constraints imposed by
the Human Subjects Committee. The nature of the activities may
not sufficiently contribute to CRSP objectives. Care must be
taken not to negatively influence the genetic component of the
Guatemalan Project. However, because of the highly integrated
biologic/socioeconomic methodology utilized by ICTA, more
realistic procedures may need to be found.
Gainesville, November 7, 1984
Site Visit to ICTA/Guatemala
By P.E. Hildebrand
(Thur) Leave Gainesville 12:00 noon for
Jacksonville Airport by rented car.
Arrive Guatemala 8:05 p.m.
(Fri) 8:00-12:30 Meeting at ICTA offices.
Carlos Pinto (Gerente General) 1 hour.
Astolfo Fumagalli (Sub:Gerente).
Horacio Juarez (Director Tecnico) I hour.
Selvin Arriaga (Coordinator of Socioeconomics
and HC Co-PI. for Socioeconomics).
Porfirio Masaya (Coordinator of Bean Prgram and
2:00-2:30 Meeting at USAID.
George Like AID Project Manager for the CRSP
3:OO-6:00 Meeting at ICTA offices.
Mamerto Reyes (Socioeconomics unit of ICTA).
Carlos Gonzales (Rural Sociologist from Cornell).
Nov. 3 (Sat)
8:30-12:OO Meeting at ICTA offices.
Nov. 4 (S un)
8:05 a.m. Leave Guatemala.
2:30-3:30 Meeting in Miami International
Airport with Larry Zuidema
and Linda Russo.
6:30 Arrive Gainesville.