Integrated rural development projects in the Republic of Panama and implications for generation and application of agric...


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Integrated rural development projects in the Republic of Panama and implications for generation and application of agricultural technology
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8 p. : ; 28 cm.
Perdomo, Alberto
Instituto de Investigación Agropecuaria de Panamá
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Agricultural development projects -- Panama   ( lcsh )
Agricultural innovations -- Panama   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
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Statement of Responsibility:
General Note:
"Summarized translation from manuscript furnished by Alberto Perdomo, Panama."
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Caption title.
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Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 624966089
lcc - HD1822 .I57 1979
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Full Text



I. Projects

In the last ten years, Panama has formulated regional and area specific

projects the majority of which are of an integrated nature, including production,

social and infrastructure aspects. Several of these projects are described

A briefly in this report.

A. The Eastern Region (Darien) Integrated Rural Development Project

In response to a request made by the government of Panama to the Secretary

General of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Regional Development

Program of the latter, in cooperation with the Ministries of Planning and Economic

Policy, Public Works, and Agricultural Development carried out a study in the

extreme eastern portion of the country which borders Colombia and corresponds

to the province of Darien.

The planning activities were carried out by the Technical Unit of the

Darien project, located in the city of Panama, in the offices of the Ministry

of Planning and Economic policy, and were backstopped by field research, with

specialists from Panama and from the Technical Cooperation Mission of the OAS.

The leadership of the Technical Unit was shared by the head of the OAS Mission

of the National Director.

The work was carried out in three steps: First, between April 1975 and

July 1976, a survey was made of the region, zones were identified, and the

objectives, goals, and strategies of development were specified. The second

step, carried out between August 1976 and December 1977, dealt with the identi-

fication, development, and evaluation of various integrated investment projects

1/ Summarized translation from manuscript furnished by Alberto Perdomo, Panama

based on the proposed strategy, together with the development of a proposal

for immediate action. The third step, carried out between January and July

1978, dealt with the development and evaluation of additional agro-industrial

projects, with regional macro-economic evaluation, and with a more detailed

consideration of the impact of the proposed projects in the areas concerned.

The strategy and the proposed action in this project assumes the interaction

of physical, human and financial resources of the region, (emphasis in the

maximum utilization of all of them) toward the objective of completing the

construction of the Pan American Highway. This is important, taking into

account the fact that the region has a low density population, and poorly

utilized physical resources, such as soils and forests.

Sectorial investment programs and projects were analyzed in terms of

production, social considerations, and infrastructure. Included were agricul-

tural production, livestock development, forestry, fisheries, agro-industry,

a road system, electrification, telecommunications, storage of agricultural

products, housing, education, and health. Further, technical assistance programs,

and improved institutional operational capacity were developed. Finally, arrange-

ments were made for development of a colonization program which would facilitate

the implementation of the proposed programs and projects.

The project area itself occupies 938,380 hectares and has a population of

17,230 people representing some 76% of the total population of the province.

The area has 141,946 hectares of soils with a high agriculture-forestry potential,

but at the present time only 16% of this area is being utilized, and that under

subsistence conditions.

Despite the fact that 85 Km of the Pan American Highway have been completed

in the territory of the province, it is not very meaningful since there is no

secondary road system.

The specific objectives of this area project are as follows:

1. Within the period of ten years to progressively increase the area

in corn to 4,075 hectares; within a period of three years to increase

cassava production to 2,340 hectares which would meet the needs for a

cassava starch facory; within five years to increase game production

progressively to 460 hectares; and in five years to increase plantain

to 1,920 hectares.

2. Develop a secondary road system of approximately 299 Km.

3. Construct and improve the services for health, education, housing,

electrification and agricultural technology.

4. Implement policies and programs related to the distribution and tenancy

of land.

5. Develop training programs and technical assistance in the administration

and management of production systems.

6. Develop a program for the management conservation and marketing of grains

and other agricultural products.

7. Develop agro-industrial projects for the prossessing of cassava, pigeon

pea, lemon grass, and "pizbae", as export crops.

B. The Las Minas-Los Pozos Area Development Projects

This project is located in one of the poorest parts of the country, has an

area of 88,900 hectares, and a population of 18,284 (21% of that of the Province)

located in 259 villages. This area does not contain suitable soils for agri-

culture since 98.7% are made up of classes VI and VII, and 1.3% of class IV.

The production and socio-economic support programs consist of:

1. Crops including 1,500 hectares for coffee, 800 hectares for reforestation,

and 400 hectares for cassava.

2. Livestock for establishment of a swine production unit made up of

100 sows with a projected annual production of 1,400 marketable swine.

3. Livestock to be developed in the Minas part of the project area.

4. Complementary nutrition for all of the people of the area.

5. Production of fish to help meet the nutritional needs of the inhabitants.

6. Improvement and construction of a road system.

7. Health, education and housing.

8. A relocation program directed toward the south of Ponuga and Tonosi areas.

9. Improvement in land tenure and technical assistance.

10. Training in agriculture.

11. Literacy for the adults.

12. Agro-industry.

13. Relocation of inhabitants.

14. Electrification.

C. Cafazas-Santa Fe Project Area

This project is also located in one of the poorest areas of the country

and is made up of 310,500 hectares. A population of 21,615 represents 14.2%

of the total population of the province. There are 432 villages in the area.

The area is characterized by low crop yields due to the traditional and subsis-

tence agriculture practiced by the majority of the people.

The production and socio-economic support programs consist of crops (basic

grains), livestock (milk and beef), reforestation, supplementary nutrition for

all of the inhabitants, aquaculture, improvement and construction of roadways,

health, education, housing, improvement in land tenure, technical assistance,

agricultural training, literacy training for the adults, agro-industry, and


D. The Orienti Chiricano Development Project

This project is located in the eastern part of the Chiriqui province

and includes three districts: Remedios, San Feliz, and Tol6.

The project area, identified as one of the poorest in the country, is

made up of 2,179 Km with a population of 34,335 people.

The production and socio-economic support programs include:

1. Agricultural production which provides the key food products for the

people that will work on the development of the mines of Cerro Colorado.

These programs involve production of the basic food grains (rice and

corn), vegetables and other crops. Regarding animals, there will be

swine, poultry, and livestock for the production of meat and milk.

2. Reforestation and restoration for development of an equilibrium

ecological condition.

3. Aquaculture to help meet the nutritional needs.

4. Agro-industrial development which makes use of the agricultural products,

and products from the development of the mine.

5. Supplementary feeding program to improve the nutritional condition of

the population of the area.

6. Program for improvement in construction of access roadways.

7. Educational program.

8. Health program.

9. Land Tenure program.

E. The Donoso-Salud Area Project

This project, in the province of Colon, is made up of the Donoso and part

of the Chagres districts. It is characterized as one of the poorest area projects

in the country, consisting of an area of 1,922.6 Km2 and a population of 5,865

of which 1,812 are economically active. Of the latter, 83.5% are engaged

in agricultural activities.

In the agricultural area, the following is planned: Planting of basic

food grains, African oil palm, tuber crops (including cassava and name), swine

production, utilization and conservation of forestry resources, and fish pro-

duction and construction of a fish processing plant. Regarding infrastructure,

it is proposed to construct secondary roads, provide an electrical energy system,

develop storage facilities for agricultural production, and improve the land

tenure system.

In the social area, efforts will be made to improve housing, construct and

maintain schools and health centers, and carry out campaigns for vaccinations.

F. Mandinga Project Area

This is a project in the Colon province and is smaller than a district,

consisting of 99.6 Km2 with a population of 4,984 inhabitants of tribal origin.

In this project, it is proposed over a period of eight years to increase

the area under coconuts to 2,500 hectares, and to encourage the progressive

introduction of new varieties. Correspondingly, within three years, plantains

are to be increased to 800 hectares, rice to 250 hectares, corn to 200 hectares,

and other crops such as vegetables to increased areas.

A swine production center will be established with 15 sows.

A center will be constructed for the introduction of livestock production

which will also serve as a demonstration and training center for livestock owners.

Roadways will be improved.

There will be an improvement in education, health, electrification, training

and technology transfer.


Land tenure arrangements will be improved taking into consideration the

traditional practices of the area.

There will be an improvement in the populated areas to facilitate provision

of basic services.

G. The Costa Arriba de Colon Area Development Project

This project is located in the Colon province and includes the districts

of Portobelo and Santa Isabel. Again, the project area represents one of the

poorest rural areas in the country, consisting of 113,310 hectares and a popu-

lation of 3,130 inhabitants. The latter constitutes 2.3% of a total population

of the province and is located in 31 villages. There is relatively little

agricultural activity in the area which consists of subsistence type operations.

Further, this area is characterized by a marked immigration of people toward

the metropolitan area.

The development programs planned for the area include: Production of

rice, corn and plantains; renewal and development of coconut plantations;

livestock development; forestry development; fisheries development; improvement

and construction of a roadway system; electrification program; resettlement;

storage facilities; housing, education and health services; and training in


II. Implications for the Generation and Application of Agricultural Technology

All of the projects described include an agricultural component with the

objective of improving and increasing crop and livestock production. This has

the implication of generation or application of technologies to insure the reaching

of such objectives.


The foregoing reflects the overall objectives and goals of the regional

and area development activities as defined in the national planning system,

as well as the conclusions reached in the area surveys.

More specifically, the objectives and the goals of the production sectors

embody the intent to create a structured economic base stemming from the develop-

ment of the primary sector of the regional economy. Attainment of this goal

calls for a quantitative increase in the economically active agricultural

population, and an increase in productivity. Equally, an increase is proposed

in land productivity which will be verified by improved yields of agricultural

products through introduction of improved technologies.

Nevertheless, in the programs and projects of agricultural development,

while recognized that technological improvement is based on the use of improved

varieties, optimum plant population, control of weeds, and plant insect diseases,

in most cases, provisions are not made in program budgeting for agricultural


The Agricultural Research Institute of Panama (IDIAP), created recently

(August 1975, Law No. 51), has been organized and has designed a methdology to

focus on efforts in regions where most of these defined area projects are to

be developed. More specifically, it is directed to those areas where there is

already a high population density concerned with agriculture, where there is

access, and a potential for production of the basic food grains, livestock, and

other agricultural commodities.

The research methodology will deal with the predominant agricultural

production systems of the defined areas, whether they be concerned only with

crops, with cattle, or a mixture of the two.

Appropriate technology will be generated and tested at the farm level

with the participation of the farmers, backstopped by information developed

in experimental fields, or research stations, in order to develop alternative

technologies which can improve production productivity, and consequently the

net family income.