• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Introduction
 Understanding the existing farming...
 Selecting and designing the innovations...
 Using farmers to conduct the on-farm...
 Concluding remarks
 Reference






Group Title: Networking paper - Farming Systems Support Project - no. 13
Title: Conducting on farm research in FSR
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054304/00001
 Material Information
Title: Conducting on farm research in FSR making a good idea work
Series Title: Networking paper
Physical Description: 20 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Lightfoot, Clive
Barker, Randolph
Farming Systems Support Project
Publisher: Farming Systems Support Project, International Programs, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: [1985]
 Subjects
Subject: Agricultural systems -- Research   ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Research   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 19-20).
Statement of Responsibility: Clive Lightfood sic and Randolph Barker.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00054304
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 69012936

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Understanding the existing farming system and identifying problems
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Selecting and designing the innovations worthy of on-farm investigation
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Using farmers to conduct the on-farm investigations
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Concluding remarks
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Reference
        Page 19
        Page 20
Full Text
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CONDUCTING ON FARM RESEARCH IN FSR

MAKING A GOOD IDEA WORK


Farming Systems Support Project


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. 13


I _





















CONDUCTING ON FARM RESEARCH IN FSR


MAKING A GOOD IDEA WORK








Clive Lightfood*
FSDPEV
Magsaysay Bvld.
Tacloban City 7101
Philippines

and

Randolph Barker
Agricultural Economics
Warren Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, N.Y. 14853


*Clive Lightfoot is a Research Associate and Randolph Barker is a Professor
of Agricultural Econanics, Cornell University. The authors are indebted to
Tully Cornick for comments. All three are currently involved in the
Philippines FSR, Farming Systems Development Project Eastern Visayas.













Networking Papers are intended to inform colleagues about farming
systems research and extension work in progress, and to facilitate the
timely distribution of information of interest to farming systems
practitioners throughout the world. The series is also intended to invite
response front the farming systems network to help advance FSR/E knowledge.
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.

Networking Papers do not necessarily present the viewpoints or opinions
of the FSSP or its affiliates. Readers wishing to submit materials to be
considered for inclusion in the Networking Paper series are encouraged to
send typewritten, single-spaced manuscript, ready for publication. The
FSSP does not edit Networking Papers, but simply reproduces the author's
work and distributes it to a targeted audience. Distribution is determined
by geography and subject matter considerations to select a sub-group from
the FSSP mailing list to receive each Networking Paper.









Conducting on Farm Research in FSR -
Making a Good Idea Work

*
Clive Lightfoot and Randolph Barker



Over the past decade a wide spread interest has developed in Farming

Systems Research (FSR) in the International Agricultural Research Centers

(IARCs), in the national agricultural research and extension systems of

developing countries, and in academic circles in many developed countries.

Among practitioners there has been general agreement on the broad

philosophical approach. In fact, it has been often stated that FSR is a

philosophy rather than a methodology. As a consequence, nearly any research

activity that is seen as farmer oriented and interdisciplinary is labeled FSR

if for no other reason than to attract donor funding. Wooed by the rhetoric,

donor agencies such as the World Bank and USAID have made substantial

investment in FSR projects.


Major attempts have been made in the literature to clarify the concepts of

FSR. This, for the most part, has led to more acronyms (FSR&D, FSR/E, FSIP,

and OFR/FSP to name a few) and more confusion, as various authors have given

us their own perceptions. Most recently the World Bank hired Norman Simmonds

to tour the world and unravel the mysteries of FSR. Simmonds's report makes





Clive Lightfoot is a Research Associate and Randolph Barker is a Professor
of Agricultural Economics, Cornell University. The authors are indebted to
Tully Cornick for comments. All three are currently involved in the
Philippine FSR, Farming Systems Development Project Eastern Visayas.


- 1 -








an important contribution in that it presents the broad perspective of FSR

with great clarity. But, as with most of the literature, the methodological

issues are scarcely addressed. With most of the attention devoted to

clarifying the philosophy and concepts and a lack of focus on development of

methodology, it is not surprising to find a growing concern among the donors

and practitioners alike that FSR is not improving the efficiency of our

research extension effort. FSR is not leading to more rapid adoption of new

technology and significant gains in agricultural production, productivity and

farm family welfare. Indeed, many of the problems experienced arise from

this lack of focus which in turn explains the weak development of methods

that exploit the comparative advantage of FSR. It is the experience of many

projects that initial methodological approaches to FSR, both surveys and

experiments in farmer's fields, have been for the most part inappropriate.


FSR methodologies are slowly evolving in a number of projects and

institutions, which take into account the limited resource endowments and

exploit the comparative advantage of national research and extension

networks. Our objective in this paper is to identify a set of methods and

procedures that allow FSR projects to immediately increase their efficiency

in terms of developing technologies that farmers adopt. In doing this we

glean from the works of others and our own experiences. This task has been

made difficult by the paucity of material submitted to academic journals.

Agreed there have been reviews on FSR, notably Shaner et al 1979, Norman

.1979, Gilbert, Winch and Norman 1981, and most recently Simmonds 1983; also

some IARCs' have produced training manuals, notably Collinson, 1980, Perrin

et al 1979, and Zandstra et al 1982. We make no grandios claims for these


-2-







procedures since we are still at the point of testing them. Unfortunately,

like most other practitioners in the field we are more familiar with vw-h-

does not work than what does work.


Part 1. Understanding the Existing Farming System
and Identifying Problems



An important first step in FSR is to select sites in which the research will

have a significant impact. The recommendation domain and target group of

farmers must be identified and the farming systems described in order to be

able to understand and identify the important problems.


Site selection is frequently not accomplished by those who are to carry ovut

the research but rather by those who prepare the project proposals. TI

normally involves a rather unsystematic mixture of political, socioeconoma~

and technical judgement. The governments usually mandate the beneficiaries

of research in broad general terms such as "subsistence farmers," "smalI

farmers" or "resource poor farmers." The task of characterizing a"s

selecting research participants should begin with site selection. It should

involve the systematic use of secondary data including soil maps and census

data to consider in both geographic and demographic terms the potential

beneficiaries based on site selection. In short, at the very conception of

the project an effort should be made to define in general terms the

recommendation domains and target beneficiaries.


In many farming systems (and cropping systems) projects, the site selection

has been followed by detailed in-depth benchmark and or multiple visit


-3-









surveys to obtain the necessary information to fully describe the farming

system. Eicher and Baker (1982) have the following comment on the efficiency

of this approach: "Moreover, it often requires 6-12 months to plan a cost

route study, a year to carry it out, and sometimes 2-3 years to analyze and

publish the results. Concern with the cost of cost route surveys and the

need to generate rapid results has led to a search for survey methodologies

which can produce results in a few months rather than 2-3 years."


The failure of the large survey approach led to the development of shorter

and more informal survey procedures, of which CIMMYT's exploratory surveys

and ICTA's sondeo are perhaps the most popular. These procedures come under

the heading of a class of activities known as "rapid rural appraisal" and

frequently earn the additional title "quick and dirty." The problem

suggested by this latter title is that these approaches do not provide

adequate information on which to design appropriate research activities. The

problems are identified at too general a level, i.e., soil fertility, soil

erosion, or livestock nutrition.


Much more must be known about the current range of farmer knowledge and

experience and resource potentials and constraints. Here, we propose a

diagnostic procedure which combines the quick survey approach with a much

more detailed monitoring and measurement in specific problem areas or areas

that appear to offer potential for research. These two levels of

investigation are described in the sections that follow.


Level one is the sondeo or exploratory survey activity. The sondeo is a

survey conducted by an interdisciplinary group without the use of a formal


- 4-







survey lasting a period of several days. The details of this procedure are

fully described by Hildebrand (1979). The purpose is to more clearly define

the recommendation and target group of farmers and to identify the majoi

problems and potentially researchable issues. While the sondeo team normally

represents several disciplines, even more important than the disciplinary

composition is the choice of individuals. Two types of people are needed;

those who are capable of identifying research problems and issues and those

who know the region. While the latter group is likely to be composed

entirely of the FSR team the former group may include people outside the

project with on-farm research experience. Many of these experienced

individuals are busy with other work but are able to commit a few days to

participate in a sondeo.


We should emphasize the fact that the success with which the sondeo can

identify key problem areas depends a great deal on the quality and experience

of the team. The usual project situation is one of doing the sondeo with a

fresh group of people who spend as much of their time trying to work together

as they do learning about the system.


How do we know that from the sondeo that we have identified the right

problem areas? At the end of the sondeo when the report has been completed,

a dialogue must be held with farmers, probably on a group basis, to discuss

the sondeo team findings. It is very important at this early stage in the

project that the farmers and scientists agree on the problems.


Level two is the diagnostic, monitoring and measurement activities. We

have already learned from the failure of the large survey approach that we


-5-









cannot gather and analyze data in a reasonable time period in all aspects of

the farming system. The informal survey work has helped us to identify the

major livestock and crop activities and the major problem areas. We must now

limit the number of data gathering activities and see that they are clearly

focused.


First on the agenda is the need for a survey to describe the target group

of farmers in more quantitative terms. This survey should concentrate on

about a dozen key variables such as farm size and tenure, family size and

occupation, land use including crops grown, and livestock enterprises. While

the survey procedures can be standardized across sites, in our view, the

formal questionnaire must be kept extremely short and when possible should be

analyzed at the site. The advent of the microcomputer unfortunately, once

again, has strengthened the notion that the size of the survey can be

increased and the data brought to a central location for rapid processing and

analysis. A more appropriate alternative is to strengthen the capacity of

the site team to conduct their own analyses' using calculators, sorting

strip, etc. Site researchers need such information quickly, for example, to

assist them in selecting farmer co-operators who are representative of the

target group.


The survey information provided in the above activities should be adequate

to allow the researchers to identify the major problem areas. It is,

however, unrealistic to expect that after only a few short months on

location, the research team is prepared to design experiments. The

experiments conducted in the first year of the project are normally of little


-6-







value because they do not, or more correctly cannot, address the important

issues. More formal monitoring activities are needed. Once the two or thre-

key areas are identified, an in depth investigation must be undertaken with a

view to understanding the farmers knowledge and experience, the range of

environmental variability, and the factors explaining variability in

performance among farmers. The specific purpose of this analysis is to

quantify the production and management experience across farms and to

identify potential areas of research impact. This requires a careful

monitoring of both physical and socio-economic factors.


For example, if improvement in cattle production is identified as a likely

area for technical impact, one must examine the existing production system oe

a sample of farms. Information must be gathered throughout the year on feel

supplies and feeding practices, animal health, labor requirements and

purchase of inputs if any. We need to know why some farmers are doing better

than others and what researchable topics might lead to significant gains I.

cattle production.


How is the monitoring to be organized? Approximately 20 farms should be

adequate for the task. Monitoring activities might combine occasional

surveys to establish labor requirements, livestock inventories, animal health

etc. with frequent visits to monitor feeding practices and seasonal

variations in feed supplies. It might be necessary to obtain laboratory

analyses of indigenous forages to establish their nutritive value. At the

end of the monitoring period, a report could be prepared on "potentials for

increasing cattle production in the farming system researchable issues."


-7-









Knowing that this report is the objective of their efforts will help the site

team researchers to focus their work. One could visualize a similar type of

monitoring activity for other problem areas such as crop production, erosion

control, or soil fertility.


The danger of reducing the monitoring to say a single enterprise such as

cattle production is that we may fail to emphasize the linkage of the

enterprise to other components of the farming system. We must be careful to

guard against this, spelling out clearly the way in which the cattle

enterprise competes for feed supplies, labor, and other inputs within the

farming system. Alternatively, the failure to sharply focus our monitoring

activities also has its price. If we choose to monitor all livestock

activities, then it will be difficult or impossible to obtain the depth of

understanding we need to identify the researchable issues.


In summary, through the diagnostic analysis, every effort should be made to

quantify the parameters to minimize subjectivity in identifying and

specifying researchable areas. The site staff have to take an active role in

the diagnostic measurements, monitoring, and other forms of data collection.

An assessment must be made of those problems which can be solved by carrying

out simple experiments conducted on farmers' fields by the site teams in

conjunction with farmers, and those problems which require more complicated

in-depth investigation. Selecting and designing the innovations for on-farm

investigation is the subject of the next section.


-8-








Part 2. Selecting and Designing the Innovations
Worthy of On-farm Investigation


In the usual framework of farming systems research, design is recognized as

the second stage. The selection of innovations to be tested on farms and

their design usually falls to the technical scientists working on the

research stations. Typically, the influence of the information gathered

during the initial surveys on selection and design is weak. Consequently

what ends up being tested are largely the current interests or

recommendations of the research institutions. For example, where soil

fertility is seen as the problem, researchers will want to run tests on

chemical fertilizers even when these can not be purchased by farmers. This
is not to say that these scientist are disinterested in the relevance of vow_?

to the. farmer, but that they do not have enough detailed information to dc

the job properly. The point here is that these recommendations are seen to

be relevant because any innovation can be said to address the general problc

of low production described by the surveys. The cursory nature of thi,

process that is customary in FSR springs also from a confusion about this

stage in the overall framework of research.


The stage of design as presented in Norman's four stages of FSR can and has

been interpreted in two ways. The original and intended interpretation was

that design be a process of refinement of technology packages to fit the

farming conditions by on-farm researcher managed experiments. When practiced

in the field it did not take long before the stages of design and testing

became impossible to distinguish. Now that experience has indicated farmers


-9-









disinterest in packages, a second interpretation has emerged, primarily

through the work of Collinson. He interprets design to be an intellectual

process where all possible technical solutions are screened and 'prioritized'

by technical and social scientists. Farmers also should be included in this

process.


Five steps are enumerated in the CIMMYT manual for the conduct of design

(Byerlee, Collinson, et. al. 1980). The first step is identification by

technical scientists of the biological problems encountered in the initial

surveys. Each problem is then examined to define the possible causes which

for example may be related to the farmers objectives or limited resources.

In the third step a wide a range of apparent solutions to each problem are

generated. Typically a narrow range of direct solutions are entered here

when the farmer needs a wide range of direct and indirect (i.e. solutions

that exploit system interactions) solutions. These solutions are then

screened by technical scientists who pose the questions: Will this biological

relationship hold in the farm situation? What are the husbandry requirements

for success? Concurrently the economists ask: Are the infrastructural

support requirements feasible? Do the farmers have sufficient resources?

Will it use resources more profitably?


Step five, priorities the technical options in terms of potential impact,

ease of adoption, and ease of research effort. When establishing priorities

the adoption concern should be the single most important criteria. The

importance of this final step cannot be overemphasized because it controls in

large measure the successful implementation of experiments, the degree of


- 10 -







adoption, and thus the validity of this approach to research. By this token

it is essential to involve the farmer in all the steps outlined above ane

especially the screening process. Here, it may be useful to present a wide

range of possible solutions to the farmers so that they can pick those most

suited to their circumstances. This will be especially true where

researchers have difficulty in answering the questions posed in step four and

even more so when assessing step five's ease of adoption.


Part 3. Using Farmers to Conduct the
On-Farm Investigations


The range of on-farm experiments found in FSR programs encompass the most

complex replicated factorials to simple two plot demonstrations. This broer'

range has been divided into three types by the level of researcher and farmy

involvement. The most complex trials such as the IRRI component tests ~-

CIMMYT exploratory and levels tests are classified as researcher managed and

executed. Intermediate levels such as IRRI's superimposed cropping patterns

are classified as researcher managed and farmer executed. The least complex

trials often termed demonstrations or by CIMMYT verification tests are

classified as farmer managed and executed. The intention is that

technologies move from the most complex type one to the least complex type

three which implies that on-station basic research occurs before type one.

Thus type one tests research generated technologies for biological

performance in the farm setting. The second type of trial exposes the

technologies to farmer levels of management and farmer opinion. Finally,

predictable technologies are tested in the type three trials for performance

over a wide range of farming conditions. Although this wide range of trials


- 11 -









are talked about in practice, most of the research manpower, particularly at

the IARCs, is tied up in the complex trials and with intermediate level

trials which although simple in design are costly in terms of supervision and

management.


FSR recognizes two distinctly different bodies of knowledge the knowledge

which comes from basic scientific research 'and the knowledge which is

acquired through time by farmer experience. This latter body of knowledge is

not formalized nor does it appear in the literature. It can only be captured

through direct interaction between researchers and farmers. Even though feed

back loops are built into the conceptual diagrams of FSR, in practice the

ability to draw on the farmers traditional body of knowledge remains weak.

This is in large measure because FSR remains very top-down in its

methodologies.


FSR field workers typically have borrowed designs wholesale from

conventional on-station experiments. Most programs expend all their energies

on the more complex types of researcher-managed work because they are very

demanding to implement. These conventional experimental methods were

primarily developed to determine "site effects" on largely unknown biological

parameters. They are largely miniaturized research station experiments

having randomized block designs of two or more replicates with four or more

treatments which in case of CIMMYT levels trials are factorially structured.

The analytical procedure is to conduct analysis of variance or response

functions analysis and to apply standard statistical tests of significance.

Adequate precision in the data are guaranteed by enormous research input into


- 12 -







the management and implementation of each experiment; a resource level thbt

IARCs command but that is rarely found in national institutions.


Researchers in the national level programs, despite the great difference in

resource endowments have generally followed the lead of the IARCs adopting

the same methodological procedures. While economists have struggled to

analyze the benchmark survey, agronomists have borrowed the IARC designs and

set out component and cropping pattern trials. The project researchers have

been overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problems involved in managing

data and controlling experiments. Only a few experiments are conducted &t

each site on a handful of farms. In the variable farm environments these few

observations stand little chance of detecting real effects, even if one werc

to assume that the experiments have been properly managed, which is normal-

not the case. These facts notwithstanding, standard statistical test

typically are applied to the data and recorded in the results. The farmers

involvement in these experiments only extends to the lending of land, an,

perhaps land preparation with some weeding. In the experiments, yield pe-

hectare is taken as the principle criterion of evaluation, and the most

commonly used test inputs are variety, chemical fertilizers and

insecticides. Inputs such as seeds and chemicals are supplied by the

researchers and for this the farmers are only too willing to co-operate.

But, as one project manager observed when asked to write the "success story"

of his project, "when we withdrew the farmers withdrew."

The methods and procedures described above are inappropriate for FSR. The

primary goal of our research is to enhance adoption of new technology, not to


- 13 -










define biological input-output responses at each site. The following on-farm

experimental method is presented to illustrate a more appropriate procedure

for FSR. Briefly, the experimental method entails the over-laying of

treatments on to the appropriate existing crop or soil conditions. The

procedure for over-laying treatments on to the farmers own crops is similar

to the superimposed trials mentioned by Shaner et. al. 1982, Kirkby et.

al. 1981, and CATIE. For example, to test the benefit of nitrogen

top-dressing of maize, an area of healthy maize, that is a crop that farmers

would be advised to top-dress, is identified on a participant's farm. The

farmer is given the fertilizer with instructions to apply it over half the

identified area demarcating the treatment and control plots after

implementation. By contrast, a conventional experimenter would select the

experimental area prior to land preparation, mark out the plots, and

implement the treatments in the appropriate plots.


The simplicity of this experimental method permits farmer implementation.

Ideally, the innovation for example improved seed, or fertilizer is given to

the farmers for them to implement the treatments. The researchers

involvement extends to the selection of area, instruction on implementation,

and some checking on the accuracy with which the experiment were conducted.

Of course, all measurements and data collection are the responsibility of the

researchers.


The shift in level of involvement from researcher to the farmer in the

over-laid method increases the scope of farmer participation and gives time

for the researchers to contact many more farms. Testing in appropriate


- 14 -







conditions and the use of many more farms can only increase the rigor and

precision with which innovations are assessed. In addition, farmna

participation could be deepened by soliciting their reactions to the

innovations. The depth of such questioning is likely to be greater when

conducted by researchers trained specifically in this area, which also

affords greater interaction among the disciplines.


There are important implications of this methodology for quantitative

analysis. We have shifted from a. few researchers managed experiments

(usually on just four or five farms) to many trials (twenty or thirty) in

which the farmer applies the input. Although our treatments are set out in a

single recommendation domain, this new procedure introduces the variability

in treatment management among farmers. But at the same time, we havy

increased the rigor of the test and precision of the trial by adding many

more replications across farm. The performance of an innovation across the

variety of environmental and management conditions experienced provider

important information about the range of outcomes farmers might expect.


Such information is provided by the analysis of the distribution of the

observations. This analysis should include the mapping of performance date

and the use of scatter diagrams to provide the researcher with a visual image

of the data and make it easy to associate the level of performance with the

location of the trial. Using simple statistical measures such as mean and

standard deviation, the degree of overlap in performance of the two

treatments (farmers level and superimposed) can be estimated, and where

appropriate significance tests can be employed.


- 15 -









Farmers are also interested in knowing about the likely performance of

innovations over a run of years. Some indication of this is provided by the

calculation of confidence intervals. Here farmers can learn the range of

likely outcomes of a particular new technology. The fact that the trials are

run across so many farms with varying conditions strengthens the utility of

this analysis. However, caution must be exercised in interpreting these

results, since factors causing variability in performance across locations in

a given year, and factors explaining variability on a given farm through time

may be very different.


As with the socioeconomic surveys, the analysis of the data is at the level

of the site teams. Thus, the site teams as well as the farmers are more

directly involved in the research process. We have improved the capacity of

both groups to access the utility of a new innovation. In the final

analysis, the results of our quantitative analysis notwithstanding, farmers

will be the judge of appropriateness of the innovation.


In short, the procedure suggested above provides more time for the site

team researchers to be engaged in the data collection and analysis. However,

greater sensitivity to the analysis and interpretation of data is a product

of more education. Researchers must be willing and able to assume a. certain

freedom from the rigidity of traditional scientific procedures. If the

approach we have outlined is to work, it will require developing capabilities

at the overall project level and at the site team level that do not normally

exist.


- 16 -









Concluding Remarks


In this paper we have focused on the methodological issues associated with

farming systems research. We believe that if it is to be effective FSR must

be based not only on a philosophy, but also on an efficient methodology. The

methodologies used in most projects to date have been borrowed from research

stations. They were designed not to enhance the speed of adoption, but to

improve our understanding of physical and biological relationships (e.g.

fertilizer response). These procedures, while useful in their own right, do

not effectively incorporate the experiential knowledge of farmers regarded as

essential in FSR.

Given the objectives of FSR, traditional research procedures appear to b~

inappropriate. Furthermore, the site research teams in the national program

have had neither the trained manpower capacity nor the resources to

successfully manage the experiments in farmers' fields. For those who have

been involved in national farming systems programs, -the problems we have

discussed in using existing methodologies and trying to manage experiments in

farmers' fields undoubtedly have a familiar ring. We have been struck by the

similarity of these problems in locations as afar apart and as different

environmentally and culturally as Botswana, Ecuador, and the Philippines.


We should be quick to acknowledge that despite these problems much has been

learned from FSR to date. Our argument is that it has been learned at a very

high cost, a cost higher than developing countries and donor agencies may be

willing to pay in the future.


- 17 -










An alternative methodology has been described. To a large extent it is not

new. Various components have been described and tested by others who like us

have been concerned with the need to develop more appropriate procedures. In

the descriptive problem identification phase, we suggest the use of the

sondeo coupled with a more in depth diagnostic analysis of the key problem

areas identified in the sondeo. In the design we emphasize the need to

explore in conjunction with farmers the range of relevant alternatives in

order to pick out those to include in the research design. Of critical

importance in these early phases is the need for farmer participation. In

the testing phase, we suggest that where possible, treatments be superimposed

by the farmers themselves, and that 20 to 30 farmers be included in a single

trial. The researchers will then be free to concentrate on the collection

and analysis of data. Development of site team research capabilities, of I

course, will be a major task.


In closing, we stress the need to develop a more efficient FSR -

methodology. We are, however, in the unfortunate position .of knowing what

doesn't work. We will need to test the procedures described above in order

to determine whether what we have proposed is an appropriate alternative.


- 18 -








References


Byerlee, Derek, Michael Collinson, et. al., Planning Technologie

Appropriate to Farmers Concepts and Procedures (CIMMYT: Mexico, 1980).


Collinson, Michael, Farming Systems Newsletter, East Africa (CIMMYT, 1984).

Eicher, Carl K. and Doyle C. Baker, Research on Agricultural Development in

-Sub-Sahara Africa: A Critical Survey MSU International Development Paper No.

1, (Michigan State University: East Lansing Michigan, 1982).


Gilbert, E. H., D. W. Norman, and F. E. Winch, Farming Systems Research: A

Critical Appraisal, MSU Rural Development Paper No. 6, (Michigan Stat,

University: East Lansing Michigan, 1980).


Hildebrand, P. E., "Summary of the Sondeo Methodology Used at ICTA," ProE<

Conference on Rapid Rural Appraisal, December 4-7, 1979 (IDS: University of

Sussex, Brighton, U.K.).


Kirkby, R., P. Gallegos, T. Cornick, "On-Farm Research .Method: A

Comparative Approach Experiences of the Quimiag-Penipe Project, Ecuador"

(International Agricultural Mimeograph No. 91, Cornell University, Ithaca,

NY: 1981).


Norman, D. W. The Farming Systems Approach: Relevancy for the Small Farmer,

MSU Rural Development Paper No. 5, (Michigan State University: East Lansing

Michigan, 1980).


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