ASPECTS OF THE FdIRMING SYSTEMS OF
SOUTHEAST ST. ELIZABETH, JAMAICA
Lennox E. A. Daisley, Eric D. Johnson, and Roger L. Francis
Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute
This paper highlights aspects of the existing farming
systems of southeast St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, and is based
on data generated during a Small Farms Systems Research Pro-
ject undertaken in that area during June 1979 and M4arch
1931. The executing agency for the project was the Cari-
bbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute
(CARDI) under an agreement with the Caribbean Development
Bank (C DB) with funding from the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) through the United Nations
Development Program (UN~DP).
The principal objective of the project was to examine the
current systems in operation with a view to understanding
their potentials and constraints, and to use this under-
standing as an input into an intervention phase where modi-
fications to farmers' methods would be tested on their hold-
ings, under their management in order to generate relevant
technologies for farming in the area.
The approach adopted was to divide the project into two sec-
tions: the farming systems component involving studies~ with
farmers in the field and a technical component involving
"back-up" research with lives tock on the government' s
In Jamaica's agriculture, this particular area is unique in
terms of the farming systems employed to support the rela-
tively high levels of production.
GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT AREA
The parish of St. Elizabeth lies in southwest Jamaica. The
project area is bounded by the parish of M~anchester on the
east, the sea coast on the south, and extends as far west as
Mountainside and Treasure Beach. To the north it is mainly
bounded by the Santa Cruz M~ountain range (Figures la and
The vegetation is referred to as ruinatee" which is the
term used to describe an infinitely varied herbaceous,
shrubby, and wood type of vegetation that e stabli she s i t-
self on abandoned land. Large sections of the area, espe-
cially those that were previously cropped, support pasture.
guinea grass (Panicum maximum) and Seymour grass (Adropogon
pertusus) are the chief grasses, none of which are indige-
nous to the area, or to Jamaica.
Fig. 1. a Miap of jamaica showing pro ject area
showing Pro jact area and selected farmer location Fiqure 1.b
C. Cl imate
No reliable temperature data are available for the area.
However on the southern coastal plans of Jamaica the
avrerage daily maximrum is 33" C for the hottest month and
260 C for thae colde~st month. The average daily minimum is
210 Cfor ther hottest month and 170 C for the coldest
~on th It is, however, not uncommon during the summer
months (July-September) for temperatures in excess of 370 C
to prevail. Likewise in the winter months (December-
February) temperatures as low as 100 C can occur at nights.
The rainfall varies over the project area from a mean
annual of 1055 mTm at Alligator Pond in the southeast to
1610 mm at Biethlehem in the more elevated northwest. The
local variation in the amount of precipitation from day to
day is large, as much of the rainfall comes from storms of
no great size, but nevertheless of marked intensity.
There are no records of the wind regime of the area. How-
ever, at times the prevailing winds are sufficiently strong
to approximate gale force. This makes the area very dusty
and living conditions uncomfortable especially during the
period of June to October.
The area rises from sea level through a rolling topography
to over six hund red (600) me ter s in the nor thwoe s t. The
sou thw~est is characterized by precipitous cliffs up to
three hundred (300) meters high near to the sea.
E. Soil Type
The main soil types are the Red Bauxite soil (St. Ann Clay
Loam) and the Brown Bauxite soil (Chudleigh Clay Loam) .
Both types are extremely permeable. Large sections of the
project area are characterized by very shallow soils wIith
the parent Limestone rock appearing on the surface and giv-
ing rise to a stony soil surface. Both soil types are very
fertile although slightly acidic with some phosphate f~ixa-
tion occurring. They are considered able to pr od uc e the
majority of tropical food crops.
Two- hund re d-and- for ty -one (241) farmers, representing 25.5
percent of the total regis tered farmers of the area, were
interviewed over a three-week period during the first phase
of the project--The Baseline Survey. Following analysis of
the survey information thirty (30) farmers were selected
to participate in the Farmer Characterization Phase. In
this phase each farmer was visited at least once per week
by CARDI technicians to collect and record information on
all his activities. Unscheduled visits were made to other
farmers in the project area in order that a more complete
picture of farming could be developed.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FARM~ FAMILY
A. Composition and Age of Farmer
Farm families exhibited a very unified structure--70% of the
farmers were either married or existed within a common-law
relationship; about 27% were single; and about 1% were
either separated or divorced. There was also strong evi-
dence of the extended family concept where other relatives
(aunts, grandparents uncles, and in-laws ) c ompr i sed the
household--69%j of all h-ouseholds contained be twee n three
(3) and eight (8) occupants, with about 14% of all house-
holds having in excess of eight (3) occupants; 62% of the
households had more than tw~o (2) dependents, with 5% hav-
ing between ten (10) and fourteen (14) dependents. Eighty-
three percent of the farmers reported that their dependents
were 12 years old and over. Farmers' ages ranged from 16 to
87: 53% were over 40, and 17% over 60 years of age .
Ninety-six percent of all farmers were male.
The maj or ity of farmers (34%) claimed to have at least
attended pr imary school but the le vel of at ta inmen t was
not ascertain ed Only male farmers had obtained postpri-
mnary education and one farmer had attained a tertiary
level. Their children however attained higher levels--
many of the younger household occupants had obtained secon-
dary or even technical education, but were unable to find
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FARM
Farms were small--64% of all farms we~re less than 1.5 ha--
and often made up of several units (parcels). The 241 farms
were subdivided into a total of 449 parcels.
Seventy percent of the farms were owned and operated by the
farmers themselves, the remainder were either rented or
leased Some time s a proportion of the farm prod uce wLas
given to the owner in lieu of cash payments.
C. Production Activities
Ninety-nine percent of all farms produced crops and 59% were
involved in multiple cropping, (i.e., growing more than one
crop, either in a mixture or in rotation on the same field
during a prescribed period). Mixed farms (ire., producng
both crops and livestock) accounted for 36% of all farms.
Mlonocrop farms and pure livestock farms together were less
th~an 5% of all farms. Farmers reported that animals were
reared either for domestic use, as a hobby, or as a capital
inves tent The numbers of ani- mals reared w~ere usually
small and animals were hardly ever housed.
Forty to sixty percent of the average farmers' holdings
were usually kept under~ guinea grass production. In many
cases where a farmer owned more than one parcel of land,
the parcel furthest fromn his home might be devoted entirely
to guinea grass.
Farmers utilized very heavy levels of inorganic fertilizers
in their operations. Nearly 60% applied in excess of twelve
(12) bags per hectare, and 15% used more than twenty (20)
bags per hectare. The recommended rate by the Ministry of
Agriculture, based on studies in the area, is six to twelve
bags per hectare. Less than 25% adhered to the recommended
rate and only 15% used less than recommended. The most pop-
ular fertilizer was 6:13:27 (NJPK)--93% used this grade.
In com-parison to other areas of Jamaica, labor is generally
available, but expensive. Nevertheless, about 20% of far-
mers utilize some extra paid labor. Additional labor is
usually supplied by a fairly well-established system of
labor exchanges among farmers.
The facilities owned and the levels of material inputs uti-
lized by farmers confirmed the opinion that they were in-
deed semni-commuercial farmers.
In general, houses in the drier sections of the project
area were small and in many cases in a state of disrepair.
Many houses had less than 15 m2 of floor space, but housed
the largest families. Other homes were made of "Spanlish
conc re te"--a crude clay and grass fabr icat ion Outside
kitchens utilizing firewood were common, as were pit
toilets. Very few horme~s had electricity or domestic
water. These houses were, however, kept quite clean and
tidy. In the wetter zones of the project-area, the houses
were very much larger concrete sCtruBctureS s w~ithf mdern1
amenities and tended to have fewer occupants,
Tooc~ls and Equipment:
The im~plemen ts used by the ma jor ity of farmers were both
standard .jn? traditional. Hand tools were most popular and
very few power tools were employed. The tools themselves
tended to be very old and almost unrecognizable--apparently
they were never discardi--=ri. A fork, for example, that ini-
tially had four "tines" when first purchased some 15 or
20 years ago might still be the only one in use by a farmer,
but now only had two tines; similarly, a h-oe or a cutlass
might be so eroded as to be much less than one-half the
Storage space on most farms was either in a small area of
the kitchen or under a tree near to a field. Very few farm
buildings were used for storage.
No farms were fenced--a characteristic of the .project area
not generally observed in other areas of Jamaica.
In general, three basic systems are used in the area with
some degree of overlap. For the purposes of this discus-
sion, they can be labelled: Farm System I FS-) Farm
System 2 (F.S.-2), and Farm System 3 (F.S.-3). Each system
tends to fall within zones which can largely be described by
environmental parameters and, in particular, precipitation.
The agroclimnatic zones were:
1. A dry zone of low elevation in the southeast with a
mean yearly rainfall of 1050 mm. (~.1
2. A relatively wet zone with a mean yearly rainfall of
1600 mm in the more elevated northwest. (F.S.-2)
3. An intermediate zone within these two "extremes."
Each zone te nd s to s uppor t a particular cropping pattern
both in terms of the types of crops grown and the timing of
production. F.S.-2 contains the widest range of crops pro-
duced (some twenty-eight different crops) and also has the
longest period of cropping activities. F.S.-1 on the other
hand produces the least number of crops and there are pro-
longed periods in any one year when no food crops were in
the field. At this time however, farmers encouraged the
growth of guinea grass that found a valuable market (both
for seeds and the grass itself) among other farmers. Crop
failure rates were highest in F.S.-1 and least in F.S.-2.
Tables I a-f show the various agronomic practices and the
crops grownsfor -tw~o sel~cited farms from eacrh of the farm
s~ys tems .
The .c;, t hes far me r manaiiipu la tes h is rpi ng pattfer in
terms of the~ type~s of agronomi~jc pract.i~ces and' the timing of
farmn operti-3~onss w~s his cropping or farming system., Farm
operations are basically similar among farmers of the~ area,
hence the ma jor differentiating fac tor among the various
systems is the type of crop produced.
The maj or crops produced in each of the observed fa rmin~g
systems, in order of priority, were:
1. F.S.-1 Escallions, pigeon peas, cassava, tona toes ,
2. F.S.-2 Carrots, tomatoes, escallions, red peas,
cabbages, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava,
sweet peppers, turnips.
3. F.S.-3 Tomatoes, escallions, red peas cassava,
There was an interesting difference observed in pesticide
use within the various zones. The main types of pesticides
according to the three zones are:
1. Dry zone--Sevin, Basudin, Kocide, Dithane, Phosdrin.
2. Intermediate zone--Azordrin, Lannate, Cupravit, Di-
3. Wet zone--Malathion, Lannate, Dithane, Cupravit.
The farm systems are very complex and variable and can
depend on numerous factors related to the physical environ-
ment, availability of inputs, availability of markets, and
to a large extent the farmers' preferences. Generally
speaking the farmers' cropping sequence begins and ends
with the growing of guinea grass. Numerous crops and crop
mixes may be produced within any one cropping sequence that
may last from- one to several years. The last crop to be
grown before a particular parcel of land is allowed to go
back into guinea grass is pigeon pea. Farmers have advised
that the decision to remove a parcel from food-crop produc-
tion depends on the returns or production levels of the par-
cel--especially when yields are declining. They recognize
that the crop of pigeon peas "strengthens the tired soil."
The generalized cropping sequence is: Guinea--A--B--C--
pigeon pea--Guinea grass, where A, B, and C represent any of
the crops or crop mixes that are produced within the various
Gungo x x K x x x
Tomato x x x x x x x x x x x
Escallion x x x x x x x x x
Cassava x x x x x x x
Sweet Potato x x x x x x x x x
CIC 0 CO
\ CL DE
01 O -0
O E cn CL
r O Om k Z
a nme C k-
t- z a.c.
O kCC O
0 O *Ml
N C ED *4( O
*H( O CH C O1 cr a,
- "D cr -0 * C1 -1 Y
M U M C O D 0 0 0~ m
mec oo ko U m me
- 3 cmau H E c I c~ a. e
TABLE 1 a
O O *H
C cl X ]
O E E
cl m 3 0 I m G
TABLE 1 c
F-armer 157 3
C0 0 C O
C .0l O *4 t or o a
a L. 3 au H M E I (n & E
01 C H
r 0 C
CT O O (
OI C &4
E t- 2 aE
x x x
a n x x
TAR~E 1 d
i C r( D C Y
) rl rl O TJ m
LI r( LT
Farmer 159 3
r to r:
j (1 L
x x x
TABLE 1 e
C C O G
C 0 o
*Hl (r o C
F1 ( \ a 0
m a O0 O r
0 0 C C MM n
u a 3 Me
r a a, co 2 R
o c o
O Or *<
N C 'O *M( (5 c
U O C 3 O k O 0~ 0
C) C) C O k a cl W c, k
1 3 QU H m I 0 aE E
x x Xx
x x x
x x x
__ __ __
TABLE 1 f
a a m a
01 C3 r
X X x
x x x
x x x
x x x
MAJOR CROPPING PRACTICES
Th~e fam;rers havee a long tradition of successful crop produc-
tion under potentially harsh environmental conditions. They
have adopted measures, based on their previous experiences
and to a large extent developed by trial and error, which
best utilize the resources available to them in their ef-
fort to opt im ize pr od uc t ion The following are s ome of
their major practices.
Over 99% of the farms practice mulching Guinea grass
(Panicum maximum) grows abundantly on unused land and is a
dominant feature of th~e existing farming sys tems. The
grass, when mature (usually at 15 to 18 months of age) is
cut, dried, and spread over the surface of the field to
serve as a mulch. Mulching conserves soil water,
suppresses weed growth and reduces soil erosion The
amount of mulch applied (iethe thickness of spread)
depends on the type of crop to be grown, the location of
the field (farm), and the time of the year. Some farmers
with holdings in the wettest areas have risked planting
certain crops without the use of mulch during the rainy
Intercropping or growing crops in a mixture is another
characteristic of farming in the area. Two-crop mixtures
are popular but mixtures involving even four or more crops
are not uncommon. There are considerable inter-area dif-
ferences in terms of the importance of major intercrops.
For instance, tomato-based intercrops are common in the wet-
test areas; escallion ( chive) and pigeon pea-based in te r-
crops in the drier areas; and tomato and red pea-based*
intercrops in the intermediate rainfall areas. These dif-
ferences can be attributed primarily to differences in agro-
climatic conditions. The major intercrop may also change
with market demand and the availability of planting mate-
rial. The c om ple x ity and diversity of the i nt e rc ropp in g
systems are partly an outcome of the farmers' informal
experimentation with crops that fit the agricultural envi-
ronment of the area and satisfy their needs.
C. Maximizing Land Space
The farmer's entire plot is utilized under his system. A
variety of crops and crop mixes, at varying stages of
development, allow harvesting, and consequently income to be
spread over as long a period as possible, and serve as a
* Dry beans with red testa (Phaseolus vulgaris)
bufferc against crop failures which are quite common. W~hen-
ever~ a portion of land is not being used for food crop pro-
duction, it is allowed to go into guinea grass production.
The grass grows naturally on unused land, but in many cases
farmers scatter guinea grass seeds over unused land, apply
fertilizers, and weed the plot in order to speed up the
growth of a pure stand of the grass. Approximately one-half
of the typical farmer's holding is usually under guinea
D. Minimum Tillage
The large maj ority of farmers practice minimum tillage.
Very little disturbance of the soil takes place during the
production of the majority of crops. The field is merely
"scratched" by a machete or hoe to allow for the sowing of
seeds. Ac tually farmers are in the habit of te the ri ng a
donkey on a portion of previously farmed lan~d prior to
replanting, in order that the animal canl tramople and com-
press the soil. Major soil disturbance occurs only when a
limited range of root crops (yams, cassava, and sweet pota-
toes) are planted.
E. Hand Tools and Equipment
The farmer' s choice of simple hand tools for farm opera-
tions is yet another feature of the sy stemn. The machete
(cutlass) is the most important and versatile piece of
equipment. It is used in land clearing, land preparation,
grass cutting, weeding, planting, and harvesting. No other
tool is used to such a large extent. Other important tools
are the hoe, sickle, knife, axe, pick;-axe, spray-can, buc-
ket, file, and oil drum.
Despite mulching of the crop field, extensive hand watering
of the crop is essential. Farmers water individual plants
with a bucket rather than irrigate the entire field. Over
60% of the farmers irrigate by this method.
Water is the most critical natural resource to crop produc-
tion in the area, hence stored water for irrigation purposes
is an asset. To this end, the majority of farmers have
concrete tanks to collect water fromn the roofs of farm
buildings. In situations where no buildings are on the farm,
farmers will construct tanks below the ground level to col-
lect run-off water. Tank water is preferred to that from
the domestic water supply for i rr iga tion The dome st ic
supply is obtained from deep underground wells and farmers
have complained that the high salt content of this water is
harmful to the growing of crops.
1lThe major l ives tock in the area are goats and sheep.
Crops, however, take precedence over livestock. The cen-
tral part of the project area may be considered the main
livestock area. Proceeding westward there are at least two
beef far-ms and farmers occupied in mixed f-arming with dual-
Goats and sheep are usually tethered on wastelands and road-
sides during the day and taken to the homestead at night.
Occasionally, they may be fed some additional fodder or crop
wastes, but rarely any concentrates. They would usually be
watered in the evening. Pigs are usually penned or tied in
the shade beneath a tree and fed crop wastes, swill or
weeds. Poultry roam free in the yard around the house and
may be fed a little corn and kitchen wastes.
In the southern St. Elizabeth area, a Jamaican type of
sheep has evolved to which the parish gives its namne--the
St. Elizabeth Breed. Despite this, there are no statistics
identifying the parish's sheep population; it is only known
that this phenotype essentially developed there. Table 2
compares the sheep breeds common to the area. The sheep
population of the entire island is estimated at 3,000.
According to a census by the Agricultural Development Cor-
poration (ADC), the goat population of St. Elizabeth and of
the island in 1978 was as follows:
St. Elizabeth Island Total
Number of Goats 54,449 257,414
The Saint Elizabeth sheep are smaller in body size compared
to temperate climate breeds introduced into the island.
The authors know of no detailed work that has been com-
pleted assessing the breed and setting up technical produc-
tion coefficients. Nevertheless, a few general observa-
tions have been made. Age at first lambing of the breed is
generally 13 to 18 months. The main lambing period for the
breed is October to March with births of single lambs most-
ly. They are hardy and adapted to a wide range of condi-
tions island-wide, both wet and dry. The breed produces a
small amount of wool compared to introduced temperate
breeds--about I kg annually. For instance, compared with
Dorsets, the St. Elizabeth ewes are about 17% lighter in
body weight at maturity (Table 2).
Another breed to be found in the area is the Blackbelly.
This is an in produced breed which again is comparatively
widely adaptable and is doing well in semiwet to very dry
conditions, especially as experienced in the Pedro section
of the area under study. Crossbreeding and grading-up
3 4 Number 69 7 12 17
AvErage voight (kg) 37.68 32.41 33.75 44.36
2 3 Number 33 6 16 2
Average weight (kg) 34.23 28.10 30.14 35.91
2 Number 40 30 25
Average weight (kg) 26.45 27.5 27.77
Comparison of Average Body Weights of female Shoop In Flocks of the
Agricultural Develooment Corporation in 1979, oroopeud bi; Agie and Bread Type.
81ackbelly St. Elizabeth x Blackbelly Dorsets
Average weight (kg)
breeding programs are underway on ADC farms. The Rambouil-
let and St. Elizabeth cross gives some improvement in wool
production (2 kg wool annually) and there is a significant
increase in body size.
As previously mentioned animal re aring in such a system
where there is compact and intensive crop farming precludes
heavy inclusion of livestock'. Consequently, livestock
farming is not as important as crops over the whole area.
A very favorable aspect of the parish, and especially the
area under study, is the presence of the Agricultural
Development Corporation (ADC). This is an organization
which in 1975 was delegated the task of development of the
Island's small stock industry inclusive of sheep and goat.
At H-ounslow and Pedro, located in the central part of the
area, the ADC has goat and sheep multiplier units.
Among the organization's duties are the following:
1. Operation of sheep and goat multiplier units.
2. Sale of sheep and goat breeding stock.
3. Sponsoring training programs in wool spinning.
4. Development of flock health-control programs.
5. Establishment and maintenance of husbandry and breed-
6. Training of personnel in certain s hephe rd ing skills,
e.g., shearing of wool, etc.
In addition, the ADC is originator of a project to be car-
ried out at Fonthill at the western end of the parish.
This project will involve among other aspects further
expansion of sheep and goat multiplier units and establish-
ment and operation of abattoir facilities controlling sheep
and goat slaughter. This agency is also interested in pro-
moting a dairy goat industry in a mixed farming context as
well as development of cottage industries related to wool
and goat skins etc. The total spectrum of activities
brought into the area by the presence of ADC could there-
fore prove beneficial in integrating livestock into the
In southeast St. Elizabeth, the system of farming that
evolved must have proven itself under prevailing circum-
stances. The area is almost exclusively a crop-producing
area. The poorer the farmer, the more likely is he to rear
animals, usually as a capital investment.
Livestock would adversely compete with crops for at least
two valuable resources: guinea grass and water. The need
for the all-important mulching material greatly reduces the
availability of forage for animal feed, especially in the
long dry, season The value of guinea grass (for use as
mulch) further reduces the use of the grass as animal feed;
a quantity of the grass that is sold for two hundred dol-
lars (JA$200) may scarcely provide feeding material for
three head of cattle at one meal. Therefore, it would make
little economic sense to raise livestock on guinea grass.
Livestock is, however, not without importance in the
sys tem. Sheep, goats, cows and pigs can feed on the
damaged or rejected crop products while the organic manure
is much sought after by farmers--a 25 kilo sack of sheep
manure, will sell for roughly $20. The burro, or donkey,
is the chief source of transport for inputs and products to
and from farms. The donkey also provides a valuable func-
tion in trampling the field prior to planting. Trampling is
an agronomic practice that the farmers feel compresses the
soil in order to bring water close to the surface for crop
Any summary of the relative importance of crop and livestock
in the system would have to be that crops optimize the use
of land labor, and capital and pr oduces the greater in-
comne per unit of land and perhaps time. It also produces
the greater bulk of food for the sustenance of farm hlouse--
CONSTRAINTS TO PRODUCTION AND POSSIBLE RESEARCH WORK
Constraints and problems to production are socioeconomic
and physical in the main. The uneven distribution of land
and availability are limiting factors, which is reflected
in small farm size and the existence of several separate
parcels to a farm. The severe, harsh limitation of mois-
ture availability, coupled with insect pests and diseases,
also present accompanying problems and constraints. On the
socioeconomic side, there is a high incidence of praedial
larceny, unavailability of farm credit and/or subsidies, and
the ever spiraling upward of costs of pr oduc t ion inputs,
e.g., insecticide, fertilizer, equipment, etc. In addition,
despite the relatively large number of dependents per farm
household, labor costs are very high. Indications are that
better extension services are desirable in the area.
There is a great need for setting up marketing intelligence
combined with crop storage facilities. Mlore often effects
of glut adversely affect farmers and play an accompanying
demoralizing role. The availability and cost of transport
are also other important constraints to the farming comn~un-
ity. This area markets most of its produce as far away as
Kincjston and Montego Bay Tran sportation costs to these
areas are very high.
C2. Summary of relative research activities and results
The only recent research conducted in the area is the study
upon which this report mainly draws, v i z., Smal1 F a rmns
System Research Programn Conducted by CARDI in Southeast
St. Elizabeth" (L.E.A. Daisley).
By virtue of the quantity and variety of products this area
produces, the harsh dry nature of the environment, and the
unique farming system that has evolved, it would be expec-
ted that the area would have been the object of other stud-
ies. However, within the general area, only the Agricultural
Development Corporation (ADC) has ongoing semiresearch and
development activities in small ruminant species. The
results of its f ind ing s will be appl i cable to the area.
Th`~ere is at least one relatively large farmer in the area
who could be a resource person for intimate knowledge of the
environment. This is a goat/sheep rearer and crop farmer.
CARDI's study as conducted was intended to begin to under-
stand the sys tem and then to make interventions via a
multidisciplinary team. So far only the first part of the
study has been done. The intervention stage is being plan-
SUGGESTED APPROACH TO RESEARCH/INTERVENTION TESTING
Although the research opportunities may appear unlimit ed ,
great care should be taken to ensure that any research
effort takes into consideration the farmer and his resource
endowments. The farmer is operating at a constrained opti-
mum and efforts to reduce, if not eradicate, the constraints
must be central to the whole exercise.
It is therefore suggested that a multidisciplinary team of
agronomists, soil scientists, sociologists, economists,
e-tc., examine the identified constraints and list them in
order of priority, then suggest possible i nte rven7t ion s and
potential farmers on whose farms interventions could be tes-
ted under the farmer's management but with technicians
overseeing the trials and recording observations.
One method of introducing interventions would be to discuss
the merits and demerits of the farmer's practice (as seen
by the multidisciplinary team) wiith him and carefully
record the farmer's opinions during the discussion. This
should give a fair understanding of the farmer's rationale
for his particular set of practices. The multidisciplinary
group should be appraised of the intercourse and after fur-
ther analysis may or may not decide to modify its recommen-
dations. The farmer should then be approached again, and in
much the ~same way, the intervention discussed with the far-
mer, taking care to encourage as much dialogue as possible
and noting whatever feelings or reservations the farmer may
raise. The farmer should also be made aware of the possible
merits and demerits of the new method. It is advisable to
have at least six farmers, or six sites, to serve as repli-
cates for each trial.
The recommended approach would be to select a small area
within the farmer 's field to carry out trial activities
while the farmer continues hiis method in the remainder of
the field. The selected trial area should as far as pos-
sible be representative of the overall field conditions. In
this way, both farmer and officer can make comparisons of
Dialogue with the farmer and reports to the multidiscipli-
nary team would result in fine-tuning the intervention until
it becomes more acceptable to the farmer. The test of appro-
priateness of the tested technology would be the farmer's
MAJOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Any intervention into the system should:
1. Improve production per given area or productivity over-
2. Lighten the physical burden of the farmer by modifying
existing tools and equipment, or by i ntr od uc ing more
3. Improve the quality of life for the farm family or mem-
bers of the community.
For RESEARCH to benefit the system, enquiries and investiga-
tions should be of the following nature.
1. De term i ning more efficient economic ways of m ulch ing
crops and improving moisture retention. This may
necessitate finding a faster growing mulch crop and
one which enriches the soil, e.g., a legume.
2. De term in ing optimum levels of inorganic fertilizer to
use according to soil types and crop requirements.
3. Proper identification of the complementarity and com-
petitiveness of crops and livestock in a system where
animals are reared under confined systems: e.g., con-
fined pigs fed cassava and sweet potato was tes bol-
stered by suitable protein supplement; dairy goat into-
gration into the system, etc.
4. Comparison of integrated pest management programs ver-
sus the prophylactic use of pesticides as is currently
5. Systematized crop rotation studies.
6. Introduction of potentially better varieties than pre-
sently being used as well as new suitable economic
7. Prolonging storage of different crops.
8 De term i ning quan t ity and qual ity of farm crop waste
available and what animals will support.
In terms of DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES to benefit the area
under study, these should be as follows:
1. Greater conservation of rainwater and provision of
water (possibly from underground sources) to extend
2. Greater utilization of solar and wind energy for tech-
nological uses, e.g., to power small pumps assist
drying of crops where necessary, etc.
3. Provision of more appropriate farm tools--farm labor-
4. Increased availability of upgraded livestock, e. g.,
goat and sheep.
5. Conservation of forage for the dry season. [A forage
legume (Stylosanthes hamata) occurs commonly, espe-
cially in the central section of the area. Perhaps
this could be grown under irrigated conditions in the
Pedro-Hounslow area and stored as a hay to assist live-
stock farmers. There is already a hay project at Houn-
6. Establishment of cottage-based industries based on pro-
ducts from livestock and crops, e. g., wool and goat
skin craft, and cassava cakes--bammies.
7. Intr oduction of supplementary feeds. [The potential
for production of dried cassava chips for animal feed,
etc., should be explored. The Goshen National Cassava
Products Factory is located near the area under study.]
8. Encourage more goat rearing in the craggy raw l ime-
stone outcrop areas.
9. Establishment of cooperative purchasing and marketing
and related transport and storage facilities.
10. Increase the availability of extension services.
11. Increase the access of proper market intelligence.
The southeastern St. Elizabeth section of Jamnaica has been
and continues to be a highly agriculturally productive
area. This is so despite the harsh, unbearable environ-
mental conditions (physical and socioeconomic) of the area.
It is regretted that statistics on yield characteristics are
not available at this time so that a more complete picture
of the systems could have been presented.
Our guiding principle should be:
"W~hat came to us as seed, let it be passed on to the next
generation as blossom, and what came to us as blossom, let
it be passed on tothek next generation as fruit."
That, in our view, is development. That is progress.
Central Planning Agency. 1979. Statistical Year Book of
Jamalca Kingston, Jamaica.
Daisley, L. 1981. Report of The Small Farms Systems Re-
search Programmes conducted by the Caribbean Agricul-
tural Re se arch and Development Institute CARDI ,
Daisley, L. 1982. Dryland Farming Systems in the St. Eli-
zabeth district of Jamaica. CARDI, Antigua.
Mluschette, A. 1980. Role of Sheep and Goat M~eat Produc-
tion on the Small Farm in Jam~aica and Possibilities
for its Development. Agr. Devel. Corp., Jamaica.
Muschette, A. 1981. Preliminary notes on Small Stock
Policy Proposals (pigs, sheep, and goats). Agr.
Devel. Corp., Jamaica.