CATIE SMALL FARM
Project Funded by ROCAP, Project 596-0083
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
PAISES A V/T E A V/T E A V/T E A V/T E A V/T E A V/T E
C 0 N FL ICT O_ _
GUATEMALA 30 11 16- 11 20 -
HONDURAS 19 6 10 13 I 12 6 30 20 20 -
CONFLICTO ___ ___
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 experimentos.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
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
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-
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
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
Maize -- an increase in yields of over 100% in the project area.
Method to affect over 75% of the producers in the Guacimo and
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.
-- 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
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
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
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
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
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
COSTA RICA 3
Dual Purpose 4 2 2 1 1
Swine 2 2 2 1 2
Maize 4 4 4 4 2
EL SALVADOR 3
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
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,
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
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
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
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
Year COSTA RICA EL SALVADOR GUATEMALA HONDURAS NICARAGUA PANAMA
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
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
El Salvador 3
Costa Rica 8
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
-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 of.financial 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
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;
4. "Tech Packs";
5. A review of a CATIE draft project proposal.
National Institutions and the Future of FSR/E
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.)
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
-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
-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.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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
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.
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
field.team 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
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.