Draft for Comments
August 31, 1987
POTENTIAL FOR ESTABLISHING ON FSR/E
SHORT COURSE TRAINING PROGRAM
AT THE UNIVERSITY CENTER DSCHANG,
Dr. Marie H61&ne Collion, IDRC Dakar
Dr. Susan V. Posts, PSSP/University of Florida
* This report was prepared as a result of a visit by the authors to Cameroon
and series of discussions with UCD administration and faculty, July 27-29,
1987. In addition, Dr. Poats remained in Cameroon through August 7 for
continued discussions with UCD faculty, to visit FSR/E field sites of the
NCRE project and to meet with USAID officials. Dr. Collion visited IITA in
order to obtain their input regarding the ideas put forward in this proposal.
The idea for establishing a Farming Systems Research and Extension
(FSR/E) training program to meet the need to train West and Central African
researchers and development workers in FSR/E methods is not new. During
the past four years, several FSR/E training courses have been held in
the region by the Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP/University of
Florida/USAID), IITA, ICRISAT, SAFGRAD, GTZ and others. Participants and
trainers at these courses and workshops have recommended that such training
be offered on a regular basis in the region. The West African Farming
Systems Research Network, when it met in Dakar in March 1986, endorsed
the idea of developing a regular training program.
The FSSP has been committed to this idea for several years and had
begun in 1986 to initiate a plan to help establish a training program
to be held at the University Center Dschang. A key figure in this plan
was the late Dr. Pascal Fotzo, chair of the Agricultural Economics Department
at UCD and formerly a research scientist at WARDA. Dr. Fotzo had approached
and gained the support of his own administration with the idea and had
asked FSSP for training support to help develop UCD's capacity to take
over the operation of the courses FSSP had developed. FSSP was strongly
in favor of Fotzo's proposal and had pledged support. Dr. Fotzo had also
begun discussions with IDRC in terms of financial support for a training
program. At his sudden and untimely death, Dr. Fotzo had been in the process
of organizing a seminar at UCD involving a number of African FSR/E experts.
IITA, FSSP and LDRC to plan the development of the training program.
Since UCD administration remains committed to the idea developed
by Dr. Fotzo, representative of IDRC and FSSP agreed to visit UCD to discuss
whether the program could still be effectively carried out.
II THE SITUATION
With the UF/FSSP project coming to the end of its contract in December
1987, there is a need to ensure that the training it had provided to West
and Central Africans in FSR/E methods be continued on a regular basis
by some other institution. Given the financial and human resources implied
in the organization of such training, institutionalization is necessary
so as to build on an institution's acquired experience in handling training
There are a number of reasons why the University Center at D~schang
(UCD) Cameroon, was singled out as an appropriate institution for establishing
a short term FSR/E training program. It is an important academic institution
for agricultural sciences, given the quality and size of staff and student
body. If current and planned activities under various institution building
projects achieve their objectives for the forecasted number of highly
trained staff as well as research and teaching facilities, UCD is destined
to be one of the most sophisticated undergraduate and graduate institutions
for the agricultural sciences in West and Central Africa.
Another feature is the existence of a farm level research project
in the Bafou Chefferie, 10 km from UCD, which has been in existence for
approximatively three years. It would provide a locale for practical hands-on
field work for trainees, an essential element for the type of training
envisioned. In addition to the Bafou project, the FSR/E approadhhas been
adopted by IRA (Institut de la Recherche Agronomique) as envidenced in
IRA's National Cereals Research and Extension (NCRE) project. This project,
in its regional implementation, would provide the opportunity for field
visits and could be used as an example of FSR/E implementation during
Another valuable feature of UCD, when considering training for the
subregion, is its bilingual staff. As a matter of fact, Cameroon is the
only country where a course could be given equally well in English or in
French. In addition to the considerable resource savings over the alternative
of having two institutions (one francophone and one anglophone) 'offering
such; training, UCD vould provide the opportunity for developing a common
FSRIE methodological base and understanding for anglophones and francophones.
The opportunity for anglophonesand francophones to acquire a common background
in FSR/E is an important feature that will help to brige the gap between
the two scientific communities that historically have remained unfortunately
Finally, there is the positive attitude of UCD management towards the
idea of operating a regional FSR/E short course. In their opinion, UCD,
can and should take a regional leading role in various aspects of the agricultu-
ral sciences. UCD management has a trong commitment towards the FSRIE approach
as a practical avenue for enhancing agricultural development for low input
or resource-poor farmers, particularly in view of the agrarian crisis Africa
faces. The approach, in their opinion should also be introduced into the
formal academic teaching program in order to sensitize students to the fact
that farmers should be at the center of their research and development concerns.
In particular, UCD management wishes to introduce an FSR/E course into the
regular curriculum with the view of building and FSR/E specialization, in
the near future.
In terms of physical location, Dschanig is far away fro the Douala international
airport, and even when the last part of the road presently under construction
is finished, travel time to and from D~ouala will still be a good three hours.
This distance could be a constraint since holding a regional training course
will require a fair amount of coordination and logistical organization to
ensure that meeting some 25 to 30 participants at the airport and transporting
them to and from Dschang be done efficiently, with a minimum of problems.
UCD has, however, at least two recent experiences on handling international
conferences, and this serves to demonstrate the ability of the institution
to overcome the apparent logistical barriers.
Even if the travel logistics are solved, there are however still two
areas which pose constraintss, They will need special attention to implement
a training program as envisioned. The most serious problem facing UCD
is the current lack of staff experienced in FSR/E training. The late D~r.
Pascal Fotzo was a leader in the FSR/E trainingfield. However, h~e had only
begun to'pass his experience along to his fellow UCD) colleagues. Expect
for one professor who has received formal training in FSR/E at the University
of Florida, the other staff members have only been sporadically exposed
to the FSR/E approach. As for the Bafou project, Cameroonian participation
has been marginal, so far, and only the French expatriates have conducted
the bulk of the field work (see appendix for a brief chronology of the faculty's
exposure to FSR/E). In addition, no staff member has any experience in organizing,
managing or delivering such a course. None have ever attended the FSSP or
IITA training courses.:
Finally, it is hard to envision how, in the current situation more
responsibilities could be added to the already heavyworkload of the staff.
In theory, the teaching load of the staff is normal. However, administrative
responsibilities and the burden of various management practices result
in actualoverloading for many facul~ty.
To summarize, in many respects UCD offers strong possibilities for
housing and operating a regional FSR/E training program. However, the two
areas of constraint described must be seriously addressed before plans could
proceed to develop the program.
III OUTLOOK FOR THE SHORT TERM
The constraints noted above are likely to improve somewhat in the
course of the next two years. In terms of the presentworkload, UCD is expecting
some 35 graduates (MS and PH. D's) to return from training in the next two
years. In addition, a number of steps are being planned which will result
in major reorganization. One such reorganization is the planned merger and
upgrading ITA and ENSA. Thus considerably reducing the teaching load.. Another
planned improvement is the setting up of a fixed teaching schedule which
would enable professors to plan for other activities than teaching such
as for example to carve out time for the responsibilities entailed by the
organization of a short term course. Additionally, as soon as proper government
channels have approved the changes proposed for UCD, faculty will be explicitly
assigned by percentages to both research and teaching and will thereby legitimize
efforts to implement FSR/E activities in support of the proposed short course
In terms of FSR/E experience and leadership, UCD is planning to recruit
an agricultural economist with FSR/E experience to fill the late Dr Fotzo's
position. The recruitment is open to any African. In addition, it is proposed
that FSSP/University of Florida offer one of their short training workshop
at Dschang intended primarily for Dschang faculty, This course, however,
will serve only as initiation to the FSR/E approach. It will not make FSR/E
practioners out of the participants. That can only be acquired through actually
participating in a FSR/E research project, in the field. It is hoped, however,
that the establishment of the training program, the reorganization of UCD's
academic program, and the current interest in developing professional capacity
in FSR/E will spur the initiation of faculty directed FSR/E field activities.
IV SUGGESTED STEPS FOR UCD TO ESTABLISH A REGIONAL, FSR/E PROGRAM
IV 1. The first task facing UCD in establishing the program will be to elicit
collaboration from IITA, University of Florida, CIRAD and WAFSRN.
The two institutions, IITA and UF that have been responsible for FSR/E
training so far in the region should be able to provide training support
and technical backup to UCD) for this pro ram. A possible arrangement would
be for UF to provide one consultant to UCD who would be in charge of organizing
the course at the beginning, while at the same time training Cameroonian
counterparts to take over progressively the responsibility of managing the
program. Though the details of such collaboration have not been thought
through one could envision the duration of the short courses for the first
year. This could likely decrease during the second year.
In addition to technical backup for the organization of the course
itself, UCD) would need also support for the elaboration of the course content
and the training. That could come from IITA, as well as FSSP, in as much
as both institutions have organized such training courses, and both have
elaborated teaching manuals with training objectives. FSSP and IITA could
thus provide trainers for the course at the beginning, while the Cameroonians
would receive in-service training to be trainers.
Collaboration between IITA and UCD should not limit itself to the
initial institutionalization of the proposed regional training program.
As a matter of fact, what should be under consideration here is a full-
fledged collaboration for FSR/E training between IITA and UCD, whereby UCD
would offer the basic FSR/E methods course in English and French, assisted
by a resource person from IITA. IITA_ would concentrate its efforts on more
specific and advanced short term training for FSR/E includingworkshop and
in-service training. UCD) staff responsible for the basic methods course
will be able to benefit from these courses at IITA.
It is strongly recommended that the proposed training program at UCD
be planned in collaboration with the West African Farming Research Network
(WAFSRN). The WAFSRN coordinator should be actively involved, participating
as resource person, promoting the course in the WAFSRN newsletter ~and handling
demands for training.
Finally, it is equallyadvisable that. CIRAD become a full partner in
this endeavour, CIRAD has been funding the Bafou project for a number of
years now. They recently renewed their interest for FSR/E activities at
UCD, including training.
The four institutions mentioned ~explicitly here will serve UCD's
immediate needs for support in launching the program. However, it is both
advisable and recommended that as the program develops, linkages be made
with other national, regional and international institutions involved in
the FSR/E area.
IV 2. The second task facing UCD will be to write a proposal to secure funding
from IDRC. We suggest that UCD considers selecting one individual as the
program administrator and nominating a group of four faculty to represent
the key disciplines and departments :to be involved at least initially in
the program : agronomy, agricultural economics, extension/rural sociology
and animal science. This committee could be considered as the "coordinating
committee" for the program. They would be responsible for drafting the proposal
to ID)RC, collaboration with UF in the organization of the proposed April
FSR/E workshop for UCD faculty, and generally stimulating UCD interest and
understanding concerning the program as it develops.
We suggest that the April workshop be used as a means for identifying
those faculty with: the most interest and capability in FSR/E training. Following
the April workshop, the trainers could assist UCD in selecting the faculty
to join the trainers team in the organization and delivery of the first
regional course to be held during the August-September period. It is possible
that members of the original coordinating committee could remain as the
advisors for the training program.
ACTIVITIES ENVISIONED DURING THE NEXT FEW MONTHS
1. Securing funds for the April workshop at UCD ; this should be discussed
with USAID and U. of Florida. UCD Director general should initiate the contacts.
Dr. Pots, on her side will also propose this activity (see proposed steps
for preparing UCD to run regional training program).
2. Ensuring U. of Florida's interest in organizing a seminar at Dschang
for UCD staff in April. This will be the responsiblility of Dr. Pots upon
her return to Gainsville.
3. Involvement of IITA
3.1. Dr Owona is planning to visit IITA with Dr Lyonga in September to
discuss, among other things, the nature and extent for possible collaboration
between IITA and UCD in the area of FSR/E training. A letter announcing
their visit should be sent as soon as possible.
3.2. Dr. Dunstan Spencer of the Resource and Crop Management Program
formerlyy titled FSR) is planning to have some of his collaborators (Drs
Mutsaers and Palada) evaluate what IITA collaboration with UCD could be,
through a possible visit in the next few months. Their assessment will be
communicated to IDRC.
4-. UCD is planning to recruit an agricultural economist, experienced
in FSR/E to fill in Dr. Fotzo's position.
5i. Dr. Pots will investigate what U. of Florida is prepared to do
in terms of providing support to UCD to set up an FSR/E training program.
Results of the discussions will be communicated to UCD and IDRC.
6. Dr Collionis planning to visit CIRAD/Montpellier to determine if
CIRAD would be prepared to collaborate for the setting up of FSR/E training.
Her visit and its objective will be announced in a letter from Dr. Owona.
TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE NEEDS TO ESTABLISH
PROPOSED REGIONAL TRAINING COURSE
Complete the FSR/E collection at UCD library. UCD/UF should obtain
complete aderofiche collection from Kansas State University and a new microfiche
reader (based on Librarian Ilongo's assessment that current reader is not
of good quality) Susan Poats and Lisette Walecka FSSP, should select FSSP
materials to be sent. Susan Poats and Peter Hildebrand should identify other
key literature that should be sent. UCD library staff should use thie FSSP
bibliography to order from USAID/CDIE relevant FSR.E literature.
All FSR/E literature placed in UCD library should be identified as
such under the card catalog subject index. This will facilitate faculty
and students who are trying to research in this area. Currently, few of
the FSR/E materials in the library are cross-indexed under the FSR/E subject
FSSP will prepare a reading list for UCD faculty who will be designated
to attend the April workshop. These materials should be placed on reserve
in the library. If possible, faculty designated to attend the April workshop
might initiate an informal seminar series during the period September-March,
in which selected readings or issues coud be discussed. These could also
feature speakers. Most US Universities currently engaged in FSR/E began
their programs with similar informal regular discussion sessions among
faculty. If the readings and discussions can take place, then the April
workshop will move more quickly over the philosophical.and conceptual issues
and get down to the methods of on-farm research. Faculty designated to attend
the-April workshop should be drawn from a broad range of departments, including
especially agriculture, animal science, plant protection, extension and the
social sciences (ag. economics and rural sociology). If possible, interested
faculty from agricultural engineering (especially those interested in
animal traction and field equipment) and forestry (especially agro-forestry)
should also be included. A broad multidisciplinary base is essential to
the development of a sound FSR/E training program.
UCD will need to submit a proposal to ID)RC for the regional training
course by November. Announcements about the course should be mailed to all
agricultural research and extension projects and institutions in West and
Central Africa :no later than February, and preferably earlier to ensure
maximum lead time for participant identification and procurement of funds
for participant fees (where appropriate).
Two trainers identified by UF/FSSP and one hopefully, from IITA, should
begin to develop a schedule for the April workshop. It would be advantageous
for these trainers to also be involved on the delivery of the regional training
course in August-September. Given the strength of the UF team in Dschang
and that of the faculty of UCD, the visit by Susan Poats in July, the fact
that all participants in the April workshop will be drawn mainly from UCD
faculty and administration, and that UCD facilities will be used to hold
the workshop, a planning visit a head of the workshop is likely not necessary.
Instructions on the logistical organization can be sent to UCD and a committee
designated to handle these. The agenda for the two week workshop should
be sent to Dr. Owona, Dr. Eno and UCD faculty no later than the end of
December in order to allow for comments and amendments. Workshop should
likely run Monday through Saturday and Monday through Friday with an opening
event Sunday evening and a closing event on the final Friday.
Funds should be secured foca training consultant (preferably one of the 3
trainers for the April workshop) to stay ou at UCD April-July (or as much
time as feasible) to assist the UCD faculty in preparations for the August-
September regional training course. Airfare would be included in April Workshop
The April workshop ; the trainers should arrive one week before the
workshop, in order to work with designated UCD logistics committee. Details
of the workshop should be included in the trainer plan to be submitted in
January. Consideration might be taken to send required materials in advance
of the workshop via UF project pouch arrangements.
In consultation with the trainer team and particularly the training
consultant, UCD will need. to nominate a multidisciplinary group to be responsible
for the initial regional training course in August-September. This should
be done immediately following the course.
Note : Concomittant steps 1-5 UCD should complete the hiring procedures
for-the person to replace Pascal Fotzo FSR/E background. This individual
will be a icymemer of the UCD trainer team for the future.'
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF
NCRE/IITA-TLU's, USAID, University of Florida and other UCD Faculty
As stated previously in the report, there is considerable interest
in establishing a regional FSR/E training program at UCD. This support as
well as possible linkages with other FSR/E activities in Cameroon was under-
scored during a number of discussions following the initial meetings at
First of all further discussions with faculty members revealed that
there are several on-going farm level research initiatives by faculty,in
addition to the Bafou project, that add to the baseline information on the
zone and which would be very useful in designing field practices for a
training course. These include studies of : cropping systems in the Menova
District by Drs Sama and Nji, the role of women in food cropping by Dr.
Joyce Endeley, agricultural problems in S.W. N.W. and 4. Provinces by
Dr. Nji and M. Maday, and Pest and disease problems by Drs Nji and Sakwe.
In addition, Dr. Njemba is completing a study of the food crop marketing
situation in the Bafou area. These studies highlight the interest in developing
farm-level research at UCD and will be complementary to a training program.
A brief tour of the Bafou chefferie confirmed its appropriateness
as a locale for conducting training practicums. The chefferie covers three
major and clearly demarcated agro-ecological zones ranging from a densely
populated lower food crop plateau, an inte~rmediate zone and a highland zone
of pastoralism with encroaching high altitude farming. This variety of ~ecology
and corresponding complexity of farming systems could provide an excellent
laboratory for training. The dense and easily accessible population would
facilitate farmer interviews and the learning of household diagnostic and
Visits were made to the Bambui research station in Bamenda and the
Ekona research station near Buea, where IRA/NCRE Testing and liaison Units
TLUS are in operation. Though a visit could not be made to the third TLU
at Maroua ip the northern part of the country, discussions were held in
Yaound6-vith the leader of that TLU. In sum, all representatives were strongly
supportive of the idea for a regional training program at UCD. They expressed
willingness in hosting field visits, in serving as resource persons for
a training course, and in using the TLU experience as an example of FSR/E
implementation, organization and operation for trainees. The TLU's effectively
represent three of the important agro-ecological zones of West and Central
Africa : the dry Sahelian zone (Maroua), the humid highlands (Banbui) and
the humid lowlands (Ekona). Further, the TLU's represent successful collaboration
between researchers and extension workers and can serve as an interesting
and effective institutional model.
One aspect of the potential for linkages with IRA's NCRE project
is that this will also encouragle linkages with IITA. The NCRE is a USAID
funded project and the contractor is IITA, which supplies the technical
support staff, both short term and long term, and furnishes the technical
Discussions with USAID officials were equally suipportive of the proposed
program. They noted that the program would be a potentially effective mechanism
for integrating FSR/E into the academic program of UCD ind could forge
expanded relationships between UCD) and IEA via potential cooperation with
the NCRE projects TLU's. They also hoped this could enhance the utilization
at UCD of the university of Florida's experience in FSR/E gained during
years of collaborative efforts in Latin America. USAID staff also noted
that the training program could help UCD achieve its vision of becoming
a regional force in agricultural science, as well as a national leader.
Representatives of the University of Florida were very supportive
of the proposed training program, recognizing at the same time that it will
require resources and funding beyond the scope of the current USAID funded
effect at UCD. However, they foresee that FSR/E should become an important
component in the planning of the phase II of USAID support to UCD and they
saw that the proposed program could serve as a bridge between phase I and
II. This would, in effect, enable the faculty to gain considerable experience
in FSR/E in preparation for further developments as part of phase II.
In conclusion, thesediscussions serve to reinforce the belief that
UCD is an appropriate "home" for a regional FSR/E training program, and
that it has the capacity to "grow into" a role as a leader in this area.
The discussions also served to demonstrate the interest and willingness
of other institutions engaged in FSR/E to collaborate with UCD in the proposed
LIST OF PEOPLE CONTACTED
I UNIVERSITY CENTRE OF DSCHANG
Dr. Rend Owona, Director General.
Dr. LYONGA Simon, Department Coordinator &r Director, ITA
Dr. DUCRET Guy
Dr. FUBE NGWA Howard
AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT
Dr. AYISSI MBALLA Joseph, Department Coordinator Leeds
Dr. GOCKOWSKI Jim,
Dr. KAMAJOU Francois
Dr. MOULENDE FOUDA Thirese (M.S.)
Dr. NKWAIN SA)UL Joseph,
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION/EXTENSION DEPARTMENT
Dr. NJI Ajaga, Department Coordinator
Dr. NYEMBA AMBELLS Jean, Deputy Coordinator
Dr. KAMGA Andre
Dr. MBONGO ENDELEY Joyce,
Dr. TCRALA ABINA Francois, Director ENSA
ANIMAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
Dr. TCHIOUMBOUE Joseph, Department Coordinator
Dr. DJOURAM Joseph, Deputy director General
Dr. ENDELEY Herbert,
Dr. NJWE Ruben MBE, Chef de SECRE (office ~handling external affairs)
II MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
Dr. NDJOYA Jean, dbliguC regional
III UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Dr. ENO Charles
Dr. ELLIS Methany
Dr. MCGUIRE James
IV NATIONAL CEREAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PROJECT/TESTING AND LIAISON UNIT
Mr. DEREMOTT MCHUGH, NCRE-TLU Bambui
Dr. Susan ALMY, NCRE-TLU Ekona
Dr. tsega WJOLOTATIOS, NCRE-TLU Ekona
Dr. Fri POUBON,NCRE-TLU Ekona
Mr. Jerry JOHNSON, NCRE-TLU Marous
V INSTITUTE DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE/INSTITUT DE LA RECHERCHE ZOOTECHNIQUE
Dr. hanuel Tambi, IRZ-Bambui
Mr. Tarounga Bertagmoto, IRZ-Bambui
Dr. Jacob ASSAM Ayuk-Takem, Chef du Centre NWkolbisson, IRA.
Mr. Eax Williams, USAID YaoundQ, project officer UF/UCD contact
Mr.' Joy Johnson, USAID Mission Director
Mr. John Baylis, USAID-ADO YaoundB
Mr. John Dorm~an, said project officer for NCRE
VII MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS
Madame Assiaton Yaou, minister
FSR/E Antecedents for UCD and faculty
1985 Chris Andrew, FSSP, gives lecture at UCD on FSR/E. Bafou project is initiated
Steve Franzel leads FSR/E presentations at USAID) Technical Assistance
Seminar and some UCD) faculty and UF project staff attend, in Yaound4 in
Pascal Fotzo returns from WARDA and joins UCD Agricultural Economics Department.
IITA plans 1 (or 2?) short courses/workshops on FSR/E in collaboration
with NCRE project and invited Dschang U.C. and FSSP to participate. Both
are cancelled and reasons are unknown. Pascal Fotzo, Jean Ongla and Howard
Fube atten the CIMMYT/FSSP East-West FSR Workshop at Egerton College,
Kenya. Fotzo and Ongla are sponsored by FSSP while Fube is sponsored by
Pascal Fotzo attends the Kansas State University FSR Symposium in october
as member of the FSSP Technical Committee and spends a week~ at the University
of Florida collecting training and other FSR/E materials.
1986 Pascal Fotso participates as part of the IITA/GTZ training team for a
FSR short course in Togo, sponsored by GTZ. Sama Nkwain and Ndiaga Nji
conduct a farm level production survey of Menova district. (Results are
submitted in article to Ag. Administration for publication in 1987)
Jean Nyemba returns with PH.D from Wisconsin and exposium FSR/E methods
and household research.
Pascal Fotzo participants as-a resource person in FSSP regional FSR/E
methods training course in Bamako, Mali. He and Marie-Hlene Collion discuss
potential for having such a course at UCD) with IDRC funding.
IITA/NCRE/IRA hold a one week conference to discuss their results of past
year and plans for future. Once session is devoted to FSR/E and some of
UCD) Agricultural faculty attend.
Pascal Fotzo arranges to hold a seminar at UCD in April 1987 to discuss
possibility of developing the capacity to hast operate a regional training
program in FSR/E. Invites include African FSR/E researchers based at other
Universities where FSR/E training is also conducted (University of Zimbabwb),
CIMMPT, IITA and FSSP. IDRC agrees to finance the seminar.
1987 Pascal Fotzo is killed in a plane crash in Ivory Coast the April Seminar
In response to IDRC inquiry, UCD expresses interest in proceeding with
plans for a regional training program. Dr. Sama Kwain Joseph is assigned
to coordinate for a seminar now proposed for July. Dated conflicted with
invitees prior commitments. IDRC and FSSP propose a more informal meeting
with UCD faculty July 27-30, which is accepted.