• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 The Francophone approach to farming...
 Belgian contributions to the study...
 Anglophone farming systems research...
 Learning from a comparison of the...
 Extension
 Reference
 Back Cover






Group Title: Networking paper - Farming Systems Support Project - no. 1
Title: Comparing anglophone and francophone approaches to farming systems research and extension
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
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STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054303/00001
 Material Information
Title: Comparing anglophone and francophone approaches to farming systems research and extension
Series Title: Networking paper
Physical Description: 36 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Fresco, Louise
Farming Systems Support Project
Publisher: Malang Research Institute for Food Crops
Place of Publication: Malang Indonesia
Publication Date: 1984
 Subjects
Subject: Agricultural systems -- Research -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Research -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 32-36)..
Statement of Responsibility: Louise Fresco.
General Note: "This paper was presented at the 4th Annual Conference on Farming Systems Research at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, October 1984."
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 68904697

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
    Table of Contents
        Page ii
    Introduction
        Page 1
    The Francophone approach to farming systems research (FSR)
        Page 2
    Belgian contributions to the study of farming systems
        Page 14
        The agricultural anthropology of de schippe
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
        "Les Unites experimentales" in Senegal
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
        Theoretical framework and concepts of the Francophone approach to FRS
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
        INEAC and the paysannats
            Page 17
            Page 18
    Anglophone farming systems research in all its variations
        Page 19
        Farming systems research sensu stricto
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
        Cropping systems research
            Page 23
            Page 24
    Learning from a comparison of the Francophone and Anglophone approaches
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Extension
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Reference
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text









COMPARING ANGLOPHONE AND FRANCOPHONE

APPROACHES TO FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH

AND EXTENSION


Farming Systems Support Projeot


International Programs
Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611


Office of Agriculture and
Office of Multisectoral Development
Bureau for Science and Technology
Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C. 20523


NETWORKING PAPER NO. 1







COMPARING ANGLOPHONE AND FRANCOPHONE


APPROACHES TO FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH

AND EXTENSION



This paper was presented at the 4th
Annual Conference on Farming Systems Research
at Kansas State University, Manhattan,
Kansas, October 1984



Louise Fresco
Research Fellow
Agricultural University
de leeuwenborch
Room 364
Hollandse Weg 1
Wageningen, The Netherlands


NETWORKING PAPER NO. 1

Editor's note:

This is the first of a new publication series issued through
the Farming Systems Support Project. Networking Papers are made
available in limited numbers to inform colleagues about farming
systems research and extension work in progress, and directly
related concerns. The series is intended to facilitate the timely
distribution of information of interest to the farming systems
network of practitioners throughout the world. The series is also
intended to invite response from the farming systems network to help
advance the FSR/E knowledge base and state-of-the-art.

Networking Papers do not necessarily present the viewpoints or
opinions of the FSSP or affiliated entities, but represent a
statement of the author or authors. Comments, suggestions and
differing points of view are invited by the author or authors.
Names and addresses of the author or authors are given on the title
page of each Networking Paper.

Readers wishing to submit materials to be considered for
inclusion in the Networking Paper series are encouraged to do so.
Networking.Papers are actively solicited by the FSSP core staff.
Send typewritten, complete manuscripts, ready for publication. The
FSSP does not perform an editing or production function with
Networking Papers other than to reproduce the author's work and
distribute it to a targeted audience. Distribution is determined by
geographic and subject matter considerations to help select a
sub-group from the FSSP mailing list to receive the Networking Paper
on a case-by-case basis.














Introduction


1 The Francophone Approach to FSR
1.1 "Les Unites Experimentales" in Senegal
1.2 Theoretical framework and concepts of the Francophone Approach to FSR


2 Belgian contributions to the study of farming systems
2.1 The agricultural anthropology of Pierre de Schlippe
2.2 INEAC and the "paysannats"


3 Anglophone FSR and its variations
3.1 Farming Systems Research sensu strict
3.2 Cropping Systems Research


4 Learning from a comparison of the Francophone and Anglophone approaches














COMPARING ANGLOPHONE AND FRANCOPHONE APPROACHES TO FARMING SYSTEMS
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION






Throughout the evolution of research on tropical agriculture a similar
shift of emphasis has occurred quite independently in different parts of
the world. The central idea now emerging is that technology aiming at ag-
ricultural production increase must take explicit account of farmer's ecol-
ogical and socio-economic environment. In other words, new technology is
nothing but an element, or a combination of elements, introduced into an
existing system. This fact has considerable implications for research meth-
odology by stressing the need for interdisciplinary and off-station work.
The resulting systems approach to tropical agriculture has been elabor-
ated in many different fashions, according to the ecological environment and
the prevailing research structure and priorities. An important part of the
agricultural systems literature has been overlooked by current farming sys-
tems research because it does not explicitly refer to farming or cropping
system terminology. An early example of a farming systems approach is prov-
ided by the work of dutch colonial agronomists on Java (e.g. de Vries 1931),
who collected detailed data on all farm household subsystems and defined
homogeneous recommendation domains.
The present paper discusses the systems approaches to agricultural produc-
tions that have evolved in the 1950's in the former Belgian Congo, and during
the 1960's and 70's in the former French speaking colonies, in particular
in Africa. These approaches will be referred to collectively as the Franco-
phone approach to farming systems research, while bearing in mind that no
unified or standard research method exists in this field.
From the late 1970's onwards, farming and cropping systems research have
evolved at the International Agricultural Researech centres, to several U.S.
universities, and in some national or regional research programmes through-
out the developing world. For the sake of simplicity, we will call these
the Anglophone approaches, although the term 'Anglophone FSR' has been used
by Richards (1983) in his discussion of colonial research in British West
Africa.
The use of such a simplistic dichotomy seems justified here because, on
the one hand, the similarities between the different Francophone approaches
are far greater than the differences between them, as is the case for Anglo-
phone FSR. On the other hand, there seems to be some fundamental theoretical
differences in perspective between the respective Francophone and Anglophone
traditions. It appears worthwhile to explore these fundamental differences
in view of the growing popularity of farming systems research and the rising
expectations about its results. It must be noted however, that recently, ex-
changes between national programmes inspired by either the Francophone or















Anglophone tradition, have become more frequent, and many national programmes
are developing their own specific blend of FSR.
As the Francophone approaches have been relatively neglected by the Anglo-
phone literature, the emphasis in this paper will be on these rather than
on a description of farming and cropping systems research. FSR has been main-
tained as a general term to indicate!
1. The study of existing farming systems in a holistic way a view to in-
creasing the body of knowledge.
2. On-farm research with a farming systems perspective complementary to
station research, usually only concerned with a subsystem of the farming
system and not with linkages.
3. The development of new farming systems on the assumption that complete
restructuring of existing systems is required and not only changes in
subsystems (Simmonds 1984).
Our comparison of the two sets, Francophone and Anglophone, of approaches
to farming systems, will highlight some of the general issues thatFSR faces
today, in particular with respect to its institutionalization and the exten-
sion of its results.



1 THE FRANCOPHONE APPROACH TO FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH


In the past the structure of French research on tropical agriculture was
dominated by a commodity/sector approach as reflected in its organisation.
From 1924 onwards, eight research institutes were created, respectively
concerned with: livestock; oil crops; textiles and fibres; timber and for-
restry; coffee, cocoa and other stimulants; rubber products and plastics;
agricultural machinery; and food crops.
The latter institute, IRAT (Institut de Recherches Agronomiques Tropi-
cales et des Cultures Vivrieres), has developed a concern for a systems ap-
proach with a view to integrating the results of component research pro-
grammes in field projects. In first instance, this integration included on-
ly the biological and agronomic sciences, later also the economic, and to
some extent also the social sciences.
The institutes each created their own programmes in the field; in this
way, the agricultural research structure in many former French colonies be-
came also organised along commodity lines. Francophone agricultural research,
in particular in West-Africa, has always maintained strong links with parent
institutes in France. Usually, a distinction is made between basic research
('recherche fondamentale') and adaptive research ('recherche d'accompagnement')
which is undertaken in the context of a development programme.
In 1974, the eight sector institutes decided to coordinate their efforts
in order to centralize some of their services in GERDAT (Groupe d'Etudes et
de Recherches pour le Developpement de l'Agronomie Tropicale). The integra-
tion of the institutes will be completed in 1984 with the creation of CIRAD
(Centre International de Recherche pour l'Agriculture et le Developpement).













while research assumes the entire responsibility for their development and
direct dissemination.
Tourte and Billaz (1982:226) have defined the triangular linkages be-
tween research, development and farmers in each phase of the R-D process.
The following table summarizes the joint action of research and develop-
ment:


S development real
- politics objectives --environment-
- -oitc --objectives environmentt \s


a-


R strategy

I- N

choice of
representative
areas


real environment: analysis
and typology of existing
(surveys, maps)


recommendation
domains


D strategy


research
substationn






s controlled environment:
FS| development of appropriate FS;
referral to component research
in necessary; trials


further diffusion/ real environment
evaluation development and testing
of new FS by farmers
integration of technical
innovations

Figuur 3. Joint action of R-D (adapted from GERDAT, 1982).



2 BELGIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STUDY OF FARMING SYSTEMS


2.1 The agricultural anthropology of de Schlippe


A special place must be reserved here for one of the founding fathers of
the study of farming systems, Pierre de Schlippe, whose work in Central
Africa has been neglected for a long time. During the 1950s, his study of
the traditional agriculture of the Zande has led him to the conclusion that
the development of agricultural technologies in research stations must be
preceded by a detailed analysis of local agricultural traditions and the
rationale behind them.
This analysis involves agronomy as well as anthropology, because "tra-
ditional agriculture is at once both a human activity and a natural pro-
cess". The objective of this analysis is to find ways to improve tradition-


<.













while research assumes the entire responsibility for their development and
direct dissemination.
Tourte and Billaz (1982:226) have defined the triangular linkages be-
tween research, development and farmers in each phase of the R-D process.
The following table summarizes the joint action of research and develop-
ment:


S development real
- politics objectives --environment-
- -oitc --objectives environmentt \s


a-


R strategy

I- N

choice of
representative
areas


real environment: analysis
and typology of existing
(surveys, maps)


recommendation
domains


D strategy


research
substationn






s controlled environment:
FS| development of appropriate FS;
referral to component research
in necessary; trials


further diffusion/ real environment
evaluation development and testing
of new FS by farmers
integration of technical
innovations

Figuur 3. Joint action of R-D (adapted from GERDAT, 1982).



2 BELGIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STUDY OF FARMING SYSTEMS


2.1 The agricultural anthropology of de Schlippe


A special place must be reserved here for one of the founding fathers of
the study of farming systems, Pierre de Schlippe, whose work in Central
Africa has been neglected for a long time. During the 1950s, his study of
the traditional agriculture of the Zande has led him to the conclusion that
the development of agricultural technologies in research stations must be
preceded by a detailed analysis of local agricultural traditions and the
rationale behind them.
This analysis involves agronomy as well as anthropology, because "tra-
ditional agriculture is at once both a human activity and a natural pro-
cess". The objective of this analysis is to find ways to improve tradition-


<.












al agriculture "without doing violence to the limiting framework of tradi-
tion and environment". De Schlippe warned against interventions in tradi-
tional agriculture which are not based on thorough knowledge of farmer
practices and constraints.
The study of traditional agriculture constitutes the subject of agricul-
tural anthropology, a discipline that ought to be practised, according to
de Schlippe, by all students of traditional agriculture, who need to be
both agronomistsand social scientists.
Agricultural anthropology is based on two central concepts: the system
of agriculture, and the field type.
A system of agriculture is "the customary pattern of behaviour followed
by the individual members of the (ethnographic) unit in the realm of agri-
cultural technology, which results in typical sets of: (1) land utilization
in space (pattern of field types on their respective ecological back-
grounds); (2) of land utilization in time (pseudo-rotations'); (3) of sea-
sonal distributions of labour; (4) of seasonal distribution of nutrition
and other needs" (1956a:238). Agriculture, in the view of de Schlippe (an
agronomist by training), must be considered an essential part of the cul-
ture of any group of people, above other technologies, but more or less in
the same way as language, law or religion are parts of culture. Therefore,
he speaks of the System of Agriculture, which consists of agricultural as
well as cultural elements and is influenced by the whole culture of the
group. Agricultural behaviour is governed by social norms and values, and
by knowledge of the environment. This knowledge is extremely detailed,
covering the criteria for relative fertility of each soil-vegetation pat-
tern, the exact timing of every operation in the process of raising each
variety of every crop, the utilization of all sorts of fruits, seeds,
leaves, woods, barks and basts for every kind of foods and utensils (1956a:
240).
This knowledge shared by every individual Zande finds its expression in
practice, which in turn is codified by rules and commandments that govern
behavioral patterns. Each farmer is forced to respect certain rules that
tell him when and where each agricultural activity must be undertaken
(1956b:2-4).
The system of agriculture is composed of several elements:
1. ecological conceptions: types of fallow, "soil-vegetation mosaic", "ca-
tena" (i.e. hill to valley sequences of soil types) and other concepts
in relation to swidden agriculture.
2. crops: characteristics of every crop and variety of crop and of cultiva-
tion techniques. De Schlippe distinguishes many crop varieties and their
specific uses, as well as subspontaneous crops that are not cultivated
on purpose.


* i.e. also including cases of staggered planting.













3. tools and general cultivation techniques: all tools and the ways they
are used in the fields. This element is closely related to the next one:
4. crop processing and domestic work: all functions performed at the home-
stead, including consumption, cooking, storage, and the utensils used.


These elements only become meaningful when the structure of the system
of agriculture is discovered (the elements may be compared to words in a
sentence (the structure) of a language (the system) (1956b:117). The struc-
ture is provided by defining field types. Careful observation throughout
the year of all agricultural activities of each member of the homestead al-
lows one to see regularities that are specific for people (or categories of
people: male and female, young and old) and for certain types of fields.
Shifting cultivators classify fields into a number of types (1) in terms
of crop associations and crop successions, (2) in terms of specific posi-
tions in the ecological pattern and in the season and (3) in terms of meth-
ods of management (1956a:106). Each smallest economic unit, i.e. each woman,
possesses a complete set of field types. A field type is at the same time
an agronomic term as well as a sociological one. In the sociological sense,
a field type is a cluster of behavioral constraints that describe rigidly
in what way fields are to be cultivated and what are the obligations of the
cultivator of a field towards others. In the agronomic sense, a field type
consists of an association and/or sequence of crops with the following
chararacteristics (1957:12-13):
- a prescribed combination of crops and varieties
- a determined ecological environment (toposequence, fertility, water sup-
ply, natural vegetation)
a fixed succession of cultivation practices throughout the season to
take place at predetermined moments in time.
De Schlippe gives a detailed description of the seven field types of the
Zande, the way they relate to nutrition and labour inputs throughout the
agricultural year, and the way in which cooperation between households is
structured through field types. The combination of field types allow a pop-
ulation to make optimal use of its ecological environment and of its labour.
Field types evolve over generations: under certain conditions, farmers
will conduct trials which, if they are successful, may lead to the emergence
of new field types. Changes also occur as a result of the process of incor-
poration and the introduction of innovations such as cash crops, or re-
settlement (and in particular of colonial legislation); in that case coop-
eration between group members and soil fertility may suffer (1956a:226-235).
On the other hand, new varieties of existing crops such as short cycle
groundnuts, may induce new field types and a better use of fields.


Thus, the study of traditional systems of agriculture must proceed
through observation of agricultural activities and through interviews -
the latter giving an idealised picture of reality, de Schlippe cautions.















In addition to the eight institutes mentioned above, which will become de-
partments of CIRAD, two more departments will be created, one of them con-
cerned with farming systems (DSA, Departement Systemes Agraires).


1. 1 "Les Unites Experimentales" in Senegal


The history of agricultural research in Senegal provides a good example
of the evolution of thought on the role and concerns of agricultural re-
search in France and Francophone Africa. This evolution can be viewed as
having had the following phases (Tourte, 1977):
1. 1921-1940: a nearly exclusive focus on groundnuts as an export crop, and
on varietal improvement (mainly at the groundnut research station in
Bambey). Some exploratory work on food crops such as millet, sorghum and
cow pea.
2. 1938-1950: a wider focus on the soudano-sahelian physical environment
whereby Bambey becomes the centre of French West African agricultural
research. Detailed studies identifying the specific climatological and
natural constraints, in particular the extreme variability of yields.
3. 1950-1960: a concerted effort to overcome the technical constraints to
production. Large scale soil surveys in order to determine fertilizer
(mineral and organic) and soil preparation requirements. Introduction of
animal traction and ploughs, breeding of heavier oxen, detailed recommen-
dations concerning cultivation techniques (esp. planting densities). Al-
so varietal improvement of millet and sorghum; studies on cassava, coarse
grains, fodder crops. The technical basis for more intensive cropping
systems is laid.
4. 1960-1970: whereas research up to then had been nearly exclusively com-
ponent and commodity oriented with a view to developing cultivation
techniques, varieties and equipment as inputs for government or parasta-
tal development companies, research orientations changed considerably.
Questions regarding the role and methods of agricultural research were
raised by the failures of many development programmes in the 1960s. Some
of the new insights were:
the awareness that agricultural production is carried out by farmers
who seek production systems that best fulfill their needs given the
socio-economic and ecological environment;
the need to define research priorities on the basis of an understand-
ing of the rural environment and national objectives;
the inadequacy of the transfer of research results through the exten-
sion service to farmers, while at the same time these results were of-
ten no more-than basic themes developed in the artificial context of
research institutes;
the necessity to study the combination and application of technologies
as well as the development of integrated production systems;
consequently, the desire to test integrated systems in reality with a
view to identifying constraints to their application.
















The focus during this period was on further intensification of cropping
patterns, diversification, the refinement of fertilizer recommendations
and the development of light machinery. However, the major innovation
was the concept of system and the definition of production systems that
are adapted to the technical and economic environment. Potential and ac-
tual yield increases were considerable.
In 1968 the Unites Experimentales were initiated by the Senegalese Go-
vernment and IRAT/GERDAT, in which the national agricultural research
programme ISRA has participated from its creation in 1975. Its headquar-
ters are located at the research station in Bambey, whereas the two "Uni-
tes Experimentales" are situated in the Sine Saloum. An "Unite Experimen-
tale" is defined as a geographical and social unit where the results of
agricultural research will be tested on a real scale with a view to de-
veloping and refining production systems that take into account the in-
teractions between the physical and human environments. The two Unites
covered 6000 ha (2200 inhabitants) and 4500 ha (2000 inhabitants), re-
spectively, and included several villages and hamlets that were united
into cooperatives. The creation of the Unites Experimentales (U.E.) must
be considered a milestone in the history of FSR. For the first time,
production systems became not only subject of research, but their study
was also institutionalized within the existing research structure. At
the same time, the U.E. were considered as a pilot project where techni-
cally sound interventions were tested for their economic and social fea-
sibility. More precisely, the objectives were:
the promotion of intensified production systems under real conditions,
taking into account the physical environment, national development
goals, economic constraints and farmers' possibilities, on the basis
of technical and economic recommendations from trial fields;
the definition of attitudes and behaviour that these intensive produc-
tion systems require, of both the extension agent and the farmer, ac-
cording to farm type;
the identification of technical, economic and social constraints to
farm level production increase and to the diffusion of the proposed
production systems;
the assessment of the real potential of the area and the description
of the steps needed in the transition of traditional to intensified
systems; the follow-up of interventions on a larger scale.
5. 1970-1980: definition of pathways to agrarian reform; attempts to involve
farmers in the formulation of new technologies. A distinction is being
made between 'light' innovations and more 'fundamental' innovations
(themes legers et themes lourds). 'Light' or 'classical' innovations in-
clude improvements added to the traditional production system without
altering its structure, such as new food crop varieties', fertilizer,
light equipment. 'Fundamental' innovations, however, are a coherent


Sin particular groundnuts, millet, cow pea, corn, rice, D. lablab.














package aiming at an overall intensification leading towards a profound
transformation of the traditional production systems: land improvement
and reorganisation of land holdings in order to allow permanent cultiva-
tion ameliorationon fonciere"); use of heavy equipment and animal trac-
tion; destumping; heavy fertilizer and phosphate dressings; improved
rotation patterns; ploughing and green manuring; improved seed and seed
quality control; reafforestation with Eucalypt and Neem on erosion-prone
fields.
The two sets of innovations or themes are not necessarily diametrically
opposed but rather complementary: while the themes e1gers constitute an
efficient instrument to assist the rural population in its transition
from a subsistence economy, they may by no means be considered an end
in themselves. IRAT has clearly expressed its conviction that the clas-
sical themes are inadequate to develop the full agricultural potential
of Senegal, for which the themes lourds are essential (Tourte, 1971).
In this view, restricting research to the development of improvements
in the traditional production systems will necessarily limit economic
growth.


This brief and necessarily incomplete description of the historical evo-
lution of the "Unitds Expdrimentales" makes it possible to highlight three
new features that were introduced into agricultural research:
1. Detailed procedures for data collection outside the research station
throughout the process of technology formulation (Billaz and Dufumier,
1980:128):
case studies of farm enterprises, covering several years, undertaken
by a resident observer;
follow-up studies of a sample covering 15% of the farms to obtain data
on relations between climate, soils, yields, management, income, adop-
tion of "themes" through factor analysis;
several types of surveys, e.g. nutritional, demographic, cadastral;
examination of the cooperatives' financial status;
group and individual interviews.
2. Explicit linkages between research and development organizations: work-
ing on a realistic scale outside the agricultural research station (a
scale intermediate between the 36 m2 standard trial plot and the 1000 km2
area usually covered by an extension service branch) made it possible
for agronomists and development workers to interact on a continuing basis.
The delivery of appropriate recommendations to the extension services
became a priority rather than the last minute preoccupation it had
sometimes been before. In this way the process of development itself be-
comes subject of research, and the researcher must express him(her)self
in "development terms" (Tourte, 1977:19) in order to be understood. The
SODEVA* (formerly SATEC) was created to strengthen the agricultural de-


1 Society de D4veloppement Agricole.















velopment of the region through input deliveries; SODEVA became also re-
sponsible for the extension of the technical "themes" outside the initial
two U.E. The notion of direct feedback into research through field
trials, farmers' reactions and environmental changes became acceptable,
as well as the combination of short term (themes 16gers) and longer term
(themes lourds) research goals.
3. The acceptance of the systeme de production" in all its complexities as
a unit of analysis, leading to a decentralisation and location-specifity
of research and to the recognition of farmers' motivations as well as
national development goals as evaluation criteria next to agronomic cri-
teria.


The concrete results of the U.E. approach may be summarized as follows:
- in 1980, the intensified "systbme de production" (themes lourds, amlior-
ation fonciere) includes over 40% of all the cultivated land in the two
U.E., while cropping patterns have been diversified to replace the tradi-
tional cash crop groundnutss) with cotton and corn. It must be acknowled-
ged that the themes lourds were adapted by farmers to suit their needs:
destumping proved to be a primary bottleneck, while the acreage under
cotton was ultimately reduced. Moreover, post-harvest plowing under of
straw was hardly adopted due to labour shortages;
- introduction of modern small scale equipment for soil preparation (ani-
mal traction) and cereal processing;
- development of traditional livestock management systems, including vete-
rinary coverage;
- design of a farm enterprise monitoring system (based on a simulation
model). However, insufficient experience has been gained in the extension
of "themes" on a larger scale;
- the establishment of a (para-statal) cereal marketing system, parallel
to the private sector (ONCAD);
- development of extension methods involving farmers' groups as well as
influential individual farmers in the transfer of new messages and the
administration of short term credit; the "conseil de gestion", a special
counseling technique adapted to a farmer's specific situation helping
him to formulate his road to intensification;
- remarkable increases in potential farmer grain yields (groundnut, sorghum,
millet) through the introduction of high fertilizer dosages (5-600 kg/ha),
ox-drawn ploughing and high-responsive varieties (average maximum grain
yields 3-5 t/ha).
Yet, these results also raise two types of questions. Firstly, a number
of technical issues that need further research and on-farm experimentation,
on an interdisciplinary level, such as: a better integration of livestock
and food crop production (manure, fodder, animal traction), testing of ade-
quate equipment for land preparation and post harvest processing, and opti-
mal water and soil conservation methods, in particular to stabilize phos-
phate levels.














Secondly, a number of problems remain that require more reflection:
1. the definition of the basic unit of analysis: the concepts of 'carrd'
(residential unit) and 'exploitation' (farm enterprise) do not neces-
sarily overlap. It has been pointed out that this leads to an overesti-
mation of the' available labour per production unit (Venema, 1978:84).
Certain innovations, therefore, are not within reach of poorer households
with a more limited labour force. The sexual division of labour should be
taken into account when estimating labour force. The effects of technical
innovations on the intrahousehold distribution of resources and wealth
should be examined.
2. target group categorization: within the U.E. three types of farmers have
been distinguished: large influential farmers, medium and poor farmers.
It has been documented that farmers have been reached according to their
farm size, in decreasing order. The U.E. did not make an explicit choice
for resource-poor farmers. On the contrary, it is likely that wealthier
farmers have participated in the farmers' tests, and, therefore, some
care should be taken in the interpretation of the results of 'successful'
tests. Elsewhere in Senegal, it has been demonstrated that small farmers
tend to cultivate the poorest soils, and the cultivation techniques aimed
at large farmers with fewer labour and fertility constraints may not be
applied by them (Ange, 1982).
3. extension and farmer participation: the development of extension methods
with a view to increasing farmers' awareness and participation has lagged
behind, in particular in the evaluation of the on-farm tests. There is
no clear effort to include women in technical extension programmes.
4. input delivery mechanisms and marketing have been included as an explicit
objective of the U.E., which promotes a type of action research to create
or strengthen producers' organizations, but it is doubtful whether self-
sustaining structures do now exist.
5. most pressing is the issue of replicability and scale: how is it possible
to extend this approach beyond the two experimental units to a larger
region?


It must be concluded that the U.E. have been successful because of the
specific political and institutional context of Senegal; this included a
dynamic, decentralised research structure where multi-locational testing
had already become part of a long standing tradition. In this way, the in-
tegration of non-agronomic socio-economic variables did not constitute a
radical break with the past. Last but not least, it must be underlined that
the socialist policies as reflected in the agricultural sector plans more
or less explicitly supported the conscientization and active participation
of farmers.














1.2 Theoretical framework and concepts of the Francophone approaches to FSR


The Unites Experimentales in Sine Saloum are only one, albeit perhaps
the most well-known and best documented case of early FSR experiences. Other
programmes that should be mentioned are the Operations Integres de Re-
cherche-Developpement in Algeria, a French bilateral aid programme in Nica-
ragua, the agricultural intensification project in northern Tunesian coope-
ratives and state farms, the ORD/Yatenga in Upper Volta, the ISRA/MSU pro-
ject in the Casamance (Senegal), IER/DRSPR in South Mali, as well as numer-
ous more recent activities in Ivory Coast, Brasil, Niger, Cameroun and else-
where, not in the least in France itself (see also: Billaz and Dufumier,
1980).
It goes without saying, therefore, that there is not a single Francophone
approach to FSR. Yet a number of key concepts common to most of these pro-
grams may be identified.
Central to the Francophone approach to farming systems is the idea of
"Recherche-Developpement" (R-D), pointing to the essential linkage of agri-
cultural research activities to (rural) development actions1. It stems from
the awareness that solutions to concrete farm level problems can come nei-
ther from isolated research stations nor from the simplistic formulas often
used by development workers. R-D is the study of the application, on the
basis of tests conducted under real physical and socio-economic conditions,
of technical and social changes, in particular the intensification of agri-
cultural production (including the management of natural resources) and the
creation of producer organizations and delivery systems. R-D comprises
three, complementary, activities:
the study of the conditions of application of production systems that
have been developed in agricultural research stations, in particular
through field tests;
the identification of the principal factors that limit agricultural pro-
duction and the choice and testing of solutions to overcome these con-
straints;
the development of policies and methods improving the socio-ecomomic
conditions of production (Billaz and Dufumier, 1980:19).


In practice, R-D concentrates mainly on innovations and/or packages in
the field of labour (input and skills), types and quantities of agricultu-
ral inputs (seeds, fertilizer, tools and machinery), and the organisation
and management of production systems. R-D projects rarely tested economic
innovations in the field of marketing, price policies, agricultural wages,
credit or agrarian reform in general. The question has been asked, of
course, to what extent economic structures can be included at all as experi-
mental variables. R-D has never conducted experiments on variables for which



I Recherche-Developpement should not be confused with the American term "R&D".















the centres of decision-making were located outside the sample or beyond
the level of organisation that is being studied, e.g. prices or marketing,
and this remains one of its limitations.
In all cases, however, the objective of R-D has been the gradual trans-
formation of the physical as well as the socio-economic environment whereby
a set of technical innovations constituted the starting point. R-D actions
have been limited in time as well as in space, as is required for a scien-
tific experiment, although there have been large differences in the number
of years and surfaces and areas covered. R-D is not able to formulate an
overall agricultural or rural development policy, but may provide important
elements for such a policy. The subjects of R-D studies are summarized be-
low:




DISCIPLINES

agronomy existing farming field tests < proposed farming systems
producingg systems) (developed in research
station)

compare agronomic compare with wider eco-
results in economic nomic + social context
context
t t
sociology & existing agrarian study relations of proposed/new organizations
economics structures production: households, + models for agrarian
intra-household structure
dynamics and
interhousehold dynamics

Figure 1. Subjects of study of the R-D (recherche-developpement) approach to farming sys-
tems (adapted from Billaz and Dufumier, 1980).

It may be deducted from the figure that R-D makes a distinction between
several types of environment in which research takes place (GERDAT, 1982):
- the real environment: the domain of extension more than of research since
the researcher will only observe and evaluate the application of techno-
logy but will not intervene in an active way;
- the controlled environment: the real environment where the researcher
and/or extension worker intervenes in order to try out and to test inno-
vations. This calls for rigorous observation methods depending on the
type of experiment;
- the managed environment: research station setting where all external
variables are strictly managed by researchers.
It becomes clear from this table that R-D is more than the study of farm-
ing or production systems (etude des systemes de production), and that the
two concepts are not interchangeable. R-D operates at 4 levels of observa-
tion to which 4 units of analysis correspond. From the specific to the gen-
eral these are:




















Table 1. Levels and units of analysis in the R-D (recherche-developpement) approach to
farming systems research (adapted from de Miranda and Billaz, 1980).

Level Unit of analysis Study of:

1. field/plot a. cropping system a. soils, agro-ecological history,
systeme de culture) crop/weed/insect populations,
micro-climate
b. livestock system b. also: herds, grazing conditions
systeme d'elevage)

2. farm farming system means and methods of production,
(systeme de production) incl. non-agricultural work; recent
history, past change in capital and
technology utilization; labour films;
household budgets

3. village village production systems management of natural resources, land
systeme agraire/terroir) evaluation, climate, vegetation, mor-
phology, etc., (social) control of
natural resources and water

4. subregion subregional production system idem but on a scale of 10.000 ha and
(systeme agraire/petite region) over


GERDAT (1982) defines the farm ("exploitation agricole" or "unite de
production agricole") as a combination of a production system, the agents
of the system (those who work, those who benefit) and the environment put
into production. Thus, farming system is a combination of productions and
production factors applied by a farmer to satisfy his needs: a combination,
therefore, of all the subsystems of land utilization (crops, forests, herds,
hunting and gathering). An agrarian system is then a combination of agricul-
tural activities undertaken by a community or (sub)region to satisfy its
needs.
The results of this type of analysis must be integrated in such a way
that it becomes possible to;
- diagnose the conditions of natural resource utilization,
- define the existing production patterns,
- analyse the impact of these patterns on the natural resource conditions,
and vice versa the impact of natural resource conditions on yields.
This requires an integration of the usual disciplinary approaches:
"downstream" ("en aval") from the general to the more specific, most often
practised by geographers and economists who take the (sub)regions as their
starting point, and "upstream" ("en amount) from the smallest units (fields,
crops, herds) to the more general, which constitutes the normal approach in
agronomy.
The role of the social sciences in R-D deserves mention. Multidisciplin-
ary research is required at each level and in each stage; this requires a
joint definition of the objectives, of the time frame and of the area under



Again these terms should not be confused with the Anglophone concepts of "upstream" and
"downstream" FSR













study. The socio-economic sciences participate from the beginning and not
after the technical research is well under way. In the R-D approach, the
socio-economic contribution comes from three parties: from scientists par-
ticipating in the research team, from development workers and, last but not
least, from farmers. Social science is required to understand the "real
structures of production".
The role of R-D research is to develop and test technically possible pro-
duction systems, given a number of external constraints and criteria. These
criteria are: (1) production, per hectare and per worker, (2) value of the
work invested, i.e. man hours in comparison to the value of the crop yield,
(3) energy balance, calorie/protein yield versus calorie/protein invest-
ments, (4) ecological costs, (5) integration into national objectives.
Recently, it has been suggested that one should aim at an integrated R-D
approach to overcome the Anglophone distinction between upstream and down-
stream research, whereby upstream research endeavours to produce experimen-
tal solutions to technical problems, and downstream research is site-spe-
cific and addresses the entire agrarian system. In the definition of Lefort
(1983:4) integrated R-D or IRD involves "action research and participation,
closely linking research workers, development agents and producers in a
common approach to a comprehensive analysis, experimentation and action for
the development of production systems and agrarian structures". It follows
that IRD must be based on the requests and needs of development agencies
and producers.
In the context of Francophone agricultural research, a distinction is
also made between analytical research (recherche analytique), usually re-
ferred to in English as component research, and systematic research (re-
cherche systdmique), which aims at integrating the results of component re-
search, while at the same time assessing economic feasibility and practi-
cality at farm level (sometimes called "downstream" in English).
It is possible to distinguish several phases in R-D, but it must be noted
that in practice these phases do not necessarily constitute a chronological
sequence and often occur simultaneously or as problems are emerging during
the research process:
1. observation and analysis of constraints to rural and agricultural devel-
opment; this requires a multi-disciplinary effort whereby action is
mainly taken by researchers. Surveys are carried out, leading to a "zon-
age" (homogeneous units, based largely on agro-biological and technical
criteria) and to a typology1 of farm enterprises;
2. formulation of farm models or new farming systems formulated in a quan-
titative way and comprising the hypotheses to be tested;
3. definition of multi-locational trials on substations, on farms and in
"test-villages";
4. evaluation and interpretation of trial results;



I "zonage" and "typologie" together are roughly equivalent to the Anglophone "definition
of recommendation domains".












5..proposals for and discussions with development programmes;
6. definitions of new hypotheses for further research (cf. Ramond, 1970;
Billaz and Dufumier, 1980; Tourte and Billaz, 1982).
Great emphasis is placed on the classification of farms according to types.
The criterion for classification is that between farms of the same category,
which therefore are similar in size and number of people employed, no signi-
ficant differences are to be found in terms of annual per capital income.
Within each agro-ecological zone as defined through the 'zonage' several
socio-economic types of farms may be found. Farm models are in fact the
proposed combinations of improved or new technologies, i.e. the proposed
farming systems, and include in particular mineral fertilizer and manure
applications in combination with land preparation with draught animals.
Destumping constitutes an essential step in land improvement.
The most advanced farm model tested by IRAT in eastern Senegal combined
intensive rotation, heavy fertilizer dressings (up to 500-600 kg/ha, basic
phosphate and lime dressings during fallow), high-yielding varieties, deep
tillage with one yoke of draught oxen, use of three permanent labourers, on
an average farm size of 10 ha, divided into 4 fields. The proposed pure crop-
ping system consisted of a rotation with 50% under cash crops (groundnut and
cotton) and 50% under cereals (maize, millet sorghum). The fallow was elim-
inated progressively. There has been a strong emphasis on semi-motorized
cultivation, which later shifted towards animal traction. Although there
was a need to increase the acreage under cultivation, in many instances bot-
tlenecks appeared at weeding and harvesting which could not be overcome.
Detailed study has allowed the calculation of economic constraints. It turns
out, in fact, that the gross product per hectare is relatively low in spite
of satisfactory yield levels (2500 kg/ha for groundnut and sorghum, and
2000 kg/ha for cotton), due to high input prices.
GERDAT's broad classification of existing farming systems in West-Africa
illustrates the Francophone use of the concept of farming system (GERDAT,
1982):
1. shifting cultivation systems: extensive, without real land shortage,
usually mixed cropping;
2. semi-sedentary systems: moderate land shortage, cash crop production in-
tegrated with subsistence production at plot or field level (e.g. mil-
let/groundnut rotations in Senegal), at farm level (separate fields for
subsistence and cash crops) or at village level (permanent cash crop
production areas (p6rimetres de culture modernisee). Possible introduc-
tion of small scale mechanisation allowing increases in acreage, reduc-
tion of mixed cropping;
3. sedentary systems: acute land shortage, (very) short fallows depending,
among other things, on the stability of soil fertility levels and on
technology levels. There are three types of sedentary systems:
a. stable integrated livestock-crop systems (woodland savanna), e.g.
Serer tribelands in Senegal;















b. livestock-crop systems that have been destabilized by the introduc-
tion of cash crops and by population pressures but that have main-
tained a more or less satisfactory equilibrium through the use of im-
proved technologies (inputs and resource management); e.g. cotton
growing areas like western Upper Volta, southern Mali, northern Ivory
Coast;
c. mono-crop (or crop association) systems often resulting from this de-
stabilisation process: a vicious circle of diminishing yields and
over-exploitation of land (without fallow) leading to low input/in-
vestment levels, e.g. northern Senegal, Mossi plateau (Upper Volta).
4. Livestock dominated systems: different types being: nomadic (Sahel);
seasonal nomadic; herds integrated at village level under joint manage-
ment; herds integrated at farm level (animal traction).


Forestry subsystems are supposed to be part of each farming system.
Within each class of this classification, variability between farming sys-
tems may be high and further subtypes need to be defined according to the
specific situation. De Miranda and Billaz (1980) suggest the following
dichotomy in semi-sedentary farming systems (FS) in Niger: intensive FS
(weed control, organic matter input, high plant density) versus extensive
FS (little weeding or manuring, low plant density). Up to 50-100% differ-
ences in yield occur, between the two types of farming system, the differ-
ences increasing if the average annual rainfall decreases.
One of the aims of R-D has been to define, for each class of FS, the se-
quence of themes lgers themes lourds syst&mes intensifs ("itindraire
technique"), i.e. the technical and socio-eonomic changes and pathways re-
quired to reach optimal production levels.
The three partners of any R-D process are farmers, development workers
and researchers. Usually farmers and researchers do not communicate direct-
ly but only through established development agencies. R-D proposed a radi-
cally different pattern of communication whereby all three partners commu-
nicate with each other:



OD
developme t



research farmers


Figure 2. Communication between researchers, farmers and development workers.


This direct communication is necessary because researchers need to learn
from farmers how they manage their existing farming systems, and farmers
need to be able to try innovations as they are proposed by researchers. The
role of development is mainly one of long term diffusion of innovations,













Agricultural research stations should focus on an agro-economic analysis
of field types. They should construct models of field types in order to
simulate farmers' conditions; these models must reflect existing practices
(such as mixed cropping) and labour input as well as ecological conditions.
It may be concluded that de Schlippe has emphasized the notion of agri-
culture as a cultural-agronomic phenomenon (rather than an economic phenom-
enon, as he was mainly speaking about subsistence production). There is no
real equivalent in to-day's FSR theory to his concepts of system of agri-
culture and field system although they may be compared to farming and crop-
ping system, respectively. He makes no mention of on-farm experimentation.


2.2 INEAC and the paysannats


Extensive research has been carried out on many aspects of agricultural
development in the former Belgian Congo. Although the development of export
and industrial crops has been stressed, basic work on the classification of
soils and vegetation patterns has been undertaken, as well as studies on
subsistence production and consumption and the improvement of food crops,
from 1933 onwards. In that year INEAC (Institut National pour 1'Etude Agro-
nomique du Congo Belge) was created and soon nearly 40 research stations
and centres were established in the Congo and Ruanda-Urundi. INEAC was com-
pletely independent vis A vis the local administration, as the only super-
vision was exercised at the Department of Colonies in Belgium. As a result
great flexibility and continuity were achieved, but the absence of direct
links with the extension service has not facilitated the application of re-
search results. As has been pointed out, "by its independence, its strongly
centralised organisation and the quality ..... of its leaders, INEAC played
a more important role ..... than is usual for a research organisation"
(Drachoussoff, 1965:187).
Miracle (1967:243) has remarked: "the volume, scope and quality of the
resulting research is unparalleled in tropical Africa". Particular emphasis
was placed on increasing potential yields under peasant conditions, and
yield increases ranged from 87% (beans) through 150% groundnutss) and 233%
(rice) to an astonishing 380% for cassava (Jurion, 1952:8). The diffusion
of selected varieties tested in local trials was therefore an important ac-
tivity.
The transformation of traditional agriculture necessitated a study of
the physical and human environment with a view to defining the plant and
animal species most profitable for the area concerned and the new socio-
economic structures to be established. In chronological order, the follow-
ing disciplines had to contribute to such a study (Jurion and Henri, 1967:
71-72): geography and demography law and social science soil science
and botany climatology agronomy. The area was then classified into dif-
ferent zones according to development potential.













In 1917 legislation was passed to enforce compulsory cultivation of pre-
determined acreages ("Cultures Imposees") in order to encourage food pro-
duction (Fresco, 1982). The establishment of resettlement schemes supple-
mentary to the system of obligatory acreages became a necessary instrument
in the development policy of Belgian administrators. INEAC assisted in ela-
borating the technical features of this resettlement policy: the concept of
"paysannat". This organisational structure aimed at helping farmers to be-
come "true farmers ..... able to manage their resources and apply agricul-
tural techniques with a view to maximizing (their) profits, the welfare of
(the) family ....." (Jurion and Henry, 1967:75). "Paysannats" were mainly
created at a pilot scale, directed by a team representing the research sta-
tion, the colonial administration, the extension service, the veterinary
services, the local (tribal) authorities and private companies. "Paysannats"
had first and foremost an educational function, to develop and disseminate
improved and sometimes intensified farming methods. Simultaneously, the
paysannat was to create cooperatives to supply inputs and buy products at
stable prices. A main feature was the spatial reorganisation of agriculture
to make optimal use of and improve the physical resources. For each ecolog-
ical region of the Congo the exact location as well as the necessary im-
provements of each spatial unit were determined: the village, the fields
under cultivation, the fallows, the rotations, the pastures, the perennial
plantations, firewood lots, fish ponds and roads. Fields and fallows were
laid out in couloirss", corridors with a width of 100 m, in East-West orien-
tation (to assure maximum sunlight). The length of the couloir depended on
the number of farmers. The number of the couloirs equalled the total number
of years in the cultivation and fallow cycle, so that alternating couloirs
could be opened up annually. This basic system has obviously been modified
to suit each ecological and social setting. The objectives to encourage
modern farming techniques including the use of machinery, fertilizer and
pesticides, but also, of course, to facilitate supervision by the adminis-
tration. At the same time, the couloir system was to be an adaptation of
the "Bantu" system of farming, a rationalisation of the traditional system
(Drachoussoff, 1965:53).
The couloir system was far from successful everywhere, although in the
decade of its existence (1950s) about 200.000 households had been included,
but the expected productivity break-through did not materialise. The intro-
duction of modern cultivation techniques was still limited; fertilizer and
mechanisation were only used on a pilot scale. INEAC itself has attempted
to find explanations for the slow rate of development of the indigenous
agricultural sector. The gap between average farm yields, even within the
paysannats, and those obtained in research stations has been pointed out.
The great variation in yields and income between farmers in the same pay-
sannat is cited to explain this yield gap: some farmers are more capable
than others (Jurion and Henry, 1967:362). There has been little systematic














attempt to analyse specific constraints to production at farm level, al-
though it is acknowledged that land tenure, lack of capital, insufficient
extension efforts, and low labour productivity play their role, as well as
linkage problems between research and extension.


Paysannats remained a colonial invention and have been severely criti-
cized for their paternalistic and authoritarian features (Dumont, 1962:55).
It must be acknowledged, however, that some of the concepts underlying the
paysannat strategy the holistic approach, the detailed study of agro-bio-
logical as well as socio-economic aspects of the environment, and to some
extent, the gradual introduction of appropriate technical innovations -
cannot be ignored in an analysis of the roots of FSR.



3 ANGLOPHONE FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH IN ALL ITS VARIATIONS


Farming Systems Research or FSR can be considered an outcome of two in-
terrelated patterns of evolution within post-war thinking on agricultural
development strategies. First, there has been an increasing emphasis on
small farmers as a target group for development assistance (see, for exam-
ple, R6ling e.a., 1979), as a reaction to the widespread failures occurring
in large scale food production schemes (Lele, 1975). Secondly, agricultural
research in low income countries has moved from a focus on export crops
through the wholesale transfer of modern technology to an awareness of the
need to adapt successful western techniques to third world conditions, sup-
plemented by a "bottom-up" orientation (Norman, 1983:3). There is more and
more evidence today, that the "very style and organisation of most current
agricultural R&D will not adequately take account of the circumstances of
small farmers and improve their productivity" (Whyte, 1981:X). Hence the
need for new strategies in agricultural research, which have assumed differ-
ent names but all come under the heading farming or cropping-systems or
participatory research.
Participatory research is the term used to describe an approach to the
generation of new agricultural technologies for limited resource family
farms. It is thereby assumed that the generation of new agricultural tech-
nologies is an important tool for improving both the optimal use of the
farm household's resources and the welfare of family members. In contrast
to traditional agricultural research, which often neglected the interaction
between the elements of the farming systems and focused on agro-ecological
components (soils, crops, livestock), participatory research emphasizes a
holistic approach to the farm and its socio-economic environment whereby
the active participation of farmers in the research process becomes a goal
in itself. It is recognized that farmers' knowledge and experience can play
an important role in the improvement of their practices. The main character-
istics of FSR will be discussed briefly below.













3.1 Farming Systems Research sensu strzcto


A great number of activities is conducted in the name of FSR, and defi-
nitions of farming system as well as farming system research are numerous.
They may be defined very broadly: "a farming system ..... is not simply a
collection of crops and animals to which one can apply this input or that
and expect immediate results. Rather it is a complicated interwoven mesh of
soils, plants, animals, implements, workers, other inputs and environmental
influences with the strands held and manipulated by a person called the far-
mer who, given his preferences and aspirations, attempts to produce output
from the inputs and technology available to him ..... FSR ..... is aimed at
enhancing the efficacy of farming systems through the better focussing of
agricultural research so as to facilitate the generation and testing of im-
proved technology" (CGIAR, 1978:8)1. Some definitions are rather fluid: "an
approach to agricultural research and development that views the whole farm
as a system and focuses on (1) interdependencies between the components
under the control of members of the farm household and (2) how these compon-
ents interact with physical, biological and socio-economic factors not under
the household's control" (Shaner e.a., 1982:13).
Research with a farming systems perspective can have various objectives
such as increasing the body of knowledge about farming systems or solving
specific problems in a given system (Byerlee e.a., 1982:897). It would seem
that there is substantial agreement that increasing the productivity of
small farmers is a primary aim of FSR. Productivity may be improved through
the development of relevant technology and complementary policies, and FSR
is concerned with both (Gilbert e.a., 1980:2) although in practice the main
emphasis has been in agricultural or even crop technology development.
Chambers and Ghildyal have recently questioned the explicit focus on re-
source-poor farmers as a genuine concern of what they call 'farmer-first-
and-last' methodologies, arguing that there is no guarantee in FSR type
programmes that the conditions and needs of the poor will be catered for
(1984:15).
Much of the confusion over the nature of FSR can be explained by the
fact that the term 'system' is used at two different levels: at the farm
enterprise level (farming system) and at the regional or area level (agri-
cultural systems or recommendation domain). Moreover, apart from work on
cropping systems (Ruthenberg: 1980), no useful typology or classification
of systems exists (Simmonds, 1984).
A review of the literature shows the ways in which the term farming sys-
tem (or also 'cropping system') is used to designate different concepts:



If this definition is maintained, "there is little activity concerned with agricultural
and rural development which cannot claim some relationship with FSR" (Gilbert e.a.,
1980:31).














- a complex of agricultural practices, i.e. the description of current
practices: what do farmers actually do?
a package of innovations, e.g. in "the development of new farming sys-
tems", i.e. a prescription: what farmers ought to do in the future.
as a category in a classification of farming c.q. cropping systems; Ru-
thenberg distinguishes farming system (a category) from farm system (a
concrete set of activities of one farmer), e.g. "farming systems with
permanent unpland cultivation".
the farm household, e.g. "the farming system and its (labour) resources"
or "the farming system's access to cash".


Likewise, FSR, or, for that matter, CSR, have acquired two distinct mean-
ings:
a method of research, with an emphasis on informal surveys and on-farm
experiments,
a development strategy, in contrast to the "top down" imposing of tech-
nology on farmers (see also Sadikin, 1982).


Another distinction is the one between "upstream" and "downstream" FSR.
Upstream programs use a systems approach to provide proto-type solutions on
experiment stations to major constraints and contribute to the body of
knowledge. Downstream programs aim at developing and introducing strategies
that will improve the productivity of existing farming systems of defined
categories of farmers (Norman, 1982).
Hart and Pinchinat (1981:564) suggest that farming systems research in-
volves a minimum of three levels in the hierarchy of systems, e.g. the lev-
els: agro-ecosystem, crop system, and individual crop.
The best way to examine FSR is through its concrete activities. Simmonds
(1984) lists the following characteristics of OFE/FSP as it is practiced by
most of the institutes of CGIAR:
1. multidisciplinary team, usually attached to an IARC (International
Agricultural Research Center)
2. identification of target farming systems (or recommendation domains)
3. analysis of technical and economic structure of farming systems
4. identification of potential innovations
5. testing on experiment station and farms
6. collaboration with national agricultural research programs
7. repetition of experiments (in associated.countries)
8. successful innovations transmitted to the extension services
9. feedback from extension transmitted to national program and IARC
10. IARC assumes responsibility for training and networking.


Within the actual process of FSR or FSR/E the following stages may be
distinguished:














1. identification of existing farming systems (diagnostic stage) through
informal surveys and case studies (techniques elaborated by Hildebrand
(1981) and Collinson (1982)),
2. definition of recommendation domains consisting of categories of homogen-
eous farming systems,
3. thorough analysis of each recommendation domain and its constraints,
sometimes through a formal, quantitative survey,
4. selection of known interventions that are likely to increase the produc-
tivity of existing farming systems and overcome constraints,
5. pre-screening of these interventions with respect to the resources of
the farming system, and with respect to local delivery and infrastruc-
ture systems,
6. testing and adaptation of interventions under farmers' conditions through
on-farm trials,
7. evaluation of interventions with farmers and in comparison to existing
production levels,
8. extension of successful interventions to farmers outside the trial area.


Two central concepts in the FSR approach are the recommendation domain
(RD) and on-farm experimentation (OFE). The definition of RDs is essential
because FSR is most efficient for relatively homogeneous categories of far-
mers. The criterion for distinguishing categories is the extent to which
final technological recommendations are affected: each category comprises
farmers with similar practices and circumstances for whom a given recommend-
ation will be broadly appropriate (Byerlee e.a., 1982). RD is mainly based
on stratification of farmers and not so much on geographical area, so that
socio-economic criteria are combined with agro-climatic ones. As a result,
farmers of different RDs may be interspersed in a given area. FSR aims to
focus on those RDs that conform to policy objectives. Rapid rural appraisals
provide the basic data for distinguishing RDs. It is often emphasized that
FSR is location-specific:the interventions and solutions resulting from the
FSR process are only appropriate for the RD where it has been developed and
they cannot be transmitted to other RDs without going through the FSR se-
quence again.
On-farm experiments (OFE) may involve different levels of researcher su-
pervision and farmer management. Farmer control in the management of trials
increases throughout the process of testing and adaptation. In general, the
researchers involved in OFE are agronomists, or, sometimes, economists
(Matlon, 1983).
The linkages between FSR and "main stream" agricultural research have
been the subject of many discussions (e.g. Whyte, 1981; Andrew and Hilde-
brand, 1982). The major question remains how individual pilot programs with
anFSR perspective can be integrated into the established structure of re-
search stations and national programs. One of the most successful examples
















of integration of FSR into a national program has been the establishment in
Zambia of the ARPT (Adaptive Research Planning Teams) with a FSR perspective
to complement already existing commodity research teams with a view to de-
fining recommendation domains and planning on-farm experiments.
Amidst hundreds of reports mentioning FSR activities, how should FSR as
such be judged? It seems that the farming systems approach deserves merit
for drawing attention to a number of neglected issues:
- a holistic view of the farm as a system including non-agricultural work,
- categorisation of farmers into homogeneous target groups,
- detailed diagnosis of constraints to (agricultural) production at farm
level,
- participation of farmers in the research process,
- informal survey and sondeo as a rapid and cost-effective technique to gain
substantial information.


3.2 Cropping Systems Research


Cropping Systems Research (or CSR) has first evolved at IRRI and is
still mainly undertaken by this institute or by institutes participating in
the Asian Cropping Systems Working Group. There have been many misunder-
standings concerning the nature and aims of CSR, and its relation to FSR.
In fact, CSR is not a component or an earlier stage of FSR, but a research
method with an altogether different perspective. The concept of cropping
systems owes much to Ruthenberg, who considers the farm as a hierarchy of
subsystems, of which the main intermediate levels (between soil and farm
level) are the crop system and the livestock system (and, to some extent,
also the processing level) (Ruthenberg, 1980).
The cropping system is defined as "the crop production activity of a
farm. It comprises all components required for the production of the set of
crops of a farm and the relationship between them and the environment.
These components include all necessary physical and biological factors, as
well as technology, labour and management" (Zandstra e.a., 1981). In prac-
tice the cropping systems studied have mainly been (irrigated) rice based
cropping systems. Annual production from a given area of land can be in-
creased by improving the yields of a crop or by growing an extra crop dur-
ing the year. CSR seeks technology that will increase production by both
methods: the introduction of improved management practices into existing
systems or the introduction of additional crops. In this process technology
is subjected to carefully specified resource limitations (Zandstra, 1982:
16). Improved management, in IRRI's terms, always includes the adoption of
new rice varieties and associated intensification of management. The boun-
daries of rice based cropping systems are thus the borders to the fields in
which rice is grown at least once a year, and the objective is to increase
productivity of crop production activities on those fields (IRRI, 1984).












However, influences from outside must be recognized in so far as they af-
fect the potential adoption of new cropping systems.
The assumption is that the most important limitation to the adoption of
the IRRI package is technological. In many cases, achieving a better fit of
production technology to farmers' physical and socio-economic environment
requires a change in technology formulation, or, in Zandstra's words, a
"submissive approach" to development, although, idealiter, CSR should com-
bine the submissive approach with an "interventionist approach" which aims
at changing the production environment (Zandstra, 1982).
The CSR sequence comprises the following stages (see Zandstra e.a., 1981;
Zandstra, 1982):
1. selection of target areas: geographical areas representative of a large
homogeneous zone, which are also priority areas for national governments.
2. site descriptions: including an identification of land types, a detailed
description of existing cropping patterns (i.e. the spatial and temporal
combination of crops on a plot and crop management methods) and cropping
systems, as well as farm type and farm resource base, whereby both on-
farm and off-farm resources must be described, as they relate to rice
based cropping systems.
3. design of alternative cropping patterns taking technical and economic
viability into account.
4. testing of alternative cropping patterns on farmers' fields monitored by
research staff, with a view to assessing responses to input levels of
each component.
5. preproduction testing and pilot production programs: multi-locational
testing of most profitable cropping patterns in similar sites (with re-
spect to land type). Pilot production programs are tested with a view to
extend the institutional structure in order to make the additional re-
sources required by the new technology available to farmers.
6. production program formulation: the training of extension staff by re-
searchers is required and institutional coordination with respect to
inputs and marketing must be achieved.


Special mention needs to be made here of constraints analysis, also
called yield-gap analysis, which provides a method to analyse yield con-
straints occurring in existing cropping patterns and to assess future con-
straints in alternative cropping patterns. Starting point is the observa-
tion that the IRRI package (HYV and improved management) have not been ac-
cepted by all farmers and that even where they have been adopted, farmers
do not achieve the potential high yields. In other words, there is a very
significant gap between potential and actual farm yields.
Because the limiting factors may be physical, biological, economic or
social in nature, constraints analysis requires a multi-disciplinary team
effort, although most work in this field has been undertaken by agronomists















and economists. The analysis consists of measuring the on-farm gap between
potential (i.e. with input levels for maximum yield) and actual yield, de-
termining the contribution of test factors (inputs and management) to this
gap and the extent to which these factors can be profitably increased given
the social and institutional environment, in other words the "economically
recoverable" yield gap (de Datta e.a., 1978). Constraints analysis has been
used either in isolation of in combination with CSR. Both focus on yield
per unit of land, although constraints analysis does not attempt to address
broader issues such as how management intensity could be increased through
technological innovations, nor does it emphasize constraints to (rice) prod-
uction imposed by circumstances beyond the farmer's control. More so than
CSR, constraints analysis tends to be ex-post, assuming that adequate tech-
nology has already been developed (Flinn, 1982). CSR as well as constraints
analysis put their main emphasis on: the analysis of the bio-physical en-
vironment, pest control and the selection and testing of new cultivars.
Both assume that improved technology esp. varieties are available, but
might need some adaption and that the yield gap can be bridged by interven-
tions by the farmers themselves through changes in their cropping patterns.
Recently, research at IRRI has moved towards the development of cropping
systems for drought and submergence prone areas (IRRI, 1984). Work on In-
tegrated Pest Management (IPM) at IRRI also deserved mention here, because
it is, if not explicitly so, in line with FSR; the collaboration of entomol-
ogists and social scientists has, amongst other things, led to a modifica-
tion of (purely quantitative) decision rules to ones that farmers can use.
As Goodell states: "if technology is to be used by farmers, its development
must start with them" (1982:27). A detailed account of CSR, in particular
in Latin America, and the importance of the rediscovery of peasant rational-
ity through the study of mixed cropping has been given by Whyte (1981:40-45).



4 LEARNING FROM A COMPARISON OF THE FRANCOPHONE AND ANGLOPHONE APPROACHES


The role attributed to agricultural research reflects more general views
about the role of the state and outside interventions in traditional agri-
culture. Thus, both the Francophone and Anglophone approaches must be inter-
preted in the light of the colonial and post-independence history of the
third world. However, we will limit our discussion to the most important
differences and to the questions they raise with respect to the future of
FSR.


It is useful to point here to two differences between the older genera-
tions of students of traditional agriculture, like de Vries and de Schlippe,
and farming systems research today. Firstly, in the past the FSR perspective
was confined to individual scholars who spent many years to understand all














the aspects, technical as well as socio-economic, of one particular farming
system. Interdisciplinary team work and rapid appraisal methods were more
or less unheard of. Secondly, the approach was not experimental but nearly
exclusively descriptive; on-farm experimentation did not occur. The objec-
tive was first and foremost to accumulate knowledge on traditional farming,
not to generate technology that is suitable for small farmers.
In contrast, FSR in general aims at increasing the effectiveness of ag-
ricultural research through the development of innovations that take account
of farmer's reality. Usual research stations procedures tend to lead to in-
adequate recommendations because they were developed on plots where the phys-
ical and management conditions differ from those of small farmers. As a result,
responses to experimental variables are biased in their magnitude and in
the shape of the responsefunction (Franzel 1983:3). Moreover, researchers'
criteria for evaluating new technologies are very different from those of
farmers, because the latter do not necessarily maximise single commodity
yields or gross profits, but seek optimality of the entire system.
In table 4 an attempt is made to summarize the major differences between
the Francophone and Anglophone approaches, that is to say between "ideal
types" rather than between specific FSR programmes.
The basic difference appears to be one of scale and time frame. on the
one hand, past French agricultural research, and to a large degree also pres-
ent day Francophone FSR, constitutes an integral part of a long term, country
wide rural development effort. The emphasis lies on developing the potential
of a (sub)region whereby technology provides a starting point. On the basis
of an assessment of this potential, i.e. the maximum production that can be
achieved given the ecological conditions and optimal input and management
levels, R-D defines the steps that will lead farmers to a complete trans-
formation of their farming systems. Institutional linkages with development
and extension programmes are crucial from the beginning, and in theory, the
development process itself becomes a subject of research. One of the goals
is to formulate adequate messages for dissemination by the extension service.
The existence of concepts like "syst6me agraire" and "milieu reel" point to
a concern with development on a scale large enough to have an impact on re-
gional or even national production levels. This also implies that Francophone
FSR will not focus exclusively on small farmers but will aim at a measurable
impact on yields which is usually more easily achieved through larger far-
mers. Changes in land tenure and infrastructure are included where appropri-
ate. It is logical, therefore, that R-D programmes are characterized by long
term commitments to a particular region or country.
On the other hand, Anglophone FSR is primarily concerned with the adapta-
tion of existing agricultural research to provide technology relevant to low
resource, low external input farmers. CSR examines why technology developed
in research stations has not led to yield increases and how constraints to
adoption may be overcome. The Anglophone approaches do not aim at a profound






Table 2: A comparison between Francophone



1 OBJECTIVES
explicit mention of national policy
generation of technologies relevant
to small farmers
ex-post analysis of technology
adoption results

2 PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS
interdisciplinarity

emphasis on hypothesis formulation
holistic approach
time perspective


3 TARGET GROUP CATEGORIZATION
farm enterprise as a unit of
analysis
socio-economic criteria for
categorization
geographical and physical criteria
for categorization


and Anglophone approaches to FSR.


FRANCOPHONE R-D


xxx
x

xx


xxx


ANGLOPHONE:


xxx


xxx
XXX
xx(x)
long-term/
several seasons


xxx

xx

xxx
XXX


x
xx(x)
short-term/
rapid appraisals


x
x
medium term


xxx


NOTES


CSR: mainly agronomists + economists
R-D: including geography

variable for FSR & R-D
CSR/FSR often one agricultural
season


CSR: often field or plot as unit of
analysis and little categorisation


4 ON-FARM EXPERIMENTS
farmer participation
size of trial plots


x
entire fields


x
part of farmer's
field


(x) generally weak
small plots FSR depending on type of trial


5 TYPES OF INTERVENTIONS
dissemination of technology
spatial reorganisation of
agricultural production
organisation of delivery systems
scale

6 INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT
close ties with/integrated in IARCs

linkages with extension services
links with (rural) development
programmes


xxx
area/subregion


xxx
(x)

(x)
pilot/area


xx
pilot


xx(x)

x


rare in FSR/CSR


R-D: "milieu reel"


FSR: increasing emphasis on
national research














transformation of the agricultural production structure. The development of
an institutional framework is not its main concern: often, FSR projects have
created their own delivery structure, and close contact between farmers and
researchers diminishes the need for the inclusion of the extension services
in all stages of the research. Rapid rural appraisals allow FSR programmes
to be flexible and goal-oriented; often one or two major constraints are
singled out, usually in the area of crop production.
Obviously there are not just two approaches to FSR. In fact, currentFSR is
characterized by a great diversity. National research programmes tend more
and more to select those elements that fit their needs, while externally
financed FSR should build upon and complement existing agricultural and farm-
ing systems research. Francophone and Anglophone FSR are not mutually ex-
clusive but may strengthen each other. Moreover, the above comparison may
help us to solve a number of questions related to the institutionalization
and extension of the FSR process. A few points will illustrate this.


1. The diagnostic stage
Sondeos and longer term surveys will often provide a useful combination.
The risk of rapid surveys is that only easily observable characteristics
of farm households wil be taken into account, resulting in the design of
solutions to obvious factor scarcities while complex processes are over-
looked. The four levels of analysis (see table 1) allow the inclusion of
supra-household, and, to a more limited extent, also intrahousehold fac-
tors. The participation of geographers and the emphasis on a historical
analysis will be most useful, to provide an understanding of the evolu-
tion of the present farming systems.
At this stage it is essential to define short and long term objectives,
the respective target groups and the scale of operation. The Francophone
approaches show that a basic knowledge of agricultural practices must be
acquired before attempting to elaborate new technology. On-station re-
search is essential to indicate the future potential. A longer diagnostic
stage may include some on-farm experiments, since the best way to learn
about a farming system is to change it (slightly). There is a need to
collect repeated series of quantitative data on labour, land and input-
output ratios; the quantification of data, especially on intercropping,
requires the development of cost-effective inter-annual procedures (Rich-
ards 1983).


2. Technology choice
Teh definition of the potential of a given region or farming system, the
formulation of "pathways" (itineraires techniques) and farm models may
help to introduce a longer term prospective. To what extent farming sys-
tems are gradually transformed or radically replaced by new ones, remains
to seen. Different technological packages "themes lourds and themes



















lejers" may provide more flexibility than a single set of recommenda-
tions aimed at one specific target group. Where the Francophone approach-
es have emphasized high import levels and small mechanization, the Anglo-
phone focus has been on improved (staple) crop varieties and cultivation
practices, as demonstrated by the various FSR projects in West-Africa
(see Matlon, 1983, and Tourte et Billaz 1982).


3. Time frame
It would seem that the contribution of short term, externally funded
projects is rather limited, unless an existing agricultural and farming
systems research system is operational. The present focus on FSR may lead
to the neglect of commodity research. A long term financial commitment
will allow the inclusion of agro-forestry, watershed management and live-
stock variables in order to develop stable farming systems. In the long
term problems associated with the large-scale diffusion of technology,
such as the inelastic demand for output, the limited amount of credit
available to the agricultural sector, will need to be addressed. There
is also a need to develop methodology to monitor long term complex sys-
tem changes.


4. Socio-economic constraints
In a wider perspective, many socio-economic constraints may become manip-
ulable variables rather than fixed parameters. Effective transformation
of a farming system is impossible without changes in the socio-economic
environment, such as prices, infrastructure, marketing, credit. FSR must
feed into decision-making at national level so that certain constraints
may be alleviated by policy change. However, it will always remain dif-
ficult to decide when a political option is an exogenous constraint that
cannot be modified on the basis of research results (Elliott 1972:12).
FSR's microstrategies should be explicitly linked with macro-level con-
straints. Anglophone FSR has had a tendency to limit its definition of
constraints to the farm enterprise level and does not sufficiently take
account of the relation between technology and production relations and
the way in which these limit the farmer's potential. Too often, crop
technology improvement is seen as a solution to constraints faced by low
resource farm households, excluding solutions to constraints for which
the manipulable variables are located beyond the farm level. As a result,
there has been a tendency to focus on varietal testing and improved seed
distribution: easy to multiply, to test and to deliver, easy for farmers
to adopt without changing other farming practices, improved seed may make
a considerable difference to yields and may constitute a first step toward
intensification; and if they don't, at least, seeds tend to persist after
the completion of the project (USAID 1982). As Hart and Pinchinat (1981:564)
point out, "there are strong arguments for putting aside the naive assump-














tion that complex regional agricultural processes can be improved by in-
dependently breeding better crops, setting up more fertilizer experiments
or carrying or carrying out another marketing study".


5. Extension
In all FSR programmes there is a need for stronglinks with extension and
(non)-governmental rural development agencies, whose understanding of
existing farming systems may prove crucial. Extension's capability to
manage a large-scale programme to diffuse the technology developed in
the FSR process, may constitute a serious bottleneck. Adaptive testing
will have to take place on an institutional level as well as farm level,
in order to define organizational structures that fit the need for exten-
tion. Training extension staff who will participate in technology for-
mulation and dissemmination, will require considerable funding. More re-
search ought to be devoted to developing adequate extension methods in
an FSR context, since it would appear that neither the "conseil de ges-
tion" (individual counselling on farm management) nor the training-and-
visit approach are appropriate for larger groups of farmers. If FSR is to
have an impact on a large scale, extension's role will be vital and can-
not be replaced by individual contacts between researchers and farmers.


There is an evident overlap between FSR and extension, both in objectives
and in activities, especially in the areas of:
a. the identification of recommendation domains and target group categori-
zation: local extension agents may be involved in rapid rural surveys
with a view to identifying existing farming systems and constraints
faced by rural households;
b. the implementation and evaluation of on-farm experiments, in particular
in the case of multi-locational testing with large numbers of farmers
requiring multiple visits;
c. the extension of the OFE results through other farmers in the same RD
and to farmers in comparable RDs elsewhere: developing methods to trans-
cend the location-specific character of OFE results must be one of the
first priorities.


The role of farmers in extension should not be underestimated. Jiggins (1982)
argues for an additional intermediate body located between participatory
field structures and servicing agencies, initiating the animation process
and local organization management, receiving and chanelling external resour-
ces, acting as a broker with higher level or technocratic agencies.
Anglophone FSR has placed a greater emphasis on traditional farmer knowledge
and the use of traditional classification systems in technology design and
testing.















31


It may be concluded that there is no blueprint for the study of farming and
cropping systems. In the past, agricultural research in French and English
speaking countries (as well as, for example, in Spanish speaking countries
and others that we have not dealt with here) has moved in parallel direc-
tions. Nevertheless, significant differences occur which may be explained
by the greater space and time frame of the Francophone approaches as well
as by different ecological environments. A comparison of Francophone and
Anglophone concepts has enabled us to obtain an overview of the variety of
options in the field of farming systems and general agricultural research.
There is a great need to formulate strategies to improve the productivity
and living conditions of small farmers throughout the world. An FSR pers-
pective, adapted to each unique situation may provide a contribution towards
such strategies.















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