Developing notional technologies in a farming systems research context

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Developing notional technologies in a farming systems research context
Series Title:
Chemonics International Publications Series
Chapman, James A.
Chemonics International


Subjects / Keywords:
Farming ( LCSH )
Agriculture ( LCSH )
Farm life ( LCSH )


This paper was prepared by James A. Chapman, agricultural economist working for Chemonics International. It was published in June 1985 as part of the Chemonics Interna- tional Publications Series, Chemonics International Consulting Division, 2000 M Street, N.W., Suite 200, "Washington, D. C. 20036. It is based upon the author's Ph.D. dissertation (Chapman 1983) which was undertaken with the cooperation and support of the International Rice Research Institute, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Agricultural Economics Department of Michigan State University. Responsibility for the material presented lies strictly with the author and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the institu- tions mentioned."
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Full Text


James A. Chapman
Chemonics International Publications Series


James A. Chapman

Chemonics International Publications Series
Occasional Papers, Technical Notes
and Films in Development

This paper was prepared by James A. Chapman, agricultural
economist working for Chemonics International. It was
published in June 1985 as part of the Chemonics Interna-
tional Publications Series, Chemonics International
Consulting Division, 2000 M Street, N.W., Suite 200,
Washington, D. C. 20036. It is based upon the author's
Ph.D. dissertation (Chapman 1983) which was undertaken with
the cooperation and support of the International Rice
Research Institute, the U.S. Agency for International
Development, and the Agricultural Economics Department of
Michigan State University. Responsibility for the material
presented lies strictly with the author and does not
necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the institu-
tions mentioned.


List of Tables and Figures .............................iv

INTRODUCTION..... .......................................1

NOTIONAL TECHNOLOGY DEFINED .............................1


The Project Setting ..................................... 3
Cropping Potential in Iloilo........................... 7

A QUALITATIVE VIEW ..................................... 10

The Family and its Situation........................... 10
Umero's Cropping System Since 1975 .....................14


An Example of Notional Technology ......................21
Testing Notional Technology ............................22

CONCLUSIONS..... .......... .............................27

A Methodology for Notional Technology Development ......28




1 Location of the Iloilo research site........... 4

2 An agroclimatic map of cropping
potential in the Iloilo rainfed area ..........9

3 The suitability of traditional
cropping practices to Iloilo
agroclimatic conditions.......................18

4 A labor profile for a rainfed rice farm
planting traditional rice varieties.......... 19

5 Agroclimatic suitability of early maturing
rice varieties to Iloilo conditions ..........20

6 Ratoon rice cropping under Iloilo
agroclimatic conditions.......................21

7 A methodology for technological
development ...................................... 29


1 Percentage of cropland in various
cropping patterns, Iloilo Outreach Site,
1974-79 ... ....... ............................. 6

2 Percent of the total area of the farms of
45 economic cooperators under different
water management classes, Iloilo, crop
years 1976-79 .................................6

3 Percentage of cropland of 45 farmers in
various cropping patterns by water
management category, Iloilo Outreach
Site, 1976-79................................. 8


Recently there has been a growing emphasis on the devel-
opment and diffusion of agricultural technology in less developed
countries as a means to promote rural development and provide
basic food supplies to the rural population. A great deal of
investment in agricultural research has taken place, with major
expenditures by philanthropic foundations and developed country
governments going to fund International Agricultural Research
Centers (IARCs).

Partly as a result of this investment, high-yielding and
early-maturing varieties of rice and wheat have been developed
and diffused. While production technologies based on these vari-
eties have had a large impact on total output, the benefits have
not been distributed equitably among all producers. Although
technologies were developed without regard to specific sizes or
types of farms, they were developed under certain agroclimatic
conditions, using certain types and levels of inputs. As a
result, researchers in effect developed technologies appropriate
for producers with command over good natural resources and suffi-
cient capital to obtain the necessary inputs.

Numerous studies have confirmed that the technologies of the
green revolution were much less attractive to producers lacking
the required resources (e.g. Morss, et. al., 1976; Pearse, 1980).
The adopting group tended to be relatively large, well-educated
and wealthy farmers, while the non-adopters tended to be small-
scale, uneducated, resource-poor farmers. Social scientists have
spent much time and effort in ex post evaluation of the reasons
small farmers have not benefitted greatly from new agricultural
technology. The major point that this paper seeks to demonstrate
is that it is possible for social scientists to join forces with
biological scientists in the ex ante design and evaluation of
technology consistent with the needs of specific target popu-
lations (e.g. small farmers). Specifically, the paper focuses on
the development of notional technology, first defining the con-
cept and then presenting an illustration of how the concept was
used in a farming systems research project in the Philippines.


As far as this author can determine, the term "notional
technology" was coined by Anderson and Hardaker (1979) and de-
fined as undeveloped or poorly developed technology having a
recognized potential for adoption by farmers in specific ecolog-
ical and socio-economic circumstances. More specifically, it is

the potential solution to one or more problems that inhibit gains
in production or productivity, and therefore, in monetary or non-
monetary benefits for small farm families. It requires the
creation of new concepts, or the modification of existing con-
cepts. As such, the development of notional technology is as
much an art as a science. It depends largely on the ability of
researchers to analyze, synthesize and invent. According to
Anderson and Hardaker (1979):

Notional new technologies are, because of their hypo-
thetical nature, cheap to invent and bounded only by
the imagination of the inventor. Since more fully
developed technologies usually have their genesis as
notions, attention to generating notional new technolo-
gies should not be disregarded. Evaluation of this
category can range from intuition to analysis, but
analytical appraisal is essentially confined to work on
models rather than on real systems.

Talking about notional technology in an abstract sense does
not provide the reader with a very clear picture of the process
by which it is generated or its eventual usefulness. Therefore,
the remainder of this paper is dedicated to the presentation of
an instance in which notional technology was "invented" and
evaluated during the course of a cropping systems research
project undertaken in the Philippines.


The development of notional technology described herein took
place as part of the author's Ph.D. dissertation research under
the sponsorship of the Cropping Systems Program (CSP) of the
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Research on cropping systems at IRRI was begun in the late
1960s by Richard Bradfield. His article (Bradfield, 1972) re-
veals techniques for fitting a variety of legumes and other crops
between rice plantings, with the primary objectives of improved
human nutrition and soil fertility maintenance. Through his
innovative experiments, he revealed the opportunities available
for more intensive and diversified cropping.

In the early 1970s, research emphasis shifted from deter-
mining productivity of new or improved cropping patterns to the
study of cropping patterns on existing farms where rice was the
basic crop. In 1974, the CSP was enlarged to include a multi-
disciplinary team to undertake research on existing and improved
cropping patterns.

The CSP chose to focus efforts on rainfed lowland and upland
rice areas in South and Southeast Asia. Priority was given to

areas where it was possible to increase cropping intensity, i.e.,
the number of crops planted per growing season on a single unit
of land.

The CSP concentrated on resource utilization on small rice
farms, seeking to increase -the benefits derived by crop produc-
tion from available physical resources (e.g., rainfall, solar
radiation, and soil) that are not readily modifiable (Zandstra,
1978). It also considered biological and economic factors at the
farm level as they influence the performance of cropping systems.
Though CSP research was carried out at specific sites, the objec-
tive was the development of technologies--including new ways of
combining crops into cropping patterns--which were appropriate
for a large number of areas with similar climatic and physical
conditions. Therefore, factors in the community or on the farm
which restricted the adoption of new techniques did not neces-
sarily cause research on these techniques to be abandoned. A
large part of the ongoing effort of CSP focused both on the
generation of component technology/ for cropping patterns, and
on management of improved technology. The generation of new
component technology depended upon feedback from CSP researchers
to biological scientists at IRRI.2/

The Project Setting

In 1975, the CSP began research in a rainfed rice growing
area in Iloilo Province, Panay Island, West Visayas, Philippines
(figure 1). The research site was originally selected as agro-
climatically representative in terms of soil, water management,
weather and geomorphic land relationships.

From 1975 to 1979, the CSP carried out the following activi-
ties at the site:

1. In early 1975, a baseline survey was taken of
about 25 percent of all farmers in the site
area (241 respondents). From baseline infor-
mation, 45 farmers were chosen at random to
participate in an intensive farm record-
keeping study. Much of the information for
the site description was provided by the
selected farmers, who also provided a source
of feedback for cropping systems researchers.

2. A large number of new cropping patterns were
developed and tested on farmers' fields.

1/ Component technology involves changes in the management of
single crops or crop mixtures which occupy a field during a
single crop cycle.

2/ An example of feedback from an economist to plant breeders
is presented in Chapman (1979).

P OnROi Mer's

Location of the Iloilo research site.

Figure 1

Most of the effort was focused on developing
means of increasing cropping intensity (the
number of crops planted in a single season),
with special emphasis on growing two or more
crops of rice.

3. Farm-household record-keeping activities were
undertaken involving mainly two aspects: (a)
the collection and analysis of input-output
data from experimental cropping pattern test
fields; and (b) the collection of input-
output data and prices to determine relative
pattern profitabilities and resource flows in
the farm-household economies of the 45 farmer

The driving force behind the cropping system technology
development was the utilization of high-yielding rice varieties
with low photoperiod sensitivity. Varieties possessing this
characteristic mature in a more or less constant period of time,
regardless of day length. Traditional rice varieties generally
mature during the same period each year, each variety responding
to its own particular day length requirement. A traditional crop
is often in the field for six to eight months before harvest.
Modern varieties have tended to be of the early to intermediate
maturing type. The principal advantage of early maturing vari-
eties (EMVs) lies not in their yield potential or pest resis-
tance, but rather in their suitability for multiple cropping
systems where more than one crop is grown sequentially on the
same land during one year (Harwood, 1976).

A good measure of the success of cropping systems research
in a specific area is the extent to which the recommendations
derived from research results are adopted by farmers in the area.
The data presented in table 1 present relative changes in crop-
ping patterns (percentage of the area planted to each pattern) at
the Iloilo site during the time that the project was in
existence. Most significant are the changes from a single rice
crop pattern to double rice crop or rice-upland crop patterns.

The information presented does not, however, fully depict
the actual situation in the rainfed portion of the Iloilo site.
Shortly after the CSP began work in Iloilo, an irrigation system
was constructed which converted substantial hectarage within the
site boundaries to partially and fully irrigated status by 1976.
Nearly all of the villages where CSP farms were located had parts
of their lands come under irrigation. As shown in table 2, by
1978, over one-third of the area farmed by the 45 economic
cooperators was fully or partially irrigated.

Table 1=

Percentage of cropland in various cropping
patterns, Iloilo Outreach Site, 1974-79b

Pattern '74-'75 '75-'76 '76-'77 '77-'78 '78-'79

Two or more rice

One rice + one or
more upland

Two or more upland

One rice + fallow

One upland + fallow -- -- -- 1 2

a/ Derived from: Genesila, Servano and Price, 1979.
b/ The 1974-75 data represent average results of a 205 farm
baseline survey conducted in January 1975. Data from 1975-
79 came from a farm recorckeeping study on 45 farmers
selected randomly from the baseline list.

Table 2 Percent of the total area of the farms of 45 economic
cooperators under different water management classes,
Iloilo, crop years 1976-79

Partially _Rainfed
Crop Year Irrigated irrigated Lowland Upland Total

1976-77 15 7 68 10 100



Source: Genesila, Servano and Price, 1979.


As previously stated, one of the major objectives of the CSP
was to develop new technologies for rainfed lowland and upland
areas. Therefore, some disaggregation of the data by water
management class was useful in order to distinguish the effects
of the research on the target population. In table 3, the
percentages of land cultivated by the 45 CSP economic cooperators
and devoted to different cropping patterns are displayed
according to water management category. The figures demonstrate
that technology focused on facilitating the establishment of two
or more rice crops during a single growing season has been
rapidly adopted by farmers with irrigated and partially irrigated
land. The adoption rate of multiple rice cropping on rainfed
lowland was much lower (19 percent to 30 percent). Evidently,
the double rice crop pattern for rainfed land was less stable
because of year-to-year variations in rainfall intensity and
duration. On the other hand, multiple cropping with one rice
crop followed or preceded by one or more upland crops greatly
increased in rainfed areas. Much of the increase was due to the
fact that farmers adopted the early maturing varieties (EMVs) in
the rainfed areas, thus increasing the amount of time that suffi-
cient moisture was available for planting other crops before or
after rice.

The importance of water and the utilization of EMVs in
facilitating increased cropping intensity is clear. All of the
farmers in the study were in relatively similar positions in 1974
with respect to water management, since none of the area was
irrigated. Those farmers with land that came under full irriga-
tion managed to muster sufficient labor, power and material
resources to enable them to plant two or more rice crops begin-
ning in 1976. This suggested that water was a key resource
limiting the adoption of more intensive cropping practices,
especially with regard to planting two or more rice crops in a
single season.

CroEEing Potential in Iloilo

A somewhat clearer picture of cropping potential in Iloilo
is presented in figure 2. Time, in months, is measured along the
axes, while rice and upland crop growing seasons are depicted on
the upper and lower portions respectively of the diagram. The
rice-growing (drought-free) season usually lasts for 5-6 months
(July-November). During the remaining months, the probability of
drought stress conditions for rice is quite high. Upland crops
can be grown during two periods of the year: at the beginning of
the wet season (May to mid-June), and in the transition period
from an overly wet to an overly dry state (mid-October to mid-
February). From mid-February through April, upland crops on the
field would likely suffer from drought stress, while from mid-
June to mid-October, the probability of excessive moisture and
flooding is high. The "competitive" period, when either rice or
an upland crop can be grown, generally has a duration of just
over one month (mid-October to late-November).

Table 3. Percentage of cropland of 45 farmers in various cropping
patterns by water management category, Iloilo Outreach
Site, 1976-79

Cropping Pattern 1976-77a 1977-78b 1978_79b

Rainfed Lowland

Two or more rice 30 19 28
One rice + one or more uplandc/ 43 30 46
Two or more upland 4 2 --
One rice + fallow 21 48 25
One upland + fallow 2 -- 1

Rainfed UElnd

Two or more rice -- -- --
One rice + one or more upland 66 8 6
Two or more upland 21 73 74
One rice + fallow -- 6 --
One upland + fallow 13 13 20

Partially Irrigated

Two or more rice 39 90 71
One rice + one or more upland -- 3 22
Two or more upland -- -- --
One rice + fallow 61 7 6
One upland + fallow -- -- 1


Two or more rice 96 100 96
One rice + one or more upland -- -- 3
Two or more upland -- --
One rice + fallow 4
One upland + fallow -- -- 1

a/ Derived from Roxas and Genesila, 1977.

b/ Source: Genesila, Servano and Price, 1979.

c/ Upland refers to all crops grown in the area other than rice.







A stress
Excessive j _
moisture 11 _j

Ji F M A M J J A S O N 10'J' F M
Figure 2 An agroclimatic map of cropping potential in the Iloilo rainfed area.
Note: The environmental conditions for rice are specified above the diagonal; those for
upland crops below the diagonal. These conditions correspond to areas with 5-6 wet
C> 200 mm) and 2-4 dry (< 100 mm) months per year.

The seasons given for planting and growing rice and
upland crops can be considered "safe" in the sense that in most
years, yield reductions due to drought stress or excessive mois-
ture will not occur during those periods. Planting and/or har-
vesting outside these two periods involves increased risks with
the level of risk increasing as crops spend more time outside the
safe periods. One of the major objectives of cropping systems
research is to design cropping patterns that will fit climatic
conditions as closely as possible in order to protect farmers
from unacceptable risks.


The preceding description of Iloilo farming conditions
focuses very heavily on the crop agroclimate. The nature of
farming systems is determined by social, economic and cultural
factors as well. Such factors, however, do not lend themselves
to easy description. Rather than list important socio-economic
aspects of Iloilo farm systems, an attempt is made to give the
reader an idea of the interplay between society and climate by
looking at a specific case.

The following narrative is based upon the situation and
experience of an actual farm family. However, since there is a
great deal of heterogeneity among farms even within a small
geographic area, not all of the experiences described happened to
all farmers, nor did they all happen to any one farmer. What is
presented, then, is the description of a composite farm which
illustrates the conditions, problems, and typical reactions of
small farmers.

The Famill and Its Situation

Jos Umero lives with his wife Elena and their children in a
small nipa hut near their one-hectare farm in a small village in
Iloilo province. The Umeros are young (age 35), and have two
sons who are too small to handle work in the fields.

The land that the Umeros farm is not irrigated, so they must
depend upon rainfall to provide sufficient moisture to grow their
crops. About one-half of their land is sloped, with light-
textured soil, so that the soil quickly loses moisture when the
rains stop even though the field is divided into level portions
and bunded. The other half is flat land, just below the sloped
portion, with heavier soil and better moisture retention. Ordi-
narily, the flat land floods first because of its heavy-textured
soil and because it also receives water which runs off the slope.
The flat land, however, is not immune to water loss, as it too
permits water to seep down to nearby fields which are lower.

The Umeros do not own the land they farm, but rent it on a
harvest share basis. The landlord receives one-third of the
output, net of harvesters' share, as payment for the use of the

land. In a good year (with high rice yield), the share of the
crop the Umeros receive is enough to meet their family rice con-
sumption needs, repay debts and provide seed for the next
planting, with a little extra to sell in order to buy family
consumption items. In a bad year (with low rice yield), the
Umeros cannot even harvest enough for their own consumption, and
must rely upon relatives and friends who have a bit of surplus to
lend them the items they need to subsist until the next harvest.

The results of one year influence to some extent the
cropping decisions that Jose makes the following year. After a
bad year, Josh is pessimistic. The family has little money, and
they have accumulated debts that need to be repaid. Since crop
losses are mainly due to drought, Josb is hesitant to go deeper
into debt borrowing for fertilizer for fear that his investment
will be lost if severe drought occurs. On the other hand, after
a good harvest, Jose becomes more optimistic because he has
enough to feed his family and pay off at least part of his debts.
He becomes more willing to try different approaches to farming,
such as trying new varieties or adding more fertilizer. Because
he is cautious, however, he normally tries something different on
only a small portion of his land in order to see for himself the
value of the new approach.

Since the Umeros began farming in 1963, their usual cropping
system consisted of planting one rice crop followed by an upland
crop or fallow. Until 1976, the rice Jose planted was of the
traditional type: tall, late maturing and often plagued by
insects and diseases. The varieties that gained greatest accep-
tance in the area were chosen as much for their eating quality as
their yielding ability, since the yield of most varieties was
much the same.

In the early 1970s the Umeros learned of a new type of rice,
sometimes called "miracle rice," which did not grow as tall, was
resistant to pests and diseases, and supposedly produced high
yields. Jose was given some seed by the local extension agent.
He was told that he must apply large amounts of fertilizer so the
plant would grow and produce well, use herbicide to control
weeds, and use insecticide to kill insects, even when he could
not see them. Josb knew from the beginning that he could not
afford to buy all the materials in order to do what the extension
agent was suggesting. Nevertheless, he accepted the seed and
chose to plant it in one of his better fields. He decided to
treat the new rice just as he did the local varieties.

He sowed the new rice into a seed bed. The extension agent
suggested that the miracle rice should be transplanted between 15
and 25 days after seeding. However, when that time arrived, the
seedlings were too small and delicate. So Josh waited until they
were tall enough, about 40 days after seeding. Unfortunately, a
typhoon came that was quite strong and blew the roof off his
house. This event delayed transplanting still further.

After transplanting, the Umeros kept a careful watch on the
progress of their new rice, with anxious expectation of a bounti-
ful harvest. From time to time while the crop was growing, Josh
noticed tiny brown insects on the leaves of some of the plants.
Surely these insects could not be causing trouble, since they
were so small and did not appear to be doing much damage. He
did, however, notice that some plants appeared to be much smaller
than others. Jose thought that surely the seed that the exten-
sion agent had given him had a mixture of at least two varieties.
The seed people from the government were always doing that. That
is why he preferred to save some of the grain from the previous
harvest to use as seed for the next year's crop. Besides, it was
cheaper and he did not have to go into debt to obtain seed.

What really worried Jos6 was the fact that the plants were
not producing many tillers, which meant fewer panicles of grain
to harvest. Perhaps, he thought, each panicle would be very
long, which would make up for the reduced number. He thought
about buying a little bag of fertilizer and applying it to see if
things would change.

Jose wanted to sell two chickens in order to get one-third
of a bag of fertilizer, but Elena was against it. First of all,
they could not be sure of a good harvest because as yet no grains
were visible. Second, since the family had no cash on hand, the
chickens were a ready source of cash to buy medicine in case one
of the children fell ill, a source of food in case guests came,
or something to trade in case rice supplies ran low. She sug-
gested that they wait until the grains were visible and filled,
so they would at least be assured of harvesting something. Who
knew whether a drought would come, and if so, they would harvest

It was at times like these that Jos realized what a wonder-
ful decision he had made when he married Elena. She seemed to
have such good sense, such an ability to analyze, even though she
had only barely finished primary school before she had to quit to
work in the fields to help support her family. Josh felt disap-
pointed about the fertilizer, but even more, frustrated because
he could not provide a better life for Elena and the children.
Nothing else to do that hot afternoon but collect some tubal from
the coconut trees, sell what he could, and sit out by the road in
front of the local sari-sari store, watching the jeepneys and
tricycles pass by while drinking away his worries.

When the panicles did appear and the grains were filling,
Jos6 took the two chickens into town to sell in order to buy a
small bag of fertilizer. When he came back, Elena seemed to be
upset about something, but Jose wasted no time in applying all
the fertilizer to the crop.

1/ Coconut wine.
2/ Local small store, usually family owned and operated.

Harvest time for the new rice came earlier than Jos6 had
expected. The fertilizer had failed either to help the growth of
the plants or increase the size of the panicles. Josh vowed
never again to apply fertilizer so late. Elena wanted to say "I
told you so," but decided to be supportive of her husband,
believing that one has to make mistakes in order to learn from

Because the rice matured before the wet season was over, the
Umeros had to build a special shed in which to stock the rice in
order to keep it from rotting in the field. Since the rice was
wet when it was put to the shed, some of the grains germinated,
while others rotted or turned brown. The wet rice was extremely
difficult to thresh, so the Umeros had to spend a longer than
normal amount of time in threshing. Winnowing was impossible
until the rice and other particles dried out. Since daily rain-
fall was still common, the rice, placed on large straw mats out
in the sun, had to be carefully watched and hauled in and out of
the shed as weather conditions dictated.

When the rice was finally dried and winnowed, the yield was
about three cavans3 of palay, somewhat less than the Umeros
normally harvested from that field using their traditional vari-
ety. Their expectations had not been fulfilled, even with all
the extra expense and effort they had put in.

Josh felt that he had failed, and went to see the extension
agent who gave him the seed. He complained that the seed was
mixed with other varieties, and that the shorter variety hardly
produced at all. The extension agent asked JosL if he had fol-
lowed all of the recommendations he had given him. Jose stated
that he had not, and began to explain the reasons why. While he
spoke, the extension agent kept looking down and fumbling with
some papers on his desk, making a comment or asking a question
from time to time without looking up. When Jos6 finished
speaking the agent looked up, shrugged his shoulders, and con-
tinued fumbling with papers on his desk.

On top of everything else, the milling and eating quality of
the new rice was poor. When one of the rolling rice mills passed
near their house, Elena rushed out with a bag of palay to be
milled so that the family could try the new product. What she
got back was disappointing, as the percentage of broken grains
was quite high. She prepared the rice, but her family did not
want to eat it. They did not like the taste, the texture was
bad, and it wasn't sticky enough. Jose suggested selling it to
the NGA (National Grains Authority) at the fixed government
price, or to the Chinese middlemen who come around offering low
prices for palay whenever the NGA warehouses were full and
farmers were desperate to sell. Elena said she would be ashamed
to sell it, and that she would feed it to the pig and use it to
raise a few more chickens.

3/ Cavan = 44 50 kg.

Umero's Crop2ing System Since 1975

In 1975, Josh heard about experiments that were being con-
ducted in the area for growing two crops of rice in one year.
That sounded like a great idea if only it were possible. He knew
of a local variety, Kapopoy, which farmers in the area usually
interplanted with corn on their higher fields with lighter soils.
They did this in years when a typhoon would bring rain before the
normal onset of the wet season. The only thing that farmers
could be sure about the rainfall is that it never took the same
pattern from year to year. The rains could begin early (April)
and end early (September), they could begin late (July), and end
early (September), or some intermediate pattern could occur.
Furthermore, the period before the onset of the rains was often
unstable; a typhoon, then drought, another typhoon, then drought
again, and so on until rains were no longer intermittent.

Josh dry seeded Kapopoy on his best field (the one most able
to retain water) just after the first typhoon in April. Fortu-
nately, heavy rains came in April that year and the Umeros were
able to harvest a good crop of rice during early to mid-August.
Shortly thereafter, Josh prepared a seedbed for the photoperiod
sensitive variety, BE-3, which would mature in December. He then
proceeded to prepare the land for transplanting, plowing twice
and harrowing four times in order to puddle the soil and control
weeds. By the end of September, all of the field was planted.
The yield obtained at harvest in December was not as good as that
of the previous crop, nor as good as yields they had obtained
from BE-3 in previous years. Nevertheless, Jos6 and Elena de-
cided that there was promise in double cropping and were glad to
have the extra stock of rice. As it turned out, 1975 had been a
very good year in terms of rainfall and the length of the growing

During 1975, the Umeros were contacted by people from the
Cropping Systems Program of IRRI, and were asked to provide
information about their daily farm activities, income and
expenses, crop choices and yields, and a monthly inventory of
their livestock. From the IRRI people, they heard about new rice
varieties similar to the ones they had tried in earlier years.
The Umeros were understandably skeptical, but liked the "early
maturation" quality of the new varieties. Improvements, they
were told, had also been made in eating quality and in pest and
disease resistance.

Before the start of the 1976 crop season, Josh was able to
obtain some seed of two new rice varieties being used by a neigh-
boring farmer, IR-28 and IR-36. Even though some farmers in the
area had achieved good results with the new rice, Josh remembered
his earlier experience with new rice varieties and was not
willing to plant them on his best land.

Largely due to their good luck the previous year, the Umeros
decided again to direct (dry) seed Kapopoy on their lower field
after the first April rain. He did the same with the IR-36 on a

small parcel near the middle of this higher field. Rainfall was
scarce during April after Jose had planted. The seeds germi-
nated, and there was a fairly long spell without rain (two
weeks). Many of the seedlings died, especially in the field
where IR-36 was planted. Jose also noticed an unusually large
number of weeds. There wasn't much he could do then, because he
was busy preparing a seedbed and plowing and harrowing other
fields which would soon be transplanted with the variety Kabangi.
The dry seeded Kapopoy crop was also highly weed-infested, but a
greater percentage of seedlings survived the drought because the
lower field had retained more moisture.

The original stand in the IR-36 field was poor, so Jos&
broadcast the rest of the seed his neighbor had given him into
the more sparsely populated areas. Weeds were thick and the crop
continued to look bad, and Jose wondered if there would be any
harvest at all. When he had time, he visited the fields of other
farmers to compare their crops. Many of the farmers in the area
had planted later than Jose, waiting until the fields were
flooded before preparing land and broadcasting pre-germinated
seed (wet seeding). The stands in the wet seeded fields were
much better than his, and weed problems were significantly less
because farmers had had time to prepare their fields more
thoroughly. The only thing Jose wondered about was whether or
not it would still be possible to get in a second crop if one
waited much after April to plant the first crop.

The Umeros' experience in 1976 with double rice cropping did
not turn out to be nearly as good as the year before. The dry
seeded Kapopoy yield was down from the previous year. IR-36 and
IR-28 matured at different times, so they were difficult to
harvest--the field barely yielded enough for seed for the next
planting season. Jose transplanted BE-3 as a second crop fol-
lowing Kapopoy, but the yield was low due to early termination of
the rains. The Umeros worked hard during the dry season, greatly
increasing the area planted to watermelon, in order to avoid
falling too deeply in debt.

Many of the farmers who were able to plant only one crop of
IR-36 produced more than Josh did with his double crop. Farmers
seemed to prefer IR-36 over the other new varieties, both for its
high yielding ability and for its eating quality. Many people
found the flavor and consistency of IR-36 similar to that of the
more popular local varieties.

Mainly because of the information gained the previous year,
the Umeros decided to switch from dry seeding to wet seeding for
the 1977 crop year. Jose's confidence in the new varieties was
strengthened by what he had seen and heard, so he decided to
plant nearly all of the farm to IR-36 and IR-28 with the seed
that he had saved. Always in the back of his mind was obtaining
a second rice crop, so he hoped for an early onset of the rains
so he could get the first crop established as soon as possible.

Jose knew that his best chance for a second crop was on
lower (plain) fields, so he started land preparation in late May
when heavy rains enabled puddling. He finished land preparation
and seeded IR-36 at the end of June and then began working on the
sideslope. He finished wet seeding IR-28 on the sideslope by the
middle of July.

The Umeros began to harvest IR-36 on the plain in the third
week of September. For this process, Josh employed mostly hired
laborers, who received 1/6 of the aljay harvested for cutting,
bailing, hauling, threshing and winnowing. Elena supervised the
measuring and took care of the drying. The IR-28 was ready for
harvest a week later, so more hired laborers came in to harvest
the sideslope fields.

Because the Umeros were hiring labor for harvest, Jose was
free to begin land preparation for the succeeding crop. As the
harvesters cleared a field, Jose began plowing it. His intention
was to at least get the lower fields plowed and planted for a
second rice crop. September rains were quite heavy, and land
preparation on the plain was quite difficult due to heavy
flooding. At the same time, Josh now expected that heavy rains
would continue or that the end of the season would be later than
usual, as the beginning had been late. This meant that he might
be able to get a good second crop on the sideslope if he could
get it planted soon and rains continued. In the middle of
October he decided to shift his land preparation activities to
his higher sideslope fields. Josb worked extremely hard getting
the land ready as soon as possible, because when the rains
stopped, the higher fields would dry out quickly. He finished
preparing and wet seeding all of his fields during the last week
of October.

Unfortunately for the Umeros, the rains did not continue to
be heavy, the rainfall levels dropping to less than 100 mm per
month in November and December. The yields for the second rice
crop were very low, with many of the fields producing little or


While not by any means providing a complete understanding of
Iloilo farming systems, the preceding section along with the
description of cropping potential in the Iloilo rainfed areas
facilitated the identification of critical problems and the
development of hypotheses for possible solutions.

The discussion with regard to cropping pattern adoption
indicates that water constraints, more than capital or labor,
limit the potential for rice-based multiple cropping. Further-
more, as figure 2 indicates, there are definite seasons when rice
or upland crops can be grown, as well as periods of the year when
neither can survive.

To clarify these points, it is useful to examine a tradi-
tional Iloilo cropping pattern superimposed on the agroclimatic
map (figure 3). Traditional rice varieties mature only during a
certain period of the year when specific daylength requirements
are met. In Iloilo, the most common traditional rice varieties
mature in December when nearly all rains have subsided. It is
quite beneficial to be able to harvest rice at the beginning of
the dry season, when plenty of sunshine is available for solar
drying. This minimizes losses due to grain rotting and germi-
nation and facilitates the maintenance of acceptable standards of
grain quality. Moreover, traditional varieties mature at the
same time, regardless of planting date, enabling farmers who are
forced to plant late in years of late rainfall onset to catch up
while sustaining relatively minor yield losses. As shown in
figure 3, a traditional rice variety can be planted in June and
harvested in December. Two months would remain for growing an
upland crop after rice, in most cases too short a period to be
able to plant and harvest a crop.

One disadvantage of the traditional varieties is the simul-
taneity with which labor is demanded for specific crop activi-
ties, especially transplanting and harvesting. It is possible to
stagger land preparation, seeding and transplanting of tradi-
tional varieties without much penalty, though the tendency in
rainfed areas is to plant nearly simultaneously with the onset of
the rainy season. At harvest time, all rice in the area matures
at once, creating a large demand for harvest labor. As Iloilo is
not a particularly labor-abundant area, the harvesting process
for any one farm often lasts the whole month of December and
absorbs large amounts of labor, thus creating a labor "bottle-

An actual labor profile for a rainfed farm planting only
traditional rice varieties is presented in figure 4. Land and
seedbed preparation took place during the June to early August
period. Seedlings were transplanted during mid-August through
early September, and the mature plants were harvested during
December and January. Due to the lateness of crop establishment,
which was caused by a late rainfall onset and the early termi-
nation of the rainy season in 1977, no upland crops were estab-
lished either before or after rice.

In the mid-1970s, early-maturing rice varieties (EMVs) were
introduced in Iloilo and gradually adopted by rainfed farmers.
As is evident from figure 5, EMVs provide the potential for
increased cropping intensity if the time gained during the wet
season can be utilized productively.

Since EMVs are relatively fixed in their length of field
duration (4-5 months), both planting and harvesting can be
staggered. Staggering allows for increased efficiency in the use
of labor as seasonal labor demand peaks can be "smoothed", thus
presenting much less of a constraint to increased farming


Figure 3 The suitability of traditional cropping practices to Iloilo agroclimatic condi-

Note: Time for land preparation activities is measured along the diagonal (a). while time for
planting through harvesting is represented as bars emerging from the diagonal (b).



moisture |||

Figure 5 Agroclimatic suitability of early maturing rice varieties to Iloilo conditions.

600 1



Figure 4 A labor profile for a rainfed rice farm planting traditional rice varieties.

In order to realize their yield potential, EMVs require
increased amounts of fertilizer (especially nitrogen). This
implies the increased use of relatively scarce small farm re-
sources, namely cash or credit to obtain inputs. Recommendations
by researchers also call for increased use of other complementary
inputs such as herbicide and insecticide. These inputs, however,
appear to affect yield less strongly than does the fertilizer.

As figure 5 indicates, early maturing rice varieties planted
in June are ready for harvest in approximately 110 days from the
date of initial planting, allowing for the possibility of
planting a subsequent rice crop or an upland crop. A second rice
crop, however, would face a high probability of drought stress
during the periods of flowering and ripening. Information
gathered from CSP cropping pattern trials in Iloilo indicates
that expected yield from second rice crops are roughly one-half
the yield levels of rice crops established at the beginning of
the wet season. Moreover, while first crop yields tend to be
somewhat stable, second rice crop yields exhibit large year-
to-year variations, implying that double rice cropping is a very
risky proposition at best.

As one would expect, the introduction and acceptance of new
technology brings new problems along with benefits. The harvest
of an EMV planted at the beginning of the wet season occurs
during the part of the season when the frequency and intensity of
rainfall are high. The rice must be harvested wet, causing the
manual threshing process to be more difficult and time consuming.
Significant yield losses may also be incurred due to grain
rotting and germination if rice is allowed to remain wet over a
long period. The sun is the most common energy source for drying
rice. It is a scarce resource during the wet season.

On balance, the advantages of the new varieties seem to
outweigh the disadvantages, as evidenced by the adoption behavior
of farmers (table 1).

An Example of Notional Technology

Armed with a pretty thorough understanding of Iloilo rainfed
farming systems in both agroclimatic and socio-economic aspects,
it becomes possible to generate ideas about technologies that
might significantly improve small farm productivity and income.

For example, the idea arose of trying to obtain increased
food production by growing a ratoon crop. Ratooning of rice is
the use of the plant's regenerative ability to produce a subse-
quent crop (or crops) from field stubble after the harvest of the
first or planted crop. The expected yields of a ratoon crop are
almost always lower than those of the main crop. The principal
advantage, then, is the potential saving of both time and labor.
The time-saving feature of ratoon cropping is what makes it most
attractive as a potential new technology for rainfed areas with
agroclimatic conditions similar to those prevalent in Iloilo.

The principal characteristics of a cropping pattern
featuring ratoon are shown in figure 6. Since the period from
initial ratoon growth to grain maturity is short, the first rice
crop can be established late enough so that the risk of drought
stress at the beginning of the wet season is low. Ratoon growth
begins immediately after (or sometimes before) the harvest of the
plant crop. New shoots are produced at the base of the plant or
grow from the nodes of previously cut tillers. Since ratoon
matures in much shorter time than a planted crop, a rice-rice
ratoon pattern can be undertaken within the limits of the rice
growing season.

As figure 6 indicates, during the latter third of the wet
(rice growing) season, there occurs a period during which upland
crops cannot be planted due to excessive moisture. Furthermore,
not enough time is left in the season to plant a second rice crop
safely. Ratoon fits nicely in that "niche", making use of other-
wise unproductive land. In many locations, the possibility would
still exist for growing and harvesting an upland crop after

Another feature that makes ratoon cropping potentially
attractive in a rice-based cropping pattern is the reduced labor
requirement. Since no land preparation or planting labor is
required for ratoon, farmers may utilize otherwise idle land and
still avail themselves of alternative employment opportunities
such as harvesting on neighboring fields. Ratoon cropping then
becomes a complementary rather than a competitive activity, as
output can be generated with low levels of inputs and management.

Testing Notional Technology

Once a notional technology is conceptualized, it may be
possible to do some testing to determine likely benefits or
uncover potential problems. There are a number of ways of
testing, though they are usually restricted to work on models or
the collection of opinions.

As part of the study on which this paper is based, parti-
cipating farmers were questioned as to their preference between
rice varieties currently available and a proposed new variety
that would produce as ratoon about one-third the yield of the
planted crop. All of the farmers had previous experience with
ratoon, though few had "planted" it intentionally. The word for
ratoon translated from the local dialect as "volunteer rice".
During years in which there was substantial rainfall late in the
rice-growing season, some newly harvested rice plants would
regenerate. In most years, farmers did not consider the ratoon
rice to be worth harvesting, as the yields were extremely low.
In years when it was harvested, the largest share went to the
hired harvest labor.

When presented with the idea of ratooning the new varieties
with the expectation of a better yield, farmers responded posi-
tively. Of twelve farmers queried, ten stated that they would

Figure 6 Ratoon rice cropping under Iloilo agroclimatic conditions.

favor the adoption of a ratoon variety rather than risk planting
two crops of the currently available new varieties. One of the
farmers stated that he would try to plant two rice crops if the
onset of the wet season was very early, and plant a ratoon vari-
ety otherwise. The other farmer indicated that he could not
predict his response to a ratoon variety until he had had first-
hand experience with it.

During the three previous cropping seasons in the Iloilo
area (1976-79), an average of over 70 percent of the rainfed
lowland was planted to either rice-upland crop or rice-fallow
patterns. Ratoon cropping could conceivably increase the produc-
tivity of nearly all of this land, provided that ratoon yields
were sufficiently high to warrant the expenditure of labor for

The notion of ratoon technology has so far passed a number
of logical tests regarding feasibility within current Iloilo
agroclimatic and labor supply conditions, and desirability as
evidenced by farmer responses.

At this point, research resource allocation questions arise.
What is the expected value of ratoon technology? What ratoon
yield must be attained in order for the technology to reach
economic viability? How much should be spent on ratoon research
versus research on other technologies? These are very difficult
questions that cannot be answered without careful quantitative
analysis, based upon several assumptions regarding the perfor-
mance of ratoon technology.

A linear programming model (LP) was developed for use as a
tool in determining minimum yield performance levels, likely
adoption rates (in terms of percentage of total land planted to
ratoon), and the expected benefits to farmers of ratoon technol-
ogy. The salient features of small farm rice production systems
in the rainfed areas of Iloilo were incorporated into the model,
and tests were then conducted to determine likely outcomes when
the notional technology is included in the set of technologies
currently available to farmers.

The LP model included the possible rice cropping activities
which take place at different times over the course of a year.
In order to capture the effects of labor and power constraints,
as well as yield variation according to time of planting, the
model was partitioned into 28 weekly periods and 2 additional
periods of longer length. This method also allowed rice produc-
tion activities to be distributed throughout the season, thus
providing a more realistic picture of farmers' cropping

1/ The growing of upland crops was not explicitly incorporated
into the LP model since the agroclimatic requirements for
their growth differ from those of rice. Upland crops are
thus complementary to, rather than competitive with, rice.

Two types of rice production activities were included in the
model, one representing the wet seeding of an early-maturing
variety (existing technology), and the other a variety with
characteristics similar to the EMV but also possessing vigorous
ratooning capability. The technical input coefficients for
labor, power and purchased inputs (cash) were derived from Iloilo
farm record data. A number of constraints were placed on the
land, restrictions by size and type, and minimum requirements for
production activities, including family labor and power supply,
consumption, and seed for subsequent planting. The yield levels
incorporated in the model reflected the low input use typical of
the region, so it was unnecessary to include cash availability as
a constraining factor.

Rice yields were varied according to three factors: rain-
fall pattern, planting date and landscape position. The initial
planting activities could begin during any of the first 18 weekly
periods. Once a rice crop was established, yield then varied
according to the length of the rainy season (short, medium and
long). In general, the lower landscape position (plain) has a
greater multiple rice crop potential than the upper position
(sideslope), a fact that was reflected in the yield levels incor-
porated into the model.

In order to detect the benefits of new technology to farms
with different resource endowments, land constraints were varied
to represent two situations: small land area (SMFM), and large
land area (LGFM).

As a means of validation and verification, the model was
tested for correspondence to logical expectations based on prior
knowledge of the farm system. The results of the initial runs,
incorporating various lengths of the rainy season, indicated that
multiple rice crop potential increased the longer the length of
the season and the lower the landscape position. This corres-
ponded well with expectations.

Model results were also compared with historical cropping
practices. It was found that the model was unable correctly to
predict the actual patterns adopted. The discrepancy occurred
because the model was equipped with ex ante knowledge of the
rainfall pattern, while farmers made decisions in a situation of
rainfall uncertainty that did not coincide with the best outcomes
ex Eost. This model defect was corrected later on by imposing a
strategy likely to be adopted by farmers, as evidenced by both
their actual behavior and opinions related during interviews.
The imposed strategy consisted of allowing only single or double
crop options on plain fields, and single or ratoon crops on the

Once the model was deemed to be reasonably accurate in terms
of producing results logically consistent with expectations and
historical practices, a number of experiments were conducted in
an attempt to gain increased insight into the likely effects of

introducing new technology on cropping practices, rice production
and farm incomes.

The first experiment consisted of parametrically varying
yield levels of the ratoon crop in order to determine a minimum
yield that would be attractive to farmers as well as potentially
attainable by plant breeders. The range of yields explored was
determined subjectively, both by observing yields of ratoon crops
in the CSP trials and through discussions with plant breeders.

The model results indicated that ratoon technology would be
adopted even at very low yield levels on the sideslope land, even
though at such levels it is likely that farmers would graze the
land rather than harvest the rice. The adoption rate/ was
stable from .25 to 1.0 ton per hectare and then increased signi-
ficantly at the 1.25 tons per hectare level. For subsequent runs
of the model, ratoon yield was set at 1.0 ton per hectare,
assumed to be the minimum level at which the technology would
become economically attractive for adoption by farmers.

A second experiment was undertaken in order to obtain an
indication of the rates of adoption and the potential benefits to
farmers from the introduction of ratoon technology. The initial
results, for both small and large farm sizes, showed that ratoon
cropping replaced the single crop pattern, with little effect on
the area double cropped. As expected, ratoon achieved the
highest adoption rates in the shorter rainy seasons and on the
sideslope landscape position.

Comparison of the net monetary returns in cases with and
without available ratoon technology indicated that the economic
benefits of ratoon were concentrated during the short growing
seasons on the smaller farm. The benefits were more evenly
distributed among the different rainfall situations on the larger
farm, largely due to the presence of binding labor constraints
which inhibit double cropping even during intermediate and long
growing seasons.

In order to obtain information regarding expected benefits
of ratoon, the probabilities of each rainfall situation were
calculated. The average expected benefit was then determined by
multiplying the net benefit under each rainfall situation by the
probability of occurrence of that situation and summing the
results. The figures obtained represented expected yearly income
increases of 6.5% and 8.1% for the small farm and large farm,
respectively, under conditions of perfect knowledge regarding
rainfall patterns.

In order to account for decisions made under rainfall uncer-
tainty, the probable farmer strategy described earlier was im-
posed on the model. The model was then rerun for all rainfall
and farm size situations, both with and without the availability

1/ The adoption rate reflects the percentage of land assigned
to new technology by the model.

of ratoon technology. The results indicated increases in
expected net returns of 13.3% for the small farm and 12.0% for
the large farm.

The results of the LP analysis indicate that the expected
net benefits of ratoon technology are not overly impressive,
given the minimum ratoon yield level set and the relative quanti-
ties specified of different types of land (sideslope and plain).
Therefore, it would be advisable for plant breeders to try to
develop ratooning varieties with a yield capability somewhat
higher than that specified in the model.

An interesting result that the modelling exercise helped
bring out is that ratoon technology is biased towards farmers
with poorer quality resources, in this case sloped rather than
flat land. Therefore, those farmers with mainly sloped land with
little or no potential for multiple rice cropping would benefit
relatively more than farmers with plain land suitable for
planting two or more consecutive rice crops. Furthermore, it is
also biased in favor of farmers who are relatively risk-averse,
as it allows an additional harvest under low risk and low input
(both capital and labor) conditions. Thus, the poorer the
quality of the land, and the more risk-averse the farmer, the
greater the potential advantages of ratoon technology over cur-
rently available technologies. These considerations would make
ratooning quite attractive as a component of a rural development
project that attempts to improve the welfare of the relatively
poorer (though not necessarily the poorest) members of the rural


The processes of identifying farm problems, and of deriving
notional technologies to solve them, leads to two major conclu-
sions that pertain to future activities in farming systems re-
search. The first is that the generation of new technology
appropriate to specific farming conditions should begin with a
solid understanding of the needs and circumstances of those for
whom the technology is designed.

The second conclusion reiterates the multidisciplinary
nature of farming systems research. Since farmers' decisions and
productive possibilities are highly affected by the agroclimatic
and socio-economic environments under which production takes
place, the integration of information from both biological and
social sciences will be necessary in order to achieve an under-
standing of the relevant system variables and the dynamics by
which they operate. With such an understanding, the chances of
developing new technologies to alleviate farm problems will cer-
tainly increase.

A Methodology for Notional Technology Development

The material presented in this paper, and other ideas
acquired during the research process in the Philippines, formed
the basis for a methodology with the potential to promote the
creation, and eventual full-blown development, of notional

The methodology focuses on the farmer as the key element.
To reduce the burden of information collection, and to allow
researchers to focus quickly on the farmer's major constraints,
the farmers play a dual role, as providers of information and as
evaluators of new ideas that arise during the course of the

A diagram of a "farmer-participant" agricultural research
methodology is given in figure 7. The research process begins
with substantial interaction between researchers and farm and
community systems. Ideally, economists and agronomists should be
able to generate socio-economic and agroclimatic environmental
profiles, which can be combined to provide an initial site des-
cription (Cock, 1979).

Concurrent with the farm and community-level effort, a study
should be made of the policies governing the relationships
between small farmers and the rest of society. These include
price, credit and tax policies, general input and product market
conditions, and public and private efforts toward the generation
and transfer of agricultural technology.

If political conditions are deemed conducive to small farm
progress, then farm-level research can begin. If political and
economic conditions are not favorable, then it would be worth-
while assessing possibilities for changing them. If substantial
changes in the policy environment do not appear feasible, then a
search for solutions other than improved technology per se might
be appropriate.

Small farms commonly produce a number of products, each of
which faces a determined set of economic conditions in terms of
prices, markets, etc. As a result of the mandates of the Inter-
national Agricultural Research Centers, most farming systems
research has focused on basic food crops that feed the majority
of the world's population. It is quite, common for national
policies related to food crops to be designed to maintain a low-
cost market basket. Therefore, the scope is limited for inducing
technological changes or for farmers to derive substantial bene-
fit from technological improvements. In such a situation, it may
be wise to redirect the research focus toward products where the
economic outlook in terms of potential benefits to farmers is
more favorable. Strategies along this line could include intro-
ducing nontraditional crop and livestock products, searching for
new market opportunities, or organizing small farmers to improve
their bargaining power. The strategy selected obviously depends
upon the prevailing political and economic relationships.





Figure 7 A Methodology for
Technological Development.

Actions should be taken only after thorough study to determine
where the problems really lie.

If the policy environment is found to be favorable for
certain farm production activities, or if adjustments in the
environment are feasible, work can begin on the development of
new technologies. At this point, decisions need to be made
regarding what technological changes are biologically possible
and economically feasible. An attempt should be made to predict
the ecological and socio-economic consequences in order to deter-
mine the relative desirability of technologies, should they be
developed (Hertford, 1979).

The next step is farmer evaluation. It does not involve
field trials, but rather the collection of thoughts and opinions
of a select number of farmers at the site about the feasibility
and viability of hypothetical technological change. This step
should help reduce the required number of technologies that must
be dealt with at a developmental stage. In talking with farmers,
one is likely to discover new variables which could inhibit the
adoption of certain types of technologies. Since farmers are
operating with more information than scientists about certain
aspects of farming (especially traditional farm and community
systems), and less information about other aspects, the combi-
nation of the two sets of information will likely lead to better
decisions than the use of either set of information alone. Many
times, farmers will not be able to give easily understandable
reasons why they do what they do. Farming practices evolve over
time in response to the environment, and traditional practices
sometimes continue even though the environment may have been
modified. Farmer actions with no apparent logical base should be
considered carefully, and attempts should be made to learn the
underlying reasons to see whether those reasons are still valid
under existing environmental conditions. A sufficient number of
farmer opinions should be solicited so that researchers feel sure
that the opinions are representative.

Technological alternatives that are rejected by farmers,
after being declared possible and feasible by biologists and
social scientists, should be reevaluated in the farm and commu-
nity system context to find out whether it is worthwhile making
adjustments so that the technology can "fit". As researchers
pass through the re-evaluation phase, more knowledge is accu-
mulated which may cause reconsideration of technologies already
accepted by farmers as feasible.

Once notional new technologies have been conceived and
evaluated, the set of all acceptable technologies coming out of
similar processes at different sites should be assembled for
ranking. Ranking will facilitate the allocation of research
resources to the development of technologies with the highest
"payoffs". Technologies with potential acceptability over a
large range of environmental conditions should receive high pri-

ority, as should those which utilize farmers' current resource
levels to their greatest extent without major system modifi-

With the basic groundwork accomplished, scientists can begin
to find ways to achieve acceptable performance of the new tech-
nologies on the experiment station, if biologically feasible.
Social scientists can collaborate by specifying limits of accep-
table performance and by using models to test their stability
synthetically under different environmental conditions.

New technologies can be released as they are developed and
eventually become part of the farmers' "opportunity set". Con-
tinued research will need to be done to refine the system. It
will be done by searching for productivity increments through
better crop management practices or multiple cropping. Farm-
level outcomes may bring out previously undiscovered problems
that may require the development of other new technologies.
Performance monitoring by researchers completes the feedback
"loop" and makes the process dynamic.

Over time, farming systems and their environments will
change, so all technologies are interim in nature. Capital-using
technologies may replace capital-saving ones if the interim tech-
nologies can produce enough gain to allow capital accumulation to
take place.

A number of technologies can be developed and tested in
specific environmental situations. They may, however, be appro-
priate for use in other areas for reasons not yet understood by
researchers. Though farming systems exist in a large number of
environments, the number of technologies in some way suited to
the different environments may be small. Technologies designed
at research stations can be thought of as "seed" material. That
is, the basic ideas and materials are developed and presented to
farmers for adaptation before adoption. No single technological
package will be wholly adopted by farmers, because of the variety
of environmental conditions and limitations in different farming
areas. Therefore, as certain parts of technological packages are
accepted while others are changed or rejected, farmers actually
invent their own new technologies. There is no one appropriate
technology for any area, so farmers should be provided with a
number of technologies from which they can choose. A larger
objective of research, then, is not to develop one or more
specific technologies, it is to expand the farmers' opportunity
set. The farmers themselves are the ultimate judges of which
technology, or set of technologies, is most appropriate.

A quote from Morss et al. (1976) in an evaluation of the
Plan Puebla project in Mexico summarizes well the major conclu-
sion of this paper:

In the last analysis, the crux of the rural development
dilemma lies less with persuading small farmers to
adopt new behavior recommended by outsiders than it

does with persuading outsiders to change their behavior
and attitudes toward small farmers. And chief among
the changes required of outsiders is the realization of
their own vulnerability; that they do not have all the
answers; that they cannot monopolize the process of
rural development; that they cannot, in brief, help
small farmers without the latter's assistance.



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