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Improving the small farm production systems in Central America
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00008187/00001
 Material Information
Title: Improving the small farm production systems in Central America
Physical Description: 11 leaves : ill., (tables), ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Avila, M
Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza
Publisher: Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Center (CATIE)
Place of Publication: Turrialba, Costa Rica
Publication Date: 1982
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Agricultural productivity -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Farms, Small -- Economic aspects -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 10-11)
Statement of Responsibility: M. Avila, L.A. Navarro and J. Lagemann.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: "Paper prepared for the XVIII International Conference of Agricultural Economists, Jakarta, Indonesia, August 24-September 2, 1982."
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 756682963
ocn756682963
Classification: lcc - S476.A1 A9 1982
System ID: AA00008187:00001

Full Text



0/I/O /






TROPICAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTER

(CATIE)



















IMPROVING THE SMALL FARM PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

IN CENTRAL AMERICA







M, Avila, L.A. Navarro and J. Lagemann


Paper prepared for the XVIII International Conference of Agricul-
tural Economists, Jakarta, Indonesia, August 24 September 2, 1982,


Turrialba, Costa Rica, March 1982


ij











IMPROVING THE SMALL FARM PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

M. Avila, L.A. Navarro and J. Lagemann

The purpose of this piper is to provide selected results of an applied re-
search process being implemented by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Train-
ing Center (CATIE) to develop and test improved crop and animal production
systemsfor low income farmers in specific areas representing the typical eco-
logical zones of Central America.

THE CENTRAL AMERICAN SETTING

Central America includes Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa
Rica and Panama. In 1979 these countries had a population of 22 million of
which 52% was rural. In the same year, the estimates of yearly per capital income
were $872 for all sectors and $401 for the agricultural sector. Crops, pastures,
forestry-woodland, and other areas including non-utilized, occupied 12.5, 22.3,
47 and 18.2%, respectively, of the total land area of 486570 square kim (FAO,BID).
The region can be divided into three ecological environments (Table 1). Po-
pulation density and the intensity of agriculture are relatively greater in WDT
areas, lower in LHT areas. However, all three ecological zones are of considerable
importance in terms of these characteristics.
Table 1. Distribution of land, human population and farms in Central America
according to ecological zones.

Land Population Farms
EC o 1 o g y. % % per K % per Km
Semi-Arid Tropics (SAT) 23 28 44 77 3.5
Wet-Dry Tropics (WDT) 37 50 47 53 6.6
Lowland Humid Tropics (LHT) 40 22 19 20 1.9

source: CATIEa

,The climatic conditions of these ecological zones are presented in Figure 1.
Farming systems in SAT areas, reflect the availability of soil water which isthe
most limiting factor. Rainfed systems, by far the most common, favor the produc-
tion of drought resistant varieties of maize and sorghum and other crops and the
management of small stocks of animals which are fed partially from crop residue;
particularly during the dry season. Rainfall patterns severely limit cropping
alternatives and intensify agricultural activities during certain periods of the
year, thereby exacerbating labor shortages.
The WDT zone provides the most favorable environment for both human settlement
and agricultural production. Most large cities are located here, implying a high
food demand, pressure on land, and need for appropriate technologies. Farming
systems in this zone are highly diversified to include annual (maize, beans,
cassava and vegetables) and perennial crops (coffee, sugar cane and banana) as
well as livestock (cattle, swine and chickens).
Farming systems in the LHT are the least intensive and tend to favor perennial
crops (banana, cacao and African oil palm) and beef cattle. Year-round abundant
rainfall, temperature and radiation permit immense biomass production but there
is also a very fragile ecological and soil environment. Thus research priorities
in technology development include proper soil management, weed control and







-.2-


SAT WDT. LHT
Altitude 809 m.a.s.l 50 m.a.s.1 50 m.s.a.l
Rainfall 958 mm. 2015 mm 467 mm
Temperature 23.40C 27.36C 25.1C


ri IT IT 0 1fs di.


ein r-4o pr oldc v y
:* I *
'I I .














farm sector, grossly defined as farms less than 35 ha, controls approximately 25%




----perennial-eroprand livesteee-production which- the-region h exports, amounts to --
.. i w. u J O





Fig. 1. Temperature and rainfall distribution according to typical ecologies
in Central America: minimum of 10 years of data.

increased labor productivity.
Identified as a major sector in all the ecological zones described, the ption
farm sector, grossly defined as farms less than 35 ha, controls approximately 25%
of the total farm land and accounts for less than 20% of the total farm input
expenditures, while per capital income is less than $100 per year (CATIE 1981a).
These farmers provide two-thirds of the active rural labor force and produce 80%
of the total food, excluding rice, for the region. Their participation in rice,
-------prennial-eropsand-- livestoek-produetion-1 which--the-region exports, amounts to
36, 29, and 21% of the total production value. Given the present forecasts for
population growth, economic expansion, and energy costs for the region during the
next 20 years, small farmers will continue to be one of the most important social
and economic sectors in Central America.
Therefore, if the economic development of the region is to progress further,
particularly in terms of income generation and equitable distribution, there isla
neea to mobilize the resources of this sector. In this respect, this paper is well
attuned to the theme of this Conference.

THE OVERALL RESEARCH STRATEGY

Three main features distinguish the strategy of CATIE. The focus on small
farmers in an effort to raise food production and income levels in the agricultuxral
sector. The interdisciplinary approach is used to develop technology for improved
farming systems. There is a strong determination to support national institutions
by working together with their staff on country-related problems and by providing
graduate and short-term training programs (CATIE 1978).
CATIE, together with local institutions, conducts research to develop in situ
production technologies suitable to the various target areas with the active
participation of farmers in all phases of the methodology. A production system
must be studied and understood before it can be modified or improved. Thus the
process of applied research follows logical steps: area selection and description,
analysis of predominant production systems, development of innovations, testing
under farmer conditions, and diffusion of improved systems (CATIE 1978, Navarro,








3 -


Lagemann).
:'ht role of the social scientist in the research process to c.ll,0ra>:e .I
assessing farmers' resources and productivity, designing appropriate technology
or systems,evaluating the.probable impacts of these alternatives and training
nationall professionals in applied socio-economics (Avila and Navarro).

SELECTED RESULTS IN TYPICAL AREAS

Although CATIE has been carrying out farm-level research in crop and animal
production in all countries of the Region, reference to only four areas in
different countries will be used to illustrate research methodology and progress

Technology development in food crops in the Semi-Arid
area of Tejutla, El Salvador

Tejutla, located 64 km north of San Salvador, is a small community with 11500
ha and 10155 inhabitants. The rainy season is short, extending from May to December.
Both the onset and end of rains are erratic, and furthermore, there is a severe
canicularr" period, a dry spell lasting as long as 30 days, during the June-July
weeks. The lack of soil water is complicated by the mountainous configuration of
the'terrain and the edafic conditions of the shallow Lithosols and Grumosols that
predominate in the area (CENTA). Under these ecological conditions and the; low
development of the public infrastructure and markets, the farming systems tand to
be very traditional. In a survey of 56 farms, 1 to 18 ha in size, 63% maintained
small herds of cattle less than 10 head, and 75% had some supplementary small
animal enterprises, 1 to 10 chickens and 1 to 2 pigs. Perennial crops and forestry
activities include a few fruit trees and other drought resistant species, some for
fuel.
Food grain production is the only farm activity for all farms under 2.1 ha and_
t-he principal farming activity for 95% of all farms. Gross incomes ranging from
$600"to $1200 per year were reported by farmers with 2.1 to 4.9 ha, the largest
subgroup according to the survey (CATIE 1979)4.
The cropping systems within the area show their adjustment to the two over-
lapping and short cropping seasons which are determined by the bimodal rainfall
pattern. Since most farm activities are labor intensive, the concentration of
agricultural activities during certain periods of the year produces labor problems
during the cropping season and high rural unemployment during the off-season which
may last up to half the year.
The most common cropping pattern, practiced by 95% of farmers in Tejutla,
includes maize seeded at the beginning of the rainy season and sorghum added as a
relay-intercrop a month later (maize/sorghum). This pattern demonstrates the risk-
spreading strategy of the farmer siace it allows a good harvest of maize in
September and sorghum in December during favorable rainy seasons, or at least a qce
harvest of sorghum during drier years. Both the common H-3 hybrid maize and th1.
local sorghum cultivar included in the pattern are well adapted. During grain
maturity in October, and even after harvest which is often delayed to December dug;
to labor shortage, the local cultivar of sorghum maintains a good proportion of
green foliage. This adds an advantage to the maize/sorghum cropping pattern
within the farming system because the field residues are used for direct animal
feeding during the dry season.
The maize/sorghum based cropping system was selected for research in Tejutla
because it is also widely used elsewhere in the Semi-Arid Tropics of CentralAmeric:..












Tested technical recommendations are selected to improve crop yield and
'returns to labor and capital investment per ha and also to maintain the traditional
advantages of the system. Most evaluation trials are carried out on farms with
the participation of farmers to assure that the resulting technology requirement
is maintained within the resource endowment and the interest of target farmers
(CENTA). As shown in Table 2, the farmers' system was studied and quantified,and
moderate adjustments were designed to be tested; these included vegetation
management before seeding, use of fertilizer,and soil insect control. The results

Table 2. Yield, costs and economic efficiency indicators of farmers' and
improved maize/sorghum cropping system, per ha


Farmers' Improved System Farmers' Impr.System
System % Increase Criteria System % Increase
1~~~~- --- _^ __________.33 G T
!Maize, kg 1750 31.9 Net Income (NI)$ 254 46.6
Sorghum, kg 1100 74.8 Net FailyIncome ,$ 590 36.5
Operational costs (CP),S 336 16.4 NI/MD,$ 6.16 19.5
Man-days (MD) 84 43.2 NI/OC,$ 2.51 -15.9
;- -
Source: CATIE 1979

were favorable except in the case of net returns to working capital. The farmers
use very low levels, if any, and thus obtain high returns. Subsequently,additional
tests in 10 sites involving the substitution of the H-11 hybrid maize for the
common H-3 resulted in average maize yields of 2149 kg/ha. There are other
cultivars of sorghum with higher grain yields,but they lack the additional
characteristics required by the farmers.
The resulting recommendations for developing the maize/sorghum cropping system
are "ready for evaluation under the exclusive management of a large number of
farmers in Tejutla and other areas previous to its final' diffusion. These
.evaLuations, called validation within the methodology,will be implemented in 1982.

Farming systems in the Wet-Dry area of Jinotega, Nicaragua:
the importance of cash crops for small farm development

The Jinotega region in Nicaragua has a high concentration of small farms in
comparison to other parts of the country. Of all surveyed farms 75% own less than
10ha the average farm size is 6.4 ha5. Farmers cultivate their crops on hilly
landscape as 60% of all fields are situated on slopes between 10 and 50%. The
prevalence of stones in parts of the region prevents the introduction of mechanized
cultivation methods. Average family size is 8 with 1.5 man-equivalents available
for farm work.
Land use consists of annual crops (2 ha; added effective hectarage of two
cropping cycles), perennial crops (0.8 ha) and pastures or fallow land (3.7 ha).
Of all smallholders 88% rear a few chickens and 72% of the farms own on avecagq
2 pigs which are produced mainly for family consumption. Cattle production is
found on only 32% of all farms, which own an average 7 head.
Crop production is labor intensive due to the fact that, apart from plough:.ng
with oxen, all activities are carried out by manual labor (Table 3). Labor for
crop production represents 72% of total farm demand, whereas livestock production
is labor extensive. General farm activities constitute 54 man-days, and off-farm









- 5 -


work about 70 man-days per year. Labor intensity per enterprise varies
considerably with onion cultivation having the highest de-and on a per ha bassi:.
The labor distribution shows three peaks within a year: at the beginning of
each cropping cycle, in May and August, and in the coffee producing areas,
during harvest period from November to January. Most of the hired labor, whicl
amounts to 100 man-days per farm, is used during these peak labor periods.
Increase of crop production arqa with present cultivation methods seems
unlikely due to labor bottlenecks.

Table 3. Labor use, production and productivity of small farmers
in Jinotega, Nicaragua, March 1981-February 1982: N= 63 farms


LABOR USE, man-days a)
Per farm X C.V.% Per enterprise X C.V.%
Crop production 236 102 Maize 68 92
Animal production 40 128 Beans 75 87
General farm activities 54 97 Maize/beans 90 48
Total farm 30 88 Cabbage + lettuce 150 75
Off-farm activities 70 132 Onions 260 80
Coffee + fruit trees 92 57
PRODUCTION AND PRODUCTIVITY
Per farm X C.V.% Per enterprise Tbns/ha GM/ha GM/MD
b)
Value of total product. 33000 110 Maize 0.9 1240 18
Thereof: Beans 0.5 3100 41
Basic grains 7200 150 Maize + beans 0.9+0.4 4000 44
c)
Vegetables 8100 100 Cabbage + lettuce 17000 14400 96
Coffee + fruit trees 11400 247 Onions--- -- -12.0) 41100 158
Livestock 6300 187 Coffee + fruit trees 0.58 12100 131
Net'farm income (NFI) 23900 105
Off-farm income 2800 144
Total family income 26700 95
Gross margin(GM)/hacrops 7000 197
NF /man-equivalent 15900 140


a) 8 hours of work of a male adult
unofficial market c) Value of


equivalent
production


b) C6rdoba (C$)=US$0.33 in the
d) Yield for dried coffee only


Source: TIENHOVEN, N., ICAZA, J. and LAGEMANN, J.

Maize and bean production are relatively low due to risky rainfall conditions
in the region, and in comparison, maize and beans in association proved to be
more stable and with higher yields.
Vegetable production, compared to grains, is very intensive and carefully
managed. The value of cabbage and lettuce production amounts to C$17000/ha, and
for onions to C$44400/ha. Vegetables were introduced to the region about 15
years ago and are actually, in addition to coffee, an important cash crop in the
area. Average coffee production with 580 kg of dried coffee/ha is very low
compared to similar areas in Central America or to experimental results in
Jinotega. Livestock production is managed extensively with an average production
of C$6300 per farm. Poor husbandry practices is the principal cause of low
productivity of the livestock enterprise.
Gross margins per ha and man-day vary greatly between different farm









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enterprises. They were extremely high for onions, followed by coffee, cabbage
and lettuce,and finally,by beans, maize and beans in association; maize only had
the lowest returns.
The value of whole farm production averaged C$33000. The coefficient of
variation is high (110%)., minimum values are in the order of 3000, maximum values
close to 220000. The great variation in performance results principally from
differences in husbandry practices and management capacities of the farmers. The
amount of cultivated land and labor use explains only a relatively small part of
the total variation observed.
Value of production was highest from coffee and fruit trees, followed by
vegetables, basic grains,and livestock. These results demonstrate clearly the
importance of cash crops within the whole farming systems studies.
The average values on productivity are rather low compared to other areas in
Central America, but the results from the better farmers indicate that significant
improvements are possible.
Usually "testing of technology" follows the diagnostic and experimental stage.
However, a pretestt" was conducted simultaneously with the diagnostic stage on
the assumption that there are some innovations available from the same area or
from similar areas. The technical package was identified in collaboration with
national institutions and meetings with local farmers. A maize/bear intercrcp.inc
package with improved varieties, increased plant densities,and fertilizer
application increased maize production by 300% and bean production by 50%,
Production costs were higher compared to farmers' practices, but net income per
ha increased by 90% and production risks were lower. Although the package was
evaluated by researchers and farmers as successful, its adoption might be
limited due to a higher Marginal Benefit-Cost Ratio for onion production which i:
the predominant cash crop in one of the testing zones.
From the evidence presented, it can be concluded that farming systems in the
highlands of Jinotega are highly diversified. Yields of grains are low,and they
are principally produced for subsistence. Significant yield improvements are
possible. However, given present price relations, they offer few incentives
compared to other crops. Coffee and vegetables are the crops which provide the
largest share of total farm revenue. These cash crops have attracted considerable
attention during the last years and should be regarded as the key crops for thl
future development of Jinotega.

Designing and testing an improved cattle production model in
the Wet-Dry area of La Nueva Concepci6n of Guatemala

La Nueva Concepci6n, located 150 kms Vouthwest of Guatemala City, is a
community formed by an agrarian reform program in 1954. There are 1415 family
farms, each of 20 ha.
The rainy season averages 130 days (May-October) and the annual rainfall
varies from 1619 to 2500 mm. The dry season is very severe; irrigation is possible
only by digging deep wells, although a few farms are near streams.
The soils are of alluvial origin and are relatively fertile.Soil drainage con-
ditions are favorable; the land is flat and there are no obvious soil deficiencies.;
Of the total population 95% are employed in agricultural activities such as cattl_.
maize, plantains, sesame, rice,and other minor enterprises. Since approximately
95% of all farms nave cattle and there is economic and biological potential for
increased production, it was identified as a key component to improving farm-level
productivity. Thus an applied research program was initiated in 1979 (ICTA-CATIE,







- 7 -


CATIE 1981b).
From a survey of 66 farms, 97% had cattle in combination with annual or
perennial crops, and 97% of the farms with cattle manage it as a dual purpose
operation, that is, milking the cows once a day with the restricted suckling
of the calves; the remaining 3% are specialized beef units. On pasture
management:75% of the land area is in improved grass species,and 45% have
rotational grazing. As supplements, common salt is used on 86% of the farms,
minerals on 10%, commercial concentrates on 18%, molasses on 37%,and crop
residues on 92% of the farms'. Vaccination and control for parasities are done
routinely on 87% of the farms.
Estimates of biological and productive indices of the system were made:
stocking rate 2.2 animal units/ha, annual calving rdte 44%, milk production
505 It/cow/year,and gross income $362/ha on a yearly basis.
The research team identified three key limiting factors to improving
productivity and net income: a) poor feeding systems, particularly during the
dry season when protein content of available feedstuffs is extremely low, b)
inadequate health programs,and c) lack of information on the management and
performance of the dual purpose system (ICTA-CATIE).
To tackle these problem areas, component and system research was begun. In
this paperonly the results on system management will be reported. On the
assumption that the existing levels of productivity could be substantially
increased in the short run by introducing currently available technologies,a
model simulating the basic features of the farmers' system was modified to*
include key improvements related to the restrictions described above. The
physical model implemented in early 1980 under experimental conditions
served to analyze and understand its performance and to demonstrate work
progress to farmers. After one year of operation, the results were favorable,
and thus,a similar model was established on one farmer's plot, but a few changes
were made to suit his particular needs.
- Tnhe-improved model-was-tested under-the- management- of-the research 'staff
(IMR) and of the farmer with limited assistance of the research staff (IMF).
These results are compared to the typical above average farmer of the area
(TVF). All three systems were monitored using farm records kept by research
field assistants.
The principal difference in the management is that in the IMR molasses and
urea were used as supplements throughout the year,and feed preparation for the
dry season was necessary because of the high stocking rate, whereas in the IMF
he preferred not to use molasses and urea. The TAF, however, normally depends
on whatever feedstuffs are available during the dry season such as crop residues,
low quality pastures,and molasses.
Considerable improvements were achieved with the improved models compared to
the TAF, in terms of birth rate, calf mortality, and calving intervals (Table 4).
The IMF, though, did not perform as well as the IMR in all these aspects. In
the dual purpose system the milk-beef production ratio is subject to
modification within certain limits. For example, the IMF farmer was relatively
more interested in selling milk than in feeding the calves well, and thereby he
effectively reduced weight gains. In the case of TAF the same option is possible,
but his productivity levels in both milk and beef are lower.
In terms of economic profitability, the IMF did not perform as well as the
IMR, but it almost doubles the levels of net returns to labor and to total
investment obtained by the TAF. In the case of the TAF, the total net income is
unfavorable, and certainly,he cannot operate in the long run with such technology









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at current input-product price relations.

Table 4. Results of testing the improved cattle production model in
La Nueva Concepci6n of Guatemala: January-December, 1981.



Typical
V a r i a b 1 e Improved Model Managed by: AboveAverage
Research staff Farmer Farmer
Cows, head 23 18 30
Labor use, man-days/ha 70.5 67.7 64.6
Total costs/cow/year,$ 335.4 373.8 366.0
Stocking rate, AU/ha 5.7 4.0 3.0
Birth rate,% 88.0 77.7 71.4
Calf mortality rate, % 0 5.9 10.0
Calving interval, mo. 13.5+2.0 13.5+1.8 15.6+2.4
Milk prod./ha/year,it 3739.0 2223.9 1449.6
Milk prod./cow/year,lt 849.4 1111.9 623.3
Weight gain/calf/day,gr 374 279 255
Gr6ss margin/ha/year,S 806.3 386.3 357.4
Total net income/year,$ 779.5 -151.9 -1000.6
Net return to labor,S/man-day 5.13 2.27 1.23
Net return to total investment,% 9.63 5.26 3.26

Source: ICTA-CATIE

In conclusion, it is possible, using available technologies to improve the
present productivity level of the farmers!-system in-this area. However, it
is necessary to explore additional technological alternatives while
simultaneously testing integrated models for a longer period and on more farms.
Of course an increase in product prices to the farmers would certainly stimulate
interest in better technologies and thus increase productivity, otherwise the
cattle system may disappear.

Tra'sfering dairy production technology in the Lowland
Humid area of Rio Frlo in Costa Rica

Specialized dairy production under tropical conditions is a challenge for
professionals since the transfer of such technology, developed in temperate
zones, encounters ecological, biological,and management barriers.
For many years CATIE has been experimenting with this system and has designed
and tested a small-scale prototype. It has an area of 3.7 ha of African star-
grass (QCnodon nZemwuenm4b ). The 20 cows and 8 young stock represent the
product of a crossbreeding program involving Criollo, Jersey and Ayrshire
breeds.6 Their milk production potential is comparable to that of the
specialized European breeds,with the added advantage that they are highly
resistant to tropical diseases and parasities (Avila et al.).
The basic feeding source is grazed forage. Pasture management consists of
2 days of grazing and 21 days of rest for each of the 24 paddocks and tne
application of 250 kg of nitrogen/ha. A high stocking rate is maintained and
a minimal supplementation of 3 kg of molasses with 3% urea is fed daily to




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each cow. Calves receive some concentrates and 200 It of milk during their
first two months.
Investment in infrastructure is minimal: a milking parlor, elastic fences on
the perifery and lanes, a faeces depot and electric fences for rotational
grazing. The system is designed as a one-man operation. High productivity
levels result from well kept records and a simple health program.
Some efficiency indices estimated during the 1979 year were the following:
stocking rate 6 AU/ha, birth rate 89%, calf mortality 5%, total costs/ha
023750, variable costs/ha 08702, milk production/cow 2918 It, milk production/
ha 16673 It, net income/ha 09454 apd net family income/man-day 0124. These
indices have been fairly stable over 5 years.
Based on this experience, CATIE was asked to transfer this model to agrarian
reform colonists in Rio Frio as a means of providing a viable production
alternative to farmers and satisfying the local demand for milk.
Rio Frio is located in the northeast part of the country, covering an area of
27000 ha at an altitude of 130 meters above sea level. The soils have a clay
texture, and low fertility severely limits cropping activities. However, the
high temperature and rainfall levels throughout the year favor forage production.
A diagnosis of farmers, background, resources and production alternatives was
made (Table 5). Production enterprises (maize, beans, rice, milk and swine)
generated a yearly gross income of 02451, which the government subsidized with
08789 per family.
To solve the key problems,a comprehensive strategy was adopted. First, a care-
ful selection of candidates was made to choose farmers with the most experience or
interest in dairy production. Second, the project staff had to be directly
involved in all aspects: planning, approval and supervision of credit, purchasing
animals from similar ecological areas, model implementation,and marketing. Third,
a simple training methodology was based on the demonstration of management
practices and working hand-in-hand with the farmer.

Table 5. Land use and socio-economic characteristics of the colonists in
Rio Frio in November, 197 .- ---- ---.---- -.- ..

Land area, ha 10 Level of formal education: I
Under cultivation: 1-3 yrs.of schooling 54.2
Pastures, % 40 Completed primary 35.9
Crops, % 13 Started secondary 8.8
Colonists with bank loans, % 52 Completed secondary 1.1
Average loan, 0* 9000 Previous occupation: %
Age of the colonist,. yrs. 36 Landless laborer 80.0
No. of children 3 Non-agricultural laborer 14.6
Average age of the children,yrs. 3.5 Other 5.4

Source: CATIE 1982 In 1979 US$ = 0854.

The results after 4 years of operation are impressive (Table 6). At present
the total milk production of the 22 farms on which the Project staff has records
is some 650430 It a year, of which 70% is transported to other areas of the
country. The government has discontinued the subsidies.
In general,the achievements demonstrate that the combined efforts of both
institutions were successful in forming a team to train and help the colonists








-' 10

Table 6. Comparison of the milk production system before and after Project
implementation in Rio frio: average figures for 22 units


1977 1981 1977 1981
Area in pastures,ha 4.0 9.5 Total credit 0* 9000 135000
Grazing paddocks, no 2.3 24.8 Milk production,It/day 6.6 81.0
Cattle, head 4.1 32.5 Gross family income 08789 84700
Producing cows 1.0 f5.0 Farm production,% 27.9; 100
Dry cows 0.3 5.b Government subsidy,% 72.1 0
Heifers 1.8 5.13 Net income, 0. 23547
Calves 1.0 7.2
Source: CATIE 1982 In 1981 US$ = 030 on the unofficial market
apply appropriate technology for dairy production. The project presently is
operated and managed by the national: institution.
POLICY IMPLICATIONS
Research organization and progress in crop and animal production for small
farmers in Central America has progressed substantially in the last few years.
The experience gained thus far indicates that there are technologies that can
increase productivity levels and that small farmers do respond to technological
opportunities, though the sector is not favored by price policies,
There are, however, a few factors worth mentioning that will determine prospects
for research to benefit the target group. First, the question of political
stability has caused activities directly involving peasants to appear conspicuous.
Second, support for the stability and development of personnel skilled inresearch
and extension should be given priority by national policy makers. Third,to some
international aid agencies the cause of the income problem lies with poor
extension capabilities,and therefore they do not value research. Finally,rational
research-and-extension programs-on crop-and-animal-production are not integrated--
to focus adequately on the farmers' system.

R NOTES
1. The authors are grateful to O.W.Deaton,R.A.Moreno and G.Peez for their apt
comments.
2.' The Centro Agron6mico Tropical de Investigaci6n y Ensefanza (CATIE) is a non-
profit institution with headquarters at Turrialba, Costa Rica.
3. The results presented in this paper are the joint product of CATIE and the
following institutions: Centro Nacional de Tecnologia Agraria (CENTA)of El Sal-
vador; Direcci6n General de Tecnicas Agropecuarias (DGTA) of Nicaragual Insti-
tuto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas (ICTA) of Guatemala; and Instituto de
Tierras y Colonizaci6n (ITCO) of Costa Rica. Financial and/or technical support
for the work in El Salvador was provided by USAID-ROCAP, IDRC and EEC; in Ni-
caragua by GTZ; in Guatemala by IDB and USAID-ROCAPI and ir Costa Rica by ITCO.
4. In this report the local currency is used only for Nicaragua and Costa Rica
due to unstable exchange rates with the US dollar.
5. A few farms over 50 .ha were excluded from the survey.
6. The "criollo" is a breed brought to America by the Spaniards in the 16th century.

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