Evaluation report CATIE small farm production systems

Material Information

Evaluation report CATIE small farm production systems
Zimet, David
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida, Farming Systems Support Project


Subjects / Keywords:
University of Florida. ( LCSH )
Farming ( LCSH )
Agriculture ( LCSH )
Farm life ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


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Full Text


Project Funded by ROCAP, Project 596-0083

Evaluation Team

David Zimet, Team Leader and Agricultural Economist
Joseph Conrad, Animal Scientist
Edwin C. French III, Agronomist
Federico Poey, Agronomist

University of Florida
Farming Systems Support Project



I. Executive Summary 1

II. Project Outputs 10

III. Specific Tasks 12

IV. Related Topics 57

V. Country Summaries 65

VI. Conclusions and Recommendations 92

VII. People Contacted 99

VIII. Terms of Reference 109

IX. Comments by CATIE and Observations 116


CATIE The Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y

Ensenanza was founded in 1973. It is located in Turrialba, Costa

Rica and has projects in each of the countries of the Isthmus of

Central America as well as in the Dominican Republic. One of its

first projects was a cropping systems research project (CSRP) which

was funded by ROCAPP. ROCAP also participated in personnel

recruitment for the project. CSRP sites were in Costa Rica, El

Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Each country joined the

CSRP on different dates.

As the name implies the CSRP effort focused on crop combinations

and rotations. A distinct product of the CSRP, however, was the

development of the initial steps of a farming systems research (FSR)

methodology. Thus, with the influence of ROCAP the CSRP led to the

development of the Small Farm Production Systems Project (SFPSP -

ROCAP Project 596-0083). The SFPSP started in 1980 and field work,

after one extension, ended in June, 1985. Panama joined the SFPSP

effort in 1980. The SFPSP was to refine and finalize the methodology

developed under the CSRP. It was also intended that the methodology

be applied to production technology. Recommendations for improved

crop, livestock and mixed production systems more to be made. CATIE

was also to instruct personnel of the various national institutions in

the methodology. These requirements as well as the others that ROCAP

included in the project were generally fulfilled by CATIE.

In order to accomplish the goals ROCAP originally agreed to fund


the SFPSP through September, 1983. The date was extended and

additional funds provided (under Amendments 4 and 5) so that the

$8,000,000 were provided. ROCAP maintained close enough contact with

the CATIE staff so as to remain well-informed and fairly flexible as

regards the project. This was beneficial because, in part, CATIE via

the project entered new territory--a farming systems methodology had

not yet been clearly defined at the initiation of the SFPSP. The CSRP

project helped to define that methodology for CATIE, other

institutions and practitioners. Important aspects of the methodology,

however, had not been defined or widely accepted when the SFPSP was in

the design stage.

One of the most salient methodological points that came out of the

cropping systems project was the necessity to conduct on-farm research

on a variety of research sites. CATIE, a fairly small organization

which had been highly centralized, could not conduct such research

without the support of the national institutions. The structure of

the research, and in some cases research-extension, institutions

varies throughout the region. A short review of these institutions in

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama follows.

Costa Rica. Until early 1985 research and extension were separate

entities under the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG). Research is

presently divided into crop and livestock units. The union of

research and extension had no impact on the SFRP as it occurred just

before field activities ceased. CATIE field staff worked tenuously

with personnel from the Los Diamantes experiment station. The project

sites were in Guasimo (for maiz and yuca under crop and mixed systems


and swine under mixed systems). In addition, project sites in San

Isidro and Puriscal were abandoned because of lack of cooperation from

MAG. Because of a reorganization of MAG which seeks to combine

research and extension for crop and animal production and because of

the concern and knowledge of upper and mid-level management of MAG,

farming systems research and extension will probably continue in Costa


El Salvador. Crop research and extension are combined in El

Salvador under CENTA, an autonomous entity of the Ministry of

Agriculture (MAG). CENTA has experienced some difficulty because of

political as well as military situation in El Salvador. It has,

however, managed to combine effectively the two functions. CENTA has

accepted the farming systems methodology and has a unit to perform

validation and transfer. Animal research and extension is conducted

by the appropriate Direccion of the MAG. Historically it has been

concerned with animal health, rather than production, problems. The

SFPSP has worked with these enti-ties in Jocoro, and Tejutl'a (work in

La Trompina was abandoned in 1980) for work in crop (maize, sorghum

and several legumes) systems and animal (cattle) systems which evolved

into mixed (cattle and silage) systems. Under CENTA the future of

farming systems seems bright. No such statement can be made for

animal production.

Guatemala. ICTA is the Guatemalan agricultural research

institute. It did only limited livestock-related work previous to the

CATIE-ROCAP SFPSP. For a variety of reasons the horticultural and


agronomic aspects of the project were of limited impact while the

cattle component has had good success. Extension for livestock is

conducted by DIGESEPE. ICTA and DIGESEPE have a good working

relationship even though this has not always been the case. The

prognosis for the continuation of farming systems work in Guatemala is


Honduras. The Secretaria de Recursos Naturales (SRN) performs the

functions of a ministry of agriculture. Crop research and extension

are separated from livestock research and extension. For each

commodity group, however, research and extension work together in

regional offices. The SFPSP operated in the Comayagua Valley. Work

has been in mixed (cattle and sorghum), crop (rice and corn-sorghum)

and animal (cattle and forage) systems. The situation regarding crops

was much more favorable because of the national personnel involved.

In addition, support for animal and mixed systems from CATIE was very

weak. If resources are forthcoming the farming systems methodology

will probably spread in Honduras as regards crop production. It is

possible, but less likely, that such will occur in the area of

livestock production.

Panama. IDIAP conducts crop and livestock research in Panama.

IDIAP is an autonomous institute of the Ministry of Agriculture

(MIDA). From 1968 until early 1985 there was no government agency

responsible for extension. SENEAGRO--Servicio Nacional de Extension

Agropecuaria-- is now responsible for extension. It is part of the

MIDA. IDIAP is regionalized. The CATIE-ROCAP project operated in the


central and western regions. The project was more successful in the

latter. Work was done on rice production (under crop systems) in both

regions while work on cattle (under animal systems) was performed in

the western region. IDIAP and SENEAGRO presently have a poor

relationship (similar to what happened in Guatemala between ICTA abd

teh extension agencies?). Farming systems research and extension can

be conducted successfully under the present organization of IDIAP. If

IDIAP can expand its staff or if the IDIAP-SENEAGRO relationship were

improved the prognosis for farming systems research in Panama would be


CATIE. As described above the SFPS project has its origins in a

cropping systems project which was headed by the Crops Department.

Thus the Crops Department had a five year lead compared to the

Livestock Department in defining a role in an FSR project. This

difference was apparent through much of the SFPSP. During the first

two years of the project personnel in the Livestock Department spent

much time trying to define the role of the department in the project.

(This situation was aggravated by the fact that there was no overall

project manager, but a project coordinator in each of the two

departments.) Soon after the Livestock Department defined its role,

it experienced an administrative change which practically halted all

work in support of the animal production systems effort in Turrialba

by the Livestock Department. In addition CATIE is funded along

project lines. Thus, much of the staff is not permanent and CATIE

does not retain all the experience earned from a specific project.

For these reasons our prognosis for continued FSR/E work at CATIE is


pessimistic unless the training and staffing recommendations we

present are followed.

The concepts of farming systems research have changed over time.

The evaluation team members have witnessed these changes and, in some

instances have participated in creating them. In addition, they have

watched (and some have participated in) farming systems research at

CATIE evolve to its present form. It must be remembered that farming

systems concepts at large and at CATIE are still evolving. The search

for a paradigm has been intense and changes have been rapid. Yet the

work in terms of research and extension must move forward.

This evaluation team strongly feels that CATIE program, in general

terms had a positive influence on the national institution with whom

it interacted. Specifically, the interaction of CATIE personnel on a

day to day basis and through other activities such as short courses

has stimulated thinking of the host country counterparts. Despite

differences of opinion in regard to methodology used, the CATIE

program provided resources to the host country institution and

initiated the practice of working on-farm. In most cases this had not

been done previously to any great extent.

Because of the effort that was made by CATIE, the countries that

participated in the CATIE-ROCAP farming systems project are now better

able to run their national farming systems research and extension

project. Despite this we feel that CATIE staff has become isolated

from developments in FSR/E. Among the evidence of the isolation are

the following:

over centralization of the diagnostic phase (yet we believe the

diagnosis were well-done);

lack of interaction with national institution in order to

establish the proper organization for responsive FSR/E field

teams; and

great emphasis on formal documentation.

In order to advance the state-of-the-art at CATIE so that CATIE can

render the best service to its member nations we recommend that:

CATIE develop an FSR/E training strategy that includes principal

staff of all other projects. This would intoduce staff to the

concepts of FSR/E and make them aware of possible application.

The strategy should also include permanent training activities

at the practitioner level including extension personnel.

Effective participation in international farming systems symposia

should be part of the strategy. This would increase the

exchange of ideas with other planners and parctitioners, in

effect broadening the CATIE experience.

Farming systems as a project be discontinued at CATIE but should

be incorporated farming systems components in other projects.

Integration can be supported via the training discussed above.

In addition, the first three stages of the farming systems

methodology -- site selection, characterization and design of

alternatives -- could be adpated to project design as well as

implementation. For example, a characterization would help

better orient the Integrated Pest Management Project.

That CATIE retail core research staff competent to assist

member nations (and others) in their FSR/E projects as well as

to supply FSR/E support to CATIE projects.

Farming systems be included in the academic curriculum at CATIE.


The training should include surveying producers in the field.

- Characterization documents should be divided into two parts.

The static characterization process should be shortened and the

appropriate summary document be produced in a shorter time than

is currently utilized. The dynamic characterization summary

(mostly farm registers) should be separate and also produced

more quickly. These are part of the pre-validation phases.

- That static characterization document should get wider

circulation. Recepients should include those who perform an

extension function. The extension function does not have to be

performed by a national extension institution.

- That, in general, more documents produced by CATIE should be

directed towards extension personnel rather than towards the

scientific community. (IDIAP of Panama, a research institution,

does produce such documents.) Personnel specialized in that

area should be employed by CATIE.

- That efforts should be made to avoid projects that are

independent of existing organization. CATIE should work through

the in order to assure continuity of project activities.

- That technology components (versus package or modules) be

researched in order to increase the number of trials.

Recommendations would then be alternatives that farmers could

incorporate according to their needs and capacities.

- That CATIE concentrate its participation in the areas where it

has comparative advantage or much greater knowledge. These are

generally products with which other international institutions

have little experience. Amongst the products are livestock and


tree crops.

- That CATIE consider developing a seed project which would

attempt to enhance the production and marketing of seed to

benefit the small farmer.


There were several groups of project outputs agreed upon under the

Pro-Ag. As regards training all output goals were exceeded. There

were over 1,500 participants in a variety of short-courses and

workshops as compared to the required 1,000. Nineteen Central

Americans received M.S. degrees in areas related to FSR/E while it was

required that 11 do so.

As summarized in Table 1 (which was prepared for the evaluation by

staff at Turrialba) all that was required of the Crops Department

(DPV) was fulfilled. Thus, all requirements for extrpolation were

met. In fact, they were for exceeded. Although no such summary was

made available for livestock. The team did witness, however, the

requisite number of animal and mixed systems trials or participants

during the field trips.

Table 1. Resumen numero experiments proyecto sistemas de production fintas pequenas 4/79 ad09/84; production
AROS 1 9 7 9 1 9 8 0 1 9 8 I 1 9 8 2 1 9 8 3 1 9 8 4
Aos-----------------------9-79---- ---- 1980 -------- 1-98-------98--------- -9-8-3-- 1 9 8 4

C 0 N FL ICT O_ _
GUATEMALA 30 11 16- 11 20 -

HONDURAS 19 6 10 13 I 12 6 30 20 20 -
EL SALVADOR 37- 30 30 0 42 I 7 70 20 6 30 20 6 30 -
NICARAGUA 21 27 8 8 51 5 43 20 43

COSTA RICA 10 9 13 10 32 6 64 36 -

PANAMA I 11 16 31 I 6 31 11 16 -

SEDE 17 C C 11 C C 10 C C 7 C C 3 C C .5 C C


A: kxperimentos para desarrollar alternatives mejoradas para el sistema del agricultor. Incluyeron arreglos espaciales y cronol6gicos,
experiments components (variedades, manejo de malezas, combat plagas, fertilizaci6n, manejo suelos).

1: Inicio de actividades (encuestas, selecci6n agricultores, afinamientos alternative). Se aplica a V/T y E.

V/T: Actividades de Validaci6n/Transferencia.

E: Actividades de dxtrapolaci6n.

-: Indica ausencia de experiments en el element (k, V/T o E) del proyecto.

SEDE: Se refiere a los experiments hechos en la sede por personal del Proyecto con sede en Turrialba.

C: Indica conceptualizaci6n disciplinario o metodol6gica para cada element.

CONFLICTO: Indica recrudecimiento de inestabilidad polftica y social causada por acciones armadas.

En cada pals ademrs de experiments en fincas se realizaron otros studios tales como: studios de clima, clasificaci-n suelos, extension
y socioeconomla. I
La mayoria de los experiments en fincas de agricultores involucraban el arreglo espacial y cronol6gico mis el manejo de las opciones diseia-
das por el equipo investigator. El sistema comparador fue el sistema del agricultor. Algunos experiments realizados hacia el final del
proyecto (1982 y 1983) involucraban las opciones mejores y refinamientos de los components tales como: protecci6n vegetal y fertilizaci6n al
suelo. En algunos casos, se incluyS variedades liberadas recientemente.

Un 60% de los experiments consideraban variaciones de mis de un factor del sistema. Un 40% de los experiments trataban de
un solo factor. Los factors mas comunes estudiados como variable Gnica fueron: variedades, combat de malezasy fertilizaci6n del suelo.
Source: Departamento de Produccion Vegetal, CATIE

Specific Tasks

a. Assess the effectiveness of the organizational and administrative

structure of CATIE and national institutions to carry out

multi-disciplinary research on crop/animal/mixed farming systems

on a continuing basis.

b. Evaluate if CATIE, through the project, has been effective in

stimulating national interest and improving national capability in

farming systems research/outreach and if it has measurably

enhanced cooperation and collaboration between national and

regional entities.

Because these two points are very closely linked, the

discussions are presented together. The issues and questions

under these points must be analyzed on a country-by-country basis

as well as at the CATIE level. Additionally there are two sets of

multi-disciplinary aspects that must be examined: 1) the

integration of the sciences, and 2) the integration of research

and extension. The team believes the latter to be necessary to a

successful farming systems program. The situation at CATIE is-

discussed first.

1. CATIE. CATIE is a research institute and has dealt

primarily with national research institutions. It cannot be

expected to deal with the national extension institutions without

the direct support and participation of the research institutions.

When possible CATIE did work with extension entities.

As regards the disciplines, CATIE did not effectively

integrate crop and animal aspects. The first farming systems (FS)


project was a cropping systems project. Because of this the Crops

Production Department was more advanced than the Animal Production

Department as regards FS methodology development and

understanding. At the outset of the present project the Animal

Department was unsure as to how to participate. After much

internal discussion it made a commitment to the project and had

defined its role within the project. Soon after these decisions

were made, however, administrative change took place within the

department which prevented full participation as well as

coordination with the Crops Department with respect to the

project. The difference has persisted. That the person on the

Livestock Department staff who has been most actively involved

with the project for, approximately, the last year and a half is

an agricultural economist which is indicative of the situation.

Mixed systems clearly requires the cooperation between crop

and livestock technicians. At trial sites, however, the mixed

systems work that did occur depended upon who was in the field,

not upon a joint Livestock Department Crops Department decision.

In addition, no matter which department the field person worked

under, he received little, if any, direct support from the

Livestock Production Department.

Another difficulty is that CATIE operates on a

project-by-project basis. Thus, even though some personnel that

worked under the FSR project are presently working on other CATIE

projects such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) they are not

applying the FSR methodology. This is particularly distressing in

several cases where the team believes that the FS approach would


enhance the other projects. In the case of IPM a characterization

would help to identify specific research topics. These in turn,

could benefit from on-farm trials. Given this situation as well

as the circumstances of the Livestock Production Department, it is

not possible for the team to state that the project has enhanced

the ability of CATIE to carry-out FSR on a continuing basis. It

has been able to do so only partially under the specific case of

the SFPS project.

Despite these difficulties or short-comings, as is

demonstrated in some of the country discussions that follow,

CATIE was very effective in helping to promote the idea of farming

systems in the region. To some extent due to this project the

need to coordinate research and extension efforts as well as the

efforts of crop and animal scientists have become more apparent to

the institution involved. These developments can be viewed only

in a positive light.

2. National Institutions. Organizational and administrative

capabilities of the national institutions vary greatly among the

six participant countries. More details can be found in country

summary section. In general, the organization of the Ministries

of Agriculture, the research divisions and the extension divisions

vary greatly. A rapid turnover of national counterpart personnel,

relatively low salaries often paid in arrears, personnel with a

wide variation in training, limited support funds for on farm

trials and travel for farming system personnel have all impacted

on the effectiveness of this project. However, it can be

categorically stated that this project has had a positive impact


upon the national institutions associated with it. They can do a

better job of farming system research.

2.1 Costa Rica. Cooperation between MAG and CATIE over the

years has been minimal. In this project CATIE has operated the on

farm trials independently with their own technical assistants.

Communications between CATIE technicians in the field and MAG

personnel were dependent more on who the personnel were in the

area than on any mandate from MAG. Perhaps the lack of human and

material resources within MAG for farming systems research is

noteworthy and has conditioned its cooperation with CATIE. Of

equal importance are the limitations of the research organization

and the extension service. Perhaps the reorganization of the

research and extension service via the PIPA define mechanism -- a

BID funded project-- will improve the interfacing between research

and extension.

The Farming Systems Research Methodology is not functioning

within the MAG at the present time. However, a number of MAG

personnel have worked with or have been trained by this project.

It is apparent that PIPA personnel are capable of implementing

research and extension in Farming System Research and Extension if

and when they are given the mandate to do so.

2.2 El Salvador. The first CATIE resident began working in

El Salvador in November of 1977. Farming Systems Research has

been in collaboration with CENTA. This organization was created

,in 1972, rocked by instability and financial crises for a number

of years since 1979. Virtually all of CENTA's personnel and

material resources were diverted to implement the agrarian reform


in 1980. In 1982, the entire Ministry of Agriculture was

restructured as part of a decentralization effort under which

CENTA was absorbed by another institute. Another reorganization

of the Ministry of Agriculture took place in 1983 when the CENTA

name was restored. Personnel instability at high levels in both

research and extension have been a serious deterent to the

progress of FSR in El Salvador as has been political instability.

However, CATIE has provided technical assistance,

agricultural inputs, seasonal labor, transportation and per diem.

CATIE has filled a vacuum and had done what CENTA could not have

done. Creation of a Department of Production Systems for Small

Farmers within the crop research division of CENTA is one of the

strongest indications of CENTA's commitment to FSR/E. In

contrast, livestock activities conducted by the Ministry do not

have an FSR/E orientation.

2.3. Guatemala. All agricultural research in Guatemala is

to be coordinated by ICTA, and all research involving foreign

entities is to be a collaborative effort with ICTA. Furthermore,

research is to be conducted under on ICTA banner, and the results

are to be published by ICTA.

It is possible to identify much friction between ICTA and

CATIE during the life of this project. ICTA's position was that

there was no reason to seek crop or farming systems research

assistance from CATIE when they had their own research

methodology. Differences in research methodologies have placed a

strain on CATIE researchers working in Guatemala. Some

horticultural research was conducted in Chimaltenango area and


some livestock research in the Alto Verapaz area but both were

abandoned in 1980-81 due to political instability in the region.

ICTA began livestock research in the Nueva Concepcion area in

1979. Soon after it entered into a cooperative agreement with

CATIE to develop a Dual Purpose Cattle Production Module. ICTA

and CATIE worked together and developed the dual-purpose, cattle

module. ICTA, the livestock extension entity, and BANDESA, the

agricultural development bank, have developed a program that

extends this dual-purpose cattle technology to other in the same

area through a BID project.

2.4. Honduras. The Secretary of Natural Resources (SRN) is

responsible for agricultural research and extension in Honduras.

Crops research and extension is under the Director General of

Agriculture and cattle research and extension under the Director

General of Livestock. In Honduras, agricultural research and

extension are plagued by low salaries, high personnel turnover and

job insecurity. The above combined with a number of

organizational changes within SRN have reduced CATIE's

effectiveness and impact in Honduras. Most of CATIE's effort in

FSR has been conducted in the region of Comayagua (Region II),

where they have reacted mainly with the SRN regional office.

During the first three years of the project, there were four

CATIE residents in Honduras between 1978 and 1982. Despite many

problems, excellent CATIE residents were able to make significant

contributions during the last two years of the project.

CATIE-ROCAP project activity in the San Jeronimo supported SRN

research and extension activities. This was a departure from

CATIE's usual operational procedure in Honduras, whereby it had

worked in isolation and managed its own research operations.

2.5. Panama. The Institute for Agricultural Investigations

in Panama (IDIAP) was founded in 1974 is a semi-autonomous

institute within the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA)

and charged with agricultural research in Panama. Within IDIAP,

there is a unit for crop research and one for livestock research.

There was no extension service in Panama between 1968 and 1984.

CATIE began systems research in Panama in 1979 with the newly

organized IDIAP. Apparently CATIE exercised considerable

influence on IDIAP and exposed it to a methodology for generating

technology for small producers.

CATIE's influence on farming systems research methodology in

Panama was considerable in the first years of the project when

IDIAP was searching for ways to do agricultural research. Some

have criticized CATIE methodology for being inflexible. The

concern for developing a regional methodology prevents CATIE from

adapting to the needs and reality of Panama. Both CIMMYT and

CATIE are engaged in training IDIAP personnel in farming systems

research. Perhaps the competition will help to develop a

methodology which will address Panamanian realities.

c. Determine whether the project has demonstrated promise or

potential for increasing production and productivity of food

crops, animals, and combination of crops and animals on individual


Point C is a part of point D and is dealt with in more detail

in that discussion. Table 2 is a summary of the opinions of the


team as regards the potential impact of the project on individual

farms. Because the team tried to consider things indirectly as

well as specifically related to the project, the team feels that

Table 2. Impact projections of CATIE/ROCAP country projects based on their

present status. August, 1985.

Dual Maize- Maize- Rice Milk Swine Vegetablt

Purpose Sorghum Maize

Costa Rica 3 4 1

El Salvador 2 2

Honduras 1 2 3

Guatemala 3 1

Panama 2 3,1*

a/ 1 = Little or no impact; 2 = Technology developed is adequate but has

little potential; 3 = Technology developed is appropriate and has great

potential; and 4 = Technology developed appropriate and is moving out to


Present status of each project are dictated by many factors, e.g.

appropriateness of the technology and the ability of the institution to

continue the program beyond its state at the end of the contract period.

* The values represent the situations at Progreso and Guarumal, respectively

the Dual-Purpose activity in Honduras will have little impact. On

the other hand, if leucaena seed were made available we believe

that the situation of the cattle producer would be greatly


d. Conduct a cost/benefit or appropriate quantitative analysis to the

extent possible of the actual and projected benefits through 1995

resulting from the project (i.e. institutional strengthening,

development of new/improved farm technologies, training of


A true cost-benefit analysis of the project cannot be

performed. We believe, however, that the project has been cost

effective. We believe this to be so primarily due to the training

(see points i/m below) that was done under the project, the

technical support that was given at the design of alternative

technologies stage, and the ability of CATIE to attract high

quality personnel for field positions. The team members have

observed many bilateral projects which were more costly and had

less impact at the farm level as well as at the institutional


The following discussion centers on the institutional aspects

and the potential impact of the technologies. The training

discussion is presented in Section i/m.


CATIE hat recieved a good deal of budgetary support from

the project. This has enabled it to hire central and field staff

for the project implementation. Given the lack of a strong core

budget and the project-by-project budget which has developed at


CATIE, CATIE can only be strengthened through personnel who stay

with CATIE for other projects. No such continuity is guaranteed.

To the contrary, by the time the team started the present activity

most project personnel were already employed elsewhere.

The field teams that were supported by the project had

adequate resources at their disposal to conduct experiment station

and on-farm research. Their transport as well as the production

inputs required for the research was supplied by the project.

Thus the project did enable CATIE to conduct a Farming Systems

Research Project. (The funding situations, however, might have

been too generous because national institutions did not develop

means to continue the research.) An area which proved difficult

was the staffing of the CATIE field teams. On the whole, there

was a good deal of personnel turnover, often accompanied by lapses

of three months between the departure of old staff and the arrival

of new. (In several cases the lapse was about a year.)

There was also a dichotomy in the field between the livestock

and crop aspects of the program. (The mixed systems, were

generally handled as livestock systems). Generally, the crop

systems personnel conducted a good deal of supporting component

research. Such research was conducted only infrequently by the

animal systems staff. A major reason for this lack of component

research was lack of time. The project that ended in 1979 was a

cropping systems project and it was possible to build upon

experience gained under that project. In addition, much effort

was spent on designing an overall cattle system and little time

was available to experiment with components of that system. A


cause of this approach was the late start of field work in the

area of animal production. When this was coupled with the

validation/transfer requirements of 1983, a need arose to

short-cut the research system.

The dichotomy between the two departments at CATIE was

reflected in the field in a more basic way than the differences in

component research. Although included in the project paper, mixed

systems research did not start until 1983. Until that time,

because of differences between the two relevant departments, crops

systems research was segregated from animal systems research. The

segregation continued even under the mixed systems. In the field

mixed systems research was not integrated research, but rather

research on its two major components --crops and livestock-- which

had some measure of biological integration.

The national institutions section under points a/b address

most of the relevant aspects at that level. We would like to

state again, however, that the training that was done under SFPS

can only help to'strengthen the national institutions.

Additionally, some of the people who worked for CATIE under the

project are either currently employed by a national institution

associate with agricultural research development or are hopeful of

being so employed in the near future. The last column of Table 2

demonstrates, however, that the team believes that even at this

early date (relative to termination of field efforts) only in

about 40% of the cases has there been good institutional follow-up

in the field.

Impact of Technologies

As stated above Table 1 summarizes the opinion of the team

about the potential impact of the project on farm-level

production. The impact potential is in part related to the

institutional follow-up (Table 20. Probable specific gains are as


Costa Rica.

Maize -- an increase in yields of over 100% in the project area.

Method to affect over 75% of the producers in the Guacimo and

Guapiles areas.

Milk and beef -- via a CATIE based module increases milk

production by 40% and beef production by 30%. About 100

producers will adopt a form of the module.

El Salvador

-- Due to the political situation it is difficult to

discuss potential impact. It is obvious, however, that the

livestock'program will have little, if any, impact. The

impact of the maize program is questionable. It cannot have

an impact with present limited seed availability.


Crops -- The project will have only limited impact as regards to

horticultural crops in Chimaltenango. The private sector,

independent of the project, has entered the relevant region

very strongly, ICTA has not continued the work.

Milk and beef -- Similar to Costa Rica. Milk and beef

production should increase by 30-40 percent on affected


farms. The number of farms could well reach 200 (100 from

the present BID funded project and 100 from the anticipated

CIDA funded project. See the country report for details).


Rice -- Rice production should increase by at least 20% on at least

50% of the rice producing farms in the San Jeronimo region.

Maize -- We are unsure as to the impact of the project on this

commodity. Many producers have adopted the variety and

density recommendations of the "tech-pack". Without chemical

inputs, however, the benefits are uncertain.

Milk and beef -- Little impact will be obtained directly from

the project. If leucaena seed were available the impact

would be about a 10-20 percent increase in the production of



Rice -- In the Guarumal area the impact will be very slight. In

the Progreso area rice production could increase by about 20%

for the 60% of producers who participate in the credit


Milk and beef -- The impact of the project on milk and beef

production will be negligible except for those few who

participate in the (extension) program.

e. Assess the effectiveness of analyzing, storing, and disseminating

research results by CATIE and national research agencies.

Data collection has been complete, but indications are that

more data was collected than could be analyzed and utilized. It

is apparent that data analysis improved greatly during the course


of this project. There are many examples of how the CATIE staff

was over-zealous regarding data collection. Several illustrative

anecdotes follow.

1. The team was shown a very large computer printout (about 8

inches thick) and was told that it contained the information

for Costa Rica. The data was also on a computer tape. These

together with instructions were to be sent to the appropriate

office of MAG. a similar scenario is to occur for each

country. The team believes that information supplied in that

fashion will be of little value.

2. Because of the ROCAP/PRO-AG requirements characterization

documents had to be prepared for the specific project sites.

The characterization document for ehimaltenango, Guatemala,

was date 1984, several years after CATIE technician departed

the area.

3. At most project sites the team inquired as to documents

received from CATIE that could be considered useful for

feedback into the research system. In every instance no such

documents were available.

The logical question then becomes what is being done with

this data and who is actually applying or using it. The

information delivery system varies from country to country

but in general is weak. This is widely recognized and

projects are underway in most countries to help to correct

this void. How that the extension service has more

information on crop production systems hopefully they will be

more effective.

In sum, the team believes that too much data was collected.

This made analysis slow, in fact too slow to perform the

important feed-back function. Additionally, some of the

Project (contractual) requirements hindered effective use of

time as regards data collection analysis and dissemination.

f. Evaluate whether the project has contributed to the long-term

improvement of CATIE's research capability in farming systems, to

the long-term viability of CATIE, and to the continuity of farming

systems research within the region. Does CATIE now have the

capacity to respond to requests for information and technical

assistance from national programs?

In that project provided a vehicle for CATIE to perform field

work it enhanced the long-term viability of CATIE. Almost all

national-level officers that the team spoke with appreciated the

work done by CATIE staff--especially the field staff. The

project, through on-the-job training and association as well as

formal training exercises helped to promote the idea of farming

systems. In comparison, however, only about 40% of the specific

project sites are presently involved in serious FSR/E efforts.

Representative of the national institutions did state that they

would like to expand the experience to include other geographic

locations; all that was lacking were funds to do so.

CATIE itself is another matter. Because of its specific

project orientation, its institutional memory is almost

exclusively tied to its staff. The staff, however, is funded on a

project-by-project basis. Thus much information is lost when

inevitably, staff departs. As previously stated, the specific


project orientation not only influences staffing, but approach.

For example, the farming systems component in other CATIE projects

is weak to non-existent. The IPM, watershed management and

fuelwood projects should follow the FSR methodology to improve

effectiveness. Many of the specific problems in these areas are

farm production or farm family consumption problems which should

be studied from the point of view of the farm family in order to

be resolved.

The project has been successful in allowing FSR to occur in

the field and by funding a central staff to work in FSR related

activities. To the detriment of the project, however, the rhythm

of the research, especially in what was called animal and mixed

systems, was partially controlled by ROCAP demands. The

participation of the Department of Livestock Production at CATIE

headquarters was limited before 1983 and almost non-existant

afterwards. The staff at headquarters was active in training and

designing alternatives, in analyzing data collected during

research and in analyzing research results. Field personnel were

trained to conduct FSR, but were not always able to conduct it.

This difficulty was often caused by lack of funds at the national

institution level, the relationship between national crop and

livestock departments, and the relationship between research and

extension departments.

Despite the funding and project-y-project orientation CATIE

presently has the capability to respond to requests for

information and technical assistance on FSR matters from national

programs. The future, unfortunately, is uncertain. The team does


not feel confident that this capability will remain with CATIE.

The critical staff could leave upon termination of current CATIE

responsibilities for the SFPS project. Such responsibilities can

be either related to FSR activities or not.

g. Identify any lessons learned that should be applied to improve

future development efforts.

We present our conclusions and recommendations at the end of

the Country Report section.

h. Evaluate methodologies and procedures used by the integrated

research and technical teams at CATIE in site selection,

experimental design, selection basis for research treatments used

in experiments, experiment execution, monitoring, data collection,

processing, analysis and dissemination.

1. The following discussion is perhaps the most important (other

than conclusions and recommendations) that we present. Farming

systems research and extension is much more than on-farm trials

and/or the study of crop rotations or cropping systems. It is an

approach, a methodology (not just a method) to research. In this

section the methodology as developed and applied by CATIE staff is

discussed. Throughout the discussion it is important to bear in

mind that CATIE has played a major role in the development of the

methodology. This development occurred over the first part of the

project. The team took this into account, but has differences

with CATIE on how some of the aspects of the methodology were

applied. In the analysis we have used definitions and criteria

that have been in wide use by farming systems practitioners since


Site selection was largely determined by the national

institutions. No other broad statement can be made about the

subject. In all instances selection was made to meet a national

priority--either in terms of commodity research or in terms of

location needs. Thus, in some cases CATIE field staff was used to

support or augment existing national field staff and in other

cases it was used instead of national field staff. In Honduras

CATIE staff essentially played the first role at first and then

Table 3. Evaluation and Application of Methodology.

Charac. Design Back-up On-farm Validation Institutional


Dual Purpose 4 2 2 1 1

Swine 2 2 2 1 2

Maize 4 4 4 4 2


Milk 4 2 2 1 1

Maize-sorghum 4 4 4 2 4


Dual purpose 4 1 2 1 2

Rice 4 4 4 2 4

Maize assoc. 4 4 4 2 4


Dual purpose 4 4 4 1 4

Vegetables 4 4 4 1 1


Rice 4 2 4 2 4/2 a/

Dual purpose 4 2 2 1 2

1. Not carried-out

2. Poor or scanty

3. Done to excess

4. Well done

a/ 4 refes to Progreso; 2 refers to Guarumal.

played the second role as national 'staff was diminished.


2. The methodology proposed by CATIE for development of

technological alternatives in specific areas was obtained by

experience in conjunction with national institutions in the

region, on farms and with small producers.

The conceptualization and structure of the methodology is a

synthesis of investigative work done on farms. The methodology is

a grouping of experiences which offers flexibility and dynamic

change in the process of adjusting and testing to obtain improved

technology. The methodology is being structured in broad terms to

facilitate adaptation to the various ecolgical zones, available

resources of the national institutions and socioeconomic

conditions in the area of influence. The final user of the

methodology will be the national institutions.

The process of the selection of the area, characterization

and identification of dynamic changes are important determinations

in the identification of constraints and producers problems. The

process of designing alternatives, on-farm research and validation

is related to the development of technological alternatives to

help solve producer problems in a way which is compatible with

circumstances which exist. The processes of support and

extrapolation represent a force to expand the application of

technological alternatives into other areas.

This methodology views the farm as a single productive unit

and the intent of technology development is to consider systems of

production as subsystems in relation to the total farm. The


method being utilized by CATIE is for the development of improved

technology and alternative systems of production in selected food

crops in well designed geographic areas and primarily with small


It is also clear that the principles of this methodology

could be extended to other systems of production and other

producers including medium and large producers.

One of the key elements of the Small Farm Production Systems

Project was "developing a methodology for farming systems

research". Given that this project was a complex, multi-objective

agricultural research effort operating through CATIE in five

Central American countries and Panama, it becomes immediately

apparent that a complex multifaceted methodology would result.

One approach is to discuss and evaluate methodology relative to

(1) cropping systems plant production systems with both edible

and cash crops, (2) cattle production systems plants supplying

pasture and forage as major components of the system and (3) mixed

crop and animal systems where livestock use some of the crops

produced. Cropping Systems was under the control of DPV and

Cattle production Systems was under the control of DPA. This

becomes evident during the evaluation of project activities.

3. Cropping Systems Characterization, Design of Alternatives, and


Cropping systems research at CATIE can be identified as

beginning with the Central Experiment in 1972. This experiment

studied regional crops of corn, beans, rice, cassava and sweet

potatoes as monoculture crops, in numerous combinations and


rotational patterns. This research was managed by the Tropical

Crops and Soils Department which is today the DPV. One of the

objectives was to study cropping systems and practices that had

application for the small and limited resource farmer in the

region. The more promising associations and technologies from the

Central Experiment were then subjected to further research in

satellite experiments. Subsequent cropping systems research and

development was sponsored by CATIE-ROCAP projects. The first was

from 1975 to 1979. The researchers who remained at CATIE had

considerable experience with cropping systems research. A logical

next step was to expand this concept to other institutions and

on-farm research in the region through an FSR/E approach. This

was done via the 1979-1985 CATIE-ROCAP Small Farm Production

Systems Project.

The process of selection, characterization of crop production

practices and identification of constraints to producers problems

are areas in which this project has done a very complete job.

- Experienced researchers at CATIE, excellent field personnel and

cooperating nationals all have contributed to the success of these

activities. We question the value of collecting large quantities

of diagnostic data when in many cases it is not analyzed nor

available for design of on-farm trials.

Design and execution of on-farm trials is of major importance

in developing a recommended methodology. CATIE staff have done an

excellent job of designing field trials. Field staff and

cooperating farmers are to be congratulated on a job well done.

Indications are that much emphasis has been placed on varietal,


spacing and herbicide trials which is good.

Fertilization trials, control of soil pests, seed treatment,

weed control, spacing trials, cropping alternatives and associated

cropping systems were some of the components studied. This sector

has been a strong CATIE focus for many years. It is apparent that

the trials were well designed and the components for study were

carefully selected. However, testing of alternatives under

farmers conditions and under farmer control appeared to be

limiting in several situations. Perhaps this focuses on the

limitations of CATIE, national research organizations and viable

extension services, to adequately interface with each other. In

Costa Rica and El Salvador we found participating farmers

completely convinced as to the value of changes in maize

fertilization levels, fertilizer formulations and timing of

application. In some other visits cooperating farmers had no idea

whether they would follow improved practices because all the on

farm trials were under the control of CATIE and validation trials

under the control of the producer had not been conducted.

3. Animal Systems -- Characterization, Design of Alternatives,

and Testing.

Cattle production systems at CATIE can be identified as

starting with the "Dairy Production Module". Since 1973 a large

part of CATIE's research and training effort for the cattle

production program has been oriented toward the development of a

Dairy Production module for the tropics. The basis for the system

approach was based on the fact that in the Central America and

Panama forages constitute the most abundant nutritional resource


for cattle production. This suggests that cattle production

should be based upon the most efficient use of pasture as the

principal resource during the rainy season and must be

supplemented with conserved forage (silage or hay), cut and carry

forage agricultural and industrial by-products during the dry


Research result on the dairy cattle module at CATIE indicated

that it was possible to produce more than 12,000 liters of milk

per hectare per year, with 7 liters daily production per cow at a

carrying capacity of 5 cows per hectare. To obtain this level of

production it was necessary to make heavy applications of nitrogen

fertilizer to intensively grange African star grass (Cynodon


Rotational crossbreeding-with dairy breeds, Jersey and

Ayrshine plus criollos were needed to obtain adequate genetic

potential for milk production and reproductive efficiency while

retaining adaptability to the tropics.

Another significant influence was a major project.designed to

study the use of tropical crops and residues of these crops in the

feeding of Dual-Purpose cattle. This project began in 1976 and

was funded by IDRC Canada. Objectives of this project were to

conduct surveys on the current use of tropical crops and residues

and to sponsor component research for improved utlilization of

available nutrient resources.

For example, characterization studies in Costa Rica had

indicated that approximately 80 percent of the small farms with

less than 35 ha had cattle for the production of meat and milk.


Since the ultimate objective of research at CATIE is to generate

recommendations for production systems for the small farmer, a

logical step was to attempt to transfer the Dairy Production

Module to these farmers.

Discussions with participants and a review of documents

indicate that the Dairy Production Module as developed at CATIE was

unacceptable to farmers.

Modifications of the CATIE Dairy Production Model were

established in four countries but always with major components

greatly different from those found at CATIE Turrialba. Numerous

components such as best pasture grasses and the best protein

source for the dry season were studied at experiment station under

controlled conditions. In the field, modified cattle production

models were established. These models were under close

supervision of project personnel and were compared with cattle

production systems in the region. This gave a comparison between

managed models and traditional systems of production. As

indicated under.validation, components of the cattle production

model were not truly validated by cooperating producers.

Some of the major modifications that were made are listed as


CATIE Module On-Farm Module

Purpose: Milk Both milk and meat

Breed: Dairy Dual Purpose

Pasture: African star Various grasses

Fertilization: Heavy nitrogen Minimal

Dry season: None Often 4 to 6 months

Supplemental feeding Not critical Very critical

Milking parlor:

Floor: Concrete Pached dirt

Roof: Metal or Various including palm

Stalls: Two From 0 up

Milking: Machine Hand

Numerous modules were visited in different countries during

the review of this project. In summary, it can be stated that not

one module was found on producers farms that was identical to the

CATIE module. However, the CATIE module provided many ideas.

Technical components of the modules were modified in collaboration

with CATIE technicians, national personnel and farmers in order to

adapt them to the specific in country sites.

CATIE experiment station research results at Turrialba

appears to have had only a limited influence on the

characterization and design of alternatives in the Cattle

Production Module. Reasons for this were previously outlined.

Early in this project CATIE had an excellent core staff of

experienced and well trained animal scientists. Furthermore,

CATIE was able to hire some dedicated well trained animal

scientist for resident work in the six countries but frequent

turnover of personnel throughout the life of the project markedly

affected continuity. The review team identified only one animal

scientist in all the countries that worked with the project for

the full 5 years. He worked with the most successful program.

Characterization and design of alternatives were primarily

arrived at by a "meeting of the minds" of experienced and well


trained animal scientists. However, many of these suggested

alternatives were modified by the producers when they began using

them on their farms. A classic case in point is the use of

Leucaena leucocephala as a protein source for catlle. The

recommended way to use it is cutting, chopping and feeding it to

cattle. This requires much labor and many producers refused to

use it in this way. Cattle grazing it two hours per day received

sufficient protein and eliminated the hand labor. Both cattle

producers and available literature confirmed grazing to be a

feasible alternative.

4. Mixed Cropping Livestock Systems Characterization, Design

of Alternatives and Testing.

Small ruminant (sheep and goats), and poultry are often

associated with mixed cropping livestock systems. However, these

animals have not received the same degree of research and

development effort within the context of the small farm production

system or within the research and training program of CATIE,


Characterization surveys indicated that relatively small

numbers of goats are present including a few dairy goats and

larger numbers of meat goats. Some poultry (10 to 30 chickens) is

present on a majority of small farms and one to five heads of pigs

per family is relatively common.

Characterization of swine and poultry production was

conducted in the Guapiles area of Costa Rica and the Nueva

Concepcion area of Guatemala. It should be understood that

although mixed production systems were specified in the original


(1979) project agreement they received comparative little


Consequently, the only mixed animal-crop system was limited

to swine in the Guapiles area. Validation of components was not


The CATIE-ROCAP project paper indicated that the technical

feasibility of improving swine and poultry production, of

expanding sheep and goat production, and introducing Klaki Cambell

ducks into small farm systems needed to be studied. It was also

indicated that much of the component research information was

available but that the pertinent information needed to be

synthesized into tech-packs or similar systems and tested. It was

determined what major limitations were economical sources of

feedstufs and socio-economic factors concerned with production

management and marketing.

CATIE-Turrialba did not have any on going research in the

small animal area at the time the CATIE-ROCAP project was begun.

They had made some diagnostic surveys and they did have a small

animal research and small animals in farming systems were new

areas for CATIE.

A number of research studies were conducted at CATIE during

the life of this project to study alternative sources of energy

and protein for pigs and goats. This component research included

alternative sources of energy reject bananas; chopped sugar cone

and malanga for pigs; alternative sources of protein: when, leaf

protein, and joik bean (Canavalia ensiformis), were also studied

for pigs. A management system was developed for pigs. Various

energy and protein sources were studied for goats and some base

line data over three years were collected in a herd of hair sheep.

Collaborative and on-farm studies in the various countries

were limited in scope. A swine management module was constructed

adjacent to the MAG swine research station at Guapiles, although

no data were being collected when the team visited there. Some

swine-cropping activities were carried out in the Guapiles, Pococi

area of Costa Rica. The team visited one swine producer in the

area who had received assistance from the project. This family

operation had expanded their production, had built new facilities

and was using reject bananas, rice milling by products, some corn

and a protein concentrate successfully. A study was conducted

with pigs fed plantains, soybeans and kudyu in Baru, Panama. A

diagnostic survey to characterize poultry and swine production in

the Nueva Concepcion area of Guatemala was conducted. Off station

sheep and goat activities included a bioeconomic study of goat

production systems in Costa Rica. Studies concerning dairy goats

were conducted in Panama including case studies, parasites and

leucaena as a source of protein.

5. Support Research.

With the exception of Guatemala, there was very limited

support from existing experiment stations in conducting related

research. In Guatemala component research for the animal and

mixed production systems was carried on a substation at the same

location where the project was working (Nueva Conception)

However, existing information from research center was used to

define on-farm research activities. Such was the case with the


animal production activities in Panama that depended heavily on

information from the Gualaca experiment station. In Comayagua,

Honduras, linkage with the research station in defining on-farm

research in rice and maize was also evident.

6. Summary of data collection, analysis and information


In general, many technical components were studied most of

which were in cropping systems. These studies followed the

logical sequence which generated much data. In order to complete

the process of generating information for technological packages

modifications of the CATIE Dairy Production Model were established

in form countries but always with major components greatly

different from those found at CATIE Turrialba.

Another viewpoint is that much technical information was

generated. However, this data has been reported as research

information in reports or presented at technical meetings and

seminars. This data does not appear in the form of

recommendations or as technological packages for the producer.

Unfortunately, much of this information will not reach or benefit

the producer unless a major dedicated effort is made to obtain

this data from the research report and communicate it to the

producer. The interfacing and interaction between research and

extension needs to be greatly strenghtened.

7. V/T Methodology

Although the idea of Validation Transfer (V/T) was discussed

in the Project Paper, it was not included in the original Project

Agreement (effective April, 1979). The need to develop an


effective method to transfer of research results to producers,

however, was included in the Project Agreement. Specific use of

the term validation/transfer was not made until Amendment III, 11

May, 1982, of the Project Agreement. The use of V/T was

originally suggested by ROCAP and accepted by CATIE after much

discussion and some change. As described in relevant CATIE

documents, V/T is the final phase of the farming systems (FS)

research effort. As is generally understood by most FS research

and extension practitioners, V/T is a composite step--validation

being the final step in research and transfer the first in

extension. The joining of the two as a single action as well as

the late addition of V/T to the project (even considering the

extended termination date of 30 June, 1985), added much confusion

to an already difficult situation.

The situation was difficult due to at least one of two

primary problems. First, the close relationship between research

and extension required by FS programs was generally lacking at the

country level. Second, the close relationship in the field

between CATIE and the national research was often weak and that

with the extension institutions was also generally lacking.

(Guatemala is the only true exception to these problems). In

turn, the weakness in the CATIE-national institution link was

primarily caused by lack of resources on the part of the national

institutions. In addition CATIE, a research institute, usually

worked through the national research institutions. Thus, only

when the national research-extension link was strong was the

CATIE-extension link strong. In general extension did not get


involved in V/T process in an appropriate way.


The team believes that although CATIE expended much energy on

validation the effort, however, was misguided. CATIE performed

validation in some instances when research was not really

completed. It did so in order to conform with the obligation to

validate "tech packs." The validation that was also performed was

marred by the weak relationship with extension institutions. The

team believes that validation should test the acceptability (by

the producer) of the technology or technique. This cannot be

accomplished if the field team is involved in the management of

the production-site or if inputs are supplied to the farmer.

Thus, we believe that CATIE validated the technical efficiency of

the technology or technique and did not attain the goal of


Crops. For crops, validation is the phase in which participating

producers use part of their land to produce the crop(s) in

question at their own risk, using the recommended technique or

technology. (The research effort should neutralice the risk

factor). Although the extension agent and/or researcher should

monitor the situation, the producer should manage production and

pay for the inputs used. Depending upon producer reaction to the

various aspects of the technology, different alternatives have to

be developed and either: 1) tested and validated or only

validated; or 2) the technology should be extended or transferred.

The pattern that was followed by CATIE in most areas was

quite different. In most cases on-farm trials were run. The


trials were managed by researchers and the inputs were furnished.

Because of poor coordination with extension these trials had

little transfer effect. Thus, in the validation stage it was

necessary to supply producers with inputs. (They didn't believe

that little or no risk was involved.) In addition, because of the

research perspective, more field management was given by CATIE

staff than should be done at the validation stage. In addition,

there was no parallel planning of commercial stocks of seeds of

new crops and/or varieties. This led to some delays in the early

acceptance of technologies tested that depended on this input.

Livestock. The concept of validation is difficult to define in

the case of livestock. The reasons are varied but generally

include: 1) the length of time required to evaluate properly a

livestock program; 2) the interaction between plant and animal;

3) the need to perform agronomic component tests while one

precedes with livestock tests; and 4) the investments required for

forage and feed, animals and infrastructure. The last point is

particularly important in the present case.-

CATIE has sponsored a prototype method as regards animal

production. The model developed by CATIE, while seeking to

address the most critical problem -usually feed and forage

production- also includes specific installations to be used. The

type of installation (eg. silos or no silos), however, depends

upon the environment as does the type of feed and forage. Thus,

in order to validate a CATIE livestock production system, the

farmer must install the entire system. If the producer were

forced to do this at his own risk or expense it would be


difficult, perhaps even impossible,'to find producers to

participate. Those who have participated have done so with great

financial support from the project. The support, although

necessary, is contrary to the principle of validation as used in

farming systems research.

The investment requirement of the prototype caused another

problem. The national institutions have had very small budgets.

Thus, they could not afford to make the investment necessary to

build even a single livestock module. CATIE, through the project,

could. The number of such investments was limited to six or seven

for both cattle and hogs in each country. Not all of the

producers who benefited from the investment remained in the

project. Thus, in each country only about two or three on-farm

livestock modules were available for analysis. Obviously, no

significant statistical analysis could be conducted with so few


A way to improve upon this situation is to conduct the

livestock related research on a component basis. The agronomic

aspects could be tested in many locations (as the crops research

was done). Then, validation of only the agronomic components

could be conducted.


Transfer is the dissemination of the new technique or

technology. It is an extension exercise, but needs to have strong

links with other types of institutions. Prominent among these are

research and credit institutions. The coordination with research

is necessary in order to have feed-back so that research and


backstopping on specific components can continue. Credit

institutions must be involved so that producers can have the funds

necessary to employ the new techniques. The latter is especially

important for the livestock programs.

Transfer has not taken place in most cases. A comparison of

two examples displays the importance of overcoming the cost of

production problem. In Honduras, the maize program has had little

success and a poor prognosis for wide-spread adoption of the

technology that was developed. In comparison, the rice program

has been relatively successful and has a good prognosis for

wide-spread adoption. In the case of maize, farmers have adopted

the variety and planting density aspects of the recommended

package. The aspects of fertilizer and other chemical inputs have

not been adopted. Lack of financial resources to pay for the

chemicals was the reason given for the extremely limited adoption

of the entire package. It is not known how long the variety and

density aspects will have favorable results without chemicals. In

the case of rice, the recommended technology was little different

from that commonly used. The recommendations were those of timing

of insecticide and fertilizer applications and of fertilizer

composition. Costs of production associated with the

recommendation are only slightly greater than those of the common

practice. This comparison shows that even with the same level of

research and extension participation -both cases occurred in

Comayagua Valley- there needs to be a source to finance the

increased costs of a package or the cost increases need to be


8. Summary of Methodological Review.

Table 2 summarizes the beliefs of the team about the five key

steps of the methodology on a site-by-site basis. As can be seen

by looking at the table we think that too much time and effort was

placed on characterization. This slowed the process down or work

started before the (static) characterization was finished. The

amount of information that was gathered was too great--much was

not relevant to the problem at hand. In general the early phases

of the methodology were, we believe, done very well. Only after

the V/T phase was (in most cases too early) entered did the

quality of the work seem to decline.

i. Evaluate the quantity, quality, cost-effectiveness and

appropriateness of project funded training to the needs and

priorities of the region.

m. Determine how effective CATIE sponsored seminars/conferences and

training activities related to this project have been in

increasing the understanding of farming systems research in the


Specific tasks i and m are very similar. It would be

difficult to respond to them independently. Thus, we trent them

together below. Overall, training was the most successful aspect

of the program. As such the cost-effectiveness of the training

program was, we believe, very high. There is a general consensus

of opinion that CATIE's training activities wete adequate to the

project's needs.

A total of no less than 97 events with 2727 particants were

counted in the documents reviewed (approximately 1,500 were funded


by the SFPS project.) Table 4 summarizes the events by country

and year. Most about courses and seminars were related to

methodology in the farming systems approach to research and

extension. Specific courses and conferences on animal production

and crop management also were given. In general, the participants

gave the short courses and other training activities favorable

evaluations. They especially thought the subject matter to be

good, but also felt that time was too short. (This is a national

level problem, not a CATIE problem).

Table 4. Number of short-term events and participants in 6 countries during



Evnt Part Evnt Part Evnt Part Evnt Part Evnt Part Evnt Part



1981 4 120

- --- 1 38 4 103 1 50 1 15


1982 2 64

- --- 1 30 3 110 2 106 2 60

1983 6 76 26 736 2 65 5

1984 3 69 13 401 4 98 2

100 12 363 1 5

- 2 61

Sub-T 15 329

39 1,137

8 231

14 370 15 519 6 141






The course-workshop on validation-transfer and communication

methods offered in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica

in the first semester of 1983 was a good effort in promoting the

research-extension interaction. They were attended by a total of

108 participants and the work groups contributed to a positive

interaction of the researcher and extensionists of the respective

countries. A three volume document with material presented at the

courses was printed. The conclusions and recommendations of the

work groups in each country was also published.

Academic training at CATIE was also important. In the

1979-1984 period the following number of thesis from MS students

dealing with farming systems published at CATIE were:

Country MS Theses

Honduras 1

Guatemala 3

El Salvador 3

Costa Rica 8

Panama 2

Nicaragua 2

Sub-total Central America 19

Other countries 17

Total theses 36

It can be assumed that all of the 19 Central Americans benefited


from the CATIE-ROCAP project.

j. Review research publications to determine:

1. Whether they were prepared and presented to give a clear

understanding of what CATIE and the national agencies are

doing; whether research reports meet high scientific

standards for format and content.

2. Whether research and extension personnel in national

institutions are aware of these reports and find the information

therein relevant to their needs.

3. Whether additional types of publications are required to

adequately disseminate information obtained.

The publications/documents prepared under this project have

been of high quality in several ways. They have reported the work

done in a professional and organized fashion. They have suffered,

however, from several shortcomings. The shortcomings are as


-Timeliness Often the documents were not completed in a

timely way. Thus, they were not as useful to national agencies

and personnel as they might have been. In the case of

characterization part of the problem arose from combining static

and dynamic characterization in one document. In addition,

documents reporting results from four or five participants

apparently received as much attention in preparation as those of

from 30 to 40 participants, further slowing the preparation


Focus The information was not always focused. Often the


to perform new tasks and the project has been extended in order to

accommodate the expanded requirements as well as the capacity of

CATIE to perform the tasks within a specific time frame.

Validation/transfer (V/T) is a case in point.

The original Project Agreeement did not include a V/T phase

among the responsibilities of CATIE. ROCAP identified this as a

weak point. It was verified by an independent evaluation and V/T

was included in the project under Amendment Three in May, 1982.

In June, 1983 the project was extended to from 30 September, 1983,

to 30 June, 1985. This was done in order to permit validation to

occur and to permit most of the validated recommendations to be

published. CATIE was not able to meet the final publication

deadline. The project was then extended to 30 September, 1985, so

that CATIE could publish the information. (Funds for publication

were made available under an early 1984 amendment).

ROCAP, through the farming systems project, supported CATIE

staff at Turrialba as well as in the field. The staff at

Turrialba included animal rocap, through the farming systems

project, supported CATIE staff at Turrialba as well as in the

field. The staff at Turrialba included animal scientists and crop

specialists. The latter was far more active under the project

than the former except for an agricultural economist assigned to

the Department of Animal Production there is little evidence that

said department actively participated in the project since early

1983. The Department of Vegetable Production has conducted almost

all project activity at Turrialba. It has also carried-out most

of the training in FSR that was conducted by CATIE staff.


same environmental and physical data were repeated in several

documents. (Many pages had to be read before the point is

reached). Thus, relevand data or analysis have often been omitted

or obscured.

-Quality The resources used in preparation and presentation

seemed too great. Not enough working documents were in the field.

The documents were oriented too much to the scientific and

administrative communities, not to the field practioner.

We believe these.difficulties resulted in our field findings.

Most research and extension field personnel had only a few, if

any, documents. They were aware that such documents were

being/had been prepared, but thought that the results should have

been in the field long ago. Given the lack of continuity of CATIE

and especially national personnel, it is important that documents

be straight-forward and timely. We believe that fact sheets and

research bulletins directed towards field personnel would be of

great help in fulfilling the need and overcoming the difficulties.

k. Determine if planned levels and personnel

contributions by CATIE, national agencies, other donors, and ROCAP

were provided as planned and were sufficient to achieve the

project outputs and the project purpose.

Institutional Strenghthening The ability of CATIE to

perform FSR during the project period (1979-1985) is intimately

tied to the CATIE-ROCAP relationship as regards to the project. In

many ways the conduct of the project has been controlled by ROCAP.

In return, ROCAP has been quite flexible in the support afforded

CATIE for the project. Funding was increased during the project


Given the nature of an FSR effort, a central staff such as

the CATIE Turrialba staff is of limited direct importance. Such a

staff can, however, lend technical assistance for specific stages

of the overall research effort. (It can also be used to train its

own field personnel as well as that of the national institutions).

The stages where a central staff can be of greatest value are

those of area characterization, problem identification and design

of technologyg) alternatives. The CATIE staff at Turrialba was

active in the national programs at these stages. In addition, on

a limited scale, it conducted support component research and gave

advice on component research to be conducted in the field.

1. Analyze the relationship of this project to any other AID-funded

small farmer research programs at the country level within the

region and elsewhere.

Only in El Salvador and Panama did we find a serious

relationship between this project and USAID-funded bilateral

projects. In El Salvador, CENTA with the help of USAID is

attempting to institutionalize the farming systems approach. in

Panama, however, for a variety of reasons, the bilateral project

(which is about 6 months old) has not been able to take advantage

of the work done under the CATIE-ROCAP project.

n. There obviously has been a spill-over effect from this

project. Not all, however, has been positive. Some theses were

prepared with the help of project personnel. (See

Training--Specifice Tasks section i and m). On the other hand,

project time requirements interfered with the teaching schedules

of some of the staff.

Staff from this project are presently participating in other

projects which could benefit from input from FSR-experienced

people. The input, however, seems limited at the CATIE level as

well as at the national institution level. Honduras, is an

exception to this. A former ICTA staff member is leading the use

of the FSR/E methodology in an appropriate rural technology

project. A former CATIE staff member is also participating in

this effort.


The following narrative is based upon the perception of the team

that not all the important relevant issues were included in the

Specific Tasks section. Additionalyy, the topics are general and do

not report specific country visits. Thus, they do not belong in the

Country Visits section. The following topics are discussed:

1. The future of FSR/E and some of the national institutions;

2. Extrapolation;

3. Characterization;

4. "Tech Packs";

5. A review of a CATIE draft project proposal.

National Institutions and the Future of FSR/E

Costa Rica

Officials of the Ministry of Agriculture in Costa Rica made

reference to CATIE's influence being significant in all of Central

America and Costa Rica. Whether or not this perception is true, it is

clear that a closer working relation between CATIE and MAG would be

beneficial to agricultural development of Costa Rica.

With the establishment of PIPA greater resources are being made

available to the Ministry. A prime objective of PIPA will be to bring

about a closer working relationship between extension and research.

This implies that farming systems concepts and methodology should be

well established throughout MAG. From interviews with various

individuals in MAG it is apparent that the enthusiasm for change or

improvement of the present system is present but greater education in

farming systems is needed. Research and extension are at present


moving ahead with a program, but it is our opinion that resources will

be wasted without more guidance.

Within PIPA and research in MAG there are individuals who

previously worked in the CATIE program. These individuals are

presently have a strong input into the formation of the upcoming

organizational plan and methodology. We noted methodological errors

inherent to the CATIE program being incorporated into new

research/extension scheme.

Input from outside the organization at this time would facilitate

the process of designing and initiating this new national program from

a broader base of understanding. It would be appropriate if CATIE

were involved in training of farming systems methodology and assist in

program design.


A future working relationship between the Secretarial of Natural

Resouces and CATIE should stem from a felt need within the Honduran

organization. CATIE must come prepared to work within and for the

organization, providing technical assistance complimentary to that of

its Honduran comterparts. CATIE personnel must come well versed in

farming systems research and extension concepts and methodology which

will enable them to guide and train where needed.


All agricultural- research in Guatemala is to be coordinated by

ICTA, and all research involving foreign entities is to be a

collaborative effort with ICTA. Furthermore, research is to be

conducted under the ICTA banner, and the results are to be published

by ICTA.

ICTA began livestock research in the Nueva Concepcion area in

1979 and soon after entered into a cooperative agreement with CATIE to

develop a dual purpose cattle production module. Perhaps it is

somewhat ironic that CATIE had cattle production expertise but had

developed a "Dairy Module" rather than the module needed in Guatemala.

Nevertheless, ICTA and CATIE worked together and developed the

dual-purpose cattle module.

In 1983 ICTA was faced with the decision whether or no to

continue with the CATIE cooperative agreement. Varied circumstances

almost resulted in a severing of the CATIE/ICTA relationship. Better

judgement prevailed and the program continued until the end of the

last budget extension. This is fortunate because the impact of the

program is about to be felt.

Continuity of personnel and focus have been well demonstrated in

Guatemala. Host country counterparts (in ICTA) involved in the

evolution of the modelss lecheros" are presently involved in the

expansion of the research effort and coordination of the field team

backstopping the technology transfer by DIGESEPE to farmers. The

continued effort by the ICTA group has lead to the of funding by CIDA.

CIDA is providing money for milk collection centers which will also

serve as a farmer training facility. The CIDA grant is a four year

cooperative effort through IICA focused specifically at promoting the

expansion of technology to more producers.

Although the CATIE program in FSR eventually was limited to

cattle, we spoke to the Director General of ICTA as well as the-

Director of the Region V Experiment Station. This station performs no

cattle research. The commitment of ICTA to the FSR/E approach was


apparent. There is presently a plan to increase the effort through

the use of paraprofessionals. It is planned to use and pay farmers to

manage or perform some of the field work done by ICTA. Thus, a

central team through a pyramid of professional field teams which in

turn manage paraprofessional field team could reach over 10,000



There remains a large void between research and extension. The

effectiveness of extension is limited without a joining of forces with

research. AID recently financed regional offices to house the

research group of the region. There was no attempt to place the

research and extension personnel in close proximity. Research appears

to be serving an extension role through their farmer contact with

on-farm trials, but more could be accomplished if research joined

forces with extension. There seems to be a recognized understanding

of the need for such coordination. Unfortunately, the leadership

and/or political climate is not condusive at this time to it bring



An expected output of the project was: "Development of methodology

for extrapolating of cropping systems research from area to similar

area, and by multiple production factors". A very intensive and

sophisticated approach was designed and implemented to test a

corn-sorghum association in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and

Nicaragua during 1981-1984. Empirical models and natural resource

inventories were used to provide the basis for extrapolation.

The effort did not produce a positive basis to the use of

extrapolation of research results. The usefulness and reliability to

the small farmer of extrapolation is doubtful. Four reasons why

extrapolation is not to be recommended follow:

1. The need to test alternatives on a permanent basis in many

locations to effectively extrapolate recommendations is very


2. The models that were used only consider biophysical factors

and not socio-economic conditions that play important roles in

the decision process of small farmers. Furthermore, there is

no reliable agroclimatic information in the region that could

justify the extrapolation concept. These uncertainties make

the outcome of a costly endeavor uncertain as well.

3. The extrapolation concept is inconsistent with the farming

systems approach in that it is dependant on a top-down

criterion. It does not consider farmers participation in the

local research and validation process.


4. The effort and cost involved in the characterization of

homologous areas and the permanent research required for every

set of commodities can better be used to solve priority

problems in each region. Using only extrapolation seems a

highly questionable research approach.


Characterization of the farm clientele was observed religiously at

the outset of each country project. A post mortum observation of the

characterization process leaves an unclear impression of precisely

what were the objectives to be achieved and how they were to be

reached. The following is a list of comentaries made in regard to the

characterization carried out by CATIE personnel.

1. Limited multidisciplinary team involvement of both CATIE and

host country personnel during the survey process.

2. Survey instrument limited the free flow of farmer's

perspective of his problems and required too much time to

complete (up to four hours per survey in Panama), i.e. very

ridgid/formalized survey.

3. Survey data not analyzed in its entirety.

4. Survey data was sent to Turrialba for analysis instead being

done on site as a cooperative effort between host country and

CATIE personnel.

5. Evaluation of prospective clientele did not include a social

perspective, which could have influenced the final research


6. Imposed extrapolation of preconceived models on a particular

clientele group, particularly without social science input,

following an expensive characterization seems contradictory

to the ideas supporting a characterization.

"Tech Packs"

Like extrapolation, the idea of "tech packs" is very

appealing. They offer attempts at risk-reducing ed methods to


increased productivity. They have been used for many years,

particularly with subsidized supervised credit programs. Only on rare

occasion, however, have they been successful. They are often too

complicated or different from common practice to be applied without

outside supervision because of new management requirements.

Alternately, they require more capital than the producer has available

or is willing to utilize.

Tech packs were to be developed under this project. They were

developed. The type of tech pack was not specified or required at the

outset. Thus each one that was developed was different. In the case

of the crops, the more successful tech packs have been those that were

only slightly different from common practice. They were based, in

essence, on specific changes of specific components. This supports

our view as to the importance of component research. Not only will

the time requirement for research be cut but also acceptability would

be increased with changes based upon a small number (2-4) component

changes as opposed to a completely new package.

A Current CATIE Proposal

In a recent draft proposal entitled Technology for

Development's Network, dated June 25, 1985, it becomes evident that

not all lessons of the current (596-0083) project have been perceived

or adjusted to or incorporated by CATIE. A major goal of the proposed

project is to generate two technological alternatives comprised of

several components in each participating country. The complexity of

the technology should be determined in the field via a

characterization, not at the present phase. It is apparent that the

proposed research goals are being set from the top down--a problem


with the current project.

The proposed project is to operate through a centralized

mechanism. A core at CATIE would lead and coordinate the research

effort. This could lead to a repetition of errors, e.g. lag in data

analysis, the have occurred under the present project. Resources and

personnel should be concentrated in the region of interest. This

could mean using more people with lower (academic) qualifications that

are usually employed at each level of operation.


Costa Rica

Agricultural research and extension in Costa Rica is organized so

that each has its own administrative unit within the Ministry of

Agriculture and Livestock (MAG). Crop and animal research is

conducted on five regional experiment stations under the Director

General of Agricultural Investigations (DGIA). There is also a

Director General of Animal Health and Animal Production. There has

been some cropping systems research within DGIA. A few Costa Rican

students who have majored in farming system research at CATIE have had

limited opportunities to follow this interest in MAG.

A reorganization of MAG, sanctioned by law in March of 1985, may

greatly stimulate farming systems research. This combines research

and extension into a single Directorate of Agricultural Research and

Extension at the national level with separate sub-directorates for

research and extension. Furthermore, within MAG, PIPA (Program to

Increase Agricultural Production) has been developed to work with


subprograms on research, technology transfer, seed production and

distribution and the supply of agricultural inputs. With PIPA to

assist with the coordination of research and extension, and with a

number of persons interested in farming systems, there is a promising

future for farming systems research in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Cropping Systems

The CATIE-ROCAP project began operating in Limon Province, eastern

humid tropical lowlands in 1979. Work centered in the country of

Pococi, districts of Guapiles, Jimenez, Cariari, Rita and Roxana and

in the country of Guacimo, districts of Guacimo and Rio Jimenez. Most

of CATIE's farming systems work has been in the Pococi-Guacimo area

but there was also some activity in the country of Puriscal from 1979

until 1982.

Cropping alternatives were studied in the Pococi-Guacimo areas.

The earlier (1975 1979) CATIE-ROCAP project had worked in Pococi,

beginning in 1976. Experiments were conducted on the corn-corn

system, corn-cassava and corn-cassava-beans systems.

Corn-cassava was a good alternative for the area but encountered

two problems. On-farm trials in the area involved a new variety of

cassava, a change in plant spacing and chemical weed control. The new

variety was selected because of more rapid maturing and increased

production. Trials in 1982 and 1983 indicated that the new variety

was unacceptable to the farmers. This combined with a marked drop in

the price of cassava essentially made the corn-cassava alternative

unattractive to the producer.

The corn-corn alternative appears to have had the greatest impact

of the CATIE-ROCAP cropping systems activity in Costa Rica. The

alternative included changes in plant spacing, changes in the

fertilizer analysis and time of application and the use of herbicides

and insecticides. Two crops of corn are grown per year with the first

being planted in February, March and harvested in July with yields

about twice what they are from the second crop. This corn-corn

alternative was validated on ninety six farms during 1982 and 1983.

The credit bank of the Institute of Agrarian Development (IDA) is

using the alternative as the basis for credit to 125 farmers, most of

them in the Cariari area where the alternative was validated.

Farmers who were visited were highly complementary and said they

didn't know of any producers not using the alternative. Estimates of

the adoption of the alternative indicate between seventy-five and

ninety-five percent of the farmers are using it. However, some

farmers are adopting only part of the alternative mainly fertilizers

and spacing, because of the high cost of the agrochemicals.

Numbers of trials conducted to study alternatives were as follows:

10 in 1979, 9 in 1980, 13 in 1981, 10 in 1982 and 6 in.1983. Numbers

of trials conducted to study validation and transfer of technology

were 32 in 1982, 64 in 1983, and 36 in 1984. One corn-corn

alternative studied changed the spacing, introduced new seed and

change fertilizer practices. This resulted in an average increase of

1000 kg/ha and increased returns by 128%. The fertilizer change was

primarily based on the fact that nitrogen is the most limiting

nutrient. By reducing the use of 12-24-12 fertilizer and increasing

the use of ammonium nitrate corn yields were greatly increased at

essentially the same fertilizer costs.


Dual Purpose Cattle Systems Costa Rica

Characterization of the Cariari area revealed some 365 small farms

averaging some 20 ha each. Eighty percent had cattle and some 45

percent had dual purpose cattle. A dynamic study of 39 farms over a

period of about 6 months revealed poor pastures, little division of

pastures, limited genetics for milk production, and little

supplemental feeding. A diagnostic study of seven farms in 1982 gave

more details. In 1983 three farms installed alternative systems of

production with some components modified from the CATIE dairy

production model.

Interventions included a new bull with more dairy production

trials, planting king grass, sugar cane and legumes for supplemental

feeding, installation of a milking parlor, a small forage chopper,

improved herd management and improved milk handling. At about the

same time a new road was completed in the area and one company began

buying milk in the area. In addition five dual purpose herds in the

area were monitored continuously and served as controls.

Of the three farms that served as the prototypes, one had family

problems and was eliminated, one remained with 20 ha, and one bought

20 more hectares. The one that has 20 ha has greatly modified his

operation during the past three years.

Some of the major changes have been as follows: Numbers of cows

increased from 2 up to 74 and is now milking 20 head daily, changed

breed from criollo to Jersey to Holstein as the prominent breed but

with some Bos indicus (Zebu). Greatly increased milk production per

cow -which is sold under contract to a restaurant, door to door and to

a company. Pasture has been divided into 8 parcels (the CATIE model


has 26), supplemental forage and legumes are fed, many management

practices have been improved. This dynamic well managed dual purpose

farm has truly become a model for the area.

Mixed Animal Cropping Systems Costa Rica

This part of the project was the last to be established. During

1983 five of six projected swine-cropping systems were established in

the Guacimo area. Preliminary data gathered in 1983 had indicted that

pigs in the area had high death losses from birth to weaning, were

slow growing, reached market at 9 to 12 months of age, were primarily

criollos with an undesirable fat to lean ratio. Numerous sources of

energy were being fed to pigs including corn, taro, cassava, bananas,

plantains, sugar cane and pasture. However, on farm sources of

protein were limiting production and purchased sources of protein as

imported soybean meal were expensive. High rainfall 3000 mm (150

inches) per year complicates management and special facilities were

designed in which to accommodate 5 sows, one boar and their progency

from birth to market in one 160 square meter area. Some alternative

protein sources studied were five varieties. of soybeans (Glycine

max.), twelve varieties of cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) and 20

varieties of horse bean (Cannavalia ensiformis).

Most of these component studies were conducted during 1983. The

literature indicates that Cannavalia contains a substance which is

highly toxic to pigs and has killed 50 percent in some trials. Both

soybeans and cowpeas need to be processed or heat treated to destroy

the trypsin inhibitors.

In summary, although a late attempt was made to try to resolve

protein problem for swine production, the approaches used were


unsuccessful. Energy sources which were studied to some extent and

are successfully used in the area are corn, bananas, plantains,

cassava and sweet potatoes. Some studies previously conducted at

INCAP had indicated that criollo pigs require less protein than that

proposed by the National Research Council for improved breeds.

Figures were presented as follows from studies conducted at Turrialba:

Pigs were fed for 90 days from 20 kg up to 40 to 45 kg liveweights.

Pigs fed the 50% level gained, 252 g/day compared to 280 g/day for

those fed 100% of the NRC recommended protein requirement.



The CATIE livestock-modules (under animal and mixed systems)

operated in La Trompina, Morazan, 1977-80, Tejutla, Chalatenango,

1978-82 and Jocoro, Morazan, 1979-85. Another location, Candelaria de

la Frontera, was added in 1981 mainly for crop systems assistance.

The Jocoro location was the main the project site evaluated. In every

location a characterization study was made and published. The study

included information in excess of the fundamental topics required to

implement the projected research and validation activities.

Animal production

Little component research was used to design the animal production

modules in Jocoro that later (1982) evolved into the mixed systems

modules now under validation. Political disturbance partially

accounts for the limited output observed. Other explanations


Weak field teams. One CATIE counterpart worked with part

time assistants (3 days a week) in securing records.

Scarcity of physical resources. CATIE had to substitute

the MAG for input and labor needs.

Insufficient component research. Previous research was

isolated and directed from the top down. It was done almost

solely on experiment stations (there are two). For

example, silage of chicken manure and molases was tested.

It was based upon a producer whose son carried on an

experiment as a thesis problem in a US University; there


was no validation and nothing happened.

Gandul experiment field days with CATIE's help led to its

consideration for mixed system modules.

Lack of support. Gandul seed and seed from improved

drought tolerant maize variety CENTA MB-3 was not readily

available. The animal production extension service was


Output includes three mixed systems modules that focused on milk

production. Alternatives recommended include:

silage for the dry season of sorghum and gandul and the

association of corn-gandul.

It was expected that the first alternative reduced the purchase of

cotton seed meal in the dry seasons. The second intends to substitute

sorghum in the traditional maize-sorghum relay association while

improving the feed value of forage. Simultaneously, it makes

available a bean substitute for the family. In practice the farmer

interviewed continues planting the old system as well. It is claimed

that gandul does not produce as much fresh forage as sorghum.

Farm records were kept on the three modules and 9 check farms by

part-time assistants that spent 3 hours on each interview. They

average one to two visits per week according to their activities.

Although the modules are considered to be in the validation stage,

they can be better considered as exploratory exercises because

a) there are too few locations;

b) inputs are not paid for by farmers; and

c) there are too many untested factors affecting milk


Influence from CATIE was complemented with ICTA's experience,

particularly through informal cooperative program in maize breeding

through CIMMYT personnel collaborating with ICTA at the time. The

positive trend towards the farming systems approach was interrupted in

1980 by the requirement that all personnel and resources from their

research activities be diverted to the agrarian reform efforts.

After a succession of Directors that held office for short and

unstable periods, CENTA seems to be consolidating its activities and

program leadership, around the farming systems concepts. IDB and AID

projects designed with farming systems premises are already

established or will be so shortly.

The most significant farming systems component can be seen in the

Validation and Transfer of Technology Section in the Department of

Economics and Statistics within the Research Division. It is

organized in three regions with local teams made up of two

extensionists and two researchers. They conduct on-farm research and

validation by unreplicated plots. Social and economic evaluations are

included. These activities are effectively being supported by the

ongoing AID farming systems project. The availability, however, of

CENTA MB-3 and Gandul to collaborating farmers was often mentioned as

a constraint for a faster acceptance of the texted technologies.

In 1984 a centralized System Department was established consisting

of multidisciplinary specialist including the social scientists.

Overall the research department collaborates with CIMMYT, CIAT,

PRECODEPA and CATIE. Specific research interaction with CATIE exists

in Candelaria de la Frontera and in Jocoro.

Positive opinions of CATIE include training, especially that


Other alternatives had been included that did not get properly

established and were thus discontinued. Gandul hay and leucaena are

in this group. At the evaluation visit a farmer was producing hay

from Estrella pasture and erratically raising leucaena forage on a

plot that had a very poor stand.

Very little can be expected to continue on these modules as there

are no resources or real motivation available. Only one farmer was

partially conducting the alternatives tested, the other discontinued

the process after being kidnapped for eleven days. (The third module

was not visited.)

Crop system

The farming systems approach is well established in CENTA. A

recent AID project is consolidating farming systems methodologies in

the research division that includes a section for validation and

transfer of technology within the Department of Economics and

Statistics. Elements of the farming systems approach existed in El

Salvador since the early seventies, when research on farms was

carried on with collaboration of Dr. Peter Hildebrand and Tito French

under the influence of the Asian multicropping systems approach.

Previous to 1973, research programs were organized by commodities.

The Program of Basic Grains was then organized and included various

crops and their agronomic relations. The initial characterization

stage is conducted usually followed the IICA motivated "Perfiles de

Tecnologia Actual de los Agricultores y de la Investigacion". The

one on Zapotitan included 1) Physical and national limitation on

production and 2) Technological production activities in corn, beans,

rice, tomato, sweet pepper, potato and cucumbers.


related to research that was anticipated by a year. Among negative

opinions was that CATIE contracted national staff from CENTA with

better conditions creating sensitive differences in the CENTA

personnel. In addition, the fact that CATIE managed the project funds

was viewed negatively.


The CATIE-ROCAP Project programmed work in animal production in

two regions: Tecpan and Nueva Concepcion, and one location for crop

production in the Chimaltenango area. The project at Tecpan had to be

discontinued because the guerrilla activies in the region that

included the killing of one assistant from ICTA. The crop production

work at Chimaltenango was also discontinued for the same reason. In

Nueva Concepcion the objective was achieved fully. A follow up

program with strong backing from ICTA, DIGESEPE and BANDESA has been


Animal Production

The area of Nueva Concepcion is an "Asentamiento" mainly made up

of 20 hectare farms and smaller units. ICTA has been active in crop

research and validation activities for farmers who have strong

dedication to milk production and maize production in very good soils.

The project began in 1980 with 6 trials, 8 in 1981, 8 in 1982 and

13 in 1983. In total 35 trials were run. They consisted mainly of

component research for pasture evaluation and management, new sources

of forages and animal nutrition. These trials were conducted

generally at the sub-station in Nueva Concepcion and with farmers.

The field team was made of two CATIE staff and two assistants from

ICTA. An early characterization identified the availability of

feedstuff in the dry season as a major limitation and pasture

management in the rainy season as another. The component research led

to the identification of modules that included the following


Silage: Leucaena Napier

Forage for dry season: Napier, Leucaena

Construction of dairy facilities

The project originally established 5 modules that are now reduced

to three. They are demonstrating excellent results and set the

standards for the promotion of more modules that are being financed by

BANDESA with funds from the government of Guatemala. DIGESEPE has

assistance teams that supervise the credit. Seven loans have already

been assigned and 17 are waiting approval. The goal is 25 per year

during four years. The costs of each module including animals,

installation, pasture improvement, and fences can be as much as

Q27,000. The bank (BANDESA) allows a grace period of four years with

8% interest. The loan is for 10 years.

The main feature of the module is the division of pasture into 8

lots of approximately .5 ha each. The lactating milk cows graze one

day per lot and are followed by the dry cows and young stock another

day. This allows for a pasture rest period of 16 days. This is done

during the rainy season. After November, silage and forage from the

Napier field is brought to the animals. The total number of animals

in each module of 10 hectares varies form 25 to 40. (One farmer was

planning to use his 20 hectares for pasture and handle 95 animals).

Another feature is the management of the herd to select out

unproductive cows through production records and pregnancy checks.

The success of this project has moved ICTA to start two new

projects: in Jutiapa with funds from CIID and IICA and in Cuyuta with

funds from BID and FIDA. Also a chilling plant is planned for Nueva

Concepcion to be built with the farmers cooperation and financial

assistance from CIID.

The coming research activities will center around the use of Kuazu

and Canavalia in association with Napier (or King Grass) and handling

of manure as fertilizer. Also the genetic improvement of the herd can

raise the efficiency of the modules. Present efficiency is attributed

more to increase of milk per hectare than per cow.

Crop Production.

The CATIE-ROCAP Project started a vegetable research activity in

Chimaltenango in 1978. It ran into serious guerrilla interference and

had to be abandoned in 1982. Dr. Donald Kass was assigned to this

project that initiated cropping systems studies around the double row

maize pattern. Later a one-row maize pattern evolved. There is

agreement that technical progress was being made and

inter-institutional cooperation with ICTA was also working well.

At present there is much production of vegetables for export to

neighboring countries and the US. Various US exporting and freezing

companies are carrying on variety and agronomic trials and assisting

growers in the region. ICTA is conducting some research of a more

basic nature with snow peas and strawberries.


CATIE involvement in training has been adequate according to

persons interviewed. However, the number of short term courses and

workshops were less towards the end of the project. A reflection of

the 1982 evaluation of the project were found in the course-workshop

about Validation-Transfer and Communication Methods. It was stated

that training needed strengthening.


CATIE staff were well integrated into the overall ICTA program.


CATIE worked with commodities in which ICTA had no expertise.

ICTA personnel learned to work with cattle and with DIGESEPE

staff. They have been able to continue with the effort.


1. Despite the problems experienced during the Honduran project the

general consensus among review team members is that CATIE did have a

positive influence on the counterpart personnel working in the

division of Natural Resources. This effect was stimulated primarily

through training and the personal influence of the CATIE personnel

working there.

Honduras has a fledgling research/extension organization which is

presently struggling with institutional restructuring, incorporation

of a greater on-farm focus as part of this basic methodology, a high

rate of personnel turnover in the organization and a budget that

barely covers salary which frequently arrives a month or more behind

schedule. Except for the present pains of institutional restructuring

which didn't begin till the end of the CATIE/ROCAP project, CATIE was

faced with how to get on with it's task amidst the multitude of


It is clear that CATIE did have an effect on the institution.

Much of CATIE's influence was achieved through training. From 1979 to

1983 17 training sessions where held with approximately 300 persons

receiving training in a wide range of topics, particularly in the area

systems research methodology. The idea of working on-farm was a

totally new concept for many researchers. The total experience with

CATIE and the close alignment with CIMMYT with corn research impart,

formed a base of understanding that today is being written into the

reorganization plan (INTAGRO) to be submitted to AID for funding. The


reorganization, if achieved, will bring research and extension

together in a closer working relationship.

2. Although the animal science section in Natural Resources was

formed during a time of close relationship between CATIE and its host

country counterparts, the field personnel in this section today in

Comayagua demonstrate a serious lack of methodological understanding

while the program directors based in Tegucigalpa are preoccupied with

guarding their own turf within the INTAGRO reorganization scheme.

The INTAGRO proposal being submitted by the animal science section

indicates their preference to remain separate within any new

reorganization scheme. This tendency did and will continue to block

progress toward developing an integrated farming systems institutional

approach where plant and animal elements must be considered together.

It appears that the influence of CATIE's thinking has shed little

influence on the present group in the animal science section. In fact

the lack of cooperation between the crops and animal sections in CATIE

has permeated down to the country level programs which in part

explains the present state of affairs.

Lack of enthusiams and lack of methodological understanding by

field personnel in Comayagua are principal reasons why the program

with small producers has deteriorated since the end of CATIE project.

Animal science section personnel in Comayagua indicated their

preference is to work with larger of affluent producers who have

resources to implement their suggestions. This implies that farming

system methodology has not been absorbed and incorporated.

3. The animal science group complained of the high cost of setting-up

and maintaining a model on-farm. For this reason they could not


continue with the program as it was managed by CATIE. Their

limitation of resources to continue-on underscores the pitfall of

working with complex package that requires large inputs to the farm

from outside. The present state of deterioration of the dairy system

model work in the Comayagua region brings into question the emphasis

given to the tec-pac concept. The present state of the dairy system

modules established is as follows:

1) one is working as it was originally established;

2) another stopped when the chopper broke followed by the

cooperating farmer removing half of the leucaena planted;

3) another incurred a bad infestation of an irritant weed in the

leucaena which prevented it from being harvested; and

4) the forth model was being modified and improved beyond the

goals of the project.

The rejection of specific components in the dairy system and the

farmer initiated modifications are all healthy signs and demonstrate

the role the farmer should plan during an active adoptive research

phase. However, the present lack of creative technicians in the field

that lack the ability to read signals given by farmers will result in

little advancement from the present state.

4. The project remains short of on-farm component research data that

can fit into a dairy system model framework. In fact, due to the

complexity and high cost of dairy system model and the enumerable

modification that will inevitably be made, component research should

have been the prime focus of the project. Components could have been

tested over a large number of farms, e.g. 30-50 instead of 4, and

modifications be made at nominal cost. Farmers could select, modify


and adopt those components suitable to their particular constraints.

Results from a large number of trials provides a stron base for

partictioning technology recommendations by homogenuous groups and/or

measuring technology stability between environments.

5. Little time or money remained in the project when work with the

mixed system model began. Consequently the entire model could not be

put in place on farms, the team was forced to work with the important

components corn-sorghum which is traditionally grown and

leucaena-sugar cane which were being introduced.

By keying in on the important element dry season supplement, a

simplified solution was introduced which showed great potentional for

adaption. Today there is a growing demand by farmers for leucaena


6. The dairy system work as it stands has gone backwards. The

project remains short of on-farm component research data that could

have been fit into a wholistic model framework. The program research

has degenerated to a point that importance is given only to

distribution of leucaena seed and collection of farm.records from the

remaining models with no understanding of why or what to do with it.

The dairy system which should have been considered as a mixed system

in the beginning remains in the adoptive research mode and will not

move beyond this stage without significant guidance and change in


7. Cropping systems work with rice in Jeronimo has been successful

particularly that work carried out with weed control and fertilizer

application. Farming system methodology, which begins with problem

identification and goes through to adoption, was followed more or less


in its entirety with the rice project in Jeronimo.

Validation results of the technology tested indicated that 40% of the

former group involved continued to use the suggested weed control, 50%

of the 22 tested adopted the recommended second fertilization. Net

income resulting from application of the tec-pac was slightly higher

than the traditional system. The results were convincing and the

national agricultural bank has adopted the new recommendations.

Results of the Jeronimo rice project demonstrate the power of the

methodology when carried to completion using simple technological

introductions which are relavent to an identified farmer need and

tested on a large number of farm sites.

8. CATIE imposed it's project and its ideas on the Honduran

institution, working as a separate entity, particularly in the

beginning and in the end creating institutional dependency on CATIE's

resource assistance for all phases of work pertaining to the project

and some outside its primary focus.

The Honduran research entity was overly dependant on CATIE funding

for purchase of material logistic support and man power. This

dependency is very evident today as evidenced by the decreased level

of activity directed toward the CATIE initiated projects that remain.

Comments made by lost country personnel indicates their opposition to

the level of support CATIE gave the farmers which now they can not


9. The time and energy expended during the characterization phase was

not justified by the amount of utilizable information gathered.

In most instances the volumes of information gathered during the

characterization phase has not been completely analysed or utilized

in subsequent work. One farmer interview could take up to 4 hours and

was still weak in socioeconomic data needed to establish research

priorities. It could be concluded that the information taken in some

subject areas was so detailed that one couldn't see the forest for the


10. Work initiated with swine production models illustrated a lack of

information or interpretation of the characterization results. Swine

models were designed to be established on farm. The innovators of

this idea failed to realize that because the farmers live away from

the farm no one is to care for the pigs. Traditionally pigs reside in

and around the houses in the towns which at present negates the

possibility of swine models on the farm.

11. Farming Systems approach to problem solving was hindered by the

lack of a complimentary multidisciplinary field team that had

continuity over the life of the project.

There was no core field team that worked in a complimentary

fashion i.e. backstopping each other in component research directed

toward a system. CATIE technicians often worked independently. The

potential and productivity of the CATIE program was reduced due to its

independent nature. The number of field trials they could manage with

their limited core staff was quite reduced. They were unable to have

several field teams made up of host country personnel which limited

their multiplier effect. Consequently too few on-farm trials were

established which resulted in the development of an inadequate data


Research objective that we assume resulted from characterization

worked appeared to be too disperse non-focused for the resources



The individual research projects established did not appear to

have direct focus on farmer needs. The observed shortfall in

achieving problem solving research designed to meet farmer needs isO

due to: 1) turnover of CATIE personnel; 2) academic approach used

i.e. preoccupation with such things as a mathematical model for

extrapolation of technology and the creation of tec-pacs; 3)

centralized approach to research, i.e. heavy dependance on

CATIE/Turrialba base group for project backstopping in design and

analysis of results; 4) lack of farm orientation for technology

generation and testing, i.e. there is need for closer association of

CATIE personnel with farmer and greater numbers of on-farm trials; 5)

simplicity of on-farm trials needed to facilitate of on-site analysis

and interpretation of results. This is particularly true with mild

and mixed systems model work which was made complicated by working

with all innovation at once instead of one or two most important



The Panamanian Agricultural Research Institute (Instituto de

Investigation Agropecuaria de Panama, IDIAP) was founded in 1974. It

is an autonomous institution. It is divided into three regions: east,

central, and west, each being semi-autonomous from the central

organization. In this way IDIAP is organized in such a way so as to

be able to work on regional (if not local) problems. In addition,

IDIAP has local agencies staffed by personnel who either live at the

agency or in a near-by community. This set-up enhances

researcher-producer interaction.

Crop Production

The CATIE Project began in Panama in 1974. In the crop production

activities two CATIE staff (Washington Bejarano and Phillip Shannon)

were backed by two agronomists from IDIAP and up to five field

assistants. They worked in two areas: Guarumal in the Corregimiento

of Guarumal in the District of Veraguas and in the Corregimiento of

Progreso, Province of Chiriqui. Characterization was conducted and a

sequence of exploratory, component and validation trials planned, from

1980 to 1984. The validation plots recombined the best components in

each case. A limitation on ready availability of seed of the new

varieties recommended was mentioned.


In rice, the validated package was based upon the use of a new

variety (CR 5272) modified fertilizer practice and improved, timing and

selection of herbicides. The combination demonstrated a 28% increase

in yield at a similar cost. The number of validation trials in 1983

were 8, contributing to a total of 120 on-farm trials in the four year



A visit was made to two asentamientos where validation trials were

conducted. Farmers demonstrated a total lack of knowledge of what

alternatives were being validated. Just a few months after the end of

the Project, the local IDIAP team, made up of two agronomists and one

assistant were limited to carry on only 3 validation trials on farms

and three experimental trials in their otherwise excellent facilities

at the edge of Guarumal. There was confusion about different

recommendations being offered by IDIAP, the BDA (Agricultural

development bank) and MIDA in the region.

The experiments conducted at their headquarter were fertilization

of name, fertilization of otoe and planting time of maize. The

experiments seem to have been decided upon via a top-down approach,

originating from the Proyecto Rural Integrado being conducted in the


Maize had been considered as a worthwhile alternative to introduce

in the area. Some mention was made about related research, but no

evident follow-up was noticed in the short visit.


A more professional IDIAP team is following up work done during the

CATIE Project. The number of rice trials, however, was reduced from

60 to 8. In the four year period the total number of trials

approximated 200. Reasons given for this reduction include:

Alternatives now available satisfy felt needs; and

Shift of priority from rice to banana and plantain and maize.

The validated alternative applies research pointing to the lack of

response to phosphorus. It changed the common practice of fertilizing


with complete fertilizer followed by urea application to ammonium

application followed by two applications of urea. Also the weed

control was changed to two applications of herbicide instead of one

application: the first at 8-12 days and the second at 28 days. The

alternative, it was said, increased yield by 28% and reduced cost by

$30/ha. The information was validated in 20 locations where CATIE

paid for inputs and farmers for labor. At present, the BDA gives

credit to 60% of farmers in the region taking into consideration the

IDIAP recommendations.

Livestock Production

The effort of the CATIE FSR Project for livestock in Panama was

limited to cattle production in the Bugaba area. In the approximately

six years of the Project, two project-funded livestock experts were

employed. There was about a year's lapse between the second and the

last. The last one, Mike Sands, was stationed in David, Chiriqui, for

two and a half year. He required about a year to get organized and

design alternatives and thus had only about 1.5 years to do field

trials and validate the alternatives. The field trials included work

on grazing intervals, fertilization, and calf management systems. In

addition, work was performed in the areas of mineral requirements and

parasite control.

The experts had the collaboration of an IDIAP technician and a

field assistant. This is a small team, but it was not over-burdened

by their work load. Sands stated that he had little to build upon

from previous work in the area. He mounted five validation trials

which have been maintained and four control farms.

According to the IDIAP staff, 2 years were spent on


characterization and problem definition; one year was used for design

alternatives and research, and two years for validation. It seems

that during the initial two year period some component research was

also done. It was difficult to ascertain how this research was

applied in the design of alternatives.

The team visited three of the five producers whose farms continued

to serve as bases of the validation trials. Project personnel

participated in the improvement of pasture and pasture management,

herd management and animal health practices. The project paid for all

inputs except labor to accomplish these improvements during the first

and second year. The producers supplied their own labor as well as

any hired labor that was required. The labor was required to install

adequate fencing to accommodate herd and pasture management

improvements. There is no apparent system of production that is being

promoted by the IDIAP team. Each producer has been handled as a

separate case. Thus, there is a wide array of forages and pastures

that are being used by producers.

The following points became clear through the visits with IDIAP

personnel and producers:

Little, if any, cattle research is being conducted. Almost all

work is extension work.

-Little is known about animal-forage interactions. This aspect

should be investigated.

Although kudzu is being promoted in association, minimal

research has been done on its management. Availability of

kudzu seed was lacking and no mechanism seemed to be in course

to solve this limitation.

- The improvements being promoted by IDIAP personnel could

increase milk production by at least 30%. Calving rates of

from 70% 80% could be attained as compared to about 40% which

correctly attained.)

-The IDIAP personnel at Bugaba is well-motivated. As evidenced

by the type of work being done, however, it lacks focus. Short

(0.5 1.5 years) and medium (1.0 2.5 years) term research

programs and goals should be drawn-up to improve the focus.

-The structure of IDIAP seems well-suited to carry-out research

in the farming-systems mode.

- Existing facilities are under-utilized. Bigger

multidisciplinary teams, including animal production and social

scientists as required, would improve utilization. The larger

teams could better then establish local research priorities and

carry-out and analyze relevant field trials themselves. The

backing of specialized, professional senior staff teams from

the national level should be accorded the local teams.

(International assistance could also contribute to a stronger

local team).

-There is a tendency for top-down decision-making regarding

research priorities. Less research is done according to local

priorities than should be the case.


In 1979, CATIE had little experience in farming systems research.

As has been common the world over an overly academic,

discipline-oriented approach to research made FSR execution more

difficult. The combination of lack of experience and discipline

orientation caused some problems for the project. As time has passed

CATIE staff has learned. It is highly probable that the staff would

notnow design an FSR project exactly like the one developed in 1979.

We feel, however, that some of the faults would be repeated unless

they are pointed-out. Keeping this in mind, and realizing that the

members of the evaluation team have also learned some insight since

1979, the following conclusions and recommendations are made. (The

evaluation team understands that CATIE has already started working,

along the lines of some of the recommendations. We apologize if we

seem redundant). The discussion is divided into groups. We realize,

however, that there is a good deal of overlap among the groups.


Training was one of the strongest components of the project. Many

courses, in one form or other, were presented to a wide variety of

participants at a variety of locations. One of the reasons that the

training program was successful was the existence of a staff at

Turrialba that assumed teaching responsibilities. A lack of

understanding of FSR/E philosophy and methodology by the CATIE staff

was noted. The following recommendations are made:

T.1 A part of the CATIE core staff should be responsible for


coordinating and leading courses in FSR/E.

T.2 The understanding of FSR/E by other core staff should be

enhanced via short-courses presented by the knowledgeable


T.3 Project personnel --especially field personnel-- should be

more throughly trained in FSR/E.

At present CATIE is coordinating several projects that would

benefit from a farming systems approach. The projects are:

Firewood and alternate energy sources;

Watershed management; and

Integrated pest management

Effort should be made to instruct on-campus and field

personnel in FSR/E methods.

T.4 CATIE remain involved in instructing appropriate personnel of

member-country institutions in FSR/E techniques and

methodology. Some extension personnel should be included in

the training exercises.

T.5 The expansion of the teaching faculty at CATIE should be used

as an opportunity to allow for a minor in Farming System

(Such a program already exists at the University of Florida.

The program has been quite successful .


The evaluation team considers that a successful approach to

on-farm research is through the use of a non-sophisticated methodology

that spans the initial problem identification phase to final

technology generation and dissemination. The generation of technology

that was simple techniques and that is developed by using a large


number of on-farm tests, with the farmers incorporated into the

research team, should be the goal of such work. This approach has

proven effective in the generation of appropriate technology that will

be adapted, accepted and incorporated by the farmer into his system.

As indicated by the large number of sophisticated publications

developed under this project, we believe that CATIE spent too much

effort addressing the scientific community as compared to

collaborating farmers and extension workers. The following

recommendations reflect our belief that an FSR endeavour must be

structured differently from the structure associated with on-station


M.1 Less base-line data should be collected. In addition less

detailed descriptive information during the on-farm research

stage should be collected. This would permit the data to be

analyzed at the local level, thereby improving turn-around

and increasing information feed-back to the research effort.

M.2 The team has used a different definition for Validation than

CATIE has used.(see text). According to the definition used

by the team, Validation was the weakest phase in the

methodology. Because inputs were purchased for producers,

the reliability of the validation trials is questionable. To

increase reliability

The number of trials of components and tech packs needs to

be increased greatly (30 or more per technique); and

Validation trials must be farmer managed and financed.

M.3 The crop and animal production departments of CATIE have not

cooperated with each other to the extent necessary to perform


a high level of mixed systems research. Because in most

cases the farming system is a mixed system (with crop and

animal subsystems), the two departments must coordinate their

efforts more effectively in order to increase the

effectiveness of the research effort.

M.4 Component research, makes a strong basis for much of the crop

research effort. This was not the case with much of the

livestock research. In either case, however, validation of

single components or logical component pairs should be

performed. (For example, in crops, variety and density for

maize in Comayagua could be tested jointly. In animals,

kudzu-Guinee grass management in Panama should be

researched). At present, a cattle producer who cannot adopt

the entire module is likely to reject in en toto. Component

validation could improve the acceptance index of some of the

more critical components of the cattle module.

M.5 In animal production or mixed systems, many components are

strictly agronomic (forage and feed crops). These components

should be tested over a wider area than the animal components

to account for the environmental interaction.

M.6 In the FSR/E methodology it is important that research

address the needs that have been identified at the farm


In the event that a project is (partially) based'upon a

national policy or opportunity potential, e.g. new export

crops, the adaptability of the commodity into the farming

system must be studied. Depending upon circumstances and


knowledge, research should start on the experiment station or

with on-farm trials.

National Institutions

N.1 CATIE should emphasize work with on-going national projects.

It should strengthen existing field teams (M.S. or less)

and/or the implementing institutional team of senior staff

via training or by supplying the necessary personnel.

N.2 A greater number of larger multidisciplinary teams (not

necessarily CATIE staff) should be in the field. The teams

should be strengthened (as compared to present teams) through

the addition of more disciplines. An important criterion for staff selection should be good previous field


N.3 The addition of the V/T stage to the project indicates that

it was realized that the research-extension link had to be

strengthened. This is still true in most of the

.participating countries. .By including extensionists in the

field teams the link would be strengthened.

N.4 The addition of more field teams would increase the

efficiency of regional (or central) teams. The increased

efficiency could be put to good use in an information

networking system. Each participating country should have an

information network hub.

N.5 In the event that no FSR/E project exists and it is requested

that CATIE initiate one, it is recommended that CATIE promote

a limited pilot project. Such a project must have strong


national participation.


This section pertains to CATIE itself. The section tries to

explain the views of the evaluation as to the areas in which CATIE

should focus its efforts. A statement about the CATIE-ROCAP

relationship is also made.

C.1 CATIE should help to enhance the information network in the

region. It could start with information about products in

which CATIE already has acknowledged expertise.

C.2 CATIE is the only institution in the region that performs

research on certain commodities. It can take advantage of

the situation by serving as a major source for personnel and

information. These areas include livestock, perennial and

tree crops, and forest products. It is realized that this

includes products that might be new to an area. See

recommendation M.6 in which this possibility is discussed.

C.3 The team found that in some cases --Honduras (Leucaena),

Panama (Kudzu and Rice CR5272), and El Salvador (Maize CENTA

MB 3)-- good seed was not available in either adequate

quantities nor in a timely fashion. This is a constraint to

the acceptance to improved technologies. A seed production

and distribution system which would address the needs of the

small farm in a reliable fashion should be developed. It is

recommended that a coordinated regional effort be established

to promote research and production and distribution

mechanisms which address local needs.


C.4 Some of the agreement (ProAg) requirement imposed on the

project were counter productive. The late inclusion of V/T

caused a diversion of energy from research to validation. In

most cases the validation was premature. Most of the

characterizations, which had to be published, were published

too late to be useable feed-back into the research scheme.

ROCAP and CATIE should form a client directed relationship.

C.5 There has been little interaction between this project staff

and other farming systems groups. If some core CATIE staff

were involved with FSR/E on a continuous basis, a

representative should attend the annual international farming

systems, a staff representative should attend if there is

interest in farming systems at the institutional level.

C.6 CATIE should work through existing national FSR/E projects.

It should not operate independently. This institutional

apporach would help to ensure the continuity of project.

C.7 CATIE should give-up attempts at the highly technical and

expensive form of extrapoation that .it has investigated, a

good multidisciplinary team could perform the extrapolation

function in a much more efficient manner.

C.8 An independent farming systems research project should be

discontinued at CATIE. The FSR/E methodology should be

included in present and future projects. The FSR/E

methodology would be useful in new project design as well as

most aspects of a project that include producers.

C.9 CATIE should prepare documents especially for those who

perform the extension function.