In the mountain village of Pumdi Bhumdi
in Western Nepal, farmers recently dou-
bled their maize yield from 3,000 to 6,000
kilograms per hectare by applying new
cropping systems techniques. These farm-
ers were participating in a pilot production
program of the AID-funded Integrated
Cereals Project (ICP).
ICP activities, begun in 1975, include
grain research, on-farm testing, pilot pro-
duction, and extension campaigns that in-
volve pre-production verification trials.
For the first few years, this project has
worked at six government research sta-
tions to improve production of the major
cereal grains-rice, wheat, and maize-
by using improved varieties, seed treat-
ment, and fertilizers.
Cropping systems sites. New technol-
ogies developed on these research stations
are subjected to thorough testing by farm-
ers to ensure new techniques work with
prevalent cropping patterns. The typical
Nepali farm consists of one and one-half
hectares divided into 4 to 10 small, scat-
tered plots with as many distinct cropping
patterns. For example, one plot may have
a main crop of maize with millet inter-
cropped as the maize matures, followed
by a wheat crop. Another plot will start
with rice, followed by wheat, then maize.
Another will begin with rice followed by
wheat then lie fallow.
Harvest, land preparation, and planting
tend to fall at different times and, if new
technologies shift the peak labor period for
one pattern, all patterns are affected: a crit-
ical issue in a fragile food supply system.
Cropping systems test sites were se-
lected in six different agro-climatic re-
gions of Nepal so that proven ideas would
have the widest possible applicability. Sites
were classified as irrigated or rainfed and
as high, medium, or low in production
At each cropping systems site a resident
coordinator and two or three assistants re-
cruit farmers as cooperators, see that tests
are properly carried out, and collect yield
data and other information. Successful
technologies are then promoted among
farmers for pilot production in areas around
Extension campaigns. Before extend-
ing the new techniques to other locations
through full-scale production programs,
the technologies must be verified in the
new areas through pre-production verifi-
cation trials (PPVTs).
"In Nepal, it is not a simple question
of expanding the program when pilot pro-
duction proves successful," advises AID
Agricultural Officer Gary Alex. "With the
variation of climates, soils, and topogra-
phy in Nepal, transferability to other areas
cannot be assumed."
Interested farmers are selected accord-
ing to the number of cropping systems to
be tested and the number of land types.
The PPVT generally consists of 1,000
square meters testing new techniques and
an adjacent 500 square meters where tra-
ditional farming practices are used. A PPVT
normally continues for two to three years.
Performance and acceptance. Results
from 1982 and 1983 PPVTs demonstrate
that in at least 80 percent of the trials,
recommended practices economically and
agronomically outperformed local prac-
tices. However, proven performance does
not always guarantee acceptance.
For example, in some instances where
recommended practices for maize yielded
more than local practices by over one ton
per hectare, farmers were still reluctant to
adopt the new varieties and fertilizers. Their
reasons included increased financial risk,
disruption of traditional open grazing, pre-
ferred taste for local varieties, and fear
that chemical fertilizers would ruin the soil.
Block production. When a PPVT has
proven that the technologies work in a new
location, up to 1,000 farmers with con-
tiguous fields are convinced to participate
Small farm cropping intensity in Nepal: maize followed by beds for radishes
or potatoes. Photograph from the International Agricultural Development Service.
See enclosed Response Checklist for information on ordering materials discussed in AID Resources Report.
OFFICE OF TECHNICAL REVIEW
BUREAU FOR SCIENCE
in block production. This new approach
is a success factor of the Nepal Integrated
Cereals Project. Block production dem-
onstrates the increase in yields more
dramatically than a number of small, scat-
tered plots dotting the countryside.
"Not only does block production have
positive promotional value," notes Alex,
"but it is easier to get more farmers in-
volved due to peer pressure-everybody
is doing it." The management design also
makes it relatively easy to organize getting
seeds, fertilizers, and information to the
Each 1,000 hectares of production blocks
is managed by a Production Officer. Two
Junior Technicians act as extension agents
(up to 500 hectares each) and ten Agri-
cultural Assistants, along with cooperat-
ing farmers, act as demonstrators. These
production blocks then serve as demon-
stration and training areas for the pan-
chayat (village area) and district.
"When the Government of Nepal (GON)
recommended stepping up the relatively
new wheat production program from 600
hectares last year to 17,000 hectares this
year, I thought it was the end of the pro-
gram," exclaimed Gary Alex. "But it
worked!" Yields on production blocks
doubled from normal national yields of 1.2
tons/ha to 2.5 to 3.5 tons/ha.
"The GON's goal," says Alex, "is to
get seven tons/ha per year with combi-
of thoe a L
grated Rul -P 1t q
min the BDsa at where tii am no
year4ro*d4idls it. a.a;t.dy rwalk
to rumptqua A
nations of wheat, rice, maize, lentils, and
other crops. Already, with only two crops
a year, the goal is within reach-three tons
of wheat and four tons of rice."
The 103-page Integrated Cereals Project
Work Plan for 1982-84 from the Ministry
of Agriculture provides the background,
how-to's, and accomplishments of the
Cropping Systems Program Technical
Report (December 1982) includes guide-
lines for PPVTs, objectives of site sur-
veys, data collection methodology, and a
model site description.
Through Farmers' Eyes (1984) is a 29-
page publication describing the setting, the
ICP, and the cropping systems approach
with color photographs for illustration.
These publications are available free only
to readers in developing countries and to
all AID employees. All others may pur-
chase copies of the first two publications
from AID Resources Report for $5.00
(surface mail) or $9.00 (air mail). Make
check payable to Creative Associates, Inc.
Through Farmers Eyes may be obtained
by writing ICP Project Officer Gary Alex,
Kathmandu (ID), Washington, DC, 20520,
This article is part of the Mission Report
from Asia (AID Resources Report, Issue
32, August/September) by Managing Ed-
itor, Diana E. Talbert.
g W.4A V
&qftlhc~ su. e tbfflc. luformw. '.'I"-
it, Rup. .- .
M(Vo Ul/t airpit.P -J' "-_^...*L--"^aaA .1
each impvrf ckp variety T pun r aje *
by the ICP. "~'GO rally,:he Dattxa'fr
a PPVT is two years," says cropping sys-
tems specialist.Sandy Smith, "but the re-
sults in Rapti'were so successful that we
went into production after qne year."
Onifarmeaai -in the D algl4y weter
with all crops-ii e, wheat, 4iiazgl S
tard, lentils, chickpeas, andrtatoes. Seeds "
and infortatiowre provided through-lCP
th. -t-oughout t nt .,.
. Smith makes many of his own dtaua-.
tional visual aids and charts in Nepali,
which are printed for-distribution through
Sgricultural" eAtensuo offices. *M.ny
enlta'iian s durinthe fantilg -
eringtime at eight. -1
a workshop design
Collecting and saving rainwater for do-
mestic use is a straightforward concept.
But building a successful roof catchment
system involves many factors in design
Does enough rain fall to make it worth-
while? Is the community interested in a
system and would members be willing to
contribute? Is there a building with a large
enough roof? Are building materials and
craftsmen available to build cisterns, water-
tight jars, gutters, and filters?
A Workshop Design for Rainwater Roof
Catchment Systems: A Training Guide
provides materials and information needed
to answer these questions and outlines a
12-day workshop on design and construc-
tion of rainwater roof catchment systems.
Developed by the Water and Sanitation
for Health (WASH) Project for AID's
Office of Health, the workshop presents
both community development skills and
construction concepts in 18 sessions. Two
trainers, one a construction specialist and
the other a community development pro-
moter, are called for. The trainers should
be familiar with both the content area and
training techniques-presentations, group
discussions, role plays, case studies, and
The participants are assumed to be
village-level workers or project promoters
working for a health ministry or com-
munity development organization. The
workshop is based on learning by doing,
so the training site should replicate as much
as possible conditions in the participants'
Village surveys. The first sessions in-
troduce feasibility and design concepts for
planning catchment systems. The partic-
ipants then carry out interviews and sur-
veys in the village. Information must be
gathered about water use and availability
patterns, villagers' interest in and expe-
rience with rainwater collection, local
building materials and construction tech-
niques, and craftsmen available.
Building materials. Design of a roof
catchment system depends on what build-
ing materials and skills are available. The
Training Guide presents extensive infor-
AID souesa Rport