1s- D CRAFT
A COMPENDIUM OF NOTES
FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
COURSE AGG 4932
MANAGING FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
ROBERT K, WAUGH
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
A COMPENDIUM OF NOTES ON FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
These notes are not complete and exhaustive in the treatment of the
different topics but hopefully will present some concepts and information
for the implementation of pragmatic agricultural research and extension programs.
The first version of these notes was written in February 1982 and this
present version in May and June of the same year. In this second version
Section I and II have been re-written and a new section on Management inserted
between Sections IV and V of the first version, thus the numbers of the sections,
starting with Section V of the first version have been increased by one, ie.,
V become VI, etc.
Also a brief preface has been added.
T- exx v kc A`
Robert K. Waugh /
The University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611
A COMPENDIUM OF NOTES ON FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. ADDING NEW DIMENSIONS TO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
II. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT CONSTRAINTS TO ADDING NEW DIMENSIONS TO AGRICULTURAL
RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
III. RESEARCH THAT IS PLANNED AND MANAGED (DIRECTED) FOR DEVELOPMENT
IV. GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTING A FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION SYSTEM
V. MANAGEMENT OF RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
VI. SOME NEEDS OF FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION FROM GOVERNMENT
VII. OPERATIONAL PLANNING FOR FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
VIII ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES FOR FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
IX. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
X. TECHNOLOGY FOR THE LIEVESTOCK COMPONENT OF FARMING SYSTEMS
NOTES ON FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
Agricultural research and the promotion of the use of technology
in the developing countries has occurred in at least three phases and now appears
to be definitely entering a fourth phase. The first phase was a pre-World War II
phase, which varied considerably in nature in different countries but was directed
mainly toward educational and training programs and technology generation.
Following World War II a second phase was started, supported in large
part by foreign technical assistance programs, especially from the United States.
This second phase focused mainly upon the transfer of technology, the theory
being that since the United States had been very successful in applying technology
to agricultural production, certainly this technology, at least in part, could be
applied in many countries.
A third phase was then initiated when it was found that most of the
technology was location specific and would at least need adaptation before being
of much value in the developing countries. "Applied research" was initiated in many
countries to adapt, modify and generate technologies that would be more relevant to
the ecological conditions of the country but largely ignored the kind of farm, and
was focused upon the biological nature of farming without much attention to the
cultural and economic aspects of agricultural production. As a result most of the
technology was "tested" under conditions more akin to the larger farms with more
At this time it seems evident that research in the developing countries
is entering a fourth phase. This is characterized by its focus upon a specific
clientele, with emphasis on the small and limited resource farmer. In order to
orient the research specifically, much of the research has been moved to the
farm; cultural and economic aspects are given consideration with the biological
in the orientation of research and its transfer. In order to do this the disciplines
of the social sciences, as well as the farmer himself, are being brought into
agricultural research and extension.
This movement started within the developing countries, and was possible
because (a) much had been learned about agriculture within the individual countries,
(b) many expatriate scientists had gained experience in the phase three models and
have learned the strengths and weaknesses of it, and (c) perhaps most important
of all, cadres of local scientists and technicians had been trained who could not
only carry out much of the technical level work required by the new focus, but also
This phase four focus has already produced modest results in a few
countries and promises to be much more effective than phase three for improving
production and productivity of limited resource farmers and as a consequence has
attracted much interest worldwide. Staff members of many organizations have become
interested, and especially economists and anthropologists have been active in
conceptualizing the "process" of farm oriented research and extension,--in the
development of farm focused technological systems and services.
This compendium of notes on farm focused research and extension
has been written with the objective of presenting a descriptive summary of
the "status of the art" and hopefully contributing to the development of sound
and more relevant research and extension programs by recording ideas and recalling
experiences gained while working directly with such programs within the developing
countries. Most of my experience has been "on the ground" experience in Latin
America, especially in Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras and therefore my obser-
vations may be more relevant to that part of the world than other areas.
These notes have been written from the viewpoint of the overall system,
its focus, its management, and its operation. Very little specific methodology
is presented. But the information in these notes should be of interest to
Managers, Researchers and Extensionists alike because it not only is important
for all to have the same goals but for all to use an integrated and coordinated
process to strive toward them.
I. ADDING NEW DIMENSIONS TO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
We Should Question
A strong case can be made in support of agricultural research and extension.
Their contributions accrue from increased food production, as well as from many
other advances of technical and scientific nature that have an impact on how we
But one can cite examples where it is obvious that agricultural research and
the dissemination of information have not contributed very much to large groups
of the world's population. There is much hunger in the world, and over a still
wider are there is very poor nutrition with unfortunate effects, especially upon
the health of the young. This has been due to (a) in some cases, a shortage of
food within the country and (b) in others, to a lack of a means of obtaining the
food. And much of the hunger and poverty is found precisely where it might be
expected that food could be produced and be directly available to the people ie.,
within the rural areas. Even though it is clear that the agricultural sector with
its organizations for the generation of technology and dissemination of results
is not alone culpable, the question can be asked if agricultural research and
extension have done everything they could to improve the lot of the people.
1/ Examples of these are the contributions ot the control of disease and the
understanding of the principles of nutrition and physiology. What has been
learned about disease control in farm animals is also applicable to humans.
Studies of animal nutrition have contributed to the improvement of human diets.
The understanding of reproduction and physiology have been advanced through
animal research. A detailed list of the contributions ofagricultural research
to the well being of mankind would be enlightening to most of us.
Have we had appropriate technology available and the extension system failed
in teaching people how to use it? Should the relationship between research and
extension be different? Have we skewed the advantages of technology so that it
is more relevant to those who have already been living better than many other?
Have we made enough effort to meet the needs of rural populations with limited
resources--to generate technology that is acceptable to them?
In attempting to answer such questions it should be kept in mind that
technology alone is not all that need be brought to bear upon the problem-- and
this immediately leads to the questionwhether or not agricultural research and
extension have given enough attention to the non-biotechnical aspects of rural
development. Also it is basic to keep in mind that many 'efforts, other than the
generation and dissemination of technology, have been directed toward the problems
of food production and the quality of rural life. And similarly the question can
be asked if these other efforts have viewed technology correctly. However, since
the problem remains a large one, it is obvious that what has been done to date
has not been adequate--neither the programs of research and extension nor other
strategies of price, infrastructure, credit, health, education and other social
Examples of change of Focus.
There are several examples where biological and social scientists have worked
together to make biological technology more relevant to the case of the client.
1/ These notes focus upon the generation of biological technology for the
improvement of agricultural production and productivity from the biological,
cultural and economic viewpoint. However, is it not just as important that the
non-biological programs of development examine more closely how to favor national
and local objectives with a better understanding of the nature and value of
biological technology? It needs be queried if in the building of transportation
and communication systems, the development of education, the policy of markets,
technology has been given sufficient attention.
Two of these are the Plan Puebla in M6xico and the Caqueza Project in Colombia.
The work was focused differently in each project: toward maize production in the
Plan Puebla and the cropping systems of the farmers at Caqueza. However, in each
case the work was directed toward specific clientele; in both the strategies and
methodologies were changed as project personnel gained experience, basing the
changes upon results in order to evolve a system of work designed to generate
relevant technologies and effecting adoption into farmers' production systems.
As in the case of the two projects mentioned above, most of the experience
where a strong effort has been made to direct biological technology to meet the
needs of a specific client from a broader point of view than just purely the
biological, has been through projects developed within or connected with organiza-
tions of strong biological orientation, and in which the entire institute has not
been re-focused.; the major programs of the institutes changed very little.
ICTA in Guatemala
ICTA in Guatemala (Waugh 1975) was one of the first examples, if not the first,
of a new decentralized institute that was organized with this philosophy and
1/ These notes focus upon the generation of biological technology for the improvement
of agricultural production and productivity from the biological, cultural and
economic viewpoint. However, is it not just as important that the non-biological
programs of development examnie more closely how to favor national and local
objectives with a better understanding of the nature and value of biological
technology? It needs be queried if in the building of transportation and
communication systems, the development of education, the policy of markets,
technology has been given sufficient attention.
Some of the principle points of the strategies of ICTA were (a) to focus upon
the farm, (b) to give high but not exclusive priority to limited resource farmers,
(c) to learn as much as possible about farming from the pragmatic viewpoint of
farming itself and the farmer, (d) to involve the farmer (this included the farmer's
test as a self-managed demonstration) both to teach the farmer and to learn from him,
(e) to integrate the social sciences as a part of the system to generate biological
technology and (f to maintain strong commodity programs but closely coordinated with
the on farm area research teams.
ICTA, from its inception, decided to continue strong commodity teams, and the
on-farm research, to be conducted by on-farm area research teams was viewed as a new
dimension to research and not as something drastically new.
The ICTA institutionalized three aspects of research which constitute a new
focus--new dimensions: (a) ICTA combined research of both reductive and holistic
nature into one integrated system, (b) it used the farm focus not only at the on-
farm level of research, but also to orient the commodity and discipline (including
economics) research (component research) and (c) it integrated non-biological dis-
ciplines into the process of generation of biological technology. A fourth aspect
related to the generation of technology that ICTA institutionalized early in the
development of the institute, which was not an added dimension to research, was
in-service training to prepare young agronomists to work more efficiently under
the new focus, which has had a major influence upon both the commodity research
and the on-farm research.
More recently ICTA has been working to add a fifth new dimension --that of
close linkage and coordination with extension.
Why did ICTA add these new dimensions to the process of generation of
technology? Briefly, Guatemal wished to stimulate food production and at the
same time have the technology contribute to the standard of living of the small
farmers, who were producing, and still do, a high percentage of the basic food
grains for the country.
Transfer (Extension) is Receiving Attention.
More recently the processes of transfer as a continuing step has been given
attention. ICTA, as an institute with its principle mandate being the generation
and promotion of the use of technology appears to be forging meaningful linkages
with extension (Waugh 1981, manuscript). The programs of research and extension
in Honduras have been seeking means of coordinating the evaluation of technology
at the farm level, and the University of Florida has a program of activities iden-
tified as Farming Systems Research/Extension (FSR/E), which operates in North Florida .
Later (Section IV) this set of notes presents a technological system as a
guide to the operational aspects of a farm oriented research and extension system.
This system is based largely upon experiences in ICTA in Guatemala but also draw
upon experiences in other countries such as Honduras.
The systems outlined in Section IV of these notes is not given with the
intention that this be accepted as the only good design that can be structured.
However, hopefully it contains the basic components of a feasible system; no part
is based soley upon conceptualization but based on some experience of an applied
Rationale for Change in Agricultural Research and Extension
Perhaps the strongest argument for change in agricultural research and exten-
sion can be based upon the continued need for more food, accompanied by the need
to alleviate the rural poverty that persists in many of the developing countries.
The technological system (research and extension) of the United States has been
highly successful if we evaluate it on the basis of total production, crop yields
and production per man, But in making these increases the technological system
never focused very much on the marginal, limited resource farmer (can I find a
reference?); and farms in the U.S. increasingly have become larger. Marginal
farming persists, many times supported in part by off farm activities.
It seems clear that there are two situations where we should look to develop
a better technological system of research and extension.
One is the case of the small, limited resource farmer in the developed countries.
The North Florida Project is an example ( ). There are other cases were projects
have been developed to focus upon similar situations. (The Virginia Highland
Project). In North Florida the "small, limited resource farmer represents conside-
rable acreage of farmland, but with increasing competition from larger farms, stronger
competition from other regions, and increasing costs of production under difficult
ecological conditions he finds himself in an economic squeeze. The concern is not
one of total food production but for the economic wellbeing of a segment of the
The second case is the well documented one of the small farmer in the
developing countries where the concern is both for total national food production
and for the wellbeing of a large segment of the world's population.
Research and:extension as a source of information. In the
developing countries where a very large number of small farmers live in
poverty, and where technology has not alleviated their situation very much,
there are undoubtedly many :cases where there is no agricultural solution. In
these cases the agricultural technological system cannot be expected to find
But when there is no technological solution to their rural plight
should not research and extension help identify these instances? Should not better
information be furnished to planners and programers about the limitations as well
as the contributions of science and technology to problem solving?
One reason that research and extension have not contributed more basic
information for planning and development is because governments have not given them
much opportunity to participate in decisions. Another reason is that research and
extension frequently do not have the right kind of information--that is useful to
planners. They do not have this kind of information because research has focused
principally upon understanding, and maximinzing the output of biological processes
and not upon the broader agro-socioeconomic conditions that might be changed through
Governments need information of the output that can be expected when
technology is applied. The agronomist, for example, knows that variety "x" of
maize has a potential of 100 bushels per acre. But this value may be twice too
high to estimate the impact of this variety on a given area.
Research and extension can estimate the production that might logically be expected
if a large number of farmers within a given area were to use a technology, but
they have done very little to realistically evaluate expected yields; what they usually
estimate are potential yields.
Lack of realistic estimates of what farmers, on the average, will
obtain form technology has also made the work of transfer more difficult.
The political nature of research. It seems obvious that agricultural
research has wished to remain apolitical. This is especially true at the level
of the individual researcher. He is finding it more difficult with time to remain
aloof from public opinion. The use of chemicals may draw the wrath of the ecologists
and a study of heat tolerance in dairy cows the eye of the SPCA. But he seems
to subconsciously understand that no one will deny that the maize plant should
be improved or that weeds should be controlled. He prefers his projects to
be viewed in the non-political light. He publishes his findings for all to read
but once published is not concerned about who uses the technology. He has demons-
trated the point of his hyothesis, he has contributed to the academic hopper of
knowledge, and with publication he considers his responsibility at an end.
In the U.S. a bridge has been constructed to connect the generation of
scientific results with its application through joint appointments with responsibi-
lities in both research and extension, as well as through industry. The clientele
for technology has been relatively well educated; the farmer has been mobile, inte-
rested, subjected to economic pressures to increase production and has been very
adept at using technological information to increase production. The system has
functioned remarkably well.
In the developing countries this bridge between the generation
of scientific results and the application of the corresponsing technolgoy has not
been nearly so strong. In the U.S. the limited resource farmer has been at a disad-
vantage in adapting technology in comparison with the farmer of greater resources.
In those instances where scientific information does not flow easily
and readily into applied use, then focusing research upon the farm, toward specific,
defined regions is proving to be more effective than the traditionally oriented
technological system. But under the form focused system research and extension
cannot remain as apolitical as in the past. The individual agronomist does not
need become a politician in the sense of party politics, but he needs be more
aware of the need for greater input from his profession into decisions--what
and where and how.
Reductive vs. holistic research and extension. Research has been
criticized for being too reductive, ie., it separates a small piece of a biological
system, isolates it, and studies it under controlled conditions which frequently
are very different from the conditions where the biological system normally functions.
Diagram I-1 illustrates the fractionization of corn production research--and this
illustration is my no means complete. It does not take in to account that corn
production is a sub-system within the farming unit.
It says nothing about the socio-economic aspects of corn production.
And furthermore it would, in practise include many other biological aspects that
might need attention and thus the fractionization of the biological components
would be even greater than shown.
In practise, a component is usually studied on the experiment station
or in the laboratory. A small fraction of an agricultural system is studied because
it is impossible to study it within the whole system; it is too complex and the
great variation of the natural system would mask the response to a treatment which
the scientist is studying.
DIAGRAM X-1. Schematic illustration of reductive research on corn production.
Therefore it is logical to conclude that the error of research has
not been due to reductive methodologies but in not returning the component being
studied to the holistic natural system for evaluation after it has been studied
under controlled conditions.
It is frequently stated that the researcher does not go to the field.
This statement does not present the true picture; he goes to the field, but usually is
not interested in the holistic nature of farming. In the field heobserves the biological
system in which he is interested. From this he conceptualizes how he might influence
the biological system through plant breeding, control of insects, control of weeds,
the use of fertilizer etc. He then studies the system on the experiment station
and returns to the field to test his resutls. He exposes his results to a wider
ecological range than is found on the experiment station. But he does not return
to the holistic system of the farmer. He controls plant nutrients, plant density,
weeds, etc. He presupposes that the farmer can, and will, control the same production
factors. The experiment station remains the point from which results are dissemi-
nated. How results are brought to a farming region and disseminated to farmers is
the responsibility of the extension agent. (Diagram I -2 A).
Farm focused research has the advantage that it produces results
at the farm level; these are immediately available to the extension agent, who
along with farmers and researcherhave participated in the evaluation of new
technology. The "distance" between the generation of technology and the point
of its use is essentially eliminated. Research and extension are interrelated at
the farm level. There is a systematized means of returning the results of component
research to the holistic system of farming.
Traditional commodity and discipline research
Farm focused research and extension
Integrating biological and social sciences. It is not always easy to
combine the sociological and biological disciplines and get them to function
in a coordinated and objective manner. But if the cultural and economic aspects
are to be conjoined with biological aspects some means must be found
to involve social scientists jointly with agronomists and other biological
In ICTA a socioeconomic group was organized and identified as the
Socioeconomic "Discipline".Thus Socioeconomics was identifiable, had
organization, budget. It was given guidelines for developing a program,
it was assigned responsibilities, it was supported by the institute and
was thus given the opportunity to develop activities as well as image.
Socioeconomics had its own niche; it was not just added to the institute;
it was integrated into the institute in a manner similar for other activity
The guidelines for Socioeconomics were:
1. The micro economics of the systems presently in use by the small
2. An analytical function to assure the recommended practices are
economically favorable for the farmer;
3. Detecting and identifying the desires and needs of the small farmer
with the objective of making the research more efficient and the
transfer of technology to the farmer more effective.
4. Contributing to the feedback of information from the field to
the commodity programs and to the administrations, and
5. Participating in the evaluation of the institutional projects.
(Waugh, ICTA-Four Years of History. ICTA. 1975).
This kind of structural arrangement did not solve (remedy) all of the
problems of integrating the social and biological sciences within the Institute.
It did not eliminate friction, it did not develop a program of work, it did not
assure the development of agro-socioeconomic methodologies that were productive
or beneficial toward making agricultural research more relevant to the conditions
of the farmer.
However this arrangement did give structure and organization so that managerial
inputs, direction and control to both the biological and social sciences could
be brought to bear upon the units or groups with the objective of evolving an
effective system of work.
It is very likely had the structural organization, and thus managerial
input and control, been absent, the attempt to integrate the biological
sciences with the social sciences would have resulted in chaos and failure.
In conjoining groups of different disciplines it is only natural that
the personalities involved and their attitudes be recognized as important
Also in the case of mixing sociological and biological disciplines
the methodologies have been shown to be very important.
For example in ICTA the traditional survey technique was not satisfac-
tory for gathering information. Too many questions were asked; volume of
information collected overshadowed the pertinent information; it was too
costly and the analysis was cumbersome and too slow. Additionally the
long survey did not seem to be the best methodology to be used for farmers
who are always busy and have little sympathy for government representatives.
Furthermore several surveyorywere needed and in their contact with farmers
they alluded to idealistic principle. This was a dangerous thing under a
government concerned with political stability. Also when the personnel of
the Socio-Economic unit conducted the survey the information was not trans-
ferred to the agronomists who were conducting the biological research. Because
of the time involved the biological researcher did not participate in surveys.
ICTA cancelled the traditional survey as a standard methodology, which
was replaced by the rapid reconnaissance or sondeo,'(ref. Hildebrand).
This had many advantages over the traditional survey. Since it was done over
a short period of time the agronomists could participate. Results could be
summarized rapidly. The agronomist's participation resulted in better transfer
of information to the biological scientists who later would be conducting research
in the area. This joint participation in the sondeo "forced" dialogue between
agronomists and the social scientists.
Thus the methodology of the social scientist should be functional within
the research system, i.e., compatible with the biological research system.
An example of a methodology that would not be satisfactory in many research
systems is the one proposed by Lagemann (Johannes Lagemann, Farming Systems
as a tool for identifying and conducting research and development projects.
CATIE, 1981.) His plan proposes that data collection and analysis be spread
over a period of 20 months. The systems includes on-farm experimentation
after seven months and some research data could be available before all
data were analyzed and thus can be used in the elaboration of the plans for
a large, long-term development project. However it would be very costly and
time consuming for the routine data collecting methodology of a research
The traditional farm record used to study costs of production and the
economics of the farm enterprise is another methodology that collects much
data that is difficult to analyze, is slow or time consuming and in general,
while undoubtedly it has its place, is not what can be most productive as an
integrated part of the biological research system. The farm records that
were developed in ICTA (Hildebrand, 1979) to record cropping practices, inputs
and yields on a single crop basis are much more compatible to farm focused
Again the point here is that the methodologies to collect economic and
cultural information should be compatible and functional with the biological experi-
mentation if they are to be integrated in agricultural research systems.
In ICTA it seems that t'ere were at least two points of importance in the
integration of social sciences with the biological sciences that have not been
emphasized previously, (a) one is to give enough organization to the social
sciences so that they can be identified, supported and given direction. (b)
the other is that the methodologies be made compatible with the dynamic nature
of the research needed to serve the clientele.
The agronomist can learn to make sociological observations-- in other words
can learn to not only understand the biological processes of farming but to
understand the farmer culturally. The average agronomist is not trained to
do this, and he probably will not begin to learn until he becomes aware of the
importance of non-biological effects upon the technology that he generates.
Likewise there are few social scientist that have much comprehension of the
biology of agriculture. If social scientists are brought into a biologically
oriented institute they will have to be given the opportunity for not only
studying the cultural-ecomic aspects of farming, they will have to learn the
general substance or biological research.
The "sondeo" methodology described by Hildebrand (reference)
and the more formal reconnaissance methodology of Hart (reference)
are examples that contribute to the learning of both biological and social
science personnel, and in these cases especially the agronomist and animal
scientist. The biological scientist plays a somewhat secondary roll to the
social scientist in the sondeo, at least until he gains experience.
The social scientist can likewise learn a lot about biological research
by taking a secondary role in the on-farm research. However in neither case
would the secondary role be a procedure to be recommended over a long conti-
In integrating biological and social science disciplines it should be
kept in mind that within the social sciences there are major differences
just as in the case of the biological. The economist does not do what the
anthropologist does. Their methodologies differ one form the other. And
it seems clear that the biological scientists views them quite differently.
The biologist seems to understand economics better than anthropology. The
biologist has had more personal experience in trying to understand economics
in his daily life. Whether or not the biologist understands the nature of
economics as applied by the economist he usually understands that technology
must be economically feasible to be adopted by producers. The economist usually
goes further in the quantification of information and data than other social
scientists. Also economists have had more experience with the reality of
decision making than most social scientists and seems to have developed more
common ground of understanding between these two disciplines than in other
cases. The agronomist may deprecate economic models, but he probably under -
stands the substance of them.
There is some basis to think that economics might well be developed as a
discipline within research, and develop the other social sciences within the
transfer mechanism (extension) where the social scientist should find more
application for his discipline in the areas of communication, in transfer
of information and in group organization.
The input that sociologists and anthropologists can make to improving
the relevance of research seems to be greater at the beginning of the
farm focused research than later as the system "matures." With economics
the value of a continuing role seems greater. However there is an incon-
gruent situation. The anthropologist, even though he were not needed in
research full time, might be in-a position to make important contributions
over a long period. But he cannot be expected to make his best contributions
if he is not continually in contact with the area upon which research is
being focused. If the social sciences were to be developed and institu-
tionalized within extension they would be in contact with the rural scene,
and also be available to support the research activities when needed, as
well as playing a continuing feed-back role from extension as is visualized
for other extension personnel.
In summary in order to integrate the social sciences with the biological
sciences for the purpose of generating biological technology success will depend
upon the usefulness. Usefulness must be forseen and results must confirm it:
1. The substantive qualities of. the social science disciplines must
be maintained while at the same time they are adapted to what
almost assuredly will be a new work environment.
2. The social sciences should be organized in such a mannerthat
they are given identification and can be supported (budget etc.)
and can be evaluated.
3. The methodologies must be compatible with the dynamic biological
farm focused research. Both the time required and degree of
simplicity of methodologies used by the social scientists are
important considerations. Lengthy and complex methodologies
should be avoided. The output from social sciences must be used
by the biological scientists as well as being useful to management.
II. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT CONSTRAINTS TO ADDING NEW DIMENSIONS
TO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
New.Orientation or Drastic Change?
Some people have voiced the opinion that farm oriented research (FSR/E)
is a drastically new thing. However, it can be argued that such systems, for
example that used by ICTA in Guatemala, simply make use of existing "tools"
and adapt them to organize and execute more objective and pragmatic programs.
The traditional basic biological training of agronomists allows them to
develop skills in on-farm research designed to meet farmers needs. No one
has suggested that sociology, anthropology or economics, that can be applied
to FSR/E does not already exist. We probably do not need drastically different
agronomists or economists--just a new orientation and focus.
The same is true for methodologies. Methodologies do change, but the
"sondeo", the farm records (the cropping logs used in FSR/E), the on-farm
experimentation used in farming systems research are all modifications, and
usually simplifications, of already existing methodologies.
The reason for concern about whether research and extension need drastic
change or just a new focus and orientation using methodologies based on
already existing professional competence is that it affects implementation
of farm focused research. Do we need a new cadre of professional people or
can present personnel operate under the new orientation? Is there a place for
traditional research, and the personnel involved, in farm oriented research?
Is there a place for reductive research as an integrated part of programs
developed with a new focus? Will the changes to implement farm focused (FSR/E)
be drastic or can we add new dimensions to already existing programs? In
summary it seems logical to conclude that the focus, ie. the orientation which
focuses upon the needs of the clientele represents considerable change.
(RKW, May 1982)
Non-biological disciplines are integrated with the biological; much of the
research is conducted on-farm within the systems of farmers. These do repre-
sent change. But in practice the major change is the primary consideration
given the client. Most of the methodologies are modifications of already
known procedures, and do not represent drastic change.
Some Bottlenecks to Implementation
Government. The Introduction of change in public service institutions
whether here in the U. S. or in other countries is not simple process. Insti-
tutional custom, bureaucracy, and politics may become major factors that influence
change or deter it. If the changeisviewed a major one (whether it truly is or
not) it will be necessary to have the help of someone with power of decision
or influence that is sympathetic to the idea who can explain the changes
using the appropriate terminology. Most of the people interested in FSR/E will
make the explanation too detailed and too technical. These ideas will need
be interpreted in terms familiar to those of government responsible for making
high level decisions and obtaining approval of the proper groups such as the
The approval of high level government is usually a slow process. It will
take time. Thus the question might be raised as to whether the introduction
of FSR/E could be accomplished within an already existing organization and
done in such a manner that it is not considered a major one. This might have
advantages in some situations. Work can be initiated at the farm level,
experience can be gained rapidly. However in this case the political support
may not be forthcoming when it is needed. The new focus would be low profile;
its image may be weak.
Also since it was established within an already existing organization,
probably by decision of a few people, it may have only a few supporting it.
Enough support for any new orientation may not be forthcoming at the time
that it should be expanded. And as is the case for the extension services,
farm focused research that is limited to a small area and a small clientele
will almost certainly never make much of an impact upon the agriculture of
the country. Therefore the new system should be implemented in such a manner
that it will be given sufficient support over a period of time sufficient
to demonstrate its advantages.
Just as periodic change that comes through elections or other routes
can be a serious limitation to stability and continuity in technical programs
it can also be an impediment to implementing change. A change in government
may result in lack of time to institutionalize major modifications in programs.
A full grown program cannot be well established over a short period
of time. Furthermore it is not logical in most instances. Politicians
frequently attempt to force a rapid change and attempt to
establish new programs already full grown, even though in most cases it would
be more logical to develop them over several years by initiating a program
on a small scale and then expanding it as experience is gained and personnel
are trained. Striking "while the iron is hot" is a political axiom that must
not be ignored, because programs initiated under one regime of government
may not be continued, or may not receive adequate support under the next.
Furthermore elected officials want to be identified with change-change that
can be seen during their period in office.
This situation makes long term, step-wise change difficult.
The fear of change. One factor that may deter implementation of farm
oriented research is mistrust in the minds of people because they fear that
change may be disadvantageous to them. This reluctance for change contributes
to the stabilization of bureaucracy. The inability to change or modify research
and extension programs (the same applies to other service programs) and to
evolve programs to better serve the constituency, is a sign of over bureaucrati-
zation. When this occurs bureaucracy becomes more and more resistant to change
and the resulting inability to make logical change in benefit of the clientele
is one of the reasons for revolutionary change by force.
To move from experiment station oriented research to farm focused research
and the development of integrated activities with extension do require change.
But as pointed out previously, the needed changes do not necessarily negate the
continued participation of professionals of traditional programs. If there are
professionals in the traditional programs that may be hurt due to re-focusing
of research and extension programs they probably already are weak as professio-
nals in the traditional programs.
Viewpoint of professionals. The viewpoint of professionals may be
a determent to establishing a farm focused research system. Currently existing
programs will probably be staffed with traditionally oriented Dersonnel, with
the research activities organized by croD, species of animal and by dicciplinPs
The agronomists (biologists) may feel that their scientific domain is
being invaded, and overshadowed by socio-economics. They may not be comfor-
table in a multidisciplinary situation where their work will be evaluated not
only on the basis of biological performance but also from the viewpoint of
cultural and economic considerations. Some may believe that the integration
of the results of their research into production systems will not be well done.
They may believe that on-farm research cannot be sufficiently controlled, or
they may take the position that no new focus is needed in order to conduct
on farm research.
Those who understand the reasons for farm focused research will
probably feel that there are logical and satisfactory answers that should
allay the fears of the scientists. Nevertheless these mistrusts (distrusts)
may exist in the minds of key people who would not give their full colla-
boration--and furthermore may influence even the younger scientists who
have a genuine interest in correcting any defieciencies of reductive
research. Most developing countries have limited human resources trained
for science and all of the personnel working in the traditional programs
are usually urgently needed if farm oriented research is to be successful.
Extensionists may doubt that they are capable of conducting on-farm
trials or supervising farmers' tests to evaluate the technology generated
by "their more sophisticated" colleagues. The workload of the extension
agents may already be heavy and to develop linkages with research may be
interpreted as additional work. They may also fear that they will be
dominated by their research colleagues who frequently are trained to higher
academic levels than extension personnel.
The intent here is not to treat this subject in detail but to point
out that what is logical to one group may be objectionable to another. And
since top management cannot establish a successful farm focused system
without the collaborative participation of the individuals involved in
executing the work, it is important to have a consensus among the people
involved to develop a new kind of program.
Lack of recognition of need to measure variation at the farm level. It
has long been recognized that average production by farmers in much lower
than the potential. Most biological research is conducted under controlled
conditions which give results in the upper range of the potential. Just as
it is logical to study small fractions of biological systems in order to
be able to manage and understand them, it is also logical to use conditions
favorable for a high level of performance. Both increase the sensitivity
of research in the evaluation of biological performance and detection of
In addition to making decisions of biological performance based on
results under well controlled conditions, the agronomist usually further
studies a selected portion of his results in regional trials in which the
new variety (or other technology) is submitted to varying ecological condi-
tions such as soil and climate. However in order to study the effect of
the ecological variations many of the conditions are still controlled; such
as plant nutrients, insects, etc. These conditions, even though the trial
be conducted off-station and on-farm usually do not represent farmer
Generally it is recognized that farmers will obtain varying results,
which average considerably lower than the estimated potential results. There
is usually no attempt to measure this variation of farmers. This means that
the agronomist estimates the potential value of this contribution but does
not estimate the true immediate value to farmers, which is information that
farmers need to know.
This lack of the recognition of the need, not only for the potential
value of a technology, but also the estimated real value to farmers, weakens
the forseen need for farm oriented research.
Over the years, farmers in the U.S. have frequently made their own
personal evaluation of new technologies. Before accepting a new variety, for
example, he has often seeded a few rows of it in order to compare it with
his currently used variety. The importance of this propensity of U.S. farmers
for evaluating technology has probably never been evaluated, but without much
doubt has been very important.
But small farmers in the developing countries have lacked the information,
know-how and resource to do this on their own. Farmers' tests, supervised
by research and extension personnel under a farming systems approach can
help estimate the value of new technology to farmers while at the same time
educating the farmer in the use of it, and serve as a much better basis than
usually is available for making recommendations to other farmers with assurance
of satisfactory results.
III. RESEARCH THAT IS PLANNED AND MANAGED (DIRECTED) FOR DEVELOPMENT
It has been customary that agricultural researchers in the United States
largely determine individually or among themselves (department level) both
the focus (orientation) and methodology of their research. This has been a
strategy that has produced very good results, especially for the commercial
farmer who produces the bulk of the food. However, we should keep in mind
that agricultural research in the U.S. was never directed to help the subsis-
tence farmer. The subsistence farmers were largely passed by, farms have be-
come larger and now corporate farming is coming to the front.
This system, successful according to our standards, has not made a large
enough impact in the developing countries where the small limited resource
farmers are in the majority. Rural areas are under developed, there is much
rural poverty, and many countries are moving from food exporters to importers.
Research and the resulting technology cannot solve all of the problems
of rural development or of food production in the developing countries. How-
ever there is sufficient evidence to believe that agricultural research can
make a much greater contribution than it has inthe past. In order to do this
the research will have to be focused (planned) to produce the results that
farmers can use and will accept. The new dimension to agricultural research,
usually identified as FSR here in the U.S. does focus the research according
to the needs and desires of the limited resource farmer, to a better degree
than any other research strategy that has been applied. FSR is relatively
new. Not many people have had experience working in.such a system. It pre-
sently is in a dynamic transitional stage of evolution but much of the method-
ology has been conceptualized and tested in operating programs, although
admittedly the number of programs where it has been tried are still relatively
few and are relatively new. The new orientation does not change the scienti-
fic principles of research, but should contribute to a dynamic application of
scientific methodolgoy to the further evolution of more effective research
beyond its present status.
Despite the fact that the new research focus applys the same scientific
principles as traditional resaerch, implementation of the new system has been
slow. Perhaps the lack of understanding on the part of decision makers of the
importance that research needs direction in order to meet development needs and
the belief on the part of researchers that they will lose the perogative to
determine their own research, leads them to be fearful of the new orientation.
However in the cases where the new focus has been used it has been the
research group that has largely determined the kind of research carried out.
The new orientation has furnished the researchers goals toward which they
themselves direct the research once the system has helped them identify agri-
cultural development needs.
It is suggested that the following classification ofresearch may help
both the researchers and research managers to understand the importance of
research that is directed toward identified objectives:
a. Fundamental Research
This is research conducted without an immediate client in
mind. It contributes to the knowledge hopper. Financing for
this kind of research does not depend on any immediate economic
value of the results. It is done principally by academic insti-
b. Industrial Research
This is research that seeks specific results and is highly
directed to produce results of some economic value. It is usually
directed toward a specific clientele or market. The resulting economic
gain is returned directly to the industrial company. This kind
of research is highly directed.
c. Research for Development
This is the kind of research needed for helping agriculture
in the developing countries. It should be directed toward speci-
fic goals or clientele. The research should not be oriented by
individuals or small groups unilaterally.
The results of this kind of research should be of inmediate economic
value. Payment for this research is not returned directly to the
organization but eventually gets there through some centralized agency
In conducting this kind of objective and directed research,
basic and applied lose their meaning. The research is conducted be
it basic or applied if it promises to produce the goals sought in a
reasonable time limit. What is needed is research that is managed
to meet the needs for development.
IV. GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTING A FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
"Research on improved farming technologies canr make an important
contribution to agricultural development. And, to be effective, part
of that research must be done on the farm, that is done in the fields
of representative farmers, under their natural and economic conditions."
(Assessing farmers' needs in designing agricultural technology. CT1M'T
Econor-ics Staff. IADS Occasional Paper, 1981)
During the last several years, scientists and others interested in
food production and rural development have concluded that the effectiveness
of agricultural research can be much improved by conducting more of it
on-farm, orienting the research in a more holistic manner in addition to
continuing the traditional commodity research and involving the farmer in
the process of technology generation and evaluation. Emphasis is being
given to conjoinfng socio-economic considerations with the biological.
This new focus is frequently, especially in the United States, referred
to as Farming Systems Research (FSR). Almost everyone agrees that the
research should be focused upon the entire farm as a unit, although there
is very little systems methodology used in the biological agronomicc)
research and some would prefer a different terminology to describe this
new orientation. Perhaps Farm Focused Research or Farming Research would
be more appropriate.
Less attention has been given to the extension of the research results
than to the research itself. Benor and Harrison (D. Benor and J.Q. Harrison,
Agricultural Extension- The Training and Visit System. World Bank, 1977.)
have proposed a training and visit system for extension. This plan, well
executed, undoubtedly could improve the extension services in many countries.
It proposes that the linkage between research and extension be through the
traditional subject matter specialist. While this arrangement has been
proven to have merit in some countries, it generally has not been used
in the developing countries, perhaps in part because of lack of trained
personnel. In any event, it seems clear that extension has not received
the technical back-stopping that it needs. At the same time extension
has not served as a mechanism to assure the continuous flow of technology
from the experiment station to the user.
One of the objectives of a research program should be to integrate
their activities into a system that will assure a constant flow of tech-
nologies from the point of their generation to their use in production
systems that will increase production and improve the well being of the
rural population over a sustained period. The world has now had sufficient
experience with agricultural research to understand that this does not
occur automatically, at least to the extent necessary to make the needed
impact with limited resource farmers.
The plan presented here to organize a technological system with the
objective of assuring a continuous flow of relevant and tested technology
from the point of its generation to its use by farmers is based largely
upon experiences in Guatemala and Honduras. (R. Waugh, ICTA-Four Years of
History, ICTA, 1975), (Secretaria de Recursos Naturales, Funcionamiento
del Programa Nacional de Investigacion Agropecuaria y su Integracion en
us Sistema Tecnologico. PNIA, Secretaria de Recursos Naturales, Honduras,
It is proposed to incorporate into the technological system what is
generally considered farming systems research but goes further and assigns
additional activities to both research and extension. As mentioned
previously, there is less experience with extension using the systems
approach than for the research activities. However, none of the activities
proposed are based solely upon conceptualization but have been used in some
manner in research and extension programs.
The following is an outline of a technological system, firstly
presenting the groups or units that participate in the system and secondly,
the activities to be conducted by the groups. The system is explained from
the functional viewpoint rather than the organizational because the activ-
ities could be conducted under different organizational structures.
Groups or Units that Participate in a Farm Focused Technological System
This proposal for the different groups or units of the system is not
intended to suggest the overall organizational structure for research
and extension programs. These groups are proposed as a means of effecting
the relationships between the activities that are presented later. Other
groups might be added as indicated, for example, experiment stations, seed
programs, and laboratories. The extension program would not be expected
to dedicate all of their time in collaborating with research but would,
as their primary responsibility, would work to disseminate the technology
to the masses.
1. Research group
a. Commodity teams
b. Discipline teams
c. On-farm area teams
d. Other groups
a. On-farm area teams
Commodity Research Teams
Every country needs commodity teams for the most important crops.
These teams continue to use proven scientific methodology, but can be more
effective and efficient through the additional testing of new varieties
by the area teams.
Commodity teams normally conduct on-farm research but principally
to test new genetic materials and varieties under wider ecological
conditions. They usually cannot conduct enough trials to test new
technologies thoroughly under conditions of variation typical of most
farming areas. With the collaboration of the on-farm area teams, the
most promising lines can be exposed to a much wider range of conditions
that not only include the ecological variations but also bring into
consideration different cropping systems, along with cultural and
Personnel of most disciplines, especially those related to specific
problems, may be assigned to the commodity teams. However, there are other
groups that have broad responsibilities such as soil or socio-economics
whose work is related not so much to one specific crop but to all or many.
They may be organized as discipline groups.
It is sometimes more difficult to determine and evaluate the programs
of work for these discipline groups than for commodity groups, so their role
must be carefully determined or they may not use their time and funds to
meet the overall goals of the program. The responsibilities of commodity
groups are more specific and easier to define and evaluate.
On-Farm Area Research Teams
The Commodity and Discipline Teams usually have national respon-
sibilities. For example, the country probably does not need more than
one Maiz Team and thus the one team must meet the needs of the country.
On-farm Area Teams are assigned to specific defined areas of concentration
of activities. These On-farm Teams have three principal, technical
functions: (a) Collaborate with Commodity and Discipline Teams,
(b) conduct area specific research and (c) collaborate with extension.
The On-farm Area Research Team is the one group or unit not usually
found in research organizations that can make the results of research more
relevant to the conditions of the farmer. They can give a new dimension
to agricultural research-- that of focusing research not upon the exper-
iment station, but upon the farm-i.e., by adding a holistic approach to
the reductive. They can improve the effectiveness of commodity (component)
research by more thorough testing of technologies generated by commodity
teams. They can reduce the distance from the researcher to the producer--
practically eliminate it. Extension can become more effective because
the extension agent can "find" technology in their area. They are no longer
limited to the experiment station or publications for sources of information.
In other words, these teams can fill the void that too frequently exists
between research and extension.
An example: Commodity research teams conduct off-station trials,
usually regional yield trials over a wide spectrum of ecological conditions.
But these trials usually have several lines of advanced breeding materials;
they are not tested using the farmers' methods of cultivation, but with
standardized experimental designs and controlled conditions; and usually
there are only a relatively few of such trials separated one from the other
by long distances. These trials are needed and the commodity teams
can seldom conduct enough of them. The on-farm research team can help
increase the number of such trials which makes selection of new materials
more efficient because there is more information taken from even a wider
range of ecological conditions. The next step can be the identification
of the two or three best lines (a decision that should be made by both
the commodity and the on-farm team) and these tested in simple agro-
technical trials in many places within a region, using farmers' practices
as a control treatment. The following step then, is to further test the
one or two best lines in farmer managed trials, some of which are super-
vised by researchers and others by extension agents. In this manner,
not only do researchers and extensionists participate in the selection
of new varieties, but also the farmer.
This example does not illustrate all of the activities of the On-farm
Research Teams, but shows how a new dimension can be added to conventional
Establishment of On-Farm Teams and the Expansion of Coverage
On-farm area teams should be established only when they can be ade-
quately staffed and can be given adequate support and supervision. This
means that most farm focused research will have to start with a few teams
and the area covered expanded as resources become available. This strategy
will have to be followed even though there is adequate financing because
it is unlikely that human resources will be available for extended coverage
at first. Also, managerial capabilities may be limited. It is easier to
supervise and direct a dozen or more established and trained teams than
it is to supervise three or four teams which have but little experience.
Also a step-wise or phased expansion allows the system to be molded to
the conditions which prevail in different areas.
However, there are advantages in starting with more than one team--
to not put all the eggs in one basket. Three teams in three different
areas is a good number and should be manageable. Each area will present
different conditions of work and if one team fails, the entire project
has not failed. Also, the varied conditions and different groups of
personnel as team members develop a wider base of experience from which
to evaluate to work, when there is more than one team.
Professional experience alone is not enough to establish and manage
good teams, especially the on-farm teams. The concepts of the new research
focus must be understood and skills for communications farmers will have
to be developed.
Expansion of the farm teams can be effected under two strategies, one
not being exclusive of the other.
One strategy is to expand the area of concentration once the original
area is "covered", that is to say when the region is well known and some
effective technology is available and validated. The area of coverage can
usually be increased without abandoning the original area completely, but
at the same time starting first stage research in an adjacent area.
The second strategy is to use one or more members from an experienced
team to furnish the leadership for a new team in a new area.
In the Highlands of Guatemala two teams were formed. Each team of
five members each initially covered an area of about 10,000 hectares.
Five years later, the same two teams together were covering about 120,000
Composition of On-Farm Area Research Teams
The composition of an on-farm research team will logically be varied
according to the local situation: The kind of farming in the area and
its technical level, roads and other infrastructure, community oragnizai.tons,
resources available, etc.
For example, if horticulture or cattle are important in an area, the
team should include one or more members competent in these areas. And if
the horticulture production in the area is technically advanced, at least
one team member must have a good level of competence in the production
of horticultural crops.
Hopefully teams can be organized in which individual members have
some special interests or capabilities so that one member can complement
the work of others. Even in the case of young team members not formally
specialized, some will have developed better skills in some areas than
others. Thus one member may be better informed about soils and fertilization,
another about statistical analysis, another about plant disease and still
another about economical analysis. Advantage should be taken of this
divergence. However, individual team members should not be permitted to
conduct experimentation only along the lines of their special interest,
but each team member should conduct a variety of trials that have been
planned to carry out the work plan.
The number of members of the area research teams will vary, but there
should be enough members to develop a team effort. One or two people do
not make a team.
Especially at the beginning, it is difficult for a one or a two-
member team to establish a good information base about an area, deter-
mine the parameters for the technology, and learn to understand the
farmers' practices. The information needed to form a good base will
vary, but information as to varieties, planting dates, fertilization,
insect and disease problems, use of herbicides, early in the work can
be the key to rapid success. If there are several important crops
grown in the area, and especially if they are grown in association,
a large number of trials are needed and progress can be very slow if
there are not an adequate number of team members.
Other Grouos in Research
Other groups within the overall research group will be needed. These
might be experiment station management and operation, a soils laboratory,
a library and a structured in-service training, etc.
On-Farm-Area Extension Teams
In order that Extension have an input into the orientation of research,
on-farm extension teams participate in the evaluation of new technology with
(a) in order to objectively evaluate technology,
(b) in order to become competent in the management of technologies
(c) in order to evaluate the acceptability of technology to farmers.
This results in two advantages. The feed-back from extension can orient
technology objectively and can also improve the capability of extension agents
to explain technologies to farmers.
In a new area, before there is new proven technology to be transferred,
the extension agent might profitably work in the first phase research. This
allows him to objectively contribute to the information base for the area
and also learn first hand about the area.
Later, he can continue to evaluate technology, use the experience and
the evaluation trials in the transfer of information to farmers.
Other Extension Groups
Other extension groups may be working within the same area for special
extension programs. These should be determined according to the goals of
extension and the kinds of activities assigned to them.
Farmers will not be a direct part of the research and extension
programs. Hcwever, they should be involved in several phases of research
and extension. First, they should be involved, and the principal source
of information, for the characterization of a farming area. Second,
they should participate in the research and its evaluation, and third,
should become involved in the extension of technology. A dynamic parti-
cipant group will learn more rapidly than the complacent individual.
Activities and Responsibilities of the Groups or Units of a Technological
System for Farmers
The purpose of organizing and systematizing the activities of a
technological system is to assure the necessary steps to effect a contin-
uous flow of relevant technology and information from its point of gen-
eration to the point of its use in farmers' cropping systems. The
technologies offered to the farmer should be adequately validated and
there must be a close relationship between the generation and the transfer
of the technology.
The technological system must function in harmony with credit and
marketing systems and the farmer must have the necessary inputs available.
A sequence of activities is shown in Diagram I. The system is not
only sequential but also cyclical with return loops in the sense that one
phase is based on a prior one and at any phase in the sequence, the tech-
nology can be either discarded or returned to a prior step for modification
or further validation. The biological phases of the system can be concept-
ualized as (a) study of components, (b) integration of components into
production systems, (c) the validation of the technology by researchers
and extension personnel and the evaluation by farmers before being recom-
mended to farmers on a large scale. Much of this work is conducted on-farm
with the participation of extensionists and farmers.
The activities to carry out the phased technology generation, testing
and transfer are:
a) Characterization and analysis of farming areas in two phases,
first the initial phases and later the continuing phases,
b) Operational planning for the distribution of resources and
the work plan which is in agreement with a yearly budget.
c) Generation of technology, both the component research and the
farming area research, and
d) Transfer of technology to the farmer through support of Exten-
sion by research and the technical support of the farmer by
extension. Also,evaluation by the farmer is a part of the
transfer process as well as a part of the research.
e) In addition it is suggested that an in-service training program
be organized within the technological system to prepare person-
nel for both research and extension within the farming area.
These five activities are outlined in Table 1 and are discussed below.
Characterization and Analysis of Farming Areas
Characterization and analysis refers to the collection of pertinent
agro-sccioeconomic information for the purpose of selecting areas of con-
centration and orienting the research and extension activities. It is
assumed that the general area has already been selected on which research
and extension should focus their work.
There are two phases to characterization and analysis. The first
phase collects information and selects the specific areas of concentration
and serves as the basis for operational planning.
The second phase is a continuing phase, or up-dating phase, where
additional information is used to add to, and perhaps modify the initial
information. This second phase characterization then is continuous and
dynamic and is done in conjunction with the operational planning. In
this second phase characterization,research results become relatively more
There are at least three different situations that will affect the
procedures used in characterization:
FI NATIONAL RESEARCH PROGRAM
NATIONAL EXTENSION PROGRAM I
NATIONALL COFMMO I Y
REGIONAL ON-FARM RESEARCH
Characterization and analysis; agro-socioeconomic information
S Component research
Integration of components
Validation and evaluation
Transfer and production
- L. v "! "L.- -- I- I -- -L .... C. Q .
Table I, SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CONDUCTED BY THE GROUPS OR UNITS OF
AN AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEM
I. CHiARACTERIZATION AND ANALYSIS OF FARMING AREAS
1. First Phase
a. Review of documented information
b. Soecific studies when needed
c. Reconnaissance (sondeo)
d. Selection of areas of concentration
2. Continuing Phases
a. Modification of previous information
b. Information gathering
-farm records, case studies,
c. Addition of information from research
results, farmer acceptability and
II. OPERATIONAL PLANNING
P. Physical resources
4. Review of infor-ation
5. Annual work nLans and budgets
GENERATION AND EVALUATION OF TECHNOLOGY
a. Intr duc.ions
c. ProTeny testing
d. Off-sta-tion testing
e. SelectLon of varieties for areas
f. Basic seed
g. Crop specific studies
a. E:,olorattov trials
b. Agro-technical tri;
d. Researcher managed
e. Farmer mann-ed eva
f. Evaluation and acc
IV. TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY TO FARMERS
1. Initial phase
a. Evaluation of technology by researchers
extensionists and farmers
2. Continuing phase
a. Transfer to Large number of farmers
b. Backstopping of Extension by Research
1. In-service training for research
2. In-service training for transfer
3 I 1 2
3 I 1 2
Il i 1 /1 _
3 2 1 3
3 1 3----
I T 1
2 --- j.
A- Commodity and discipline research
B- Farming area research
1- M 4,-,-r- ,-n--.t -i" i- --;n"- 2- nar--i r- nat.nn 3-- inirnlvpman 1r
1. Old farming areas, moderate to dense population, traditional agri-
culture, long standing cultural patterns, some but sketchy technical
information about the agriculture. There is some but probably inade-
quate infrastructure and services such as roads, market, credit, etc.
2. Old farming areas, low to dense population, very little infrastruc-
ture, established cultural patterns or technical informa-
3. New farming areas, very low population, very little infrastructure,
frequently of limited access, disperse cropping patterns but little
tradition established in agriculture.
In examples 1 and 2, once the government has decided to focus atten-
tion upon the area, a review of the documented information and the rapid
reconnaissance (sondeo) (Hildebrand, ) can serve as the basis for
selection of the areas of concentration for research and extension, and
research can be initiated within a short time. In case 1, research may
already be functioning. In this case, the characterization and analysis
should be made and any research results used to add to the information.
In case 3, the characterization will require more time for mapping,
surveying soils, and collecting basic information, and the sondeo alone will
probably not be a sufficient base to select areas of concentration. Since
in this case a good characterization of the area will take several months, it
is suggested that in addition to the surveys and sondeo, the research be
started immediately as a parallel activity. The research would be explora-
tory, looking for alternative technologies and for establishing broad
parameters. The specific research thrust might not be determined for one or
two years. During this initial research, the future extension agents should
be selected not to do extension work, but to work full time for at least one
cropping season, with the research group to help establish the parameters
and seek technical alternatives for the initial extension thrust.
Examples of these three situations are, respectively, the Highlands
of Guatemala, the Llanos of Colombia and Venezuala, and areas of the
At least some of the personnel that will constitute the on-farm area
research team should participate in the characterization and analysis.
The same should be true for extension agents.
SIn some cases there may be a regional planning office that can help
coordinate the characterization with national policy and review the docu-
mented information. If this is not the case, both research and extension
should jointly.assume the responsibility for the initial work and in any
event, should be principal participants.
It has been suggested that there might be a division in the primary respon-
sibilities between research and extension (Secretaria de Recursos Naturales,
Funcionamiento del Programa Nacional de Investigacion Agropecuaria y Su
Integracion en un Sistema Tecnologico, PNIA, SRN, Honduras, 1981) in which
Extension concentrates more on characterization of areas of influence of
an extension agent, collecting information of infrastructure, markets, etc.,
with Research giving more attention to the unit of production i.e., the
cropping systems. However, both should work together in groups and pro-
duce one document of their observations.
The second or continuing phase of characterization and analysis should
consist of modifying any information that is incorrect. Additional information
should be used to bring the previous information up to date. Data from
farm records, case studies, additional sondeos, research results,
and studies of farmer acceptability should
not be allowed to accumulate, but should be used. This information
can be reviewed in annual regional operational planning.
A situation that is frequently observed is that research and exten-
sion do their operational planning individually and in competition with
each other. This uncoordinated process not only results in illogical
assignment of financial and human resources to research and extension,
but furthermore, does not allow coordination of the research and extension
Therefore, it is suggested that research and extension jointly study
their needs according to a projected program. After the budgets for each
have been approved, annual regional planning sessions can be held between
research and extension to review all of the information collected and form-
ulate their annual work plans which must be made compatible with the re-
sources available (budget, personnel, and physical facilities).
The planning sessions should be held at the regional level. For re-
gional planning to be objective, there must be assignment of resources
to the regions--budget, personnel, and physical facilities. Also, the
national commodity programs that are interested in the crops of a specific
region must attend the regional planning sessions. A plan then should
be made between the national commodity and discipline teams and each of
the On-Farm Area Research Teams. Likewise, each On-Farm Area Research
Team should at this planning session make a work plan with the extension
group of its area.
Generation and Evaluation of Technology
The system under discussion is proposed as an organized and
systematized, but flexible,.iterative and reiterative, aiding farmers and
improving the quality of rural life through the use of technology: the
generation and evaluation of technology is one of the key activities on
which the success of the system depends. Without well-oriented, pragmatic
research, the system will have no strong base from which to feed technol-
ogies and information into the transfer process; the extension services
will continue to receive fractionated information and will continue to
depend, not upon research as a source, but upon recipes for technologies
from various sources.
While much of the methodology used within the system is the proven
scientific methodology for which researchers have been trained, some is
focused in a manner different from the traditional methodology, as
well as the addition of new ones, in order to meet the needs-of the farmer.
In other words, with the objective of making technology just as relevant
and acceptable as possible to the farmer, there is a reorientation of the
traditional component research which is reductive in nature, and a new,
more holistic, dimension added in which technologies are validated under
conditions of the farmer, and with his participation.
Furthermore, under the plan of this system, Extension collaborates with
Research in the evaluation of technology; the evaluationby both Research
and Extension with the participation of the farmer initiates the process of
transfer. Research assumes a primary responsibility to support Extension
in the transfer.
The generation and evaluation of technology is presented in two parts:
(a) plant improvement and (b) agronomic. Animal research is not included in
this description although the agronomic aspects of animal research that are
the primary products of the soil, such as pastures, can be treated in a
similar manner. Animal research involves secondary (meat) and tertiary
(milk) products and the step-wise procedures, although similar, are
sufficiently different to omit them from this description. (See section VIII.)
Plant improvement is principally, but not exclusively, plant breeding.
The following steps seem to be the principal ones used in plant improvement;
perhaps there are other or additional steps in the process and these may vary
with different species of plants.
Introductions. Introductions of genetic material are made to broaden
the genetic base for selection for the purpose of plant improvement. This
should be the responsibility of one Commodity Program. Should other groups,
such as an Area Research Team collect or otherwise introduce new materials
into the research program, it is suggested that the material be registered
with the Commodity Program.
Breeding. Breeding here refers to the manipulations of genetic
materials which result in progenies and their subsequent evaluations. This is
the responsibility of the respective Commodity Program.
Progeny testing. Progeny testing is the evaluation of the new genetic
combinations which result from plant breeding. This is a primary responsi-
bility of the Commodity Program, but the On-Farm Area Research Teams may
participate in some cases so that the material be evaluated under specific
or broader ecological conditions.
Off-station testing. Off-station testing is usually done under con-
trolled experimentation in order to submit the advanced breeding lines to
broader ecological conditions. Usually there are several lines (10 to 25
perhaps) in these tests. The number is so great that it is not possible to
expose them to farmer conditions. Trials are replicated in a manner
similar to trials on the experiment station. This testing is a pri-
mary responsibility of the respective Commodity Team, but in order to
conduct a sufficient number of trials under different ecological condi-
tions, the On-Farm Area Research Teams will also conduct some trials.
Commodity Teams may be hesitant to involve the On-Farm Teams in
this kind of testing. They may take the position that the members of
the On-Farm Teams are not trained to do this kind of work. Seed, in
adequate quantities, may not be available, especially in the case of
some crops such as beans where the amount of seed required for a given
area is relatively large in comparison with a crop such as maize.
However, the advantage which accrues from the participation of
On-Farm Teams in this off-station testing can be very great. More data
is available for selection of breeding lines. Materials are selected
from information over a wider ecological area. The members of the
On-Farm Team may make observations about acceptability to farmers or
suitability for a cropping system that would not be evident to the
Also, the On-Farm Teams become acquainted with the advanced lines
and can anticipate when new varieties may be available for their areas.
This cooperative testing is a means of involving, even though in a small
part, the On-Farm Team members in the selection of new varieties. It
increases the effective size of the Commodity Program.
In order for this collaborative testing to be successful, the On-Farm
Teams must conduct the trials correctly and furnish the results to the
In addition to the problem of adequate supplies of seed of the advanced
breeding lines mentioned above, the transportation of the seed so that
it arrives in time for planting can be a problem. Also, the Commodity
Team may view the On-Fann Team as a source of cheap labor and impose
a large number of trials. It must be remembered that the On-Farm
Team will probably collaborate with several Commodity Teams. Also, the
On-Farm Team has other research work and the value of this kind of
testing must be estimated in comparison with the other work of the Team.
Therefore, good planning is important for the success of this kind of
Selection of varieties for areas. The off-station testing should per-
mit the selection of the 2 to 4 best lines which are then tested in
several researcher manages trials within a region. A commodity program
will probably not have enough resources to do this kind of testing in a
sufficient number of trials and therefore it is suggested that the On-Farm
Area Research Team assume the primary responsibility for this testing.
The Commodity Program will participate in the selection of the lines to
be tested, furnish seed, and participate in the planning of the experi-
ments. Also, members of the Commodity Program should visit the plot sites
to evaluate the experiments and to evaluate the lines. Some of these
trials may be replicated, but this is not necessary if enough trials are
conducted. In general the farmers' practices should
determine the conditions of the experiment. The
farmer's variety should be included as the control.
Basic seed. Availability of seed for commercial production is one of
the problems in many developing countries. The place to start to organize
seed production is with the basic seed which can be used to initiate the
increase of seed for commercial production. Basic seed requires small
amounts of seed of purity and high quality. It is suggested that the Com-
modity Program be exclusively responsible for this seed, which can be
increased for foundation seed which in turn can be used to produce
commercial quantities. Very likely a Seed Program will have the respon-
sibility of producing the foundation seed from the basic seed, in which
case the Commodity Program should continue to be sufficiently interested
in the product that.the farmer will purchase to monitor purity and quality
of the foundation seed.
Crop specific studies. Most of the agronomic work with a crop will
be covered by the On-Farm Area Research Teams. However, in some cases,
there are specific studies that the Commodity Team should conduct. If a
new variety requires a planting date or plant population different from
that normally used, the Commodity Team should furnish this data.
The agronomic aspects of the technology usually will be the responsi-
bility of the On-Farm Area Research Teams. In some cases, the Commodity
Programs will be involved with the Area Team, and in other cases Extension will
be involved or even'may participate to the extent of playing a major role.
Exploratory trials. Exploratory trials will be used to establish
broad parameters, to gain experience and understand farmers' practices, and
to initially evaluate alternatives. Design of the trials will depend upon
the objectives, but in general, will be simple trials of few treatments,
usually without replication.
Agro-technical trials. Agro-technical trials is the designation given
to the study of integration of components, to study production factors,
for the purpose of ultimately determining recommendations to farmers.
The results of these trials usually do not furnish recommendations to
farmers, but do show what to include in agro-technical-economic trials
and in Researcher managed evaluation trials. Designs are varied according
to the objectives but usually will have several treatments and be repli-
Agro-technical-economic trials. Agro-technical-economic trials are
useful in observing a given technology and analyzing it economically.
Agro-technical trials usually have several treatments, replicated, and
plot size is frequently too small to gain experience in the management of
a given technolo-y. ThereFore, the agro-technical-economic trials are
larger with fewer treatments, or perhaps only one. The size will depend
upon farm size. Where farms are large, for example 10 to 20 hectares, the
trials may be as large as a half hectare or even one hectare.
Researcher managed validation trials. These trials are conducted in a
manner similar to the trials for the selection of varieties for areas. A
technology is tested in such a manner as to expose it insofar as possible
to the range of conditions that would be expected to occur if many farmers
within a given area of concentration were to use the technology. At times,
this step can be omitted, but caution should be practiced in doing so. These
trials usually have few treatments and are not replicated. The farmers'
practice is usually the control, especially if the new technology is being
applied to a traditional crop. The situation is somewhat different for newly
These trials are a good point within the technological system for
extension agents to become involved. They represent what the researcher
expects will be relevant technologies for incorporation in the farmers'
systems of production. If extension agents can become involved at this
stage, the new technology is better evaluated and they become acquainted
with the new technology and learn how to manage it before it becomes a
recommendation to the farmer.
It is suggested that these trials not be considered demonstrations,
but as further evaluation. When the results are favorable
these trials can be used as a tool .for transfer, and
when used in this manner, they can shorten
the time interval between generation of technology and its use by the
Farmer managed evaluation tests. Farmers are involved in all On-farm
testing and experimentation. They usually furnish the land for experimental
plots and may help in caring for them. However, up to the time of the
farmers' tests, the primary responsibility has been with the researcher.
In farmers' tests the farmer becomes the primary evaluator. With some
supervision by the researcher or the extension agent, the farmer plants a
self-demonstration, usually to test one new technology in comparison
with his own traditional practice. Thp tests are not replicated but are dispersed
throughout the area on several farms. It is recommended that the farmer pay for
the inputs. In ICTA in Guatemala, if the farmer did not have the small
amount of capital to purchase the inputs at the time of seeding, ICTA
furnished them and the farmer paid at harvest time.
The farmer should not be subjected to undue risk. Therefore, at this
stage the technology should have been well validated prior to the test
by researchers and extension agents.
The area used for a farmers' test will depend upon the size of the
farm but should be relatively small. In Guatemala the size of the new
technology parcel was usually one cuerda which varied by region from
of a hectare to 1/16 of a hectare.
The farmers' test replaces the traditional demonstration managed by the researcher
or extension agent. Demonstrations managed by researchers, by design have
defects that reduce the confidence of the farmer in the results. Demon-
strations are designed to be successful, and when there is a failure, it
is embarrassing to the person responsible for it. For this reason, the
management of demonstrations is carried to the extreme in order to assure
success. This favorable treatment is not typical of the average farmer.
Also, the far-er knows that the government has more resources than he
has and may unconscienciously infer to himself that therefore it is not
suitable for him. The farmer's test, managed by the farmer himself, serves
as a better basis for decision on the part of the farmer.
Evaluation and acceptability studies. Evaluation and acceptability
are conducted after the farmers' tests by (a) discussing the test with the
farmer who will have his own personal evaluation, and (b) by checking with
the farmer the following planting season to determine to what extent he has
used the technology in his previous-test. (Hildebrand, .
Acceptability to the farmer is based upon the percentage of the farmers that
have continued to use the technology and the percentage of their crop on
which they have used the technology. In ICTA, in Guatemala, the percentage of
users is multiplied by the percentage of their crop in which the technology
was applied and the product divided by 100 to give an index of accepta-
bility. (S.R. Ruano, Evaluacion de la aceptabilidad de la tecnologia
generada por el ICTA para el cultivo de maiz en el parcelameinto La
Maquina, 1976-77. ICTA, Guatemala). This index has a fault if used alone
without explanation. It does not differentiate which influenced the
index more, the number of adapters or the percentage of the crop to
which a technology was applied. For example, if 80 percent of the farmers
used the practice on 30 percent of their crop, the index would be 24.
But also, if 30 percent of the farmers used the practice on 80 percent of
their crop, the index would also be 24. So, the component values are needed
to understand the index. ICTA more recently has used a graph to show the
number of users and the percentage of their crop on which they used the
Using the same percentages as the example above, the graphic indexes
now used by ICTA look like Graphs 1 and 2.
100-- Index= 24
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Percentage of Crop
Index = 24
Percentage of Crop
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Transfer of Technologies to Farmers
Farm focused research is oriented not only to generate technology but
to initiate the process of getting the farmer to adopt new technologies.
While farm focused research does initiate the process, does in itself get
some farmers to adopt technology, it is not designed to effect transfer
to the masses. It just doesn't reach enough farmers. Therefore, it is
important to connect the generation of technology process with other transfer
mechanisms in order to reach a large number of farmers. In this description
of a technological system to support farmers, it is assumed that the
principal mechanism for the transfer of technology will be the Extension
Service which will function as a part of the governmental structure. There
probably will be other groups that should be linked with Research such as
private industry that furnishes inputs and credit, community development
projects that may be private or governmental, adult education programs
for rural areas, etc., that can further their own activities toward their
goals by promoting the use of technology. These should not be overlooked.
The initial phase of technology transfer. The evaluation of technology
in the farm focused technological system does six things favorable to
a. It gives a high level of confidence that the technology selected
for recommendation is favorable and acceptable; both the extension
agent and the farmer participate along with the researcher in the
b. It acquaints the extensionist with the new technology and gives
him the opportunity to acquire the skill to manage it.
c. It not only produces relevant technology and gives the extension
agent experience in managing it, but also gives the extension agent a
methodology to evaluate other technologies, or the same technology,
in a different geographic area.
d. It delivers the technology to a specific place where it is
needed by the extension agent in order to transfer it. The extension
agent does not have to rely solely on his general agronomic education,
on written materials or verbal information. He can work with the
technology in his own areas before transferring it.
e. It introduces technology to a few farmers. And the extension
agent can use the methodology of the farmer managed tests to present
the new technologies to additional farmers.
f. It forms a linkage, a close relationship, between Research and
Extension though which research can continue to technologically
back-stop extension activities.
Continuing phases of technology transfer. New ideas for the contin-
uing phases of transfer have not been advanced conceptually and tested in
operating programs to the same extent (degree, level, as much) as has the
evaluation phase of research (initial phase of transfer). However, the
evaluation methodologies used in the technological system should be fully
compatible with traditional systems of mass transfer and some experience
has been gained with new methods of transfer (Waugh, unedited manuscript,
Structuring a Technological Linkage Between Agricultural Research and
Extension, 2nd rough copy in English, 1981) (Waugh, El Caso del ICTA en
Guatemala como Instituci6n Dedicada a la Generacion y Validacion de
Tecnologia para Pequ los Agricultores. Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologia
Agricolas, Guatemala, 1980).
Farmer managed tests for introducing new technology
There is evidence that farmer managed tests for the evaluation
of results of research are effective in transferring technology to
farmers. (Evaluacion de la Aceptabilidad de la Tecnologia Generada por
el ICTA para el Cultivo de Maiz en el Parcelameinto La Maquina, 1976-77).
Essentially, this same methodology mentioned by Ruano has been used by
World Neighbors at San Martin Jilotepeque in Guatemala, and by the
Ministry of Agriculture at Santa Rosa in Honduras to transfer new
technologies to farmers.
In both cases, farmer lay extension agents worked with groups of
fanners or committees. Members of the farmers' groups then conducted
simple tests comparing a new technology with their traditional technology.
They were guided or supervised by the farmer agent, who explained the
This kind of arrangement is interesting because it works with groups
rather than the individual farmer, and in this respect has some similarity
to the Training and Visit system described by Benor and Harrison (World
Bank, about 1975). In the case of Guatemala and Honduras, the lay extension
agents were responsible to a trained agronomist and received a salary.
In San Martin Jilotepque, the farmer agent worked with about four groups
of farmers, with as many as 25 farmers per group, and thus had contact with
100 farmers. A trained agronomist extension agent should be able to
supervise several of the farmer agents--perhaps three.to ten depending upon
local conditions. If an extension agent could supervise 10 farmer agents,
who in turn could work with four groups of 25 farmers each, the coverage by the
extension agent would be 1000 farmers. Without enough information to make a categorical
statement, there is reason to believe that, in the developing countries with small
farmers, an extension agent should work with 600 to 1000 farmers in order to be
effective within an acceptable cost. (Hayami ) and
To initiate a program of extension along these lines, the extension
agent, in order to gain experience, might work for one or two cropping
seasons with the farmer agent as a helper, conducting farmer managed tests
under the supervision of a researcher as an in-service training experience.
,Back-stopping of Extension by Research. A primary responsibility
of Research should be to technologically support Extension in all phases
of transfer, explaining technology, design of farmers' tests and in some
cases, furnishing seed. The researcher should also help the extension agent
to meet unexpected problems of a technological nature and in analyzing data, and
in studying the farming problems of the area.
Trai,,ing is not a direct part of the methodology of the techno-
logical system, but can be integrated into the system. (Waugh, In-Service
training for farm focused research: The ICTA model, manuscript, third
draft, 13I1). Each year ICTA conducts in-service training courses of
about 10 months duration, in separate courses for young researchers and
In the case of the research course, the on-farm research methodologies
are taught. The course is integrated into the work plan of the Institute
in one of the regions where ICTA works, and the trainees spend about 50%
of their time on institutional research, about 25% of the course time is
spent on theoretical subjects taught in the classroom, and about 25% on
field level learning exercises. Thus about 75% of the course time is spent
in the field and 25% in the classroom.
In the course for extensionists, they spend about 20% of their total
work time in the course, the remainder of their time being spent on their
extension responsibilities. The course is focused principally on the
farmer managed trials as a means of involving extension personnel and
farmers in the evaluation of technology as well as the use of the farmer
managed trials as a tool for transfer. This training course also is one
of the methodologies for backstopping of Extension by Research.
These courses can be integrated into the research and extension
programs by structuring and organizing courses which are managed by a
course coordinator. The course coordinator arranges for the classroom
lectures and exercises and decides jointly with the leaders of On-Farm
Research Area Teams what the field work will be and some members of the
On-Farm Teams become field instructors for the course. A field instructor
can supervise the work of at least three trainees. The field instructor
is compensated for time lost from research by having three "trainee-
helpers" vdho conduct research under his supervision (close supervision).
V. MANAGEMENT OF RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
"Management" is a difficult term to explain. It serves to signify
both the action of directing, as well as the person or persons who do
Drucker ( ) points out that the essence of management is responsibility.
This responsibility appears in many forms, ie., responsibility for organization,
for efficiency, for programs, for production. The management (person) then
carries out the management (action) that he feels will have the right effect
upon that for which he has responsibility.
Universities, hospitals and research organizations do not have managers-
they have presidents, heads of departments, directors, etc. These have
responsibility for supervising and directing; therefore they are managers;
they are management and have responsibilities for the function and operations
of their respective organizations.
The manager of an organization or entity is usually at the top hierarchical
level of the organization. But management is carried out at different levels
within a structured organization. This means that much of the management is
performed by persons other than the top level management. In order that
this process function efficiently and smoothly, responsibility must be felt
at different levels. Top management supervises lower level.management, and
is responsible for the effects of lower level management. This means that
lower level management has a responsibility to higher level management.
The areas of managerial responsibility for research and extension can be
classified as follows:
(a) Interpretation of policy that comes from government or from
the board of directors.
(b) Definition of internal policy
(a) Administrative functions
(b) Technical support functions
3. Technical programs:
(a) The who, what, how and where of the technical work. The technical
support functions under No. 2 (b) above refer to operational
aspects such as the management of the experiment station. These
are quite different from the responsibility of giving orientation
and direction to the technical programs.
Some would insist that the above list of three areas is not complete. If for
example, one wishes to consider responsibilities for finance or for public
relations apart from operational responsibilities the author would not argue
the point. But here such responsibilities are considered as clasifiable under
one of the three areas given above.
Management as a discipline
Management is not a clearly defined thing. It is somewhat vague, but
it is also real. Management as a discipline is now being given considerable
attention. Business administration is a major field of study at many
universities. Many agree that the principles of management are important and
this discipline undoubtedly has much to offer research and extension. However
it seems difficult or impossible to teach the principles of management as
other disciplines are taught. Experience and the individual qualities of the
managers become important factors in success or failure of management. There
is a social quality to management.
a,. *, .' ^ A .--.. ,. ~ t v "
A professional photographer told me many years ago that he had no
technical secrets. He said, I will try to answer any question that
you ask me, but you will still have to carry out the photographic
process, and you will never get the same results that I do." He was willing
to tell me everything that he knew about photography. But I still had to
"do it". His information was helpful but it did not assure a successful
end product. And such is the nature of management.
Some observations about management of research and extension
Management is complex. It relates in some way to everything that happens
in an organization. It is comprehensive. Here are a few observations about
Management by administrative services. A manager has administrative
responsibilities such as decisions as to how to allocate funds and procedures
to be followed, but here we wish to refer to administration as the group of
people in an organization responsible for the financial accounting, the
processes to be followed as in the case of purchases, the documentation
needed to name personnel to positions, the record of inventories, other
institutional records, etc.
These processes of administration are necessary so that the organization
may function with some order, but it is important that they function in
support of the operational programs, ie. the programs for which the organiza-
tion was established. The administration should perform services in support
of the objectives and mandate of the organization.
The administrative procedures to be followed, ie. the procedures for
purchasing, for naming new staff, for approval of travel, etc., function
as an orifice through which administrative functions must pass. This
figurative orifice is ajustable like the iris diaphram on a camera. The
administrative processes can be allowed to flow through easily or can be
slowed down. Furthermore this orifice can be used selectively by management,
and thus favor one program or activity in relation to others. Perhaps
this technique on the part of management does not represent good management;
but it is a tool of management. And very likely we have all seen cases
where the orifice became completely closed for some reason. In other
words funds were frozen or purchases prohibited. Governments use this
orifice as a means of saving money by just slowing down the rate by which
it is spent. Sometimes this is used for an austerity program. Another way
for governments to save funds, perhaps for purposes other than originally
intended, is to close the orifice somewhat as a suprize near the end of
the year, and unspent funds from program budgets are returned to the central
The managers of operating programs can defend themselves to a considerable
extent from this kind of administrative management by buying ahead, laying
in a stock of non-perishable items. This requires planning.
But in some cases administration itself can unduly influence the flow
through this administrative orifice as will be discussed below.
Administration then is an important management tool for top management.
Through administration he can support and serve, or restrict, the operating
programs which carry out technical functions.
Administration can oversee the adherence to rules and regulations and
procedures in order to guard against incorrect use of funds and to safeguard
the equipment and facilities of the organization. This is important because
rules and procedures not only safe guard funds and property of the organization
but can also be used to avoid unintentional malpractices and thus
"protect" the individual who approves use of funds or handles monies and
However, in overseeing the rules, regulations and approved procedures,
which are sometimes complex and subject to interpretation, the administration
may essentially take over control of the organization. They can restrict
the flow through the administrative orifice by unilateral decision. This
can happen in subtle ways. Rules may be applied when not necessary. Rules
may be interpreted in such a way as to make the work of administration as
simple, and as easy as is possible, rather than directing the work of
administration to serve and support the programs.
Thus while administration, as a group assigned to operate many of the
routine functions of the organization, can be a useful tool for management
it must be used correctly.
If there is good reason to carry out a function within government there
are almost always legal procedures which will permit it. However, it is
bothersome to administration to seek legal means if it involves procedures
other than the usual and easiest ones because they require additional work.
Administration is fearful that one modification, even though legal, correct
and efficient will lead to additional request for non-routine procedure.
The volume of work that flows through the administrative process is usually
so great that some systematized routine must be followed in order to handle
it; the non-routine does not follow the system. And administration knows
that if exceptions become too frequent they no longer will have a routine
that is so necessary for a normal flow. When carried to the extreme the routine
system no longer exists.
Administration may also believe that the need for the exception is
due to lack of planning and lack of anticipation of needs on the part of
the operational programs (the scientists), and thus is not necessary.
My observation is that frequently there is some basis to make this
However the only way for administration to serve dynamic and thus
changing operational programs is to make modifications in the administrative
procedures. For example, the same procedures for purchases in support of
research conducted on the research station may not give good support to
the more disperse regionalized on-farm research. Administrative procedures
can be one of the reasons why the scientist would prefer to work on the
experiment station rather than at the farm level. Administrative procedures
that favor the experiment station could be related to the system of
purchasing supplies, obtaining gasoline, the assignment of per diem and
Good administration, that strives to support the service function can
make good management easier. Remember that efficiency is not a good
measure of service.
A friend of mine once recalled his consultation with'the minister of
agriculture in a foreign government about the interpretation of a regulation
for the use of funds regarding a purchase that he wished to make. The
minister called his legal adviser to ask whether or not it was possible to
use the funds to make the purchase. The legal adviser indicated his willingness
to give his interpretation but then said, "But Mr. Minister, I would like to
know if you wish to approve the purchase or deny it." This minister probably
had a good legal adviser and a good administrative group--that would support
operative programs--at least were willing to support the minister.
Direction (management) by budget. The budgeting process, both the
budget assignment and the process of budget execution should be used to
contribute to good management. Again responsibility is the essence of using
the budget to develop both effectiveness and efficiency in research and
extension. Responsibility must be felt at each place work is carried out.
Budget is a means of assigning responsibility at each unit that has a
The organization that does not relate specific responsibilities to
budget will probably have a low grade management. In so far as possible
those who are responsible for certain work, should have a corresponding
budget that is related to the work, and have responsibility for spending
funds. (Of course there must be some rules and regulations as to what
the funds are used for, and procedures for obligating funds and making
disbursements.) Work output then can be evaluated in terms of cost.
The technician who cannot anticipate the financial resource that will
be assigned to his work may receive too much money or too little. Lack
of an assigned budget, where top management distributes funds piecemeal
as each request is made will lead to chaos. Periodically the scientist,
or a small group of scientists, should be assigned a specific budget, who
then should reconcile the funds available with a plan of work.
This system not only allows the output to be evaluated in terms of
funds spent, but also gives a basis for cost accounting. In this manner
more or less emphasis can be given to a specific kind of work, and more or
less results can be expected. A characteristic of bureaucratic service
institutions is that once a project of work is started it may be continued
for years. Specific budget assignment can not only give direction to the
research and other activities in technical programs but gives a basis for
control and termination of them.
Budget is a powerful management tool.
Conflict between technical and administrative management. The hierarchical
nature of management can cause problems in the management of research organiza-
tions because there are usually two channels with managerial levels in each:
the administrative channel and the technical channel. At times one channel
trys to impose management action upon the other. Also it is sometime difficult
to separate administrative management from technical management.
For example, the head of the experiment station may wish to impose manage-
ment upon the maize program which is headed by a highly trained scientist.
The head of the maize program is (or feels that he is) at a higher hierarchical
level than the head of the experiment station. The head of the station controls
the labor and machinery needed to plant experimental plots. If there is
disagreement as to the time when the plot should be planted there is conflict
about the use of labor and machinery. This conflict needs the attention of
higher level management, but since higher level management cannot make a
decision in each instance it must find some systematized method such as a
weekly planning meeting between the commodity programs which function on the
station, and the station management. This is presented here only as an example;
this kind of managerial conflict is frequent in research organizations.
Delegation of responsibility vs. assignment of responsibility. Is there
a difference between the delegation of responsibility and the assignment of
responsibility. There is a difference and it may be important. An institution
or a research program has a mandate--a responsibility to produce a result--
effect an impact. It is the institution that is responsible;
the groups within the institute or program are delegated part of the respon-
sibility of the institute. But the assignment of the individual, for
example, is to conduct work of a genetic nature as a corn breeder while
the delegated responsibility would be to increase production and produc-
tivity of corn. The scientist assigned to the maize program may feel that
his first responsibility is to conduct scientific research; he may be
interested in his professional image from the viewpoint of a scientist; he
may not deeply feel a responsibility for increasing the productivity of
corn. If taken in this light there is a difference.
The need for a system.An automobile is a mechanical system effective for
transportation. Automobile manufacturers know this and thus assemble the
mechanical parts into a coordinated and synchronized system. They also have
a system of manufacture and assembly. This system of manufacture is important
to put the final system together (the vehicle). Since the manufacture and
assembly is systematized management can evaluate the final product and in
turn evaluate the systematized process of manufacturing and assembling the
auto at each step. The manufacture and assembly can be managed because it
is done through a system. Likewise, even though agricultural research is
not a simple assembly of mechanical parts, it needsbe systematized in order
that it be managed. The organizational structure of an-institute or program
for research and extension and the system are inter-related but organizational
structure does not constitute a system. Farming Systems Research and Extension
can be put into a system (See Section IV).
Evolution of a System. ICTA, which has been cited as an example several
times in these notes, evolved a system. The basis concepts that ICTA applys
today were identified during the early stage of formation. But ICTA did not
start to function with a system already completely identified. (Waugh,1975,
Waugh, 1982, Notes). If the basic concepts of work can be identified by
management then organizational structure and the technical work can be
directed toward the evolvement of a system. (Diagram V-1).
"Not all the eggs in one basket." The evolution of a system must be
a directed process, ie. a guided process where one method of working is
phased into another mode. If the changes or modifications are very abrupt
it is no longer an evolution--it is radical change. At times this may be
necessary. However a system molded to the conditions of government and of
farming is more likely to be obtained if the modifications are not radical
but logical ones based on the experience gained in a previous phase or step.
In the evolution of a system it is helpful to have comparisons of
procedures. If one method is better than another, then the modification is
based on the better.
In ICTA this was done by selecting three zones as locations in which to
initiate the work of field teams. The three zone were widely separated;
they were representative of three ethnic groups, three ecological conditions
and three different farming areas. A team was established in each zone.
The teams were given guidance and support but were also allowed some flexibility
in the work. Because of the different conditions and due to different
personal characteristics of team members the system of work was different in
each zone. This allowed management to view different modes of work. There
were comparisons that could be made to select modifications and guide the
evolution of the "ICTA system".
This method of "not putting all the eggs in one basket" was also a means
of hedging against risk. Had one of the regions been viewed by government
as a failure, there was still chance of two successful regional ventures
into a new system
Schematic evolution of an agricultural research and extension system
BASED UPON EXPERIENCE
STRATEGIES "----- --4 INITIAL PLAN OF WORK
S-. ----. .^--------
EXECUTION OF PLANS OF WORK
__________- PHASE III
(------ -----......PHASE IV
Diagram V -1.
Some Qualities of Service Institutions of Government: Agricultural
research and extension are usually organized as institutions of government
with the proposed objective of serving farmers. There are, of course,
many service institutions. They differ from private institutions and have
their own special characteristics.
They tend to be monopolies, at least for a majority of the people.
The children of most families attend public schools. Which school they
attend, is designated by government. They have no other choice. For these
families the public school system is a monopoly.
In the case of agriculture, research and extension have lost some of their
monopolistic qualities, especially for large farmers, who can get much or
even all of their technology from private industry. However small farmers
in the developing countries must obtain most of their new technology from
governmental agencies. Of course they obtain some technology from private
sources; but the small farmer cannot "buy" technology which has been generated
specifically for him. He takes what there is. Some of it is very good.
But it is technology that has been generated with a specific market in mind
and with the objective of econonomic gain by the private .company. And the
little farmer has not been a good, profitable market for technology generated
by private industry.
Government research, with its monopolistic qualities, has not had to
develop a strong policyof service to its constituency. (See Research and the
Family Farm, Cornell University, 1981.) There are of course exceptions
but in general governmental research has been financed (perhaps not adequately)
whether or not there be a policy of service.
Effectiveness vs. efficiency Drucker ( ) points out that while
efficiency is important in public service institutions, the most important
measurement is effectiveness. Efficiency in use of funds, for example,
will not assure effectiveness to the constituency. This is one more
confirmation that technological systems to serve the farmer must be focused
upon the client and his operation, ie. the farm.
Drucker (1974, pages 130-136), cites the case of the New York Port Authority
to illustrate that being business-like is not enough. The Port Authority
has been business-like ; construction costs have been low; their credit
rating is good. But it did not consider a policy of service to its consti-
tuency. Therefore when New York needed a fourth airport the only supporters
of the Port Authority were the banks. It is precisely this lack of considera-
tions for the client that farm focused programs can help remedy.
"Living with bureaucracy". Bureaucracy is blamed for much of the
inefficiency of government and the programs that governments support. We all
recognize that bureaucracy takes on some very unfavorable characteristics.
It looses its effectiveness to serve the clients of government activities
when it works to perpetuate the system, and thus is no longer working to
serve the programs of action. But bureaucracy does have a system. Without
a governmental system (as apart from but related to governmental structure)
chaos would be the results.
The opportunity for individual programs within government to change the
nature of bureaucracy is indeed limited. Agricultural research and extension
are usually small programs and there is little that they can do to change the
bureaucratic process without intervention of high levels of government.
Management should always strive to improve the flow through the bureaucratic
However, usually there is little to be gained by resistance to the
process by the individual through incompliance with the requirements
of the system. Much time is lost because the individual does not furnish
the system what it has decided that it needs in order for it to function.
For example, in filling out purchase orders, incomplete specifications, too
few copies or lack of proper identification of the program or of the funds to
be used may result in the purchase of incorrect material or slow the
process of purchasing. Also incompliance can slow functioning of the
system, causing an "overload" of work, that not only affects the incomplete
purchase order but also other purchase orders.
Therefore it is usually more favorable for a program to furnish the
bureaucratic system what it needs--or deems it needs-in order to function.
This means that it is usually necessary for the individual within a
bureaucratic system to do two things: (a) learn how the systems functions
and its requirements and (b) plan and anticipate what .needs to be obtained
through the system. The premise for this recommendation is based upon
the remote possibilities of change, at least rapid change, and the work must
Bureaucratic systems can be changed. But the individual gripe or verbal
criticism usually has little effect. In order to effect change the
cooperation of top level management, and very likely the cooperation of even
higher levels of government will be needed. What the individual can do
which may or may not be effective, but is more objective than individual gripes
or resistance, is documentation showing shortcomings in the process, which
in turn hopefully can be treated with a supportive top management, which has
much more opportunity to effect change than the individual.
V. SOME NEEDS OF FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION FROM GOVERNMENT
The demands of farm focused research and extension on government are
similar in kind as for traditional research and extension programs. However,
the nature and the quality of the needs change, requiring a more dynamic,
positive and flexible action on the part of government. Government's policy
for the agricultural sector must be clearly stated. More decisions need to
be made. The administrative procedures must function without undue and un-
The need lies with the nature of the new focus which results in more
dynamic, more mobile and more decentralized field activities. Research and
Extension are less passive. Research is no longer limited to the experiment
station and the product to scientific publications. Extension is not limited
to farmers' meetings, the distribution of bulletins and verbal recommenda-
tions. Farmers' problems must be seen, heard and understood. Research and
Extension work more closely with the private farmer and test technologies
on his land. They become more visible in the eyes of the farmer client and
accrue obligations to him. When it is agreed to plant a trial on farmer's
land on a given date the time must be kept. No one but the researcher will
note that a planting is done late on the experiment station. But experiments
that are planted late on private farms are visible to the farmer and will be
viewed as "poor farming"; furthermore, such trials do not produce good results.
The research program no longer just develops varieties but tests them
on-farm and with the participation of extension and the farmer himself. But
the new variety is of no value to the farmer unless he can obtain seed. Seed
must be increased. Greater demand can be expected for other inputs such as
fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides. Markets must absorb any increased
production--and perhaps there will be a need for increased storage capacity.
This dynamic nature of research and extension requires:
1. Clear national policy--that is understood,--that is communicated
to research and extension.
2. Administrative services that can aid research and extension in
the preparation of budgets that are adequate, but not wasteful,
and that are in phase with the needs of the programs--that can
deliver equipment and materials on time. Farming is a biological
process that is not entirely predictable. Use of an insecticide
that is not needed is wasteful; but to delay its use may cause a
loss of the crop; when the insecticide will be needed cannot al-
ways be predicted but must be available when needed.
3. Operational planning conducted jointly by research and extension
in order that their activities be coordinated. Budgets must be
reconciled with work plans. This may require special attention
and action on the part of government and fiscal administrators.
Budgets are usually submitted several months to a year in advance
of the time when they will be used. Yearly work plans
cannot be elaborated a year in advance, except in a general way,
because the research results are not yet available from the
latest plantings. Thus funds approved may not agree with the
most logical work plan. The yearly work plan and the budget should
be adjusted so that funds are used efficiently and supports an
efficient work plan. Budgets that are approved too late or are
too inflexible to be adjusted to the work plan are disruptive of
efficient research. Since researchers and extensionists usually
are not good administrators, and do not understand the vagaries
of budget development and handling they will have to be trained
in these aspects.
Work plans should be developed annually at the regional level.
This means that budgets should be assigned and adjusted to the
regional plan of work. It is extremely difficult for centralized
operational planning to develop work plans according to the needs
of each region.
4. Clear lines of administration and authority are a must. Farm
focused research and extension function in a disperse manner when
viewed by central administration. Frequently infrastructure and
communications are weak. Flexibility is required in making the
day to day decisions in the field. However, chaos will result if
there are not clear lines of administration and authority. Plan-
ning and anticipation of material needs as well as for decision
making is necessary.
5. Delivery of equipment and materials on time is necessary for effic-
ient work and is necessary to maintain a good image in the eyes of
the farmer. On-farm research is a mobile research. It requires
dependable transportation. Distribution of seed and materials for
farm trials must be received in time.
6. Strong and clear government support. The field teams need support
and logistic back-stopping. Field teams not only need this sup-
port but must feel that they have it. They will not develop enthu-
sism for their work with a passive administration. Lack of commun-
ications, unclear policy, and inadequate financing are interpreted
as "no one cares about us" and work moral and discipline will degen-
erate. And the work will suffer from lack of continuity. Since
the environment in which teams work may be uncomfortable, this
should be off-set by compensation, the opportunity to visit family,
visits by their hierarchical superiors.
7. Comprehension of the strategy of the new research/extension focus.
All of the personnel of government does not need to understand
the details of the methodology being used. But the personnel of
the higher hierarachical levels of government needs to understand
some of the major principles involved and the strategies being
applied. Some of the critical aspects of the system are:
a. Commodity and discipline (component) research that is
oriented to meet the needs of the farmer. Professional
interest should not dictate the research projects. There-
fore research must be directed.
b. Research teams that are responsible for the technology of
specific and defined areas.
c. Research that supports extension
d. Extension that participates in the evaluation of technolo-
gies, understands the technologies, that participates in the
feedback of information, that transfers technology to a
large number of farmers.
e. Farmer participation in the evaluation of research and in its
f. Evaluation of the activities of research and extension that
is based upon objective measurements. Unobjective measure-
ments are number of experiments, number of farmers contacted,
number of bulletins written, etc.
Objective measurements are the number of farmers that adopt
a technology and increase yields, the amount of improved seed
sold to producers (not the amount of seed produced by the
seed program), credit repayments, etc.
VI. OPERATIONAL PLANNING FOR FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
Operational olannina refers to the what ,where, when and how of research
and extension activities. Planning has not been considered so much an activity
to further the programs but a task to meet the political and administrative
requirements. Seldom do research and extension jointly plan their operations.
Operational planning is necessary in order to:
1. Coordinate the activities of the groups which participate in
the farm focused technological system, i.e., commodity and
discipline research teams; on-farm area research teams and
2. Execute a plan of work in agreement with governmental policy.
3. Develop good administrative procedures and use funds efficiently.
4. Manage efficiently, give direction to the research and extension
and develop a dynamic technological thrust.
Operational planning is discussed under the following headings:
Internal policy for research and extension
Periodic review of programs and results.
Planning for yearly budgets and work plans
Research may consider itself, and may be considered by government, as
policy neutral. If research works to produce new varieties, to control in-
sects and weeds or shows that crops will yield more with fertilizer, and
these results may or may not be used but are available for those who wish
to use them, it is acting in a way that makes it almost independent of
government policy. Who will say that research shouldn't develop a better
corn plant? Who will say that you shouldn't learn how to control weeds?
However, if research decides to learn how to increase production and pro-
ductivity in a specific area, and not in another area, that they will focus
upon specific crops, and will involve the farmers in the process of techno-
logy generation, then it is no longer policy neutral.
In the first case the agronomist works principally in the experiment
station and has published his results which are available to be used by
government or individuals as they see fit. In the second case research re-
sults are not only produced but are also studied for their effect in a par-
ticular fanning area. In order to do this the new technology is introduced
into the area where it is visible to farmers and extension agents. Farmers
participate in the evaluation of technology. Perhaps research, in this
second instance, is making an impact, or spending funds, on that which
government considers a high priority, and government will support the work.
But what if government thinks that the work should be directed toward
another area, or another segment of the rural population and that rice
should be the crop given emphasis and not maize? The point is that farm
focused research, with intervention in specific areas and specific crops,
is not policy neutral.
Extension services to farmers are almost always considered less policy
neutral and more affected by the decisions of ministers than is research.
In fact, extension is frequently considered a principal arm of the government
to carry out policy.. So with a technological system focused upon farming both
research and extension must have relations with government that will permit
them to understand how the use of technology is related to policy.
If there is no national policy then both Research and Extension must
face the problem of determining where to work and on what, because it is
almost certain that they cannot cover the entire country with intensive
farm level programs. In this case government may have thought very little
about how Research and Extension can contribute to rural development--and
will have little basis on which to assign them funds or give other support.
A clearly stated policy is needed, not only for general planning but also
Policy will have to be understood and interpreted in terms of a plan
of work; while the broad policy may seem explicit,interpretation is not al-
ways easy and implementation may present further problems. For example,
Research and Extension may not have the resources, nor the managerial capa-
city to cover the areas of high priority as determined by government. Using
resources too dispersely may not be effective while too much concentration
may reduce coverage excessively.
Internal Policy for Research and Extension
Both Research and Extension should develop policy as guidelines for
their work. It should be understood that policy is not a hard and fast
rule; the hard and fast should be stated in rules and regulations. Policy
then can guide, give direction and still leave the opportunity for imagina-
tion in the execution of the work.
Internal policy should reflect governmental policy. While Research and
Extension may be allowed some latitude from the national policy, very little
usually will be gained from going directly against the principles of higher
level policy. Some policies will be converted into rules and regulations and
others into work strategies, and reflected in some methdologies. The "Sondeo"
developed in ICTA was a response to the policy of not conducting the traditional,
time consuming and costly surveys. Some examples of policy that miqht be
developed for farm oriented research are:
a. There should be strong commodity programs for the crops of
major economic importance.
b. On-farm Area Research Teams will consist of enough members to
develop a team effort, usually not less than three.
c. At least half to three-fourths of the research will be conducted
off-station and on-farm.
d. Every effort will be made to support Extension and the transfer
process to farmers.
e. Not more than 60% of the total budget should be used for salaries
in order to assure adequate operating funds.
f. Institutional development will be based on the expansion of strong
programs rather than building laboratories and other facilities.
Once the need for facilities can be demonstrated for a program of
action every effort will be made to obtain it.
g. Experiment stations should be relatively small and not more than
15% of the total budget should be spend on the operation of these
h. Land will be rented for controlled experimentation when there is not
sufficient area on the experiment station.
i. Soil and water conservation along with sustained yields will be
given consideration in the development of farming practices.
These examples probably represent good internal policies for research
organizations in developing countries but are given here only to illustrate
the kinds of policies that might be developed.
It should be remembered that policy is a guideline, not a rule or regu-
lation. They should guide rather than restrict. Policy requires interpretation
but also should leave opportunity for individuals to demonstrate imagination and
initiative. These policies do not necessarily have to be written; but it does
need to be communicated to those it concerns.
Peri Review of Programs and Results
Policy, both the broad governmental and the internal are important as
part of the information needed for planning the work schedule. However, the most
important information needed are the results of the most recent experimentation.
Presentation of results of activities by the persons responsible for
carrying the work out is a direct method for communication and for keeping
colleagues of the research and extension programs informed.
It is suggested that annual regional meeting be held to (a) review the
recent results and (b) elaborate a plan of work and reconcile the budget with
the work plan.
Regional review is usually much better than national review. More of the
people who carried out the work can usually attend a regional meeting and the
discussion focuses upon the region. The activities conducted at the national
level, such as commodity and discipline research, should be represented at
the regional meeting.
Both the regional personnel and the national program results should be
presented but only results pertinent to the region should be included in the
This means that members of the On-farm Area Research Teams, the Regional
Extension Teams and the Commodity and Discipline Programs participate in the
review. The information to be presented should be summarized and mimeographed
for distribution. This summarized information can be the basis for the annual
reports. Some researchers always present the excuse that they haven't had time
to summarize and analyze their data. In such cases results should be included
in the review of the following year. However the results of one season are
needed for the elaboration of the new plan of work.
The research work should be step-wise and sequential, the next step
to be taken being based on the previous one. When results are not available
this cannot be done and the researcher is not taking advantage of his prior
The system of annual regional meetings for review and planning have the
disadvange that personnel of the national commodity and disciplines will have
to attend several regional meetings. But their participation at the regional
level is important; they will listen to the point of view of those directly in-
volved in the regional work and learn about the regional problems.
Planning for Yearly Budgets and Work Plans
Following the review of results, the plan of work for the following year
should be elaborated. National Commodity and Discipline Teams, the On-farm
Area Research Teams and the Extension Teams should each elaborate a plan of
work. Collaborators must agree on a plan which
should include assignment of responsibilities. An On-farm Team may agree to
conduct a given number of trials to study advanced breeding lines of maize in
collaboration with the Maize Proqram. The National Maize Program will furnish
seed. The design of the trial and the data to be collected will have to be
agreed upon, because these trials will be useful to the national program for
the further selection of breeding materials.
An On-farm Team may decide to study new varieties of maize in their area
to determine the advantage over present farmer varieties. Such trials are
largely the initiative of the On-farm Team, and it will be responsible for
designing and conducting the trials. But they will need the collaboration of
the National Maize Program for seed. They (the On-Farm Team) will have to
advise the Maize Program how much seed they need of each variety. It will
need to be decided how the seed will be delivered, and when. If these kinds
of plans are not made with anticipation, the seed may not arrive on time for
a proper seeding. This is an example why it is necessary for the On-farm
Teams and the Commodity Teams to plan together.
For similar reasons it is necessary for On-farm Teams and Extension
Teams to plan jointly.
Under this system of regional planning the sum of the activities of
the Maize Program (for example) in each region, becomes the national work
plan for the Program.
There may be some problems in the planning and developing well balanced
work programs. One may be that a commodity program wants too much of their
material tested by the On-farm Teams. However, there are probably several
Commodity Teams and if all wish a lot of material tested by the On-farm Teams
the total may be more work than the On-farm Teams can handle. Also the On-
farm Team has much more to do than just test materials for Commodity Programs
and if these teams do too much testing of materials, they neglect other impor-
tant areas such as insect and disease control, weed control, time of planting,
plan populations, etc. Also if the Commodity Teams are the older and tradition-
al teams they may have older personnel with more experience and more education.
These then might wish to impose their ideas on younger and less experienced On-
VIII. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES FOR FARM FOCUSED RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
Administrative services refer to financial accounting; the handling of
funds such as payrolls, purchases and sales; inventories; personnel records
and in some cases housekeeping routines, contractual arrangements, etc.
These services are needed for the operation of research and extension and
can become critical in the farm focused technological system as mentioned
in the section on Needs of Farm Focused Research and Extension from Govern-
Technical personnel frequently critize administration for being too
slow, inefficient and excessively bureaucratic. At the same time adminis-
tration considers technical personnel ignorant of correct and proper proce-
dures and irresponsible in the management of resources. Undoubtedly there
is some basis for the position of both groups. Both sides have shortcomings,
and this rust be recognized.
Bureaucracy is not all bad. Bureaucracy establishes systems for purchases,
inventories, payrolls and contracts. If there were no system there would be
chaos. Also the bureaucratic system tends to protect the government employees
from accusations for improper and illegal use of funds and property.
Unfortunately bureaucracy usually acquires some very inefficient charac-
teristics. This seems to take place when the people working within the
bureaucratic system work for the system itself, try to justify it and to
perpetuate it, and do not work to serve the functional programs. When this
happens,results become secondary to the system itself. Bureaucracy is more
efficient when it works to serve the programs which are being executed.
The outmoded bureaucratic systems of administration can be improved;
at least technically it is possible. But it is big, has survived because
politicians and career service personnel have learned how
to perpetuate it. Usually research and extension
are small fry within the large system of government and have little oppor-
tunity to change it very much. However, it usually can be improved, and
this requires two things: (a) an administrative section within the govern-
ment that is willing to understand the problems of research and extension
and is willing to do all possible to serve these activities and (b) research
and extension personnel that are responsible and willing to learn the system.
The technical personnel of research and extension frequently do not do
their part in anticipating what administration requires to function such as
budget requests that are submitted on time and purchases that are planned in
They make it difficult for the bureaucrat tofollow the bureaucratic sys-
tem, and this results in even less service to the operating programs. There-
fore it is important for research and extension personnel to do their part and
hopefully can avoid the negative attitude of administrators. Good operational
planning can go a long way in making the administrative system function to
better advantage of the programs.
This criticism of researchers and extensionists in no way condones the
inefficiencies of many administrative systems that are found within govern-
ments and which cause great lossesthrough inefficiencies in the use of avail-
able funds and the reduced results that are produced by the programs of
research and extension due to the lack of efficient administrative services.
Administrative services can be improved and government should determine how,
and effect such improvements. The administrative systems of government are
particularly poor when biological materials are involved. Many a storehouse
is full of weevil infested grain simply because it has not been sold on time.
Slow payment on the part of government make businessmen slow in responding to
requests from governmental agencies. Many times low quality merchandise is
purchased because it is cheaper in price. There is no good excuse for these
inefficiencies, but research and extension alone will probably be ineffective
in correcting them. It will require governmental decision and action, along
with the cooperation of research and extension to improve defects of bureau-
The following are some guidelines for administrators, presented here
as food for thought. Administrative services should:
1. Expedite, not hinderr or slow down the flow through the administra-
2. Teach so that those who execute programs learn what the adminis-
trative systems needs in order to function.
3. Protect so that those who execute programs will not be accused
of illegal use of funds or other resources.
4. Execute, not impose unilateral decisions but consult when making
decisions that affect the program.
5. Serve the programs and be interested in the results and not work
to just serve the bureaucratic system.
6. Learn the requirements of research and extension and how to serve
IXIZAT:;/L STRUCTURE FOR RESEARCH AD EXTE
IX ORG&NIZATL,:AL STRUCTURE FOR RESEARCH AND EXTENSION-
There are many organizational structures for agricultural research and
extension (I. Arnon, Organization and administration of agricultural re-
search. Elsevier Publishing Co. Ltd., 1968). Only a few will be mentioned
here, with brief comments about some of the characteristics of different
organizational patterns that have a bearing upon research and extension and
especially upon their participation in an organized and coordinated technolo-
gical system for limited resource farmers.
The reorientation of research and extension for the purpose of develop-
ing more pragmatic support to farmers may not only introduce conflict of ideas
about the technological strategies and scientific methodologies but also about
the organizational structure. There probably is no one best structure. But
some structures have worked better than others, It is difficult to determine
why one organization functions better than another. Is it due to organization,
management, leadership, dedication, support or personnel? Or is it due to the
compatibility of the research and extension structures with those structures
of government, In any given circumstance the action to be
carried out will have to be fitted into a structure and that structure in turn
should be compatible with the organization around and above it.
Good technological support of farmers can be developed under different
structures, but the pragmatic generation of technology and its transfer to
farmers have some requirements (See section V. of these notes).
The author has had more experience in Latin America than in other areas
of the world and therefore his comments are probably more pertinent for this
area than others.
Therefore it is important to understand thegeneral concepts of the systems
approach to agricultural research and extension before deciding about structure.
It is helpfulto view the system, as has been mentioned in other sections of
these notes, as a sequential or stepwise and multidisciplinary methodology con-
Characterization and analysis of farming areas
Component (commodity and discipline) research
Integration of components
Researcher managed evaluation
Farmer managed evaluation
Transfer to many farmers
The organization then needs to serve these functions.
The U.S. System
The system of research and extension in the U.S. can be viewed as a de-
centralized system with each state having, not only research and extension,
but also teaching integrated and located at a land grant college, which in ad-
dition to agriculture has several other colleges, and which together form
major universities. Each university has a governing' board and functions as
an autonomous organization within their respective states.
Research, teaching and extension each have separate directors but these
in turn are coordinated by a single official, or perhaps one of the three
serve as overall director and thus has a coordinating responsibility in addi-
tion to his responsibility for one of these three specific areas.
The arrangements for overlap bewteen the three areas of research, teach-
ing and extension are sometimes complex but the system is functional, probably
because the university and the groups within it are relatively free from exter-
In summary the system has some advantages:
1. The university is autonomous and decentralized from the federal
government. This allows each state to focus upon what is deter-
mined to be important by the state.
2. The system allows and fosters close relationships between research
teaching and extension, not only professionally but also in the use
3. There is good continuity of activities in each of the three areas
These are all favorable characteristics. However on-farm research of
farming systems introduces new aspects. When the operation of the system is
examined it will be found that, at least in most states, it is extension and
not research that has a county or regional structure. If research were to
establish cn-farm area teams it should be understood that extension is al-
ready present in the rural areas. If research unilaterally establishes the
on-farm teams they may or may not be compatible with the extension activities
in a given area. How to establish on-farm resaerch teams so that their work
be coordinated with extension activities would be an important question. Can
the on-farm research activities be dovetailed with present extension activities?
Will extension at the local level need to modify their program? Would a leader
of an on-farm area research team be responsible for developing the local pro-
gram with extension agents? Perhaps yes, but who would reconcile differences.
of opinion between research and extension at the field level? Will extension
have sufficient personnel to work directly with the on-farm research team, or
does extension already have a full program of work that is diffiuclt to modify?
Divisions within the Ministry of Agriculture
One of the most common arrangements in Latin America is to have divisions
(direcciones) for both research and extension within the Ministry of Agriculture.
Usually both the management and administration are very centralized,
there is proximity to politics which probably intervenes in the divisions.
As a result there is frequently lack of continuity of leadership because
of changes of personnel with changes in the political parties that are in
office. Decision making, both technical and administrative, is usually from
the top down'and the personnel that does the technical work has little input
neither into technical nor administrative matters.
Research and extension are subjected to all of the bureaucratic proce-
dures of the ministry.
In some cases the ministries have attempted to decentralize by regionali-
zation wherein the minister appoints a regional director to be his represen-
tative and delegates some authority to him. This arrangement may or may not
be an improvement over the more centralized authority. The authority of the
regional director may be so limited that he can contribute very little to the
organization except to represent the minister. In other cases the minister
delegates enough authority to obtain greater flexibility and agility in the
operations of the programs being carried out.
In some cases the regional directors have a lot of authority and they
become mini-ministers, but at the regional level. The operating programs
may function better under local power than a central authority. In this
latter case it may be difficult to establish strong national commodity re-
search programs. Each regional director may aspire to having a maize improve-
ment program even though one good national maize program, with the collabora-
tion of the regions would be adequate. This position on the part of a regional.
director may keep the national corn improvement effort, for example, fraction-