• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Preface
 Summary
 Glossary
 Introduction
 Overview of FSR/E
 Summary of FSR/E project exper...
 Lessons learned from the FSR/E...
 The future of FSR/E in A.I.D.-funded...
 Appendix A: Methodology
 Appendix B: Types of farming systems...
 Appendix C: Emerging trends in...
 Appendix D: Impact of farming systems...
 Appendix E: A.I.D.-funded farming...
 Appendix F: Summary of funding...
 Appendix G: Checklists for assessing...
 Reference
 Bibliography
 Back Cover






Group Title: A.I.D. evaluation special study ;, no. 67
Title: A review of A.I.D. experience with farming systems research and extension projects
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
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 Material Information
Title: A review of A.I.D. experience with farming systems research and extension projects
Series Title: A.I.D. evaluation special study
Physical Description: xix, 97 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Byrnes, Kerry J., 1945-
Publisher: Agency for International Development
Order form A.I.D. Document and Information Handling Facility
Place of Publication: Washington DC
Chevy Chase MD
Publication Date: [1990]
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Research   ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Research   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kerry J. Byrnes.
General Note: "January 1990."
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Preface
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Summary
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
    Glossary
        Page xviii
        Page xix
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Background
            Page 1
        Objective
            Page 2
        Methodology
            Page 3
    Overview of FSR/E
        Page 4
        Origin of FSR/E
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Defining FSR/E and "farming system"
            Page 7
            Page 8
        Goals of FSR/E
            Page 9
        Objectives of FSR/E
            Page 9
        Core characteristics of FSR/E
            Page 10
            Page 11
        Stages of FSR/E
            Page 12
            Diagnosis or description
                Page 12
            Design or planning
                Page 13
            Testing or experimentation
                Page 13
            Extension or recommendation and dissemination
                Page 13
            Monitoring and evaluation
                Page 14
        Are FSR/E and adaptive research equivalent?
            Page 14
            Page 15
    Summary of FSR/E project experience
        Page 16
        Impact of FSR/E projects
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
        Constraints to FSR/E project impact
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
    Lessons learned from the FSR/E projects reviewed
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    The future of FSR/E in A.I.D.-funded projects
        Page 34
        Status of FSR/E in A.I.D.- funded projects
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
        Outstanding issues
            Page 39
            Page 40
        Implications for A.I.D. programming
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
    Appendix A: Methodology
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Appendix B: Types of farming systems research and extension
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Appendix C: Emerging trends in farming systems research and extension
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Appendix D: Impact of farming systems research and extension projects on technology development and transfer and institutionalization of the farming systems approach
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Appendix E: A.I.D.-funded farming systems research and extension projects reviewed - Project description sheets
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
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        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Appendix F: Summary of funding for farming systems research and extension (FSR/E) projects reviewed
        Page 1
    Appendix G: Checklists for assessing an agricultural technology development and transfer design
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Reference
        Page 1
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        Page 3
        Page 4
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        Page 8
    Bibliography
        Page 1
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        Page 6
        Page 7
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text
r 6 Oy


A.I.D. Evaluation Special Study No. 67


A Review of A.I.D. Experience
With Farming Systems Research
and Extension Projects


January 1990

Agency for International Development (A.I.D.)

Washington, D.C. 20523


PN-AAX-230

























This report and others in the evaluation publication
series of the Center for Development Information and
Evaluation (CDIE) may be ordered from

A.I.D. Document and Information
Handling Facility
7222 47th Street, Suite 100
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
telephone: (301) 951-9647

A list of all CDIE evaluation publications is
available from

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Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C. 20523
USA
telephone: (703) 875-4818












A REVIEW OF A.I.D. EXPERIENCE WITH
FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PROJECTS


A.I.D. EVALUATION SPECIAL STUDY NO. 67













by

Kerry J. Byrnes, Senior Social Science Analyst
(Center for Development Information and Evaluation, A.I.D.)


Agency for International Development

January 1990


The views and interpretations expressed in this report are those
of the author and should not be attributed to the Agency for
International Development.








TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page


. . vi

. . viii

. . xviii


Preface .. . . . .

Summary . . . . .

Glossary . . . . .

1. Introduction . . . .

1.1 Background . . . .
1.2 Objective . . . .
1.3 Methodology . . .

2. Overview of FSR/E . . .


2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6


Origin of FSR/E . . .
Defining FSR/E and "Farming System"
Goals of FSR/E . . .
Objectives of FSR/E . .
Core Characteristics of FSR/E .
Stages of FSR/E . .
2.6.1 Diagnosis or Description .
2.6.2 Design or Planning . .
2.6.3 Testing or Experimentation .
2.6.4 Extension or Recommendation and


Dissemination . . .
2.6.5 Monitoring and Evaluation . .
2.7 Are FSR/E and Adaptive Research Equivalent?

3. Summary of FSR/E Project Experience . .

3.1 Impact of FSR/E Projects . . .
3.2 Constraints to FSR/E Project Impact .

4. Lessons Learned From the FSR/E Projects Reviewed

5. The Future of FSR/E in A.I.D.-Funded Projects .

5.1 Status of FSR/E in A.I.D. . . .
5.2 Outstanding Issues . . . .
5.3 Implications for A.I.D. Programming .

Appendixes

A. Methodology

B. Types of Farming Systems Research and Extension


. 16

. 16
. 20


. 34








TABLE OF CONTENTS (Cont.)


C. Emerging Trends in Farming Systems Research and Extension

D. Impact of Farming Systems Research and Extension Projects on
Technology Development and Transfer and Institutionalization
of the Farming Systems Approach

E. A.I.D.-Funded Farming Systems Research and Extension Projects
Reviewed: Project Description Sheets

F. Summary of Funding for Farming Systems Research and Extension
(FSR/E) Projects Reviewed

G. Checklists for Assessing an Agricultural Technology
Development and Transfer Design

References

Bibliography











LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1 Frequency of Core Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects .. . .... 22

2 Frequency of Operational Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects . . .. 24

3 Frequency of Generic Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects . . ... 26

4 Frequency of Core, Operational, and Generic
Constraints in 12 A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E
Projects--1975-1987 . . . . 28

5 USAID Missions' Rating and Ranking of FSR/E
Activities . . . . ... .. 38








-vi-


PREFACE


This paper reviews the experience of the Agency for Inter-
national Development (A.I.D.) with farming systems research and
extension (FSR/E) projects that it funded from the mid-1970s to
the mid-1980s. This report, based on a case study review of
evaluations of 12 A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects, assesses the
impact of these projects on agricultural technology development
and transfer and on institutionalization of the farming systems
approach in research and extension systems.

The intended audience of the study is those who have a
special need for an in-depth understanding of the farming systems
concept in relation to agricultural research and extension. This
audience includes, but is not limited to, the following:

FSR/E practitioners who are implementing agricultural
research and extension projects, programs, and systems

Technical specialists who are designing or evaluating
agricultural research and extension projects involving a
farming systems component

-A.I.D. personnel who manage or provide policy guidance
for the design, implementation, or evaluation of
agricultural research and extension projects that
involve a farming systems component

-Management and field staff of public sector agencies,
private voluntary organizations, and private sector
firms that carry out agricultural extension and
technology transfer activities and projects

SProfessionals in agricultural universities, regional and
international agricultural research centers, and
bilateral and multilateral donor agencies that are
concerned with strengthening agricultural research and
extension capacity in the developing countries

Some readers may find it discomforting that this report does
not point to any one A.I.D.-funded FSR/E project as being more
successful than another. However, the FSR/E projects reviewed
were evaluated while implementation was yet proceeding. Thus,
the evaluations could not provide a sound basis for judging that
any project was a failure or a success. At the same time, the
study takes a critical look at the constraints that hindered
implementation and reduced the impact of the FSR/E projects
reviewed.







-vii-


Given the limitations of the study's data source (i.e.,
project evaluations), this report tends to paint a somewhat
negative picture of the impact of FSR/E projects on technology
development and transfer and on institutionalization of the farm-
ing systems approach. However, recent assessments and field
studies of FSR/E projects and programs indicate that the impact
of such projects in many countries has gone considerably beyond
that evident when the projects reviewed in the present study were
evaluated (e.g., Baker and Norman 1988; Breth 1984; Byrnes 1988;
Collinson 1988; Frankenberger et al. 1988, 1989; and Merrill-
Sands 1988).

Two other FSR/E assessments were being developed at the same
time as the present study was conducted: (1) a study of on-farm
client-oriented research conducted by the International Service
for National Agriculture Research (Merrill-Sands 1988), and (2)
the FSR/E Network Steering Committee's "results inventory" of
family systems projects and programs (Butler Flora et al. 1988;
Frankenberger et al. 1988, 1989). The lessons learned from the
projects reviewed in the present study are reinforced by similar
conclusions that emerged from these other assessments.

Finally, the author wishes to acknowledge the contributions
to this study made by Tim Frankenberger of the FSR/E Network
Steering Committee; A.I.D. officials, including Joan Atherton,
Roberto Castro, Ron Grosz, Cal Martin, Wendell Morse, Ken Pruss-
ner, Emmy Simmons, Gloria Steele, Dennis Weller, Marcus Winter,
and Michael Yates; Center for Development Information and Evalua-
tion colleagues, particularly Siew Tuan Chew, Joe Lieberson,
Annette Binnendijk, Paula Goddard, Haven North, and Barbara
Martin; Francis C. Byrnes of Winrock International; and Profes-
sional Management Associates, Inc., editors Patricia Rogers and
Farah Ebrahimi.








-viii-


SUMMARY


Farming systems research and extension (FSR/E) projects
funded by the Agency for International Development (A.I.D.) have
had a mixed impact on technology development and transfer and on
institutionalization of the farming systems approach. These
projects have provided research and extension personnel with
opportunities for training and field experience in FSR/E, but the
concept has yet to be effectively incorporated into technology
development and transfer systems to an extent that would permit
it to begin to achieve the impact on agricultural production that
has been assumed in project designs. Key constraints to FSR/E
project implementation and impact have included the lack of the
following: a problem-solving approach, effective collaboration
across disciplines, links of research with extension, consensus
on methodology for FSR/E, stakeholder understanding of FSR/E,
agricultural policy and strategy defining FSR/E's role in re-
search and extension, staffing of projects with trained person-
nel, and government funding to meet recurrent costs. The FSR/E
concept often has not been well understood by project imple-
menters or A.I.D. management, but agricultural projects that seek
to strengthen technology development and transfer can benefit by
using the concept more effectively. The lessons learned from
this Center for Development Information and Evaluation review can
serve to improve the design, implementation, and evaluation of
agricultural projects that have a technology development and
transfer component.


Background of the Problem


During the 1970s, the perception grew that the conventional
approach to agricultural research and extension did not work well
in most developing countries. Typically, commodity or discipline
research based at experiment stations followed a top-down tech-
nology development and transfer model. Scientists proceeded
without considering the actual problems that farmers faced.
Lacking knowledge and understanding of the management conditions
under which small farmers operate, many researchers erroneously
assumed that smallholder farming systems are static, that small
farmers reject technologies out of sheer ignorance or tradition-
alism, that small farmers seek to maximize yield and profit, and
that commodity-oriented research can generate broad-based tech-
nologies relevant to smallholder farming systems. As a result,
researchers developed "improved" technologies that farmers fre-
quently did not adopt.








-ix-


A.I.D.'s Assistance Approach


A.I.D. responded by committing project funds to FSR/E, a new
approach to agricultural research. Since 1975, more than 75
A.I.D. agricultural projects have included some form of FSR/E.
FSR/E projects use on-farm research and extension to test, adapt,
integrate, and disseminate new technologies for adoption by farm-
ers. Technology development is based on a knowledge of the whole
farming system, and technology evaluation takes into account
technical criteria (such as yield improvement) as well as the
farm family's socioeconomic circumstances. Further, knowledge of
farming systems is used to help define on-station and on-farm
research agendas, with the expectation of generating produc-
tivity- and income-increasing technologies more acceptable to
smallholder farmers.

Viewing the farm as a system, FSR/E practitioners focus on
farm family attributes--goals, preferences, skills, resources
(such as labor), production activities, and management practices;
interdependencies among system components that family members
control; and interactions of these components with physical,
biological, and socioeconomic factors not under the farmers'
control.


FSR/E's Core Characteristics


FSR/E entails the blending and sequencing of nine core
characteristics:

1. FSR/E is farmer oriented. FSR/E targets small-farm
families as the client group for research, identifies technology
relevant to this group's management conditions, proposes tech-
nological solutions, and adapts technologies to local circum-
stances and needs.

2. FSR/E involves the client group as participants in the
research and extension process. FSR/E practitioners work with
client group members to design, implement, and evaluate research
and extension activities.

3. FSR/E recognizes the locational specificity of techni-
cal and human factors. FSR/E practitioners identify client
groups of farmers that are relatively homogeneous in terms of
agroclimatic, socioeconomic, and other factors.











4. FSR/E is a problem-solving approach. FSR/E practi-
tioners identify the constraints to increased farm productivity
and income. Their primary concern is to help farmers solve
problems.

5. FSR/E is systems oriented. FSR/E views the total farm
as a system of natural and human components. It evaluates both
the potential for introducing improved technology in one or more
production subsystems and the impact of this technology on the
farming system as a whole.

6. FSR/E is interdisciplinary. Collaboration among agri-
cultural and social scientists facilitates identification of the
conditions under which small farmers operate; diagnosis of con-
straints; and design, conduct, and evaluation of research and
extension activities aimed at developing and introducing improved
technologies suitable to the client group of farmers.

7. FSR/E complements, not replaces, conventional commodity
and discipline research. FSR/E adapts technologies and manage-
ment strategies from discipline and commodity research to the
farmers' agroclimatic environment and socioeconomic
circumstances.

8. FSR/E tests technologies in on-farm trials. On-farm
collaboration between farmers and FSR/E practitioners provides
each with a deeper understanding of the farming system and far-
mers' decision-making criteria and allows for development of
technology under farm-level environmental and management
conditions.

9. FSR/E provides feedback for shaping research priorities
and agricultural policies. FSR/E, a dynamic and iterative pro-
cess, provides information on farmers' goals, needs, and priori-
ties and their criteria for evaluating technologies, and feedback
on how new technologies perform under farm conditions.

If any of these core characteristics is missing from a tech-
nology development and transfer methodology, the methodology is
not FSR/E.


Impact


Assessing FSR/E project impact on technology development and
transfer is confounded by three factors:








-xi-


The relative contributions of conventional agricultural
research and FSR/E are not readily separable; they are
complementary.

Technology adoption depends on factors not under the
control of FSR/E teams, such as physical infrastruc-
ture, policy environment, and agricultural support
institutions (such as credit).

-Because FSR/E encompasses technological development and
institutional change, significant results may be
achievable only in a longer timeframe (such as 15 to 25
years).

Beyond these factors, expectations about how quickly or how
much FSR/E alone could increase the productivity of a country's
agriculture may have been unrealistic. For example, FSR/E proj-
ect Logical Frameworks often assumed goals and objectives for
farm-level impacts that could not be achieved within the typical
A.I.D. project timeframe. Some project designs erroneously as-
sumed that technologies were available for on-farm testing and
adaptation to a variable agroecological environment.

Although evaluations and case studies of 12 A.I.D.-funded
FSR/E projects provided insufficient data to assess direct bene-
ficiary impact (e.g., changes in farmer income), they indicated
some success in training development personnel in FSR/E and pro-
viding them with practical opportunities to gain field experi-
ence. Participation in FSR/E not only changed researchers'
attitudes about small farmers as the clients of research but also
influenced how researchers defined research problems, set re-
search priorities, and carried out problem-oriented research on
farms. Such changes have increased the likelihood that research
and extension will focus on problems that are relevant to
farmers.

Despite these indications of success, most FSR/E projects
did not have as much of an impact on technology development and
transfer or institutionalization of FSR/E as had been assumed in
their designs (Logical Frameworks). Life-of-project funding is
for 5 years or less, but the total time needed to institution-
alize FSR/E is probably 15 to 25 years, or even more.


Findings


The gap between actual and expected impact was caused not
by any shortcoming in the FSR/E concept per se but rather by the








-xii-


failure of FSR/E projects to address core, operational, and gene-
ric constraints to implementing the concept.

Core Constraints. During the early years of FSR/E proj-
ects, the "farming systems" concept was neither well defined nor
widely understood. FSR/E project implementers, trained in con-
ventional disciplines, were not well versed in the farming sys-
tems concept, lacked field experience with it, and were not
accustomed to the interdisciplinary approach to solving agricul-
tural problems that were of concern to farmers.

There were few bona fide FSR/E practitioners; within A.I.D.,
very few people understood the core characteristics required for
technically sound FSR/E. As a result of confusion and uncer-
tainty about what FSR/E is, should be, or could be, many so-
called FSR/E projects were not doing FSR/E. The most frequent
core constraints, appearing in at least 7 of the 12 projects,
were lack of a problem-solving orientation and lack of an inter-
disciplinary approach.

Operational Constraints. FSR/E projects often did not
address operational constraints to implementation. At least 7 of
the 12 projects suffered from problems in this area. A major
constraint was the lack of consensus among technical assistance,
counterpart, and A.I.D. personnel on how to implement FSR/E.
Problems also arose in settings where agricultural policy and
strategy did not define FSR/E's role relative to research and
extension and where FSR/E was perceived as competing for scarce
resources. FSR/E also was hampered by failures to ensure that
key stakeholders (such as managers of research and extension)
understood its benefits and requirements, that FSR/E practi-
tioners could analyze and interpret the data collected, and that
extension was effectively linked with research as a source of
technology. In short, A.I.D. introduced FSR/E without realizing
that FSR/E projects could not make an impact unless they could
fulfill a broader set of conditions than those implied by the
core characteristics alone.

Generic Constraints. A generic constraint is a problem that
can arise in any A.I.D.-funded project, regardless of the proj-
ect's technical focus. The two most frequent generic con-
straints, appearing in at least 7 of the 12 FSR/E projects, were
lack of trained personnel and lack of government funding to meet
recurrent costs (such as fuel for project vehicles). Other areas
in which problems were encountered included project management
structure, management of training, and management of technical
assistance. Technical assistance problems included delays in the
arrival of personnel, turnover of personnel, lack of experience








-xiii-


in FSR/E, and allocation of technical assistance time to project
administration rather than to FSR/E.

The box below summarizes the constraints most frequently
found in the 12 FSR/E projects reviewed and shows how many proj-
ects suffered from these constraints.
I;


Lessons Learned


This review of A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects suggests the
following as key lessons learned. Many of these lessons learned
are reinforced by similar conclusions that emerged from a recent
"results inventory" of FSR/E projects funded by A.I.D.'s Bureau
for Science and Technology, Office of Agriculture.


Constraints Most Frequently Found in 12 FSR/E Projects


Core Constraints

-- Problem-solving approach (9 projects)
Interdisciplinary approach (7 projects)

Operational Constraints

-- Links with extension (9 projects)
-- Consensus on FSR/E methodology (8 projects)
-- Stakeholder understanding of FSR/E (7 projects)
-- Research policy/strategy defining FSR/E's role
(7 projects)

Generic Constraints

Staffing with trained personnel (10 projects)
Government funding to meet recurrent costs
(9 projects)
Management of technical assistance (7 projects)








-xiv-


The Farmer in FSR/E. In FSR/E, farmers play a central role
in technology development and transfer. They are active
collaborators, not just passive observers or receivers. Yet
FSR/E practitioners often have had difficulty implementing this
concept because highly centralized and vertically structured
research and extension systems are geared to respond to top-down
lines of authority rather than to needs and priorities identified
by farmers.

Farming in FSR/E. FSR/E projects have tended to focus on
the food crops raised by subsistence farmers, paying little
attention to the other commodities that these farmers produce for
sale. Several evaluations raised the issue of whether FSR/E
should place greater emphasis on cash crop technologies to help
farmers produce and market crops or animals of higher value.

Systems in FSR/E. FSR/E practitioners often have not gone
beyond paying lip service to the concept of the farm family
household as a system of natural and human components that must
be understood if FSR/E is to influence agricultural income. Some
FSR/E practitioners spent so much time studying the farm as a
"system" that they never got around to testing potential technol-
ogies or institutional changes to overcome constraints. Others
focused on a single prop (e.g., maize) but failed to examine the
crop's interrelationships with other system components (such as
livestock).

Research mandates have caused FSR/E practitioners to focus
on improving production technology (primarily for crops) as the
end rather than a means to an end. Not building increased farm
family income into the design of FSR/E increases the chances that
FSR/E will not focus on the farm and farm family as a system,
with the result that the systems concept, FSR/E's guiding ration-
ale, will be lost.

Research in FSR/E. Because FSR/E emphasizes research aimed
at developing technologies to relax production constraints, FSR/E
practitioners often have failed to address institutional con-
straints to adoption of the technologies being developed. Far-
mers frequently cannot adopt new technologies unless they also
have access to such agricultural support services as credit,
production inputs, and markets. Farming systems researchers,
particularly social scientists, need to give greater attention to
identifying means to remove or relax institutional constraints
that impede farmers' access to agricultural support services.

Extension in FSR/E. Each FSR/E project reviewed was located
in a research organization, thereby raising the problem of how
farming systems research would be linked with extension. Many








-XV-


FSR/E project managers and implementers viewed the "farming
systems approach" as a research strategy, not as a strategy to
integrate research and extension.

The Research/Extension Link in FSR/E. Although improved
agricultural technologies are rarely transferable directly from
research to extension, FSR/E teams can play an important role in
linking research and extension by working with farmers and exten-
sion agents to test and adapt technologies derived from research
and with researchers to provide feedback to establish research
priorities. However, adequate incentives must be provided if
research and extension are to be linked into a productive
partnership.

Methodology of FSR/E. A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects have
provided opportunities for field-level development, testing, and
adaptation of FSR/E methodologies. However, FSR/E's impact on
technology development and transfer will be negligible until
research and extension personnel work out a joint strategy to
institutionalize farming systems methodology in research and
extension programs.

Current Status of FSR/E in A.I.D. Many of FSR/E's core
characteristics (such as on-farm trials) are now almost routinely
designed into A.I.D.-funded agricultural projects. Further, an
A.I.D.-sponsored survey of A.I.D. Missions found that the
Missions place a high priority on training in FSR/E, institution-
alization of the farming systems approach, and technology trans-
fer. These trends indicate that FSR/E is playing a role in
Agency-funded projects aimed at strengthening agricultural
research and extension.

There Are No Panaceas. As A.I.D. turns its attention to
"new" problems (such as sustainability of natural resources), the
Agency should refrain from assuming there are "magic bullets"
that will quickly lead to agricultural development of smallholder
farmers in developing countries. Smallholder development objec-
tives will be best achieved by systematically addressing the
problems of agricultural research and extension on a sustained,
long-term basis.


Outstanding Issues


Three outstanding issues merit consideration: sustain-
ability of FSR/E, sustainability of natural resources, and
project orientation to FSR/E.








-xvi-


Sustainability of FSR/E. The FSR/E concept cannot be in-
stitutionalized unless recurrent costs can be met. However,
government research and extension budgets usually leave few re-
sources for carrying out on-farm activities (such as on-farm
trials). External support for FSR/E must provide incentives for
public and private funding of research and extension and must
ensure that host country research and extension organizations
develop a capability to assume FSR/E's recurrent costs.

Sustainability of Natural Resources. Those concerned with
"new" issues such as sustainability may fail to see the role that
FSR/E can play in natural resources, agroforestry, and agricul-
tural projects. If properly implemented, FSR/E could offer an
excellent vehicle for addressing the sustainability of the na-
tural resource base. The challenge will be to ensure that sus-
tainability initiatives involving FSR/E's core characteristics
are not undermined by the same core, operational, and generic
constraints that plagued past FSR/E projects.

Pro-ect Orientation to FSR/E. FSR/E would not be where it
-is today in many countries without the support that A.I.D. and
other donors provided FSR/E projects. However, implementation of
FSR/E has been hindered by the prevalent assistance mode, the
project, that provides support for only 3 to 5 years; indeed, the
limited impact of FSR/E projects reviewed was to a certain extent
predetermined by these projects' short lifespan. Success in
FSR/E, as in all research and institutional development, requires
a longer timeframe.

FSR/E is not a substitute for conventional research, but it
can accelerate the speed at which technologies are developed and
transferred. But this process is not aided by a short-term ori-
entation to agricultural research in general or FSR/E in partic-
ular. Support needs to be sustained over the long term (15 to 25
years).

The challenge for future A.I.D.-funded agricultural projects
is to address the constraints to FSR/E more effectively. A.I.D.
can strengthen the contribution of agricultural research and
extension to technology development and transfer by ensuring the
following:

-- That FSR/E's nine core characteristics are systema-
tically built into technology development and transfer
methodologies

That agricultural research and extension projects pro-
vide a means to remove or relax the operational con-
straints that can impede implementation of FSR/E








-xvii-


SThat project assistance to relax core and operational
constraints to FSR/E is not undermined by generic
constraints

The problems encountered in implementing the farming systems
concept did not result from any shortcomings in the concept
itself but rather from limited knowledge and understanding of the
requirements for implementing this concept. FSR/E, when properly
implemented, can strengthen the technology development and trans-
fer capability of agricultural research and extension systems.

The challenge is to integrate FSR/E into technology develop-
ment and transfer methods and not permit it to be undermined by
the same core, operational, and generic constraints that have
impeded FSR/E's implementation and institutionalization in devel-
oping country research and extension systems. FSR/E explicitly
recognizes the need for links among farmers, extension workers,
and researchers and defines the essential conditions (FSR/E's
core characteristics) for increasing the impact of donor, govern-
ment, and private investment in agricultural research and
extension.

However, such impact cannot be fully realized unless devel-
opment assistance also addresses the various operational con-
straints that can impede institutionalization of FSR/E. Achiev-
ing this goal requires a long-term commitment to institutionalize
technology development and transfer systems responsive to the
problems faced by smallholder farmers in the developing coun-
tries. If A.I.D. has the vision and the means, its continued
support for institutionalizing FSR/E can play a crucial role in
increasing the productivity and income-earning capability of
small farmer agriculture throughout the developing countries.








-xviii-


GLOSSARY


A.I.D. Agency for International Development

ARP Agricultural Research Project--Honduras, Malawi

ARPP Agricultural Research and Planning Project--Nepal,
Senegal

ATIP Agricultural Technology Improvement Project--
Botswana

CATIE Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Center


CDIE Center for Development Information and Evaluation,
A.I.D.

CIMMYT International Center for the Improvement of Maize
and Wheat

DAR Department of Agricultural Research, Botswana

DIA Department of Agricultural Research, Honduras

FPNI Food Productivity and Nutrition Improvement
project--Guatemala

FSA farming systems analysis

FSAR farming systems adaptive research

FSBDA farming systems baseline data analysis

FSCR farming system component research

FSDP Farming Systems Development Project--Philippines

FSIP farming systems approach to infrastructural
support and policy

FSR farming systems research

FSRAD farming systems research and agricultural
development

FSR/E farming systems research and extension








-xix-


FSRP

IARC

ICRISAT


IITA

MAWD


MFP


MRN

NFSD

OFCOR

PACD

ROCAP


SFPS

TD&T

T&V System

UNAT

ZAMARE


- Farming System Research Project--Lesotho, Tanzania

- International Agricultural Research Center

- International Crops Research Institute for the
Semi-Arid Tropics

- International Institute for Tropical Agriculture

- Ministry of Agricultural and Water Development,
Zambia

- Mixed Farming and Resources Management Project--
The Gambia

- Ministry of Natural Resources, Honduras

- new farming systems development

- on-farm client-oriented research

- Project Assistance Completion Date

- Regional Office for Central America and Panama,
A.I.D.

- Small Farm Production Systems project--ROCAP

- technology development and transfer

- Training and Visit System

- Central Unit for Technical Support

- Zambia Agricultural Research and Extension project







1. INTRODUCTION


1.1 Background


This report synthesizes the experience of the Agency for
International Development (A.I.D.) with farming systems research
and extension (FSR/E) projects it funded between the mid-1970s
and the mid-1980s. A.I.D. support for FSR/E has been provided
through four channels:

Centrally funded, non-earmarked support for the Interna-
tional Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs)--an
estimated 15 percent of IARC budgets supports farming
systems research programs (Anderson 1985, 225)

-Centrally funded Bureau for Science and Technology/
Office of Agriculture projects--for example, the
Collaborative Research Support projects, the Farming
Systems Research and Development Methodology project,
and the Farming Systems Support project

-A.I.D. regional bureau-funded projects--for example, the
Africa Bureau-funded Farming Systems Research project
conducted by the International Center for the Improve-
ment of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT)

-- Bilaterally funded projects--for example, the USAID/
Mali-funded Farming Systems Research and Extension
project

A.I.D. funding for the Farming Systems Support project ter-
minated December 31, 1987, thereby ending one of the mechanisms
through which the Agency had supported FSR/E over the years.
However, with USAID Missions continuing to fund new and ongoing
projects that have an FSR/E component, bilaterally funded
projects are the main avenue of current A.I.D. support for FSR/E.

The question arises whether the current direction and level
of support for bilaterally funded FSR/E projects are appropriate
relative to the Agency's mandate. Answering this question is
difficult because of the confusion about what FSR/E is, how FSR/E
differs from conventional approaches to agricultural research and
extension, when FSR/E is appropriate, how to implement FSR/E, and
whether and how to institutionalize FSR/E. As Merrill-Sands
(1986) observed,

ambiguity in terminology and conceptualization of
FSR...has become more acute as the range of activities
encompassed by the term FSR has broadened. If...lack
of clarity continues, confusion and misunderstanding







1. INTRODUCTION


1.1 Background


This report synthesizes the experience of the Agency for
International Development (A.I.D.) with farming systems research
and extension (FSR/E) projects it funded between the mid-1970s
and the mid-1980s. A.I.D. support for FSR/E has been provided
through four channels:

Centrally funded, non-earmarked support for the Interna-
tional Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs)--an
estimated 15 percent of IARC budgets supports farming
systems research programs (Anderson 1985, 225)

-Centrally funded Bureau for Science and Technology/
Office of Agriculture projects--for example, the
Collaborative Research Support projects, the Farming
Systems Research and Development Methodology project,
and the Farming Systems Support project

-A.I.D. regional bureau-funded projects--for example, the
Africa Bureau-funded Farming Systems Research project
conducted by the International Center for the Improve-
ment of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT)

-- Bilaterally funded projects--for example, the USAID/
Mali-funded Farming Systems Research and Extension
project

A.I.D. funding for the Farming Systems Support project ter-
minated December 31, 1987, thereby ending one of the mechanisms
through which the Agency had supported FSR/E over the years.
However, with USAID Missions continuing to fund new and ongoing
projects that have an FSR/E component, bilaterally funded
projects are the main avenue of current A.I.D. support for FSR/E.

The question arises whether the current direction and level
of support for bilaterally funded FSR/E projects are appropriate
relative to the Agency's mandate. Answering this question is
difficult because of the confusion about what FSR/E is, how FSR/E
differs from conventional approaches to agricultural research and
extension, when FSR/E is appropriate, how to implement FSR/E, and
whether and how to institutionalize FSR/E. As Merrill-Sands
(1986) observed,

ambiguity in terminology and conceptualization of
FSR...has become more acute as the range of activities
encompassed by the term FSR has broadened. If...lack
of clarity continues, confusion and misunderstanding







-2-


about the objectives, products and role of FSR are
likely to discredit research executed under the name of
FSR and jeopardize donor support. (P. 87)

A second difficulty in assessing A.I.D. involvement in FSR/E
is the lack of information on the following:

-- The factors that have influenced the relative success or
failure of donor-supported projects in implementing
FSR/E

-- The role that FSR/E has played in strengthening the
technology generation and transfer capacity of national
agricultural research and extension systems

-- The impact that FSR/E has had on rural income, food
consumption, and the natural resource base

Another consideration is the issue of what FSR/E can
reasonably be expected to accomplish within a given timeframe.
Expectations for FSR/E may have been unrealistic; there is also
the question of how much time should elapse before assessing
whether FSR/E has succeeded or failed and to what degree it has
done so.

Finally, where FSR/E projects have been less successful than
had been expected or desired, FSR/E could fall into disrepute in
the Agency, and assistance professionals could fail to recognize
even those elements of the FSR/E approach that are valuable and
that should continue to be incorporated into the design of future
development assistance projects in agriculture.

These various difficulties restrict the basis on which an
informed judgment can be made about the direction and level of
support for FSR/E that is appropriate to the Agency's mandate.
Yet the Agency has a vested interest in ensuring that experience
gained and lessons learned from FSR/E projects are available to
assist Agency personnel who are at a crossroads in terms of
having to make decisions about the nature and level of support
for FSR/E that will best contribute to agricultural development.


1.2 Objective


The objective of this review is to contribute to the ongoing
discussion within the Agency about FSR/E. Specifically, this
paper describes a range of factors or constraints that have in-
fluenced the performance of past and ongoing FSR/E projects.
This information, in turn, can be used to identify ways in which







-3-


the design, implementation, and evaluation of FSR/E projects (or
projects including elements of FSR/E) could be improved.


1.3 Methodology


The data for the study were collected through a review of
FSR/E literature, key informant interviews, and preparation of
case studies of 12 A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects, including
projects that, while not specifically called "Farming Systems
Research and Extension" projects, had a significant FSR/E com-
ponent. The case study for each project was based on a review of
the A.I.D.-sponsored evaluation documents for that project; the
13 case studies1 are available as individual A.I.D. Working
Papers. Appendix A provides a detailed description of the
study's methodology.

The 12 FSR/E projects reviewed were as follows:

Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement (ATIP) (633-0221)
The Gambia Mixed Farming and Resources Management (MFP)
(635-0203)
Lesotho Farming Systems Research (FSRP) (632-0065)
Malawi Agricultural Research (ARP) (612-0202)
Senegal Agricultural Research and Planning (ARPP) (685-0223)
Tanzania Farming Systems Research (FSRP) (621-0156)
Zambia Agricultural Research and Extension (ZAMARE) (611-0201)
Nepal Agricultural Research and Production (ARPP) (367-0149)
Philippines Farming Systems Development (FSDP) (492-0356)
Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutrition Improvement (FPNI)
(520-0232)
Honduras Agricultural Research (ARP) (522-0139)
ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems (SFPS) (596-0083)

Appendix E provides a project description sheet on each project,
and Appendix F summarizes A.I.D.'s funding of the projects.
These projects, each of which had a major FSR/E component,
accounted for more than $80 million of the funds spent by A.I.D.
on agricultural research and extension projects between 1975 and
1987.





'Case Study No. 13 is a series of vignettes drawn from the 12
case studies illustrating how various constraints operated as
brakes on technology development and transfer and on institution-
alization of FSR/E (see Section 3.2).







-4-


2. OVERVIEW OF FSR/E


Some have recommended that the term FSR [farming sys-
tems research] no longer be used....The term FSR may
have been used incorrectly or...fallen into disrepute
because of loose usage, but...it is too important a
concept to just abandon. What is important is to
recognize that agricultural research should be geared
to the needs of farmers, and that to do this will re-
quire that research be carried out within a farming
systems perspective. This does not mean that all
researchers will be FSR specialists, nor does it mean
that FSR research will be carried out within a special
FSR unit, but it does mean that...scientists will have
a means to focus their work on the problems that
farmers face. (Plucknett et al. 1986, 5)

While considerable discussion has surrounded the farming
systems concept over the past decade, a consensus on FSR/E is now
emerging. This section presents an overview of this consensus.


2.1 Origin of FSR/E


The origin of the FSR/E concept lies in pioneering "farming
systems" studies that were conducted following the Green Revolu-
tion era of the 1970s. FSR/E evolved over time

through trial-and-error field experience of an ini-
tially small group of researchers who developed a bet-
ter understanding of the constraints faced by small
farmers in the developing countries. Among the better
known developers and proponents of the approach were
[Michael] Collinson and [David] Norman in Africa;
[Peter] Hildebrand and [Robert D.] Hart in Latin
America; and [Richard] Bradfield, [Richard] Harwood,
and [Hubert] Zandstra in Asia....Apparently, there was
minimal communication among the researchers from dif-
ferent continents and--with the exception of Asia--
within continents in the early stages, so several re-
searchers developed similar conclusions and strategies
independently during roughly the same period. (Chapman
and Castro 1988, 3)

The farming systems approach gained momentum as the percep-
tion grew that mainstream agricultural research and extension
institutions were following a basically "top down" approach to
technology development that lacked understanding of the







-4-


2. OVERVIEW OF FSR/E


Some have recommended that the term FSR [farming sys-
tems research] no longer be used....The term FSR may
have been used incorrectly or...fallen into disrepute
because of loose usage, but...it is too important a
concept to just abandon. What is important is to
recognize that agricultural research should be geared
to the needs of farmers, and that to do this will re-
quire that research be carried out within a farming
systems perspective. This does not mean that all
researchers will be FSR specialists, nor does it mean
that FSR research will be carried out within a special
FSR unit, but it does mean that...scientists will have
a means to focus their work on the problems that
farmers face. (Plucknett et al. 1986, 5)

While considerable discussion has surrounded the farming
systems concept over the past decade, a consensus on FSR/E is now
emerging. This section presents an overview of this consensus.


2.1 Origin of FSR/E


The origin of the FSR/E concept lies in pioneering "farming
systems" studies that were conducted following the Green Revolu-
tion era of the 1970s. FSR/E evolved over time

through trial-and-error field experience of an ini-
tially small group of researchers who developed a bet-
ter understanding of the constraints faced by small
farmers in the developing countries. Among the better
known developers and proponents of the approach were
[Michael] Collinson and [David] Norman in Africa;
[Peter] Hildebrand and [Robert D.] Hart in Latin
America; and [Richard] Bradfield, [Richard] Harwood,
and [Hubert] Zandstra in Asia....Apparently, there was
minimal communication among the researchers from dif-
ferent continents and--with the exception of Asia--
within continents in the early stages, so several re-
searchers developed similar conclusions and strategies
independently during roughly the same period. (Chapman
and Castro 1988, 3)

The farming systems approach gained momentum as the percep-
tion grew that mainstream agricultural research and extension
institutions were following a basically "top down" approach to
technology development that lacked understanding of the







-5-

management conditions under which small farmers operate. As a
result, technology development was guided by a number of erro-
neous assumptions, as follows (adapted from Merrill-Sands 1986,
88-89):

-That smallholder farming systems in the tropics and sub-
tropics are static and primitive. We now recognize that
these are complex, dynamic systems that evolved in
response to particular agroclimatic, ecological, and
socioeconomic conditions.

-That small farmers reject technologies out of sheer
ignorance or traditionalism. We now recognize that
small farmers are rational decision-makers; but the
goals they pursue and the criteria they use for evalu-
ating technologies are often different from those agri-
cultural scientists use.

That small farmers seek to maximize yield and profit in
the production and sale of a crop. We now recognize
that small-farm households formulate management strate-
gies and make decisions within the context of the house-
hold's whole economic system, including cropping, live-
stock, and off-farm enterprises. It cannot be assumed
that the maximization of either yield or profit is the
appropriate criterion for assessing the potential util-
ity and acceptability of a new technology under the
conditions prevailing in smallholder farming systems.

That research programs can be effective in generating
broad-based technologies relevant to smallholder farming
systems. We now recognize that many broad-based tech-
nologies were inappropriate to the diverse physical and
socioeconomic conditions under which small farmers
operate. We further recognize that if broad-based tech-
nologies are to be transferred successfully to small
farmers, more adaptive research is necessary.

In short, all too frequently, research programs guided by the old
assumptions failed to provide farmers with any incentive to adopt
the so-called "improved" technologies, given the management con-
ditions under which they operated.

Responding to this situation, a growing number of farming
systems practitioners argued that development of improved tech-
nology for small farmers must be grounded in a knowledge of the
existing farming system and that technology must be evaluated not
only in terms of technical criteria but also in terms of the
socioeconomic circumstances of the farming system. FSR projects
initiated at various locations began to provide evidence that







-6-


multidisciplinary teams composed of natural and social scientists
could identify opportunities for appropriate technology change
among farmers.

Both the early work of farming systems pioneers and research
programs initiated by the IARCs played a formative role in the
origin and evolution of farming systems research. During the
late 1970s and early 1980s, the number of farming systems
projects increased rapidly. But, as Chapman and Castro (1988)
point out,

the supply of qualified technical assistance providers
could not keep up with the demand. There were few
well-trained professionals with real field experience
who were capable and available to provide the quantity
and quality of technical assistance necessary to estab-
lish and facilitate the integration of farming systems
research methodology into [developing country] research
and extension systems. Given the short supply of expe-
rienced practitioners, the quality of technical assis-
tance provided to projects has been variable at best.
Poor project implementation performance on a number of
projects has contributed to a downgrading of the ap-
proach in the eyes of many development professionals
and A.I.D. project managers.

Given the...events that...occurred, it became clear why
donor support for farming systems work has fallen off.
Initially, high expectations were stimulated because
farming systems appeared to be something new, it in-
volved potential changes which would benefit everybody
or at least hurt nobody, and it focused on directly
helping the poorer segments of the rural population.
At the same time, there was a general misconception
regarding the level of development of the state of the
art in farming systems implementation, as well as a
misunderstanding regarding the length of time required
to institutionalize the approach and begin to develop
technologies appropriate for adoption by limited
resource farmers. (pp. 4-5)

Thus, as Chapman and Castro (1988) conclude, it is inappro-
priate at this time

to pass judgement on the overall effectiveness of farm-
ing systems work..., since many of the projects are
ongoing and, indeed, some are just beginning. What
does seem clear is the realization that significant
progress in technology development and transfer re-
quires a longer time frame than is usually conceded in










a project-type framework. Thus, farming systems proj-
ects tend to be downgraded because tangible results in
terms of increased productivity and incomes may not be
evident two or even four years into the life of a proj-
ect. What farming systems does offer is a process that
is philosophically and logically appealing, but with no
guarantees of the end result--which often depends
largely upon factors beyond the control of farming sys-
tems practitioners. (P. 6)


2.2 Defining FSR/E and "Farming System"


Since the first work of the farming systems pioneers, the
FSR concept has continued to evolve with implementation and prac-
tical experience. One sign of this evolution was growing aware-
ness that crop-based approaches to FSR (e.g., rice-based cropping
systems research) risk neglecting important, interrelated com-
ponents (e.g., livestock) of a farming system. Another sign was
growing recognition that the agricultural productivity and re-
source use efficiency in a farming system should be measured in
terms of various limiting constraints on the system (such as
land, labor, and time).

Yet another sign of the continuing evolution of the FSR
concept was the broadening of the concept to include an explicit
link with extension. Farming systems research often was narrowly
defined as "an approach to research" and a "normal part of the
agricultural research process" (Plucknett 1987). While the farm-
ing systems approach is certainly not a new science or disci-
pline, it is certainly more than simply "an approach to re-
search" or a "normal part of the agricultural research process."
FSR practitioners have sought not only to conduct research on and
increase knowledge of farming systems but also to use this know-
ledge as a basis for bringing about productivity- and income-
increasing change in the farming systems studied. Viewed in this
light, FSR is an integral part of the overall agricultural inno-
vation and technology management process. For this process to be
effective, FSR must be linked not only with extension but also
with the full range of agricultural support institutions that
govern the speed with which improved technology is generated,
tested, evaluated, adapted, disseminated, adopted, and diffused
in an agricultural system.

While numerous terms and acronyms have been used to refer to
the farming systems approach, FSR/E is used here because it ex-
plicitly addresses the need for links among farmers, extension
workers, and researchers (Poats et al. 1986). Thus, FSR/E seeks,
through on-farm research and associated extension activities, to







-8-


test, adapt, integrate, and disseminate new technologies for
adoption by resource-poor farmers. A "farming system" itself may
be defined as follows:

A unique and reasonably stable arrangement of farming
enterprises that the household manages according to
well-defined practices in response to physical,
biological, and socioeconomic environments and in ac-
cordance with the household's goals, preferences, and
resources. These factors combine to influence the out-
put and production methods. More commonality is found
within the system than between systems. The farming
system is part of larger systems, e.g. the local com-
munity, and can be divided into subsystems, e.g. crop-
ping systems. (Shaner, Philipp, and Schmehl 1982a,
214)

In conducting research on a farm as a system, FSR/E focuses
on the following factors (adapted from Shaner, Philipp, and
Schmehl 1982a, 13):

-- The farm family's attributes (e.g., goals, preferences,
skills, access to resources, choice of productive activ-
ities, and management practices)

The interdependencies among system components that farm
family household members are able to control

-- The interaction of these components with the physical,
biological, and socioeconomic factors not under the
household's control

In scope, FSR/E tends to be more limited than integrated
rural development, which focuses on a broad set of development
problems. FSR/E focuses on a more narrowly defined problem--
developing improved agricultural technologies and disseminating
them for adoption by farmers. FSR/E also may be distinguished
from what has been called the farming systems approach to in-
frastructural support and policy (FSIP). Productivity may be,
improved not only by developing and disseminating relevant tech-
nology, as in FSR/E, but also by implementing appropriate policy
and support systems, as in FSIP. FSR/E is a strategy aimed at
developing and disseminating improved agricultural technologies
at the farm level; its principal product is technology and its
primary clients are limited-resource farmers. FSIP operates at a
more macro level than FSR/E and attempts to analyze and influence
policy and the progress of institutions that may affect small
farmers. The principal product of FSIP is information, and the
primary clients are policymakers and managers of services and
infrastructure (Hildebrand and Waugh 1983).








-9-


2.3 Goals of FSR/E


More than a decade ago, the Technical Advisory Committee to
the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
commissioned a review team to analyze the FSR programs at the
IARCs. In the view of the review team, the overall goal of farm-
ing systems research is "to contribute to the improvement of
human welfare through sustainable increased agricultural produc-
tivity" (Dillon, Plucknett, and Vallaeys 1978, 17). The specific
goals of FSR/E may be stated as follows (adapted from Dillon,
Plucknett, and Vallaeys 1978, 17; and Plucknett 1987):

To understand better the problems and needs of farmers,
especially farmers with small amounts of land or land
located in marginal environments

To improve the efficiency of the agricultural research
process by focusing research on the problems and needs
of farmers and by developing improved technology

To assess the interaction among technologies and between
technologies and the environment, thereby improving the
appropriateness and relevance of new technologies

To ensure that new technologies contribute to the long-
term maintenance and enhancement of agricultural produc-
tive capacity

To facilitate communication among farmers, researchers,
extension agents, and representatives of other agricul-
tural support institutions

To assist in the formulation of development policies and
methods that effectively address the problems of farmers


2.4 Objectives of FSR/E


The Technical Advisory Committee's review team proposed that
a well-structured FSR program should aim at meeting a number of
objectives that are also relevant to this paper's more broadly
defined concept of FSR/E. These objectives (adapted from Dillon,
Plucknett, and Vallaeys 1978; Plucknett 1987; and Plucknett,
Dillon, and Vallaeys 1986) are as follows:

-- To understand the physical (land and climate) and socio-
economic environment within which agricultural produc-
tion takes place








-9-


2.3 Goals of FSR/E


More than a decade ago, the Technical Advisory Committee to
the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
commissioned a review team to analyze the FSR programs at the
IARCs. In the view of the review team, the overall goal of farm-
ing systems research is "to contribute to the improvement of
human welfare through sustainable increased agricultural produc-
tivity" (Dillon, Plucknett, and Vallaeys 1978, 17). The specific
goals of FSR/E may be stated as follows (adapted from Dillon,
Plucknett, and Vallaeys 1978, 17; and Plucknett 1987):

To understand better the problems and needs of farmers,
especially farmers with small amounts of land or land
located in marginal environments

To improve the efficiency of the agricultural research
process by focusing research on the problems and needs
of farmers and by developing improved technology

To assess the interaction among technologies and between
technologies and the environment, thereby improving the
appropriateness and relevance of new technologies

To ensure that new technologies contribute to the long-
term maintenance and enhancement of agricultural produc-
tive capacity

To facilitate communication among farmers, researchers,
extension agents, and representatives of other agricul-
tural support institutions

To assist in the formulation of development policies and
methods that effectively address the problems of farmers


2.4 Objectives of FSR/E


The Technical Advisory Committee's review team proposed that
a well-structured FSR program should aim at meeting a number of
objectives that are also relevant to this paper's more broadly
defined concept of FSR/E. These objectives (adapted from Dillon,
Plucknett, and Vallaeys 1978; Plucknett 1987; and Plucknett,
Dillon, and Vallaeys 1986) are as follows:

-- To understand the physical (land and climate) and socio-
economic environment within which agricultural produc-
tion takes place







-10-


To identify and evaluate existing important farming
systems in specific physical and socioeconomic environ-
ments, and in particular, the practice and performance
of these systems; and to improve our understanding of
the farmer's skills, preferences, and aspirations

To improve problem identification (target areas, con-
straints, and so on) and opportunities for change in
existing farming systems and thereby to assist in focus-
ing research on key constraints that limit production
and farm income and their sustainability

To enhance the capacity of research organizations to
conduct research on priority farming systems problems
and to design improved production systems

To conduct research on potentially improved practices,
principles, system components, or subsystems, and to
evaluate them for possible testing on farms

-- To evaluate potentially improved systems, or system
components, on farms in major production areas under
normal farm conditions

To assist in extending, monitoring the adoption of, and
assessing the impact and benefits of improved farming
systems

These objectives imply an active FSR/E program, but it is not
likely that all would receive full or equal treatment in a given
FSR/E program.


2.5 Core Characteristics of FSR/E


FSR/E has nine core characteristics, each of which is a
necessary but not a sufficient condition for technically sound
FSR/E. These characteristics (adapted from Farrington and Martin
1987; Hildebrand 1985; Merrill-Sands 1985, 1986; and Wiese 1985)
are as follows:

1. FSR/E is farmer oriented. FSR/E practitioners target
small-farm families as the client group for agricultural re-
search. They identify the management conditions of this client
group, propose technological solutions relevant to these condi-
tions, and adapt technologies to local circumstances and needs.

2. FSR/E involves the client group as participants in the
research and extension process. FSR/E practitioners work with







-11-


client group members in designing, implementing, and evaluating
research and extension activities.

3. FSR/E recognizes the locational specificity of technical
and human factors. FSR/E practitioners identify "recommendation
domains," or groupings of farmers that are relatively homogeneous
in terms of agroclimatic, socioeconomic, and other factors. The
criteria used to classify farmers into a domain depend on the
practitioner's objectives. A practitioner working at an Interna-
tional Agricultural Research Center (IARC) may develop categories
of farms grouped largely according to agroclimatic criteria,
while a practitioner in a national agricultural research system,
working in a specific region, may categorize farms according to a
set of much more specific criteria such as product mix, presence
of draft power, and household socioeconomic status.

4. FSR/E is a problem-solving approach. Once relatively
homogeneous groups of farmers have been identified, an FSR/E
practitioner identifies the technical, biological, and socio-
economic constraints to improved farm productivity and farm
family income and then identifies technologies that may be effec-
tive in removing or relaxing the constraints and that are feas-
ible for the client group of farming households to adopt. Thus,
the primary concern of FSR/E is helping farmers to solve
problems.

5. FSR/E is systems oriented. Viewing the total farm as a
system of natural and human components, the FSR/E practitioner
focuses on specific subsystems to evaluate interactions among
those subsystems, the farm as a total system, and the environment
beyond the farm. FSR/E seeks to identify the potential for
introducing a change in the technology of a specific subsystem
and to evaluate the impact of such a change.

6. FSR/E is interdisciplinary. Collaboration among agri-
cultural and social scientists facilitates identification of the
conditions under which small farmers operate; diagnosis of con-
straints; and design, conduct, and evaluation of research and
extension activities aimed at developing and introducing improved
technologies suitable to the client group of farmers.

7. FSR/E complements, not replaces, conventional commodity
and discipline research. FSR/E draws on technologies and manage-
ment strategies generated by conventional discipline and com-
modity research and adapts this knowledge to the agroclimatic
environment and socioeconomic circumstances of a relatively homo-
geneous target group of farmers.

8. FSR/E tests technologies in on-farm trials. On-farm
collaboration between farmers and FSR/E practitioners provides







-12-


each with a deeper understanding of the farming system and the
farmer's decision-making criteria, and allows for potentially
improved technology to be evaluated under the environmental and
management conditions in which it will be used.

9. FSR/E provides feedback for shaping research priorities
and agricultural policies. FSR/E provides information on farm-
ers' goals, needs, priorities, and criteria for evaluating
technologies, and feedback on how new technologies perform under
farm-level conditions. Results of one season's trials generate
hypotheses for testing in the next. Further, trial results may
be used to set on-station research priorities and to formulate
regional- and national-level policy.

Each of the nine characteristics must be present for a tech-
nology development and transfer methodology to provide a techni-
cally sound approach to doing FSR/E. If one or more of the
characteristics is missing or weak, the methodology really does
not constitute technically sound FSR/E. For example, a method-
ology that emphasizes "technology testing in on-farm trials" can
easily fail to give adequate attention to the other core charac-
teristics of FSR/E. Thus, FSR/E practitioners need to be careful
not to neglect any of the core characteristics or overemphasize
one characteristic to the detriment of the others.


2.6 Stages of FSR/E


FSR/E entails five stages (adapted from Merrill-Sands 1986,
94-96; and Norman and Collinson 1985): (1) diagnosis or descrip-
tion, (2) design or planning, (3) testing or experimentation, (4)
extension or recommendation and dissemination, and (5) monitoring
and evaluation. In practice, boundaries between stages overlap
because of FSR/E's dynamic and iterative nature.


2.6.1 Diagnosis or Description


During the diagnosis stage, the farming systems of a region
are examined in relation to the total environment, the con-
straints farmers face, and the potential for change in the sys-
tems. Four steps are followed: (1) secondary sources for basic
data and descriptive information on the target region are re-
viewed, (2) recommendation domains or target groups of farmers
are identified, (3) an exploratory survey or reconnaissance of
the region is conducted, and (4) a formal verification survey is
conducted.







-12-


each with a deeper understanding of the farming system and the
farmer's decision-making criteria, and allows for potentially
improved technology to be evaluated under the environmental and
management conditions in which it will be used.

9. FSR/E provides feedback for shaping research priorities
and agricultural policies. FSR/E provides information on farm-
ers' goals, needs, priorities, and criteria for evaluating
technologies, and feedback on how new technologies perform under
farm-level conditions. Results of one season's trials generate
hypotheses for testing in the next. Further, trial results may
be used to set on-station research priorities and to formulate
regional- and national-level policy.

Each of the nine characteristics must be present for a tech-
nology development and transfer methodology to provide a techni-
cally sound approach to doing FSR/E. If one or more of the
characteristics is missing or weak, the methodology really does
not constitute technically sound FSR/E. For example, a method-
ology that emphasizes "technology testing in on-farm trials" can
easily fail to give adequate attention to the other core charac-
teristics of FSR/E. Thus, FSR/E practitioners need to be careful
not to neglect any of the core characteristics or overemphasize
one characteristic to the detriment of the others.


2.6 Stages of FSR/E


FSR/E entails five stages (adapted from Merrill-Sands 1986,
94-96; and Norman and Collinson 1985): (1) diagnosis or descrip-
tion, (2) design or planning, (3) testing or experimentation, (4)
extension or recommendation and dissemination, and (5) monitoring
and evaluation. In practice, boundaries between stages overlap
because of FSR/E's dynamic and iterative nature.


2.6.1 Diagnosis or Description


During the diagnosis stage, the farming systems of a region
are examined in relation to the total environment, the con-
straints farmers face, and the potential for change in the sys-
tems. Four steps are followed: (1) secondary sources for basic
data and descriptive information on the target region are re-
viewed, (2) recommendation domains or target groups of farmers
are identified, (3) an exploratory survey or reconnaissance of
the region is conducted, and (4) a formal verification survey is
conducted.







-13-


2.6.2 Design or Planning


During the design stage, potential strategies are formulated
to deal with the constraints identified in the descriptive or
diagnostic stage. Here the body of knowledge of past research
(e.g., experiment station trials) and farmers' knowledge play an
important role. Also important at this stage is to assess a
technology or practice with regard to its technical feasibility,
economic viability, and social acceptability for the target
region.


2.6.3 Testing or Experimentation


During the testing stage, technologies identified in the
design stage are tested under farm conditions to determine, as
Merrill-Sands (1986) describes,

the step-wise modifications...which...will allow farm-
ers to exploit the available biological resources more
efficiently, and which...are both feasible and attrac-
tive for farmers to adopt....0n-farm experiments test
the proposed technologies and adapt them to local con-
ditions. They...fine-tune the...technology to farmers'
needs and circumstances in a two to three year experi-
mental process. Early trials are usually managed by
researchers with farmers' cooperation. As the tech-
nology becomes more refined, it is tested and evaluated
in farmer-managed trials. (P. 95)

Farm family participation in on-farm trials is critical.
Farmers evaluate new technologies under their own management
conditions. These evaluations are channeled to the research
station to help scientists formulate more realistic and relevant
research priorities. Concurrently, FSR/E practitioners gain
knowledge and insight on the farming system, farmers' knowledge
of their environment, and farmers' management strategies and
resource allocation priorities and decisions.


2.6.4 Extension or Recommendation and Dissemination


During the extension stage, adapted technologies are dis-
seminated to other farmers within the recommendation domain.
Where extension personnel have been actively involved in the
earlier FSR/E stages, they will know how to use the technology,
for which farming systems the technology is relevant, how farmers







-13-


2.6.2 Design or Planning


During the design stage, potential strategies are formulated
to deal with the constraints identified in the descriptive or
diagnostic stage. Here the body of knowledge of past research
(e.g., experiment station trials) and farmers' knowledge play an
important role. Also important at this stage is to assess a
technology or practice with regard to its technical feasibility,
economic viability, and social acceptability for the target
region.


2.6.3 Testing or Experimentation


During the testing stage, technologies identified in the
design stage are tested under farm conditions to determine, as
Merrill-Sands (1986) describes,

the step-wise modifications...which...will allow farm-
ers to exploit the available biological resources more
efficiently, and which...are both feasible and attrac-
tive for farmers to adopt....0n-farm experiments test
the proposed technologies and adapt them to local con-
ditions. They...fine-tune the...technology to farmers'
needs and circumstances in a two to three year experi-
mental process. Early trials are usually managed by
researchers with farmers' cooperation. As the tech-
nology becomes more refined, it is tested and evaluated
in farmer-managed trials. (P. 95)

Farm family participation in on-farm trials is critical.
Farmers evaluate new technologies under their own management
conditions. These evaluations are channeled to the research
station to help scientists formulate more realistic and relevant
research priorities. Concurrently, FSR/E practitioners gain
knowledge and insight on the farming system, farmers' knowledge
of their environment, and farmers' management strategies and
resource allocation priorities and decisions.


2.6.4 Extension or Recommendation and Dissemination


During the extension stage, adapted technologies are dis-
seminated to other farmers within the recommendation domain.
Where extension personnel have been actively involved in the
earlier FSR/E stages, they will know how to use the technology,
for which farming systems the technology is relevant, how farmers







-13-


2.6.2 Design or Planning


During the design stage, potential strategies are formulated
to deal with the constraints identified in the descriptive or
diagnostic stage. Here the body of knowledge of past research
(e.g., experiment station trials) and farmers' knowledge play an
important role. Also important at this stage is to assess a
technology or practice with regard to its technical feasibility,
economic viability, and social acceptability for the target
region.


2.6.3 Testing or Experimentation


During the testing stage, technologies identified in the
design stage are tested under farm conditions to determine, as
Merrill-Sands (1986) describes,

the step-wise modifications...which...will allow farm-
ers to exploit the available biological resources more
efficiently, and which...are both feasible and attrac-
tive for farmers to adopt....0n-farm experiments test
the proposed technologies and adapt them to local con-
ditions. They...fine-tune the...technology to farmers'
needs and circumstances in a two to three year experi-
mental process. Early trials are usually managed by
researchers with farmers' cooperation. As the tech-
nology becomes more refined, it is tested and evaluated
in farmer-managed trials. (P. 95)

Farm family participation in on-farm trials is critical.
Farmers evaluate new technologies under their own management
conditions. These evaluations are channeled to the research
station to help scientists formulate more realistic and relevant
research priorities. Concurrently, FSR/E practitioners gain
knowledge and insight on the farming system, farmers' knowledge
of their environment, and farmers' management strategies and
resource allocation priorities and decisions.


2.6.4 Extension or Recommendation and Dissemination


During the extension stage, adapted technologies are dis-
seminated to other farmers within the recommendation domain.
Where extension personnel have been actively involved in the
earlier FSR/E stages, they will know how to use the technology,
for which farming systems the technology is relevant, how farmers







-14-


respond to the technology, and how to introduce the technology to
farmers most effectively.


2.6.5 Monitoring and Evaluation


During the evaluation stage, which continues throughout the
FSR/E process, the pattern of farmer adoption of technology is
monitored as a check on the technology's relevance and utility.
The FSR/E practitioner obtains data on the technology's impact
(e.g., impact on the pattern of demand for labor at the house-
hold, community, and regional levels). This information is used
to help set priorities for future agricultural research as well
as for agricultural policy and other agricultural support in-
stitutions serving small farmers.


2.7 Are FSR/E and Adaptive Research Equivalent?


A question is often raised about whether FSR/E is equivalent
to adaptive research. Michael Yates, formerly of CIMMYT's Farm-
ing Systems Program in Haiti, notes in a personal communication
that the two may be considered the same if FSR/E is defined
essentially as the process of screening station-developed tech-
nologies in farmer fields and providing feedback to help station
researchers modify those technologies to make them more appro-
priate. FSR/E can do this, but, says Yates, "this is still a
very top-down approach, and in that sense is exactly what FSR/E
is not supposed to be." In Yates's view, FSR/E "develops (not
simply tests) technologies in farmers' fields, working alongside
farmers." Technologies developed by an FSR/E program can be very
different from shelf technologies developed at a research experi-
ment station. As Yates points out, an FSR/E program that used,
as its principal point of departure, "shelf technologies, devel-
oped under classically unrepresentative conditions and often
addressing problems of low farmer priority, would...be running a
very high risk of failure."

However, the temptation to go to the shelf is strong, espe-
cially where FSR/E practitioners began their careers as tradi-
tional experiment station researchers. They may see a new and
funded activity such as FSR/E as a great way to get those tech-
nologies off the shelf and into the farmer's field and thus to
demonstrate a return for the investments made in existing re-
search stations. But, as Yates asks, who needs FSR/E if shelf
technologies are basically sound, in need of only minor modifica-
tion? Why not put the emphasis instead on improving links be-
tween traditional research and extension? Yates answers that,







-14-


respond to the technology, and how to introduce the technology to
farmers most effectively.


2.6.5 Monitoring and Evaluation


During the evaluation stage, which continues throughout the
FSR/E process, the pattern of farmer adoption of technology is
monitored as a check on the technology's relevance and utility.
The FSR/E practitioner obtains data on the technology's impact
(e.g., impact on the pattern of demand for labor at the house-
hold, community, and regional levels). This information is used
to help set priorities for future agricultural research as well
as for agricultural policy and other agricultural support in-
stitutions serving small farmers.


2.7 Are FSR/E and Adaptive Research Equivalent?


A question is often raised about whether FSR/E is equivalent
to adaptive research. Michael Yates, formerly of CIMMYT's Farm-
ing Systems Program in Haiti, notes in a personal communication
that the two may be considered the same if FSR/E is defined
essentially as the process of screening station-developed tech-
nologies in farmer fields and providing feedback to help station
researchers modify those technologies to make them more appro-
priate. FSR/E can do this, but, says Yates, "this is still a
very top-down approach, and in that sense is exactly what FSR/E
is not supposed to be." In Yates's view, FSR/E "develops (not
simply tests) technologies in farmers' fields, working alongside
farmers." Technologies developed by an FSR/E program can be very
different from shelf technologies developed at a research experi-
ment station. As Yates points out, an FSR/E program that used,
as its principal point of departure, "shelf technologies, devel-
oped under classically unrepresentative conditions and often
addressing problems of low farmer priority, would...be running a
very high risk of failure."

However, the temptation to go to the shelf is strong, espe-
cially where FSR/E practitioners began their careers as tradi-
tional experiment station researchers. They may see a new and
funded activity such as FSR/E as a great way to get those tech-
nologies off the shelf and into the farmer's field and thus to
demonstrate a return for the investments made in existing re-
search stations. But, as Yates asks, who needs FSR/E if shelf
technologies are basically sound, in need of only minor modifica-
tion? Why not put the emphasis instead on improving links be-
tween traditional research and extension? Yates answers that,







-15-


while FSR/E practitioners should play a role in adapting station
technologies, the ideal is to have them adapt station technol-
ogies that have been developed with input from FSR/E from the
beginning, since the latter technologies are likely to be more
appropriate and more quickly adopted by farmers.

Yates's observations help to clarify FSR/E's role with re-
spect to the capability of commodity-oriented research to gener-
ate broad-based technologies relevant to smallholder farming
systems. As he notes (personal communication),

one could argue that [commodity-oriented research] can
play a key role in the success of FSR/E, if done prop-
erlv (i.e., taking into account critical interactions
between the target commodity and the broader farming
system) ....Concentrating on the key crop in a farming
system can give FSR the focus it needs, and increases
probabilities of seeing some adoption in the near term
--which, in turn, greatly enhances chances of develop-
ing "stakeholder" understanding and support for FSR,
including institutionalization....The key point is that
a crop focus can be an'excellent way to focus scarce
research resources onto a manageable problem, and help
integrate the FSR activity into the broader research
program.

Thus, FSR/E is not a substitute for conventional agricul-
tural research and extension, nor is it adaptive research in the
sense of simply carrying out on-farm testing of technologies that
were developed at an experiment station. On the one hand, FSR/E
can develop information about problems that are relevant to
farmers and help conventional research to set research priorities
that are more in tune with the technological and institutional
requirements for increasing farm productivity and farmer income.
This involvement enhances the likelihood that conventional
research will develop technologies relevant to farm-level prob-
lems and constraints. On the other hand, knowing farm-level
problems and constraints, FSR/E practitioners are in a position
to look for shelf technologies that may be effective in relaxing
the identified constraints but that still need to be evaluated
through on-farm testing. This involvement enhances the like-
lihood that appropriate technologies will be available for con-
ventional extension services to transfer to farmers.

Other aspects of FSR/E--types of FSR/E and emerging trends
in FSR/E--are discussed in Appendixes B and C, respectively.








-16-


3. SUMMARY OF FSR/E PROJECT EXPERIENCE


3.1 Impact of FSR/E Prolects


The confusion that has surrounded the FSR/E concept over the
years has not made the task of assessing FSR/E's impact and bene-
fits any easier. Yet FSR/E personnel, as Anderson (1985) notes,

if they indeed [practice] what they preach, are never
far from assessing their impact. Whether it is in the
early diagnostic phase of identifying problems, later
stages of testing changes, or endloop stages of measur-
ing the exploitation of modified farming techniques,
the close association with the human elements of [farm-
ing systems] provides, in principle, a continuous har-
vest of impact information. (P. 226)

Ideally, impact and benefit assessment of FSR/E takes into
account the extent to which FSR/E has developed farming systems
that enable farmers more effectively to achieve their goals as
well as broader social goals defined in terms of such criteria as
sustainability and effects on landless laborers. But a number of
conceptual and data problems are involved in properly assessing
the impact of FSR/E in these two areas. Anderson (1985) con-
cluded that several problems make either ex post or ex ante
assessment difficult, if not impossible. Assessment of FSR/E
impact and benefits, he concluded, is only possible in terms of
(1) simple criteria such as the speed and extent of adoption of
recommended changes by farmers and (2) intuitive assessments of
social desirability, guided where possible by empirical data on
such effects as extent of soil loss, employment levels, and so
on.

Assessment of FSR/E impact and benefits should also take
into account the extent to which the farming systems concept has
been institutionalized in agricultural research and extension
systems. This factor plays an important role in determining how
quickly innovations in biotechnology can be transformed into
agricultural technology adapted to farming systems. Baker and
Norman (1988, 12) point out several problems that are involved in
assessing the impact of FSR/E on technology development and
transfer:

-- The relative contributions of conventional agricultural
research and FSR/E are not readily separable--they are
complementary.








-16-


3. SUMMARY OF FSR/E PROJECT EXPERIENCE


3.1 Impact of FSR/E Prolects


The confusion that has surrounded the FSR/E concept over the
years has not made the task of assessing FSR/E's impact and bene-
fits any easier. Yet FSR/E personnel, as Anderson (1985) notes,

if they indeed [practice] what they preach, are never
far from assessing their impact. Whether it is in the
early diagnostic phase of identifying problems, later
stages of testing changes, or endloop stages of measur-
ing the exploitation of modified farming techniques,
the close association with the human elements of [farm-
ing systems] provides, in principle, a continuous har-
vest of impact information. (P. 226)

Ideally, impact and benefit assessment of FSR/E takes into
account the extent to which FSR/E has developed farming systems
that enable farmers more effectively to achieve their goals as
well as broader social goals defined in terms of such criteria as
sustainability and effects on landless laborers. But a number of
conceptual and data problems are involved in properly assessing
the impact of FSR/E in these two areas. Anderson (1985) con-
cluded that several problems make either ex post or ex ante
assessment difficult, if not impossible. Assessment of FSR/E
impact and benefits, he concluded, is only possible in terms of
(1) simple criteria such as the speed and extent of adoption of
recommended changes by farmers and (2) intuitive assessments of
social desirability, guided where possible by empirical data on
such effects as extent of soil loss, employment levels, and so
on.

Assessment of FSR/E impact and benefits should also take
into account the extent to which the farming systems concept has
been institutionalized in agricultural research and extension
systems. This factor plays an important role in determining how
quickly innovations in biotechnology can be transformed into
agricultural technology adapted to farming systems. Baker and
Norman (1988, 12) point out several problems that are involved in
assessing the impact of FSR/E on technology development and
transfer:

-- The relative contributions of conventional agricultural
research and FSR/E are not readily separable--they are
complementary.








-17-


-- Adoption depends on numerous factors not under the con-
trol of FSR/E teams--infrastructure, policies, agricul-
tural support institutions (credit, inputs, markets).2

Because FSR/E encompasses technological development and
institutional change, significant results may only be
achievable in a longer timeframe (e.g., 10-25 years).3

Beyond these factors, there may have been unrealistic expec-
tations about how quickly or how much FSR/E alone could increase
a country's agricultural productivity. FSR/E project Logical
Frameworks often assumed unrealistic goals and objectives for
farm-level impact that could not be achieved within the typical
A.I.D. project timeframe. Some project designs erroneously
assumed that technologies were available for on-farm testing and
adaptation to a variable agroecological environment (Baker and
Norman 1988, 28).

The problem of unrealistic expectations is particularly
acute in marginal areas, to which FSR/E teams often have been
assigned. Research payoffs under such conditions take con-
siderable time to develop and, in the short run, are limited.
Fewer successful interventions are available for harsh agro-
ecological zones than for favorable environments; and even mar-
ginal improvement may require substantial modifications of
existing farming systems. While it is not reasonable to assume
that viable results can be achieved in the same timeframe for
both types of environment, unfair comparisons may have reinforced
the impression that FSR/E did not live up to expectations. A
"tendency to ask FSR teams to do more than they should, rather
than only investing in FSR when the conditions were appropriate,



21f FSR/E is based on a good understanding of present farmer
circumstances, some would argue that this factor would account
for lack of adoption only in limited circumstances. "If credit,
production inputs and markets are key constraints, then the FSR
team should have been focused on developing technologies that
would be less sensitive to those constraints" (Michael Yates,
personal communication).

3Some would argue that this depends on one's definition of re-
sults. One observer noted: "Improved technologies can often be
developed in 3-5 years, if the FSR program has a clear focus and
is allowed to concentrate on the key components of the farming
system. But the French have a saying which basically translates
into 'He who tries to pick up too much, drops everything.' And
that, I think, explains many of the disappointing results with
FSR/E as carried out" (Michael Yates, personal communication).







-18-


has substantially contributed to the impression that the [farming
systems] approach has not lived up to expectations" (Baker and
Norman 1988, 28).

What should have been clear from the start is that FSR/E
cannot by itself be expected to make a major impact. Because of
the nature of the activity's research component, progress re-
quires time and coordination with other agricultural support
institutions. Thus, donors will need to take a long-term view
and set more realistic objectives.

The evaluations of the 12 FSR/E projects reviewed did not
provide sufficient data to assess project impact on the ultimate
goals of raising farm productivity and farmer income during the
life of a project, or to assess the likely impact of a project
beyond its termination date. However, the evaluations did pro-
vide evidence that the A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects reviewed had
contributed to technology development and transfer and to insti-
tutionalization of FSR/E in the countries in which these projects
were implemented. Generally, the evaluations indicated that
A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects achieved mixed impacts.

On the positive side, that FSR/E contributed to technology
development and transfer is illustrated by farmers' adoption of
Kito maize in Tanzania. In terms of institutionalizing FSR/E,
significant progress was evident in several projects--for ex-
ample, the Food Productivity and Nutritional Improvement project
in Guatemala and the Agricultural Research and Extension project
in Zambia. More generally, FSR/E projects provided opportunities
for developing country professionals to acquire training as well
as practical field experience in FSR/E. Participation in FSR/E
projects not only changed the attitudes of researchers about
small farmers as the clients of agricultural research but also
influenced the way in which agricultural researchers defined
research problems, set research priorities, and carried out
problem-oriented research at the farm level. In the long run,
such changes likely will have a much greater impact on institu-
tionalizing FSR/E than will some of the original project design
objectives (e.g., establishing a farming systems research unit
within a research organization).




'Readers interested in guidelines for evaluating FSR/E projects
may refer to Farming Systems Support Project (1986); Lichte
(1987); Ranaweera and Gonzaga (1988); and Zimet, French, and
Andrew (1988).







-19-


On the negative side, technology development and transfer in
A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects and institutionalization of the
farming systems approach in research and extension systems pro-
ceeded at a much slower pace than had been envisioned in project
designs. At least half of the 12 FSR/E projects reviewed (see
vignettes in Appendix D) experienced significant delays in these
areas. Further, given this limited impact, one would not expect
higher level impacts--that is, on farm productivity and farmer
income.

This finding is significant, given the expectations that
FSR/E could dramatically accelerate technology development and
transfer in agroclimatic and socioeconomic environments that were
less favorable than those where farmers rapidly adopted Green
Revolution technologies. Indeed, FSR/E projects typically
encountered pressure to establish credibility in the face of
expectations of quick results. For example, the second Lesotho
project evaluation recommended that the technical assistance team
should identify and disseminate "a few proven technologies as
soon as possible to give the farming systems approach more credi-
bility" (Martin et al. 1981, 58-59). In the Botswana project,
the problem of quickly establishing credibility also was
recognized:

Poor credibility can be partially attributed to the
difficulty of achieving quick...results in the harsh
unstable climate of the country. Lack of credibility
has limited the support for institutionalization in
the...Ministry. (Cited in A.I.D. 1986, Appendix J,
J-2)

Indeed, as this Botswana project evaluation noted, "pressures
from donor agencies and government officials for 'quick results,'
whether real or imagined, result in frustrations for [farming
systems] teams" (A.I.D. 1986, Appendix J, J-2). Such considera-
tions led the first evaluation of the Botswana project to proffer
the following:

There is...a general concern about the relevance of FSR
evaluations. FSR projects...are part of overall pro-
grams, or strategies, for modifying agricultural re-
search paradigms. Such modifications themselves are
long-term in nature. Results-.-tangible results--from
such paradigm shifts are even longer term. (Francis et
al. 1984, 12)








-20-


The A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects reviewed, like most A.I.D.-
funded projects, were authorized for 5 years or less.5 However,
as was noted in the evaluation of one FSR/E project, it is
"extremely awkward to evaluate a project, or research strategy,
which everyone implicitly acknowledges to be 10-20 years in
length, in an explicit 5-year timeframe" (Francis et al. 1984,
12). Most FSR/E projects, with a life-of-project funding of 5
years or less, should not have been expected to achieve the
impact on technology development and transfer or institutional-
ization of FSR/E that was assumed in the project designs.

Further, the FSR/E projects reviewed were still being imple-
mented at the time that they were evaluated. If significant
results may only be achievable in a longer timeframe (15 to 25
years), then the typical 3- to 5-year timeframe of the projects
reviewed was not long enough for improved technologies to be
developed and transferred to small farmers on any significant
scale. While an FSR/E project may have begun to make an impact
on technology development and transfer, this impact may not begin
to be significant until some time after a project has been evalu-
ated or even some point long after the project has ended. In-
deed, recent field studies have found that the positive impact of
FSR/E projects on technology development and transfer and insti-
tutionalization of FSR/E has been much greater in the long run
than was evident when the projects reviewed were evaluated (see
Butler Flora, 1988; Frankenberger et al. 1988, 1989; and Merrill-
Sands 1988).


3.2 Constraints to FSR/E Project Impact


The picture that emerged from the FSR/E projects reviewed,
projects that were failing to live up to the early expectations
held for them, prompts one to ask why these projects were not
more successful. Was it a failure of the FSR/E concept per se or
a failure in designing and implementing FSR/E projects? Stated
somewhat differently, what factors or constraints kept A.I.D.-
funded FSR/E projects from having a greater impact on technology
development and transfer and on institutionalization of FSR/E?

Analysis of case studies of 12 A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects
indicated that implementation and impact were impeded by a series
of constraints that could be classified in three categories:


SA.I.D. Handbook policy permits project designs up to 10 years.







-21-


core, operational, and generic (see Appendix E).6 It was decided
that a threshold of 7 projects (more than half of the 12 projects
reviewed) evidencing the presence of a specific constraint would
signal a significant problem. It is important to point out that
projects that had problems in one constraint were not necessarily
the same projects that had problems in another constraint.

Core Constraints. A core constraint is present when a proj-
ect's concept of and approach to FSR/E lacks or is weak in one or
more of FSR/E's nine core characteristics, as follows:

1. Farmer orientation
2. Farmer participation
3. Locational specificity of technical and human factors
4. Problem-solving approach
5. Systems orientation
6. Interdisciplinary approach
7. Complementarity with commodity and discipline research
8. Technology testing in on-farm trials
9. Feedback to shape agricultural research priorities and
agricultural policies

As Table 1 shows, in at least 7 of the 12 FSR/E projects
reviewed, the approach to FSR/E was weak or lacking in two core
characteristics--problem-solving approach or interdisciplinary
approach. Two other core constraints--lack of feedback to shape
agricultural research priorities and policy and lack of loca-
tional specificity of technical and human factors--appeared in at
least five projects.

During the early years of FSR/E projects, there was con-
fusion and uncertainty about what FSR/E is, should be, or could
be. As a result, many projects were not doing FSR/E because
their approaches lacked or were weak in FSR/E's core characteris-
tics. For example, some project designers thought that doing on-
farm trials was synonymous with doing FSR/E, failing to recognize
that FSR/E's other core characteristics also need to be present
for sound FSR/E to occur.









6Readers interested in the empirical data on which this finding
is based may refer to the 12 individual FSR/E case studies,
available as CDIE Working Paper No. 112.








-22-


Table 1. Frequency of Core Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects


Core Constraints

Project 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


ATIP/Botswana x x x

MFP/The Gambia x x x

FSRP/Lesotho x x x x

ARP/Malawi x x x x

ARPP/Senegal x x

FSRP/Tanzania x

ZAMARE/Zambia x x

ARPP/Nepal x x x x xx

FSDP/Philippines x x x x x x x

FPNI/Guatemala x x x x

ARP/Honduras x

SFPS/ROCAP x x x x x

Total 1 4 5 9 4 7 2 4 6



Note:
1 Farmer orientation
2 Farmer participation
3 Locational specificity of technical and human factors
4 Problem-solving approach
5 Systems orientation
6 Interdisciplinary approach
7 Complementarity with commodity and discipline research
8 Technology testing in on-farm trials
9 Feedback to shape agricultural research priorities and
agricultural policies
SFPS/ROCAP is Small Farmer Production Systems proj-
ect/Regional Office for Central America and Panama, A.I.D.







-23-


The farming systems concept evolved as practitioners sought
to apply it, but it was neither well defined nor widely under-
stood during FSR/E's early years. Demand for experienced FSR/E
practitioners, who were few and far between, outstripped supply.
Often the university personnel or consultants recruited to staff
technical assistance teams did not understand the requirements
for technically sound FSR/E. Indeed, simply forming a multi-
disciplinary team did not guarantee that the team would take an
interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach to problems that were
relevant to farmers. As a result, some of the core characteris-
tics of FSR/E frequently were weak or missing in the various
project approaches to FSR/E, and the quality of FSR/E accordingly
suffered. Even within A.I.D., few people understood the core
characteristics required in FSR/E, and creating an FSR/E unit
within a research organization was no guarantee that technically
sound FSR/E would result.

Operational Constraints. An operational constraint is pres-
ent when a practitioner's efforts to implement the FSR/E concept
are impeded by problems in any of the following areas:

1. Stakeholder understanding of FSR/E
2. Agricultural research policy or strategy defining role
of FSR/E
3. Long-term commitment of resources
4. Existing research capability and shelf technology
5. Consensus on FSR/E methodology
6. Capability to process farming systems data
7. Consensus on criteria for evaluating FSR/E
8. Links with extension
9. Links with agricultural support services
10. Links with farmer organizations

Four operational constraints--lack of stakeholder under-
standing of FSR/E, lack of agricultural research policy or strat-
egy defining FSR/E's role, lack of consensus on FSR/E methodol-
ogy, and lack of links with extension--appeared in at least 7 of
the 12 projects (Table 2). Three constraints--lack of long-term
commitment of resources, lack of existing research capability and
shelf technology, and lack of links with agricultural support
services--appeared in at least five projects.

FSR/E project designers and implementers often did not
address the operational constraints that impeded implementation
of the projects. Moreover, A.I.D. had sought to introduce FSR/E
without realizing that a broader set of conditions than just the
core characteristics is also necessary for FSR/E to make an im-
pact. Problems in many of these areas had long plagued efforts
to increase the impact of agricultural research in developing
countries. To aggravate the situation, conventional research and







-24-


Table 2. Frequency of Operational Constraints
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects


in 12


Operational Constraints

Project 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

ATIP/Botswana x x x x x x

MFP/The Gambia x x x x x

FSRO/Lesotho x x x x x x x x x x

ARP/Malawi x x x x x x

ARPP/Senegal x x x x

FSRP/Tanzania x x x

ZAMARE/Zambia x x

ARPP/Nepal x x x x x

FSDP/Philippines x x x x

FPNI/Guatemala x x x

ARP/Honduras x x x x

SFPS/ROCAP x x x x

Total 7 7 5 5 8 4 4 9 5 2

Note:
1 Stakeholder understanding of FSR/E
2 Agricultural research policy/strategy defining FSR/E's role
3 Long-term commitment of resources
4 Existing research capability and shelf technology
5 Consensus on FSR/E methodology
6 Capability to process farming systems data
7 Consensus on criteria for evaluating FSR/E
8 Links with extension
9 Links with agricultural support services
10 Links with farmer organizations
SFPS/ROCAP is Small Farmer Production Systems proj-
ect/Regional Office for Central America and Panama, A.I.D.








-25-


extension personnel often saw FSR/E as competing for scarce
resources.

Generic Constraints. A generic constraint is a problem that
can arise in any A.I.D.-funded project, regardless of the proj-
ect's technical focus. Potential problem areas include the
following:

1. Project management structure
2. Government funding to meet recurrent costs
3. Staffing with trained personnel
4. Management of training
5. Management of technical assistance
6. Factors beyond a project's control

Problems in three constraint areas--staffing with trained
personnel, government funding to meet recurrent costs, and man-
agement of technical assistance--were encountered in at least 7
of the 12 projects (see Table 3). At least five projects ex-
perienced problems in three of the remaining generic constraint
areas--project management structure, management of training, and
management of technical assistance.

Box 1 summarizes the constraints most frequently found in
the 12 FSR/E projects reviewed and shows how many projects suf-
fered from these constraints.



Box 1. Summary of Constraints

Core Constraints

-- Problem-solving approach (9 projects)
Interdisciplinary approach (7 projects)

Operational Constraints

-- Links with extension (9 projects)
-- Consensus on FSR/E methodology (8 projects)
Stakeholder understanding of FSR/E (7 projects)
-- Research policy/strategy defining FSR/E's role (7
projects)

Generic Constraints

Staffing with trained personnel (10 projects)
-- Government funding to meet recurrent costs (9 projects)
Management of technical assistance (7 projects)








-26-


Table 3.


Frequency of Generic Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects


Generic Constraints'

Project 1 2 3 4 5 6

ATIP/Botswana x x x x x

MFP/The Gambia x x x x x

FSRP/Lesotho x x x x

ARP/Malawi x x x x x

ARPP/Senegal x x x x x

FSRP/Tanzania x x

ARPP/Nepal x x x x

FSD/Philippines x x x x

FPNI/Guatemala x

ARP/Honduras x x x x

SFPS/ROCAP x x

Total 6 9 10 5 7 4


Note:


Project management structure
Government funding to meet recurrent costs
Staffing with trained personnel
Management of training
Management of technical assistance
Factors beyond a project's control


SFPS/ROCAP is Small Farmer Production Systems project/Regional
Office for Central America and Panama, A.I.D.

'Generic constraints were not identified in the case of ZAMARE/Zambia,
but there was evidence that the project had devised methods to deal
with certain generic constraints (see the Project Description Sheet
for ZAMARE/Zambia in Appendix E and CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case
Study No. 7; see Byrnes 1988 in Project-Specific References for
ZAMARE/Zambia).







-27-


Interpretation of Constraints. Table 4 summarizes the fre-
quency of constraints across 12 projects. Any one constraint can
impede implementation and reduce the impact of a given FSR/E
project, and any one constraint may be more important in one
project than another. Yet, as Box 1 shows, some constraints
appeared more frequently across projects than other constraints.
What does this mix or pattern of constraints mean?

In terms of core constraints, FSR/E project implementers,
trained in specialized disciplines (agronomy, economics, and so
on) and not well versed in FSR/E, were not accustomed to working
together in an interdisciplinary manner to solve problems rele-
vant to farmers. Often they did not understand the FSR/E concept
or the requirements to put it into operation. Few technical
assistance team members had had any previous field experience in
FSR/E. At least a third of the projects experienced problems in
establishing a systems orientation, gaining farmer participation,
or testing technology in on-farm trials. In short, many techni-
cal assistance teams were not prepared to provide sound tech-
nical assistance in FSR/E.

In terms of operational constraints, many projects ran into
problems in establishing a consensus on the methodology for doing
FSR/E. Technology development and transfer were further hampered
by failures to establish links with extension and to ensure that
stakeholders (farmers and managers of research and extension)
understood FSR/E's requirements and benefits. Also, FSR/E proj-
ects often were implemented in settings where agricultural re-
search policy and strategy did not define the role of farming
systems approach relative to conventional agricultural research
and extension. Thus, FSR/E often was not perceived as comple-
menting traditional research and extension but rather as com-
peting for scarce resources. Finally, carrying out FSR/E was
impeded in at least five projects by limited research capability
(e.g., lack of shelf technology) or a failure to establish links
with the agricultural support services that farmers need to adopt
the technologies developed by FSR/E practitioners.

In terms of generic constraints to implementation of FSR/E
projects, two of the most frequently occurring were lack of
staffing with trained personnel and lack of government funding to
meet recurrent costs. Both reflect the more general problem of
the level of resources available to support research and exten-
sion. In short, if the presence of core and operational con-
straints did not make implementing FSR/E projects difficult
enough, the problem was aggravated by the presence in these proj-
ects of the same generic constraints typically found in A.I.D.
projects, regardless of their technical content.







-28-


Table 4.


Frequency of Core, Operational, and Generic Constraints
in 12 A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects, 1975-1987


Type of
Constraint Constraint Frequency'


Core


Operational
1
2

3
4

5
6
7
8
9
10

Generic
1
2
3
4
5
6


*Farmer orientation
Farmer participation
Locational specificity of technical
and human factors
Problem-solving approach
Systems orientation
Interdisciplinary approach
Complementarity with commodity
and discipline research
Technology testing in on-farm trials
Feedback to shape:
Agricultural research priorities
Agricultural policies


Stakeholder understanding of FSR/E
Agricultural research policy or strategy
defining role of FSR/E
Long-term commitment of resources
Existing research capability and shelf
technology
Consensus on FSR/E methodology
Capability to process farming systems data
Consensus on criteria for evaluating FSR/E
Links with extension
Links with agricultural support services
Links with farmer organizations


Project management structure
Government funding to meet recurrent costs
Staffing with trained personnel
Management of training
Management of technical assistance
Factors beyond a project's control


'Frequencies are based on a simple count of the number of projects in
which a constraint was found to be present. Appendix A discusses the
steps followed in identifying these constraints. The project
descriptions in Appendix E show which constraints appeared in which
projects.







-29-


4. LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE FSR/E PROJECTS REVIEWED


This review of A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects suggests several
lessons learned; many are reinforced by similar conclusions that
emerged from a recent "results inventory" of FSR/E projects
(Frankenberger et al. 1988, 1989) funded by A.I.D.'s Bureau for
Science and Technology, Office of Agriculture.

Farmers in FSR/E. In FSR/E, farmers play a central role in
the technology development and transfer process--they are active
collaborators, not just passive observers or receivers. Yet
FSR/E practitioners often have had difficulty implementing this
concept because highly centralized and vertically structured
research and extension organizations are geared to respond to
top-down lines of authority rather than to needs and priorities
identified by farmers (Frankenberger et al. 1988). The ideal of
farmer participation would probably be more readily implemented
if farmers had greater control over how resources are allocated
to support agricultural research and extension systems. Few
FSR/E projects attempted to work through and effectively involve
farmer organizations as one potential avenue for enhancing farmer
participation in, control over, and support of agricultural re-
search and extension.

Farming in FSR/E. FSR/E projects have tended to focus on
the food crops raised by subsistence farmers, giving little or no
attention to other commodities that many subsistence farmers
produce for sale. Several evaluations asked whether FSR/E should
place greater emphasis on cash crop technologies to assist small
commercial and subsistence farmers to raise crops or animals of
higher value. Subsistence farmers, as the evaluations noted,
have little interest in increasing food production beyond the
quantity needed for family subsistence, if increased production
of a crop leads to a fall in the market price of that crop.

Systems in FSR/E. FSR/E projects have struggled with
achieving a balance between doing systems analysis and developing
improved technologies. Some FSR/E practitioners spent so much
time studying the farm as a system that they never got around to
testing potential technologies or institutional changes to over-
come identified constraints; others focused on a crop (e.g.,
maize) but failed to examine the crop's interrelationships with
the farm family and other components (e.g., livestock) of the
farming system. In general, system components such as livestock,
agroforestry, gender (Poats, Gearing, and Russo 1989), and con-
sumption often were neglected in the projects reviewed.

A central issue in explaining the limited impact of FSR/E
lies in how farming systems practitioners perceive the objective







-30-


of FSR/E. While a systems orientation is a core characteristic
of FSR/E, practitioners often have not gone beyond paying lip
service to the concept of the farm family household as a system
of natural and human components that must be understood if FSR/E
is to make an impact on agricultural income. Maintaining a focus
on the farm and the farm family as a system is important because
resource-poor farmers formulate strategies and make decisions
within the context of the mix of crop, livestock, and off-farm
enterprises that constitute the household's whole economic sys-
tem. Thus, it cannot be assumed that maximization of either
yield or profit is an appropriate criterion for assessing the
potential utility and acceptability of a new technology in such
farming systems.

However, given their research mandates, FSR/E practitioners
often have focused on improving production technology, primarily
for crops, as the end rather than a means to an end, thereby
failing to address the larger objective of providing the small-
farm family with technology options to facilitate its climb up
the economic ladder. Not building the larger objective of in-
creasing farm family income into the design of FSR/E activities
increases the likelihood that the approach will not focus on the
farm and farm family household as a system, with the result that
the systems concept, FSR/E's guiding rationale, will be lost.

Except where crops are the sole or main source of cash in-
come, the relative importance of crops as an income source must
be weighed against other potential income sources; indeed, some
crops (e.g., subsistence crops) become less and less important to
the extent that the farm family's management strategy includes a
mix of crop, livestock, and.off-farm enterprises. In conducting
FSR/E activities at the farm level, FSR/E practitioners need to
take care not to focus so much on crops that they ignore other
economic enterprises affectingfarm management decision-making.

The failure to implement a systems approach in FSR/E proj-
ects often may have been the result of staffing these projects
with technical assistance personnel who had had little or no
prior experience in FSR/E; they may have been experts in their
disciplines or university departments, but they were not accus-
tomed to working together on an interdisciplinary team to solve
farmers' problems in a systems context. Clearly there is a cer-
tain dysfunctionality in training professionals to the level of
highly specialized advanced degrees and then expecting that they
will be able to work together and apply a systems approach to
problem solving.

A second systems problem has been that on-station and on-
farm technology testing have different emphases. On-station
trials aim to establish cause-and-effect relationships and are







-31-


highly controlled; on-farm trials are less controlled (Franken-
berger et al. 1988). Statistical analysis is crucial to the
interpretation of on-station trials, while farmer evaluation
plays an important role in assessing and validating the results
of on-farm trials. The challenge for FSR/E practitioners is to
work with farmers to diagnose problems quickly and move potential
solutions to the on-farm testing stage so that farmers can assess
technological options.

Research in FSR/E. FSR/E's emphasis on research aimed at
developing technologies to relax production constraints often has
resulted in practitioners' failing to address institutional con-
straints to adoption of the new technologies. Farmers frequently
cannot adopt such technologies unless they also have access to
such agricultural support services as credit, production inputs,
and markets. Yet the institutions providing such services are
characteristically weak in developing countries.

Social scientists can play an important role in developing
research on institutional issues, characterizing farming systems,
diagnosing socioeconomic constraints, and monitoring and evalu-
ating projects. However, few social scientists are brought into
FSR/E programs, partly because adequately trained social scien-
tists are in short supply and partly because of agricultural
scientists' perceptions of them (Frankenberger et al. 1988).
Nevertheless, research on improved technologies needs to be coor-
dinated with research on the institutions that provide the
support services farmers need if they are to adopt improved tech-
nologies. Farming systems researchers, particularly social
scientists, need to give greater attention to identifying means
to remove or relax institutional constraints that impede farmer
access to agricultural support services.

Extension in FSR/E. Each FSR/E project reviewed was located
in an agricultural research organization, thereby raising the
problem of how farming systems research was to be linked with
extension. This problem is the obverse of that encountered by
the World Bank in many countries where it sought to institution-
alize the Training and Visit (T&V) System as an agricultural
extension methodology. While the Bank had some success in estab-
lishing the T&V System in national extension organizations, this
approach to extension quickly ran up against the problem of gain-
ing access to improved technologies that were ready for transfer
to farmers. This situation led to a greater recognition of the
need for extension personnel to be linked into site-specific
adaptive research as an important means of accessing improved
technologies for dissemination through the T&V System.

Some FSR/E projects attempted to link research and extension
through a research extension liaison officer, but most FSR/E







-32-


projects tended to view the farming systems approach as a re-
search strategy, not as a strategy to integrate research and
extension. When FSR/E is viewed as a research strategy, it is
based on the assumption that researchers can develop improved
technologies and then turn them over to extension for dissemina-
tion to farmers. This view fails to recognize that extension's
participation in on-farm research can enhance the responsiveness
of a technology development and transfer (TD&T) system to farm-
ers' needs.

In developing countries, a TD&T system resembles a chain
with many weak links. FSR/E focuses on some of the weak links in
the agricultural research and extension subsystem of a country's
TD&T system. The problem is not to provide new links but rather
to strengthen existing links. Thus, the need is not to develop
new FSR/E projects but to strengthen the farming systems approach
as an integral part of the existing research and extension sys-
tem. Generally, the FSR/E projects reviewed provided little or
no support for developing extension as an integral part of the
TD&T system. In many of these projects, the extension agent was
not recognized as a partner in FSR/E (e.g., as someone who could
provide researchers with feedback on farm-level conditions to be
considered in setting priorities for station-based experiments).
Rather, the extension agent was seen only as a helper (e.g.,
someone who could locate farmers willing to provide land for the
researcher's on-farm trials).

Linking Research and Extension in Farming Systems Work.
Improved agricultural technologies are rarely transferable di-
rectly from research to extension. But FSR/E teams can play an
important role in linking research and extension: working with
farmers and extension personnel, they test technologies from
research; and working with researchers, they provide feedback
from farmers to establish research priorities (Frankenberger et
al. 1988). In other words, farming systems practitioners can
form the core of an FSR/E program by integrating research and
extension personnel in individual ecological zones.

Placing an FSR/E program administratively under research can
facilitate access to research results and shelf technology and
enhance FSR/E's influence on on-station research priorities
(Frankenberger et al. 1988). At the regional or zone level,
extension personnel must be able to link with and participate in
FSR/E teams in program planning, execution, and evaluation.
However, effectively linking research and extension continues to
be a major challenge in implementing an FSR/E program that can
affect technology development and transfer.

The challenge is not made any less difficult by the fact
that there are few professional rewards for interdisciplinary and








-33-


interinstitutional collaboration on FSR/E. Without adequate
incentives it will be difficult for research and extension per-
sonnel to work together in a productive partnership. As long as
career development is contingent on advancement in a centralized
research or extension organization, it will be impossible to re-
tain trained FSR/E personnel where they are most needed--working
collaboratively with farmers at the farm level (Frankenberger et
al. 1988).

Methodology of FSR/E. A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects have
provided opportunities for field-level development, testing, and
adaptation of FSR/E methodologies. However, methodological de-
velopment, like agricultural research itself, is an ongoing pro-
cess that does not necessarily reap immediately tangible results.
Experience suggests that, while much progress has been made to
date, there is yet room to develop consensus on the "how to" of
FSR/E. Areas in which improvements can be made include diagnosis
and analysis of system components, establishment of models for
farmer participation, design of on-farm trials, statistical anal-
ysis of trial results in conjunction with farmer evaluation and
validation of trial results, and more effective linking of re-
search with agricultural support services such as extension,
credit, production inputs, markets, and policy.

However, FSR/E's impact on technology development and trans-
fer will be negligible until research and extension personnel
work out a joint strategy for institutionalizing farming systems
methodologies in research and extension programs. An effective
strategy would outline the process of technology development and
transfer, specify responsibilities of research and extension
personnel, and establish the necessary feedback, resource, and
accountability channels (Frankenberger et al. 1988). Such es-
tablished strategy would also be useful in training new FSR/E
practitioners entering a country's research and extension system.
(The Farming Systems Support project developed FSR/E training
materials that can play an important role in this process.)7

There Are No Panaceas. The projects reviewed were imple-
mented during a time in which FSR/E theory and practice were
still evolving. FSR/E often proceeded by trial and error rather
than being guided by any proven theory or methodology. Under


7A four-volume set of materials developed by the Farming Systems
Support project for training professionals in farming systems
research and extension is available for $175 from Media Market-
ing, P.O. Box 926, Gainesville, Florida 32602. This set in-
cludes volumes on diagnosis in farming systemsresearch, design
techniques for on-farm experimentation, and analysis and inter-
pretation of on-farm experimentation, and a trainer's manual.







-34-


pressure to implement FSR/E projects, implementers jumped into a
murky river without knowing how deep the water was, how swiftly
or turbulently the current flowed, or what obstructions might lie
below the surface. In many cases, technical assistance personnel
charged with implementing FSR/E projects did not know how to swim
and had to struggle to keep their heads above water.

But implementers were not totally at fault. A.I.D.'s own
oversight capability to monitor and evaluate this new technical
area was limited. Pressures in A.I.D. to develop projects and
obligate funds, combined with expectations that funding FSR/E
projects would reap a bountiful harvest, led A.I.D. to support,
particularly in Africa, projects that had FSR/E components. But
during this period few bona fide FSR/E practitioners were avail-
able to ensure that the FSR/E component of these projects would
be technically sound in design and implementation. Indeed, many
university or contractor personnel lacked adequate training in
and orientation to either FSR/E or the country in which they were
to function. These factors, combined with the core, operational,
and generic constraints evident in the projects reviewed, made it
impossible for FSR/E projects to live up to expectations.

In short, A.I.D.'s experience with FSR/E projects should
serve as a lesson to exercise caution. As the Agency turns its
attention to new problems (e.g., natural resources sustain-
ability), it should refrain from assuming that there are "magic
bullets" that will quickly lead to the agricultural development
of smallholder farmers in the developing countries. Smallholder
development objectives will best be achieved by systematically
addressing the problems of agricultural research and extension on
a sustained, long-term basis, with due attention to institutional
constraints such as policy, markets, credit, and inputs.


5. THE FUTURE OF FSR/E IN A.I.D.-FUNDED PROJECTS


Assessing the potential that FSR/E can play in future
A.I.D.-funded projects entails three considerations: the current
status of FSR/E in A.I.D., outstanding issues, and implications
for A.I.D. programming.


5.1 Status of FSR/E in A.I.D.


The present study's findings and conclusions are based on
case studies of 12 A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects authorized be-
tween 1975 and 1984. At the beginning of that period, the







-34-


pressure to implement FSR/E projects, implementers jumped into a
murky river without knowing how deep the water was, how swiftly
or turbulently the current flowed, or what obstructions might lie
below the surface. In many cases, technical assistance personnel
charged with implementing FSR/E projects did not know how to swim
and had to struggle to keep their heads above water.

But implementers were not totally at fault. A.I.D.'s own
oversight capability to monitor and evaluate this new technical
area was limited. Pressures in A.I.D. to develop projects and
obligate funds, combined with expectations that funding FSR/E
projects would reap a bountiful harvest, led A.I.D. to support,
particularly in Africa, projects that had FSR/E components. But
during this period few bona fide FSR/E practitioners were avail-
able to ensure that the FSR/E component of these projects would
be technically sound in design and implementation. Indeed, many
university or contractor personnel lacked adequate training in
and orientation to either FSR/E or the country in which they were
to function. These factors, combined with the core, operational,
and generic constraints evident in the projects reviewed, made it
impossible for FSR/E projects to live up to expectations.

In short, A.I.D.'s experience with FSR/E projects should
serve as a lesson to exercise caution. As the Agency turns its
attention to new problems (e.g., natural resources sustain-
ability), it should refrain from assuming that there are "magic
bullets" that will quickly lead to the agricultural development
of smallholder farmers in the developing countries. Smallholder
development objectives will best be achieved by systematically
addressing the problems of agricultural research and extension on
a sustained, long-term basis, with due attention to institutional
constraints such as policy, markets, credit, and inputs.


5. THE FUTURE OF FSR/E IN A.I.D.-FUNDED PROJECTS


Assessing the potential that FSR/E can play in future
A.I.D.-funded projects entails three considerations: the current
status of FSR/E in A.I.D., outstanding issues, and implications
for A.I.D. programming.


5.1 Status of FSR/E in A.I.D.


The present study's findings and conclusions are based on
case studies of 12 A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects authorized be-
tween 1975 and 1984. At the beginning of that period, the







-35-


farming systems research concept was neither well defined nor
widely understood. As one observer put it:

A major problem early on was the lack of a uniform
definition of what farming systems was and was not.
Confusing terminology proliferated, and many people
assigned their own definitions, thereby adding to the
confusion. The lack of clear definition and uniformity
of terms meant that some projects and programs were
doing farming systems type of work without acknowledg-
ing the label, while others were doing something else
and calling it farming systems. (Chapman and Castro
1988, 4)

In 1978, A.I.D.'s Bureau for Development Support initiated
the Farming Systems Research and Development Methodology project
to prepare guidelines for farming systems research. Even as this
project was being implemented, USAID Missions throughout the
developing world were launching FSR/E projects. In other words,
FSR/E practice was proceeding even as FSR/E theory or guidelines
were yet being developed.

Most of the 12 FSR/E projects reviewed were already under
way or at least obligated by the time those guidelines reached
publication (Shaner, Philipp, and Schmehl 1982a, 1982b). Did
FSR/E project implementers use the guidelines to improve their
concept of or approach to FSR/E? The guidelines should have
found a receptive audience in the four FSR/E projects (in The
Gambia, Lesotho, Tanzania, and Honduras) in which technical
assistance teams had been fielded by one of the universities
affiliated with the Consortium for International Development, the
organization responsible for developing and publishing the guide-
lines. Yet none of the evaluations of the projects reviewed
indicated that the guidelines had played any role in ensuring
that a project's technical assistance team would indeed be doing
FSR/E.

Despite the fact that guidelines were available that could
improve each project's approach to FSR/E, each technical assis-
tance team set out to do FSR/E based on its own perception or
concept of what FSR/E was or should be. In some cases, team
members could not agree on what they should be doing under the
farming systems banner. Indeed, as FSR/E projects were getting
under way in the middle to late 1970s, perceptions varied even
about whether a project was a farming systems project and whether
it was to be evaluated as a farming systems project. As one
evaluation noted: "One of the things which this evaluation team
became aware of at the beginning of this evaluation is that this
project is a Malawi Agricultural Research project, not a Malawi
FSR project" (Baker et al. 1983, 36).








-36-


Yet within A.I.D. the popularity of doing farming systems
projects grew significantly during the late 1970s and early
1980s. As Chapman and Castro (1988) noted, the term "farming
systems"

proliferated in the development of new A.I.D. projects,
mainly because project developers believed that using
that label would assure rapid project approval. During
the early 1980s, the number of A.I.D.-financed farming
systems projects or projects with farming systems com-
ponents being implemented worldwide increased signif-
icantly to the point where the majority of countries in
which A.I.D. works now have or have had farming systems
projects. (P. 4)

During these years, A.I.D.-funded projects that included a
farming systems component played an important role in helping the
Agency to gain experience in how agricultural research and exten-
sion projects could be more effective in strengthening the capa-
bilities of developing country agricultural technology develop-
ment and transfer systems. However, by the time the Nepal
project was authorized in 1984, use of the term "farming systems
research" in project titles had begun to fall into disrepute in
the Agency. Indeed, project designers avoided using the term in
project titles to minimize the possibility that a project might
not be approved. While there has been declining support for
FSR/E projects among donors, "numerous countries around the world
have reorganized their national research organizations to accom-
modate FSR/E" (Frankenberger et al. 1988, 4). Further, at least
two regional networks, the Asian Farming Systems Network and the
West African Farming Systems Network, have been established
(Baker and Norman 1988; Breth 1984; Butler Flora 1988; Byrnes
1988; Collinson 1988; Frankenberger et al. 1988, 1989; Merrill-
Sands 1988; Merrill-Sands and McAllister 1988).

Despite these signs that the farming systems approach is
being institutionalized, the trend in A.I.D. funding away from
FSR/E projects or FSR/E per se and toward other themes (biotech-
nology, nontraditional agricultural exports, and sustainability)
has likely reduced the pace at which such institutionalization is
happening in many countries (Baker and Norman 1988). Assessing
the state of FSR/E institutionalization, Collinson (1988, 2)
concluded that while "many developing countries...have embraced
FSR concepts, none has yet completed the nationwide buildup of
human and institutional capacity, nor the reorganization of re-
search process, which the full exploitation of [FSR/E] concepts
implies."

In spite of the problems encountered in implementing farming
systems projects, many of FSR/E's core characteristics (e.g., on-








-37-


farm trials) are now designed almost routinely into A.I.D.-funded
agricultural projects. Current A.I.D. projects providing support
for FSR/E include Burkina Faso Agricultural Research and Training
Support and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Phase II. However,
the scope of the present review precluded determining whether the
designs of these newer projects address the core, operational,
and generic constraints to FSR/E more effectively than past proj-
ects did.

In a recent A.I.D.-sponsored survey, USAID Missions were
asked to identify which FSR/E activities would have high priority
in their programs and how they would rank each activity in order
of importance. As Table 5 shows, the Missions demonstrated a
continuing concern about how to enhance FSR/E's impact on tech-
nology development and transfer and on institutionalization of
the farming systems approach in national agricultural research
and extension systems.

Although the Missions' responses show some apparent incon-
sistencies and variations across regions, clear and consistent
patterns are apparent. First, the average percentage of Missions
indicating that FSR/E activities would have high priority in
their programs is greater among the Africa Missions (46 percent)
than among the Latin America and Caribbean Missions (30 percent)
or the Asia and the Near East Missions (27 percent).

Second, all Missions, regardless of region, rated "training
in FSR/E" (71 percent) as the activity that would have the high-
est priority. They gave second- and third-place priority to
"institutionalization of FSR/E" (47 percent) and "technology
transfer" (38 percent), respectively. In other words, they
viewed the problem not simply as one of preparing individuals and
organizations to do FSR/E, but also as one of ensuring that im-
proved technology is transferred to and adopted by farmers. As
further evidence of this concern, nearly a third of all Missions
and half of the Africa Missions gave high priority to "policy
linkages."

Third, considerably less priority was given to "networking/
newsletter" or "FSR/E symposium," although the latter was rated
high in priority by half of the Africa Missions. It may be that
such activities are recognized as being of secondary importance
compared with the primary tasks--training developing country
researchers and extension personnel in FSR/E, institutionalizing
the farming systems approach in developing country agricultural
research and extension organizations, transferring technology to
small farmers, and establishing linkages with agricultural








-38-


Table 5. USAID Missions' Rating and Ranking of FSR/E Activities


All AFR ANE LAC
Activity Missions Missions Missions Missions
n 17-22 n 6-7 n 4-7 n 7-8

% (R) % (R) % (R) % (R)


Training
in FSR/E

Institution-
alization of
FSR/E

Technology
Transfer

Policy
Linkages

Cost/Benefit
Analysis of
FSR/E

FSR/E
Symposium

Periodic
Rapid
Reappraisal

Networking/
Newsletter

Average


71 (1)



47 (4)


38 (2)


32 (3)



26 (8)


26 (7)


24 (6)


10 (5)


71 (2)



57 (4)


57 (1)


50 (3)



33 (8)


50 (6)


17 (7)


33 (5)


71 (3)



33 (5)


27 (4)


17 (1)



33 (8)


33 (2)


0 (6)


0 (7)


71 (1)



50 (2)


29 (3)


29 (4)



14 (6)


0 (8)


43 (5)


0 (7)


USAID Missions did not


respond on some


each activity, percentages are based on the
responded for that activity.


of the items.
number that


Percentage and rank were measured separately but are listed
together for comparative purposes.
AFR Africa Region; ANE Asia and Near East Region; LAC -
Latin America and Caribbean Region; % = Percentage of USAID
Missions rating designated FSR activity as being of high
priority; R USAID Missions' ranking in importance of
designated activity
Source: Chapman and Castro 1988.


Note:


Some


For








-39-


policymakers whose policies currently constrain technology adop-
tion by farmers."

What is the connection between the survey results and this
study? The present study documents the core, operational, and
generic constraints that have plagued past FSR/E projects and
that A.I.D. must address more effectively if, as the Missions
desire, the Agency continues to place high priority on such ac-
tivities as training in FSR/E, institutionalization of the farm-
ing systems approach, and technology transfer.


5.2 Outstanding Issues


Three outstanding issues merit consideration: sustain-
ability of FSR/E, sustainability of natural resources, and proj-
ect orientation to FSR/E.

Sustainability of FSR/E. FSR/E implemented through richly
endowed, donor-funded projects will not be sustainable given the
limited resources of national agricultural research and extension
systems (Frankenberger et al. 1988). FSR/E cannot be institu-
tionalized without developing a country's capability to meet the
recurrent costs of field operations. This process is impeded
where research and extension budgets leave few resources for
carrying out activities on farms (e.g., on-farm trials). Exter-
nal support for FSR/E needs to be structured in a way that en-
sures the following:




7Although only a small percentage of the. Missions rated two ac-
tivities--"cost/benefit analysis of FSR/E" and "periodic rapid
reappraisal" as being of high priority, these activities address
important issues. The first would address the question of
whether the added benefits of a farming systems approach, in
which the clients are heavily involved in the technology develop-
ment process, compensate for the added institutional and finan-
cial costs. The second of these two activities, periodic rapid
reappraisal, would address one of the drawbacks of the project
approach to development--that "once the project is designed and
technical assistance is fielded, it is difficult to add activi-
ties to address unanticipated constraints that may arise pre-
venting attainment of project goals" (Chapman and Castro 1988,
A2 A3). See Chapman and Castro (1988, A2 A4) for a more
complete definition of these activities.







-40-


That incentives are provided for public and private
funding of research and extension

That a capability is developed for research and exten-
sion organizations to assume an increasingly larger
portion, and eventually all, of the recurrent costs of
FSR/E

That the level of FSR/E supported by a country comple-
ments conventional agricultural research and extension
systems

Sustainability of Natural Resources. Those concerned with
"new" issues, such as sustainability, may fail to see the role
that FSR/E can play in addressing sustainability in A.I.D.-funded
agriculture, agroforestry, and natural resources projects. In
the FSR/E projects reviewed, project implementers were not un-
aware of the issue of sustaining the natural resource base, and
in several FSR/E projects, they tried to develop technologies
that would enhance the sustainability of farming systems. How-
ever, A.I.D.'s current emphasis on sustainability suggests that
FSR/E practitioners need to pay more attention to how FSR/E can
contribute to enhancing sustainability of the farming systems for
which improved technologies are being developed. The challenge
will be to ensure that sustainability initiatives involving FSR/E
are not undermined by the same core, operational, and generic
constraints that plagued past FSR/E projects.

Project Orientation to FSR/E. Agricultural research is
widely recognized as a long-term venture. Yet A.I.D.'s support
for FSR/E has always been in the form of short-term projects in
which core, operational, and generic constraints hampered im-
plementation and impact. While FSR/E projects often have been
criticized for not living up to their promise, it must be re-
membered that many projects really were not doing FSR/E or were
poorly funded or managed relative to the magnitude of the prob-
lems they faced. In this sense, it could be argued that the
farming systems approach has yet to be put to a crucial test in
an A.I.D.-funded project.

In spite of the progress that has been made, there have been
cases in which a farming systems approach was just becoming in-
stitutionalized in a particular country when the donor supporting
FSR/E decided that FSR/E did not work and that it was time to
shift gears and redirect resources to new priorities. In the
shuffle, people often forgot that the typical 3- or 5-year time-
frame of FSR/E projects provided too short a period to institu-
tionalize FSR/E as an integral component of a country's tech-
nology development and transfer system.







-41-


While FSR/E would not be where it is today in many countries
without the support that A.I.D. and other donors provided FSR/E
projects, implementation of FSR/E has been hindered by the preva-
lent assistance mode, the project, that provides support for only
3 to 5 years. Indeed, the limited impact of FSR/E projects was
to a certain extent predetermined by these projects' short life-
spans. Success in FSR/E, as in all research and institutional
development, requires a longer timeframe. FSR/E is not a substi-
tute for conventional research, but it can accelerate the speed
at which technologies are developed and transferred. But this
process is not aided by a short-term orientation to agricultural
research in general or FSR/E in particular. Support needs to be
sustained over the long term (15 to 25 years).


5.3 Implications for A.I.D. Programming


A.I.D. can strengthen the contribution of agricultural
research and extension systems to technology develop-
ment and transfer (TD&T) by ensuring that FSR/E's nine
core characteristics are systematically built into
agricultural TD&T methodologies.

Each of FSR/E's core characteristics is a necessary but not
sufficient condition for technically sound farming systems work.
If any characteristic is weak or missing in a TD&T design, the
design will not provide a technically sound approach to FSR/E.
For example, a project design that emphasizes "technology testing
in on-farm trials" can easily fail to give adequate attention to
other core characteristics of FSR/E. Those involved in FSR/E
need to be careful not to neglect any of FSR/E's core charac-
teristics or overemphasize any characteristic to the detriment of
another. Appendix G provides a checklist of questions that may
be used to assess whether a TD&T design or methodology addresses
the core constraints to FSR/E.


A.I.D. can strengthen the contribution of FSR/E to TD&T
by ensuring that agricultural research and extension
projects provide means to remove or relax the opera-
tional constraints that can impede implementation of
FSR/E.

In each FSR/E project reviewed for this study, one or more
operational constraints impeded implementation of a project's
approach to FSR/E and ultimately FSR/E's impact on technology
development and transfer. Thus, FSR/E is not a substitute for
conventional agricultural research nor can it by itself make a
significant impact on TD&T. FSR/E needs to be part of a broader








-42-


TD&T methodology that takes into account the operational con-
straints to FSR/E and provides means to address them. Appendix G
provides a checklist of questions that may be used to assess
whether a TD&T design or methodology addresses such operational
constraints.

A.I.D. can strengthen the contribution of FSR/E to
technology development and transfer by ensuring that
project assistance to relax core and operational con-
straints to FSR/E is not undermined by generic
constraints.

A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects encountered a variety of prob-
lems that can affect any A.I.D. project, regardless of its tech-
nical content--problems in such areas as management structure,
government funding to meet recurrent costs, and staffing with
trained personnel.

As has been stated, implementation of an FSR/E project and
institutionalization of the farming systems approach have not
been facilitated by the project assistance mode, which provides
support for only 3 to 5 years. However, if support for FSR/E is
to be provided in a project format, A.I.D. must address generic
constraints more effectively through improved project design,
flexibility in implementation, and better coordination of project
staffing, training, and technical assistance. Also, care needs
to be taken to ensure that projects including an FSR/E component
are supported by an adequate management structure. Finally,
implementation and institutionalization of FSR/E cannot proceed
without funding to meet recurrent costs. In this area, A.I.D.
needs to structure its support for FSR/E in such a way as to
provide incentives for greater public and private sector support
for FSR/E in particular and agricultural research and extension
in general.

The problems encountered in implementing the farming systems
concept did not result from any shortcomings in the concept it-
self but rather from limited knowledge and understanding of the
requirements for implementing this concept. If properly imple-
mented, FSR/E can strengthen the technology development and
transfer capability of agricultural research and extension
systems.

The challenge is to integrate FSR/E concepts and approaches
into technology development and transfer methods and not permit
them to be undermined by the kinds of constraints that impeded
implementation of past A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects. The FSR/E
concept explicitly recognizes the need for links among farmers,
extension workers, and researchers and defines the essential
conditions (core characteristics) for increasing the impact of








-43-

donor, government, and private investment in agricultural
research and extension. However, this impact cannot be fully
realized unless development assistance also systematically ad-
dresses the various operational constraints that can impede
implementation and institutionalization of FSR/E.

Institutionalizing technology development and transfer sys-
tems responsive to the problems faced by developing country
smallholder farmers will require a long-term commitment (15 to 25
years) by A.I.D. If A.I.D. has the vision and the means, its
continued support for institutionalizing FSR/E can play a crucial
role in increasing the productivity and income-earning capability
of small farmer agriculture throughout the developing countries.








APPENDIX A


METHODOLOGY


1. CONCEPTUAL MODEL


The approach to developing this review was initially based
on a conceptual model of five cycles in the development of an
Agency for International Development (A.I.D.) project: concept,
design, implementation, evaluation, and institutionalization.
Each cycle focuses on a specific area of concern in project de-
velopment and management, regardless of the project's specific
technical area. The basic concern underlying each cycle may be
stated as a question:

-- Concept What was the basic technical idea underlying
the project?

-Design How was this basic technical idea translated
into a project (Logical Framework)?

-Implementation How was the project managed by the host
country implementing agency, the technical assistance
team, and the USAID Mission?

-- Evaluation How was the project's performance measured
or assessed?

-Institutionalization How did the project help the
implementing agency develop its capacity to continue to
perform the types of activities supported by the
project?

This simple model provided a framework for collecting infor-
mation on 12 individual A.I.D.-funded farming systems research
and extension (FSR/E) projects (or projects including a major
FSR/E component) and for organizing that information into a case
study of each project.


2. SELECTION OF CASES


The first task was to identify A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects
or projects that had an FSR/E component. A review of the Farming
Systems Support project's "Farming Systems Research Project
Directory" (1987 Draft) and other sources revealed a total of 75
such projects. Because this study was to be conducted as a desk
review, it could include only projects for which evaluation docu-
mentation was available in A.I.D.'s Development Information








A-2


System. Such documentation was available for 42 of the projects:
25 in Africa (including 5 regional projects), 10 in Asia and the
Near East, and 7 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A purposive sample was selected in consultation with A.I.D.
officials, farming systems practitioners (including representa-
tives of the FSR/E Network Steering Committee established at the
Seventh FSR/E Symposium in 1987), and reference sources such as
the Farming Systems Support project's "Farming Systems Research
Project Directory." In selecting the sample of projects, four
criteria were followed:

1. Only projects that had a strong farming systems compo-
nent, as identified by farming systems practitioners,
were to be included. This criterion excluded some proj-
ects from the sample because their farming systems com-
ponent was weak (e.g., projects focusing on traditional
institution building or integrated rural development).

2. The sample was to include projects initiated at various
points between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s.

3. The sample was to include projects in each of the three
major regions--Africa, Asia and the Near East, and Latin
America and the Caribbean.

4. Given the exploratory nature of the study and the quan-
tity of documentation that would have to be reviewed by
one person, the size of the sample was to be restricted
to approximately a dozen cases.

On the basis of these criteria and a consideration of the
quality of the project evaluations, a sample of 12 projects was
finally selected, with the following country representation:

Africa

Botswana, The Gambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania,
Zambia

Asia and Near East

Philippines and Nepal

Latin America and Caribbean

Guatemala, Honduras, and a regional project based in Costa
Rica, funded by A.I.D.'s Regional Office for Central America
and Panama (ROCAP).








A-3

Table A-i provides a regional breakdown of the FSR/E proj-
ects for which evaluation documentation was available and indi-
cates the percent of projects from each region in the total and
in the sample.


Table A-i.


Regional Breakdown of Total Number of A.I.D.-Funded
FSR/E Projects and Number of Sampled Projects


Region Total Percent Sample Percent


Africa' 25 60 7 58
Asia and Near East 10 24 2 17
Latin America and
Caribbeanb 7 16 3 25

Total 42 100 12 100

aIncludes five regional projects
bIncludes one regional project


The specific projects included in the sample are listed in
Table A-2. Appendix E contains project description sheets.


Table A-2.


Projects Reviewed for CDIE Study of
A.I.D.-Funded FSR/E Projects


Country Number Project Title


Botswana 633-0221 Agricultural Technology Improvement
The Gambia 635-0203 Mixed Farming and Resource Management
Lesotho 632-0065 Farming Systems Research
Malawi 612-0202 Agricultural Research
Senegal 685-0223 Agricultural Research and Planning
Tanzania 621-0156 Farming Systems Research
Zambia 611-0201 Agricultural Development Research &
Extension
Nepal 367-0149 Agricultural Research and Production
Philippines 492-0356 Farming Systems Development
Guatemala 520-0232 Food Productivity and Nutritional
Improvement
Honduras 522-0139 Agricultural Research
ROCAP 596-0083 Small Farmer Production Systems








A-4


3. SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR AND
ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDIES

The data for the study were drawn primarily from the evalua-
tion documentation (e.g., special evaluations, project evaluation
summaries, and audit reports) for the 12 projects selected. For
each project, the project's documentation was read, the relevant
information was identified and organized in terms of the five-
cycle conceptual model described above, and a case study was
written.

The case studies provided the primary database for identi-
fying, analyzing, and drawing conclusions about the experience of
A.I.D.-funded FSR/E projects. The case studies were analyzed in
several steps.

First, FSR/E practitioners and A.I.D. personnel experienced
with FSR/E reviewed the case studies to help identify key con-
straints to the implementation of FSR/E projects. A word
processing file was created for three of the conceptual model
components (implementation, evaluation, and institutionaliza-
tion). The "implementation" file, for example, was a sequential
listing of the text of the implementation sections of the 12 case
studies. This step brought together into one file the case study
information relating most directly to the implementation of all
12 projects.

Each of these three files was then reviewed to identify key
factors affecting the model component addressed by the case study
material in that file. For example, the implementation file was
reviewed to identify factors affecting implementation. The net
result was a listing of factors affecting each model component
(e.g., implementation) and, for each factor, supporting informa-
tion across projects. A key factor might be "lack of a linkage
of research with extension." This factor would be followed by a
listing of the projects in which this factor was found as well as
the supporting information.

This process produced a list of factors, many of which
appeared as constraints for more than one model component (for
example, inability to meet recurrent costs of FSR/E is a con-
straint to implementing an FSR/E project and to institutional-
izing FSR/E). The length of the list of factors led to a concern
about how to translate these factors into succinct conclusions on
A.I.D.'s experience with FSR/E projects. The next step, there-
fore, was to divide the constraints into two categories--those
that tend to appear in A.I.D. projects, regardless of their tech-
nical focus (generic), and those that relate directly to FSR/E's
core characteristics (core).







A-5


The next step was to reclassify the case study material
according to the generic and core constraints. For example,
"lack of an interdisciplinary approach" appeared as a problem in
a number of the projects reviewed; accordingly, the relevant case
study materials across projects were grouped under this
constraint.

After the case study material was classified in terms of
core and generic constraints, a considerable amount of material
remained that did not fit in either category. Review of this
material suggested a third type of constraint, namely, an opera-
tional constraint--a factor that impeded farming systems prac-
titioners' efforts to operationalize or implement the FSR/E
concept. These constraints are not unique to FSR/E; indeed, many
of them have also operated in other kinds of agricultural re-
search and extension projects.

A word of explanation may help to further clarify the dif-
ferences among the three types of constraint. Core and opera-
tional constraints relate to implementing a technically sound
concept of FSR/E, and generic constraints relate to implementing
projects, regardless of their technical content.

The remaining case study material that was not classifiable
in terms of core, operational, or generic constraints was found
to focus on two important issues: the impact of FSR/E on tech-
nology development and transfer and the impact of FSR/E projects
on the institutionalization of the farming systems concept. In
effect, looking back on this analytical process, it became clear
that the case study material relating to impact of FSR/E projects
provided a general measure of the track record of A.I.D.-funded
FSR/E projects. Data on a project's impact on technology devel-
opment and transfer and on institutionalization of the farming
systems approach indicate the relative success of FSR/E projects
in strengthening the ability of agricultural research and exten-
sion systems to respond to farmers' technological requirements.

It should be noted that, because of the limited data avail-
able in the evaluation documentation of the projects reviewed,
the study could not examine the impact of FSR/E projects on the
ultimate beneficiary goals of raising farm productivity or farmer
income.

However, the case study material developed by this study-.
either the project-specific case studies or the reclassification
of the case study material in terms of core, operational, and
generic constraints--can help to improve our understanding of the
range of factors that influenced the relative success or failure
of past FSR/E projects. Improved awareness of these factors
should greatly facilitate improved conceptualization, design,








A-6


implementation, evaluation, and institutionalization of agricul-
tural research and extension projects that include a farming
systems component.

4. PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS


Selected vignettes from the case studies are presented in
Appendix D to illustrate FSR/E project experience in developing
and transferring technologies and in institutionalizing FSR/E.
Tables 1, 2, and 3 in the main text provide information on the
specific core, operational, and generic constraints that were
found in each of the projects. Table 4 provides a simple count
of the number of projects in which each constraint appeared, and
Appendix E provides a Project Description Sheet for each project,
listing the core, operational, and generic constraints found in
each project.

Readers interested in reading the empirical data on which
the findings are based may refer to the individual FSR/E case
studies prepared by A.I.D.'s Center for Development Information
and Evaluation (CDIE) (available as CDIE Working Paper 112).
Working Paper 112--Case Study No. 13 provides vignettes from the
case studies that illustrate how the core, operational, and ge-
neric constraints operated as brakes on technology development
and transfer and on institutionalization of FSR/E. The illustra-
tions in Appendix D as well as the individual case studies can
alert those designing, implementing, and evaluating projects with
an FSR/E component to specific constraints that must be more
effectively addressed if agricultural research and extension
projects are to contribute fully to technology development and
transfer. Case Study No. 13 also provides vignettes illustrating
instances in which projects overcame core, operational, and
generic constraints.








APPENDIX B


TYPES OF FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION


While farming systems research and extension (FSR/E) initia-
tives may vary in terms of the specific combination of data
sources used in research on farming systems, they also may vary
in terms of the specific type of problem the initiative aims to
solve. Thus, the relative emphasis placed on research or exten-
sion varies from one type of FSR/E to the next. For example,
farming system component research places little or no emphasis on
extension. Yet component research may be an important step in
developing technologies that are subsequently tested by extension
workers in on-farm trials, a central activity of another type of
FSR/E, namely, farming systems adaptive research.

Merrill-Sands (1986) identified six types of FSR/E: farming
systems analysis, farming systems adaptive research, farming sys-
tem component research, farming systems baseline data analysis,
new farming systems development, and farming systems research and
agricultural development.


1. FARMING SYSTEMS ANALYSIS


Farming systems analysis (FSA) aims at in-depth, quantita-
tive description of the structure and functioning of existing
farming systems in order to quantify stocks and flows and under-
stand the structure of system interactions. Key data sources
include on-farm studies and base data studies. The typical prod-
uct of FSA is a model of the system. FSA is basically what
Simmonds (1985) called "Farming Systems Research sensu stricto"
(See also Cernea and Guggenheim, 1985).


2. FARMING SYSTEMS ADAPTIVE RESEARCH


Farming systems adaptive research (FSAR) aims at increasing
the farming system's productivity by developing technology
adapted to farmers' circumstances. While FSAR takes the farming
system as the unit 'of analysis in the descriptive stage, the
design and testing stages more likely focus on a particular sub-
system as a potential point of leverage. Key data sources in
FSAR include on-farm studies and research station studies, sup-
plemented or guided by farming systems analysis and farming sys-
tem component research (described below). On-farm studies (e.g.,
trials) provide input for the design of research station studies
(e.g., experiments).








B-2


FSAR is another name for what Simmonds (1985) and the Inter-
national Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT)
(Byerlee et al. 1982; Collinson 1982) called "On-Farm Research
with a Farming Systems Perspective." This is the type of FSR/E
most frequently conducted under the name of FSR, particularly by
scientists in national agricultural research systems.

3. FARMING SYSTEMS COMPONENT RESEARCH


Farming systems component research (FSCR) refers to station-
based applied and adaptive research on farm subsystems or com-
ponents. Compared with FSAR's focus on the farming system, FSCR
focuses on a specific subsystem or the management of a specific
resource, with the unit of analysis being the field or plot, not
the farming system. Examples of FSCR would include research on
typical small-farm cropping patterns such as intercropping, mixed
cropping, or relay cropping; crop-animal interactions; or stable-
yielding varieties requiring minimal inputs.

FSCR's research agenda is defined either by a station-based
scientist's diagnosis of a constraint affecting the majority of
farmers in a region or by feedback from an FSAR program. Data
generated by FSAR on the management conditions of farming systems
in a region are used by station-based scientists to isolate spe-
cific problems for more in-depth research and to establish more
relevant research priorities. The product of FSCR is prototype
technology that becomes part of the "body of knowledge" upon
which FSAR can draw.

Many farming systems research initiatives of the Interna-
tional Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs) may be classified as
FSCR. A good example is the Bean Program at the International
Center for Tropical Agriculture, where the typical Latin American
small farmer's practice of intercropping maize and climbing beans
is taken as a parameter in on-station experiments aimed at se-
lecting improved bean varieties.

Another example is the rice-based Cropping Systems Program
of the International Rice Research Institution and the Asian
Cropping Systems Network. This program combines FSCR and FSAR in
a process called Cropping Systems Research. Having identified
land scarcity as a major constraint limiting rice production in
South and Southeast Asia, the Cropping Systems Program focuses on
developing technologies to increase cropping intensity. Com-
ponent technologies (short-duration rice varieties and planting
techniques that permit double or relay cropping) generated
through FSCR are tested by national research systems in FSAR
programs aimed at fine-tuning the technologies to the specific








B-3


environment and circumstances of a target group of farming
systems.


4. FARMING SYSTEMS BASELINE DATA ANALYSIS


Farming systems baseline data analysis (FSBDA) aims at de-
veloping a classification of major types of farming systems in an
agroclimatic zone and diagnosing the major constraints in those
systems. The objective is to learn as much as possible about the
resources of a region (zone) and to determine how variations in
climatic factors and resources affect agricultural production.
Socioeconomic factors (e.g., population density or land tenure)
may also be analyzed. Key data sources include base data studies
and large-scale surveys.

Typical FSBDA products are physical resource, climate, and
land-use maps that are useful in classifying the major types of
farming systems in a region. The information may be used by
agricultural scientists to tailor technology development more
closely to the management conditions of a region's farming sys-
tems, and by planners to set general research priorities and to
select sites for more focused FSCR and FSAR.

FSBDA is an in-depth version of the diagnostic or descrip-
tive stage of FSR/E. However, FSBDA (which focuses on an agro-
climatic zone) is executed on a larger scale than FSAR (which
focuses on the farming systems within an agroclimatic zone). The
focus of analysis is the environment and the general configura-
tion of farming systems rather than the internal organization of
a specific type of farming systems. Greater emphasis is placed
on biological and physical than on socioeconomic variables.

IARCs having regional mandates--for example, the Interna-
tional Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
(ICRISAT) and the International Institute for Tropical Agricul-
ture (IITA)--have used FSBDA extensively.


5. NEW FARMING SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT


New farming systems development (NFSD) aims to generate a
broad-based technology designed to overcome major constraints in
a large agroclimatic zone. In contrast to FSAR (which seeks to
develop technology suitable for stepwise modification of existing
farming systems), NFSD seeks to bring about revolutionary change
in the farming systems of a region. Farming systems are defined
primarily in physical and biological terms, with socioeconomic








B-4


factors largely being left out of the technology design process.
It is assumed that socioeconomic circumstances will have to be
subsequently adapted, most likely through government interven-
tion. Research station studies (e.g., on-station experiments)
provide the key data source, although FSA, FSCR, and FSBDA may
provide supplementary data.

IITA's program to develop a more stable and productive agri-
cultural system to replace shifting cultivation in the humid and
subhumid tropics provides a good example of NFSD. This research,
involving minimal on-farm research, is primarily station-based
strategic and applied component research.

ICRISAT's program to develop watershed management units for
the semiarid tropics is a second example of NFSD. Technologies
have been developed that improve drainage and enable double crop-
ping on deep Vertisol soils. While the technology has produced
good results in on-station trials and potentially has widespread
application, on-farm trials have revealed major problems with its
acceptability to farmers. This development is not surprising,
given NFSD's lack of attention to socioeconomic factors during
the technology design stage. The research program defined the
watershed management units in physical and biological terms, but
establishment of these units requires that dispersed, individu-
ally owned landholdings be consolidated into a single resource
management unit. The feasibility of such a radical socioeconomic
reorganization within the farming community was not considered
during the technology design stage. Social scientists only be-
came actively involved in the research at the on-farm testing
stage. Design and development of the watershed management units
could have been facilitated and resources probably used more
effectively if socioeconomic factors and farmers' perceptions of
their needs had been incorporated into the research from the
beginning.


6. FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT


Farming systems research and agricultural development
(FSRAD) aims to implement farming systems research as an integral
component of a long-term agricultural development strategy and
program for a target region. Although the farming system (with
its own physical, biological, and socioeconomic interactions) is
the primary unit of analysis, the system's links with the social,
economic, and political environment also are scrutinized to iden-
tify potential leverage points for improved productivity. Thus,
FSRAD includes technological development for major farming sys-
tems as well as reform of agricultural support institutions in
the region. The approach combines research (including mainstream








B-5

agricultural research, FSCR, FSAR, and sometimes NFSD) and devel-
opment (or modification) of agricultural support institutions,
with the objective of increasing overall agricultural produc-
tivity in the region.

In short, FSRAD addresses the common problem encountered in
agricultural development, namely, that even a high-productivity
technology may be useless if agricultural support institutions
are lacking. Rather than treating such institutions as given or
fixed, as FSAR usually does, FSRAD treats them as variables.
Examples of FSRAD include the Puebla project in Mexico, the
Caqueza project in Colombia, and the so-called Francophone ap-
proach to FSR in Africa. FSRAD would appear to be the same as
the so-called farming systems approach to infrastructural support
and policy.








APPENDIX C


EMERGING TRENDS IN FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION


Donor interest in farming systems research and extension
(FSR/E) has not been restricted to the Agency for International
Development (A.I.D.). For example, as Andrew Ker of the Interna-
tional Development Research Centre has stated, that institution
"has been very strongly committed to FSR for the past 15
years....it will stay committed for the next 50" (Poats et al.
1986, 76). While the World Bank has supported the Training &
Visit (T&V) System as an extension model in many countries, in
recent years it has begun to take a greater interest in FSR
(Simmonds 1985). It may be expected that future World Bank ex-
perience with FSR, building on T&V System experience, will lead
to additional refinement in and improved practical application of
the FSR/E concept.

While there is much to be learned from a consideration of
the performance of past FSR/E projects, it may also be helpful to
anticipate what appear to be some of the future trends in FSR/E.


1. CLIENT-ORIENTED FSR/E


Evidence of the continually evolving nature of the FSR/E
concept may be seen in the emerging emphasis on the role of
resource-poor farmers and farmer participatory research in the
agricultural innovation and technology management process. As
Farrington and Martin (1987) have observed,

there has emerged a growing concern to understand the
diverse and complex environments in which [resource-
poor farmers] operate so that...technology can be tail-
ored to suit their circumstances and, more recently, so
that farmers' indigenous technical knowledge...can be
fed into technology development. It is from these
areas of concern...that the concept of farmers' direct
participation in research...has arisen. (P. 1)

The seeds for the emerging emphasis on farmer participatory
research were planted in earlier studies. For example, an impor-
tant variable in implementing FSR/E is the nature of farmer
participation in on-farm activities. In a study of farmer par-
ticipation in on-farm testing of new phosphate fertilization
technologies in Colombia, Ashby (1984) found differences in re-
search outcome depending on the farmer's participatory role (nom-
inal vs. consultative vs. decision-making).








C-2


Scientists working in an FSR/E mode have formulated what
are, in effect, models of farmer participatory research. Harwood
(1979, 33) proposed a method of small farm development in which
"the major emphasis is on production research, planned and car-
ried out by and with the farmers on their own fields." Another
example is provided by the "farmer back to farmer" model devel-
oped at the International Potato Center (Rhoades and Booth 1982).
A third example is the "farmer first and last" model (Chambers
and Jiggins 1986; Chambers, Pacey, and Thrupp 1989). Common to
all of these models is the recognition of the need to orient
research to the farmer as the client. Thus, the term "on farm
client oriented research" (OFCOR) was used in a study of national
agricultural research systems conducted by the International
Service for National Agricultural Research (Biggs 1989; Consulta-
tive Group on International Agricultural Research 1987, 42; Ewell
1988; Merrill-Sands 1988; and Merrill-Sands and McAllister 1988).
This emphasis on farmers' role in research suggests a variant of
FSR/E that may be called "client oriented FSR/E."

2. MARKET-DRIVEN FSR/E


The emergence of the client-oriented FSR/E concept opens the
door to finding new ways to direct, manage, and fund agricul-
tural research and extension. In several countries, A.I.D is
exploring ways to cultivate not only greater private-sector par-
ticipation in but also private sector support and management of
agricultural research and technology transfer. For example, in
Honduras, A.I.D. is assisting the Honduran Agricultural Research
Foundation, a private sector organization that conducts research
aimed at developing Honduras' potential to compete in nontradi-
tional agricultural export markets. In the Dominican Republic,
A.I.D. is assisting the newly created Agricultural Development
Foundation to build its endowment, the income from which will be
used to fund agricultural research on nontraditional agricultural
export crops.

The growing emphasis on stimulating private sector partici-
pation in agricultural research and technology transfer helps
point up the fact that FSR/E could play a more active role in
assisting farmers to identify market opportunities to grow new
nontraditional market and export crops. The evolution of the
FSR/E concept in this direction may be,termed "market-driven
FSR/E."








C-3


3. CLIENT-DIRECTED FSR/E


The emergence of the concepts of "on farm client oriented
research" and "market driven FSR/E" may give rise to yet a third
kind of change in our understanding of what FSR/E is, could be,
or should be. Resource limitations and efficiency considerations
will likely create pressure to find ways, across heterogeneous
agroclimatic zones, to more effectively involve homogeneous
groups of resource-poor farmers in designing, implementing, and
evaluating FSR/E. As FSR/E practitioners gain experience working
with farmers and farmer groups, there will be increased pressure
and opportunity for farmer groups or organizations to play a more
active role in funding, designing, managing, participating in,
and reaping the benefits of FSR/E in particular and agricultural
research and extension in general. Innovative approaches to such
farmer involvement will likely be explored, especially where
progress has been or could be made by providing assistance to
strengthen private sector farmer groups and organizations (e.g.,
USAID/Bolivia's Private Agricultural Producer Organization proj-
ect). Where farmer organizations begin to play a more active
role in agricultural research and extension, not only partici-
pating in agricultural research but also setting the direction
and priorities of such research, the FSR/E concept will evolve in
the direction of what may be termed "client directed FSR/E."

As the FSR/E concept evolves along these three "new" lines,
with increased attention being given to specific issues (gender,
livestock, income, food consumption, sustainability, natural
resource management, policy linkages, methodology development,
and so on), it is likely that A.I.D.-funded projects involving an
FSR/E component will continue to face "old" constraints to imple-
mentation and impact. No form of FSR/E will be able to make the
impact it potentially can unless these core, operational, and
generic constraints are addressed.

Additional perspectives on trends in FSR/E are presented in
Baker and Norman (1988) and Collinson (1988).








APPENDIX D


IMPACT OF FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
PROJECTS ON TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER AND
INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF THE FARMING SYSTEMS APPROACH


The following vignettes from evaluations of the 12 Agency
for International Development (A.I.D.)-funded farming systems
research and extension (FSR/E) projects reviewed indicate that at
least half of the projects encountered major difficulties with
technology development and transfer, institutionalization of the
farming systems concept in agricultural research and extension
systems, or both.


1. TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER


1.1 Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement Project


The second evaluation of the Botswana project found that, by
the project's fourth year, several technologies from station-
based research had been tested in "maximum yield" plots. But
there was "no consistency to performance nor general application
of technology" (A.I.D. 1986, 22). The evaluation concluded that
"few interventions had been sufficiently tested and proven...to
move forward to the dissemination stage" (A.I.D. 1986, 5).


1.2 Lesotho Farming Systems Research Project


By the time of the second evaluation of the Lesotho project,
technical assistance had been provided for nearly 2 years (Martin
et al. 1981). However, there was no evidence that farmers were
adopting the improved agricultural practices developed by the
project. The evaluation concluded that the research under way
would

need to be carried on for a number of years before a
proven technology exists which can be disseminated on a
broad basis to the farming community. Accordingly, it
is uncertain whether or not the Project will reach the
stated objective of reaching five percent of the house-
holds in the project area with enterprise mixes.
(Martin et al. 1981, 25)

In the evaluators' view, "the normal start-up period of settling
in and getting organized to do agricultural research work" had
impeded achievement of project outputs. Thus, it was too early







D-2


to determine how farmers would accept new practices or tech-
nologies (Martin et al. 1981, 21). During the 2 years following
the second evaluation, the project made progress with on-farm
trials. But the third evaluation cautioned that "significant
adoption probably cannot be expected to occur before the 1984-85
or the 1985-86 cropping seasons....Verification and demonstra-
tion must occur before adoption can be expected" (Dunn 1983, 36).


1.3 Senegal Agricultural Research and Planning Proiect


The midterm evaluation of the Senegal project highlighted
the difficulty of evaluating a project that is a part of a longer
term effort to strengthen the research capacity of a national
agricultural research institute. When the Senegal project was
initiated, there was a recognition that some of its components
might be difficult to evaluate during the project's early years.
Given

the long...time (10 to 15 years) necessary to improve
agricultural research systems in Senegal (as in most
developing countries), the implementers recognized that
progress toward this objective might not be clearly
measurable in the first phase of the.project. (St.
Louis, Casey, and Pham 1985, 2)

Overall, the evaluation noted dissatisfaction over the "lack of
results" of production systems research. But the evaluation also
noted a dilemma centering

around trying to improve farmer production systems as
soon as possible while being fairly certain that...re-
commendations are solid. [Production systems research]
tries to account for the complexity of a...system and
how changes can be expected to influence it. This...
puts [production systems research] into an extensive
timeframe, but...increases...certainty that recommenda-
tions can and will be adopted by farmers with a high
probability of success.....Compared to the potential
costs in both financial terms and in farmer morale due
to rapid dissemination of "inappropriate technology,"
the longer term payoff of the current data collection
and analysis methods...could very well justify the
delay. (St. Louis, Casey, and Pham 1985, 61)








D-3


1.4 Tanzania Farming Systems Research Project


The Tanzania project provides an example of the negative
impact on technology development that results when A.I.D. support
for an FSR/E project is provided for only a short time and is
then cut off. This project sought to introduce farming systems
research in the Tanzanian Agricultural Research Organization.
Despite the project's early success with "Kito" maize, implemen-
tation was curtailed when application of the Brooke amendment
required USAID/Tanzania to reduce funding to its projects. The
Project Completion Report found that the project had fallen short
of its targets: farming systems research had been introduced "on
too limited a scale and conducted for too short a time to have
had any significant impact" (Faught 1986, 15).


1.5 Philippines Farming Systems Development Project


The first evaluation found that the Philippines project had,
during its first 2 years, "brought about the beginning of an
understanding of the dynamics of farming systems and the prac-
tices and concepts of farming systems research" (Mazo et al.
1983, Foreword). While the project made progress during the next
2 years in introducing new technologies in the form of improved
crop varieties and management practices, the second evaluation
was "unable to identify technologies completely ready for broad
extension" (Sajise et al. 1985, 27).


1.6 Regional Office for Central America and Panama (ROCAP) Small
Famer Production Systems


The first evaluation of this project found the project's
staff troubled by the requirement to develop technology packages
for mixed farming systems, and it noted that the the project's
success "depends primarily upon successfully achieving other
outputs--development of methodologies, institutionalization of
the methodologies, and training of country personnel--rather than
on development of technology alone" (Mann et al. 1981, 8). Of
course, training nationals in FSR/E, developing farming systems
methodologies, and institutionalizing the farming systems ap-
proach required a longer timeframe than the project provided.








D-4


2. INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF FSR/E


2.1 Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement Project


The second Botswana project evaluation found that the proj-
ect's Logical Framework had been revised when it became

apparent that the original [Logical Framework] was
overly optimistic and unrealistic. While [the project]
is already identifying technical changes which will
work under specific conditions, it is not likely that
these will increase grain production by 10 percent or
increase per capital income by 10 percent (as stated in
the original [Logical Framework]). (A.I.D. 1986, 6)

Changes of such a magnitude, the evaluation noted, could only
come about with favorable weather and a longer term FSR/E effort.

Accordingly, USAID/Botswana's revised Logical Framework for
the project identified institutionalization of the farming sys-
tems approach as a key project output. Indeed, one project out-
put read: "Institutionalization of FSR, with corresponding
organizational structures and systems, will be in place and oper-
ating effectively" (A.I.D. 1986, 8). By the second evaluation,
however, institutionalization was no longer expected to take
place

before the end of the present [technical assistance]
contract. Rather,...the project will have provided
sufficient experience and empirical evidence by the
[Project Assistance Completion Date] to demonstrate
whether...the FSR approach should be institutionalized.
(A.I.D. 1986, 6)

The Project Assistance Completion Date (PACD) was extended
to provide an additional year in which to test the FSR approach.
The evaluation concluded that Botswana's severe agroclimatic
conditions had not given the project "an opportunity to fully
test the effectiveness of an FSR approach or develop technologies
appropriate to varying rainfall conditions" (A.I.D. 1986, 5).
Extending the PACD would provide the added time and level of
effort needed to draw conclusions about the appropriateness of
FSR in Botswana, and would provide the Ministry of Agriculture
"time to solidify [its] views on the appropriateness of in-
stitutionalizing the FSR approach on a national scale" (A.I.D.
1986, 6).







D-5


2.2 Lesotho Farming Systems Research Project


One objective of the Lesotho project was to develop an FSR
Unit, but the second evaluation concluded that the project's
designers had been unrealistic in thinking that an FSR Unit could
be established as a separate unit within a newly created Research
Division. Further, the evaluation found "a divergence [of]
thought on the...extent to which a Farming Systems Research Unit
is being or should be established within the Research Division"
(Martin et al. 1981, 8). Many Research Division professionals
felt that the technical assistance team should support the build-
ing of the entire division. The evaluation recommended that the
project reduce "its visibility as a Farming Systems Project,"
that the the FSR Unit not be established, and that the project
identify more closely with the Research Division, focusing its
resources on institutionalizing an effective research and exten-
sion capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture by orienting the
project "to the development of the Research Division as a
National Institution" (Martin et al. 1981, 23).

While the objective of establishing an FSR Unit had not been
officially changed by the time of the third evaluation, all par-
ties (Government of Lesotho, the technical assistance team, and
USAID/Lesotho) agreed that the project should strengthen the
overall Research Division program rather than establish an FSR
Unit. With the technical assistance team's departure, the final
evaluation concluded that the Research Division had not yet de-
veloped an adaptive research capability (Frolik and Thompson
1986, 28). The evaluators felt that the division lacked the
institutional capacity

to carry out an effective adaptive research program
without continuing technical assistance. The critical
mass of personnel is lacking in all sections and col-
lectively. Some disciplines received little, if any,
support from the FSR project. Capacity to plan, lead,
and implement an effective, well-balanced, adaptive
research program is a critical need. (Frolik and
Thompson 1986, iii)


2.3 Tanzania Farming Systems Research Project


The Tanzania project was carried out within the fairly new
Tanzania Agricultural Research Organization (Jackson and Osburn
1986). But the project's design had divorced the Tanzania Agri-
cultural Research Organization from the research organization it
represented. A former technical assistance team member stated:








D-6


"Institutionalization [of FSR/EJ should have begun within the
research center at Ilonga, not in this hypothetical organization
that was ostensibly created to unify all the research in the
country" (A. Cunard, personal communication). The Project Com-
pletion Report concluded that FSR/E "failed to establish a firm
organizational niche within the Government structure" (Faught
1986, 4).


2.4 Nepal Agricultural Research and Production Project


The midterm evaluation of the Nepal project found that the
lack of permanent personnel in the Farming Systems Research and
Development and the Socioeconomic Research and Extension Divi-
sions contributed to the difficulty the project had in meeting
its targets for placing participants in degree programs.

Only three of ten degree candidates had been sent for
higher education, mostly as a result of the shortage of
permanent staff positions within the offices scheduled
to receive training assistance. In some situations
[this] has led to the local hire of technical assis-
tants by [the technical assistance contractor] as an
emergency measure to implement Project programs and/or
to provide counterpart staff to the expatriate ad-
visors. (Rood et al. 1988, 64-65)

Thus, the project "had not been as effective or efficient as
hoped in promoting an understanding of FSR" (Rood et al. 1988,
15).


2.5 Honduras Agricultural Research Project


The Honduras project sought to institutionalize improved
agricultural research methods. The third evaluation noted that
this effort entailed institutionalizing a Central Unit for Tech-
nical Support (UNAT), "making that specialized technical support
and training unit part of the regular...bureaucracy so that it
continued as part of [the Ministry of Natural Resources (MRN)]
after project assistance ended. Honduran technical leadership
and [Government'of Honduras] funding commitments are essential
for institutionalization to succeed" (Hansen et al. 1984, 17).
However, the Government of Honduras did not make a commitment to
UNAT in terms of budgeting staff positions for FSR/E. As the
evaluation noted:







D-7


None of the [Honduras Agricultural Research project]
professionals occupy regular DIA [Department of Agri-
cultural Research] line positions. There are no insti-
tutionalized positions so no one is really counter-
parting anyone. Counterparting refers to the situation
where one person has a regular position and is advised
by someone. In [this project] no one has a regular
position; all are paid, directly or indirectly, by
USAID, and none have established DIA jobs.

UNAT does not really exist except on paper, so there is
no obvious bureaucratic home for [the project]....[The
project] works and is housed in region 3...[but] it
does not answer to the...MRN Regional Director. Al-
though [the project] is apparently an MRN group it
works semiautonomously, publishes reports that do not
credit MRN or DIA as a sponsor, [and] deals with non-
MRN institutions such as [the Centro Universitario
Regional de Litoral Atlantico]. (Hansen et al. 1984,
17)


2.6 ROCAP Small Farmer Production Systems


The third evaluation of the ROCAP project noted that the
Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Center (CATIE) is
funded along project lines. As a result, the center may lose,
from one project to the next, personnel who gained experience on
an earlier project. The evaluation's "prognosis for continued
FSR/E work at CATIE" was "pessimistic" (Zimet et al. 1986, 5-6).
On this latter point, the evaluation stated:

Even though some personnel that worked under the FSR
project are presently working on other CATIE projects,
such as Integrated Pest Management..., they are not
applying the FSR methodology. This is particularly
distressing in several cases where the [evaluation]
team believes that the [farming systems] approach would
enhance the other projects.....Given this situation...,
it is not possible for the team to state that the proj-
ect 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 [Small Farmer
Production Systems] project. (Zimet et al. 1986, 12-
13)







APPENDIX E


A.I.D.-FUNDED FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
PROJECTS REVIEWED: PROJECT DESCRIPTION SHEETS


This appendix provides, for each farming systems research
and extension (FSR/E) project reviewed, a project description
sheet that identifies the core, operational, and generic con-
straints found in each project. The specific constraints iden-
tified in each project are noted by the coding system below. If
a project coped effectively with constraints, the constraint code
is followed by a plus (+) sign. The constraints are fully
described in Section 3 of the main report.

Core Constraints:

1. Farmer orientation
2. Farmer participation
3. Locational specificity of technical and human factors
4. Problem-solving approach
5. Systems orientation
6. Interdisciplinary approach
7. Complementarity with commodity and discipline research
8. Technology testing in on-farm trials
9. Feedback to shape
a. Agricultural research priorities
b. Agricultural policies

Operational Constraints

1. Stakeholder understanding of FSR/E
2. Agricultural research policy/strategy defining role of
FSR/E
3. Long-term commitment of resources
4. Existing research capability and shelf technology
5. Consensus on FSR/E methodology
6. Capability to process farming systems data
7. Consensus on criteria for evaluating FSR/E
8. Links with extension
9. Links with agricultural support services
10. Links with farmer organizations

Generic Constraints:

1. Project management structure
2. Government funding to meet recurrent costs
3. Staffing with trained personnel
4. Management of training
5. Management of technical assistance
6. Factors beyond a project's control








E-2


1. BOTSWANA AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY
IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (611-0201)


Initial Authorization: 1981 (for 5 years)

Goal: "To improve the welfare of small farmers and increase
national food production through the development, extension and
adoption of relevant technology."

Purpose: "To improve the capacity of the Ministry of Agricul-
ture's research and extension programs to develop and effectively
extend farming systems recommendations relevant to the needs of
the small farmer." Project subpurposes included the following:

-- To improve the capacity of the Department of Agricul-
tural Research (DAR) to develop technologies appropriate
for small-farmer needs.

-To improve the capacity of the extension service to
transfer technologies that can be utilized by small
farmers and strengthen and institutionalize the linkage
between research and extension departments.

Outputs:

1. Strategy developed for agricultural research emphasizing
small farmers ("farming systems approach to research")
2. New technologies tested on farmers' fields
3. New technologies tested at the DAR, based on ideas ini-
tiated by FSR and extension
4. Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board seed production
unit completed and functioning

Implementing Agency: Department of Agricultural Research, Min-
istry of Agriculture.

Technical Assistance Contractor: Mid-America International Agri-
cultural Consortium, with Kansas State University as lead
university.

Evaluations: Two external evaluations--in 1984 (Francis et al.
1984) and in 1986 (A.I.D. 1986).

Constraints: Core--4, 6, 9a(+), 9b; Operational--l, 2, 4, 5, 6,
8; Generic--2, 3, 4, 5, 6







E-3


2. THE GAMBIA MIXED FARMING AND RESOURCE
MANAGEMENT PROJECT (635-0203)


Initial Authorization: 1979 (for 4 years)

Goal: "To increase the economic well-being of the rural people
of The Gambia."

Purpose: "To foster intensification and integration of crop and
livestock enterprises within existing Gambian farming systems so
as to contribute to increasing net rural family incomes on an
ecologically sound sustained yield basis."

Outputs: This project was not conceived, designed, or initially
implemented as an FSR/E project; thus it did not have explicitly
stated FSR/E outputs. The project contained seven subprojects
aimed at:

1. Developing land classification maps
2. Improving livestock nutrition and grazing management
policies
3. Initiating programs to improve forage production and
management program for increasing the supply of live-
stock feed
4. Improving rural transportation and on-farm use of animal
traction
5. Improving the health and nutritional status of livestock
6. Recognizing the socioeconomic characteristics of small
farmers
7. Training Government personnel to implement a mixed farm-
ing policy
8. Increasing Gambian production and use of maize for human
and animal consumption

The objective of the fifth (socioeconomic) component was to plan
and evaluate projects, not to participate in and support the
development of FSR/E. However, during implementation, the proj-
ect began, albeit only slowly and to a limited extent, to engage
in FSR/E-type activities in collaboration with other project
components (e.g., maize).

Implementing Agency: Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Re-
sources, and the Ministry's Socioeconomic Unit.

Technical Assistance Contractor: Consortium for International
Development, with Colorado State University as lead university.







E-4


Evaluations: Two--an early midterm evaluation in April 1983
(Osburn et al. 1983), and a final evaluation in March 1986 (Corty
et al. 1986).

Constraints: Core--4, 6, 8; Operational--3, 6, 7, 9, 10;
Generic--l, 2, 3, 5, 6


3. LESOTHO FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH PROJECT (632-0065)


Initial Authorization: 1978 (for 5 years)

Goal: "To improve the quality of rural life" and "to increase
rural income from agriculture."

Purpose: To assist the newly established Research Division of
the Ministry of Agriculture in conducting agricultural research
"to create more productive agricultural enterprise mixes which
are acceptable to farmers, sensitive to farmers' management
ability, appropriate to resource availability, and protective of
the land base." Also, "to develop effective means to reach farm-
ers and gain their understanding and acceptance of the practices
recommended."

Outputs:

1. Farming Systems Research (FSR) Unit
2. Farming systems program
3. Strategies for reaching farmers
4. Trained Basotho personnel
5. Research and information database
6. Agricultural research library

Implementing Agency: Research Division, Ministry of Agriculture

Technical Assistance Contractor: Consortium for International
Development, with Washington State University as lead university.

Evaluations: Four--a preliminary evaluation in 1980 (Dunn and
Bahl 1980), an interim evaluation in 1981 (Martin et al. 1981), a
special evaluation in 1983 (Dunn 1983), and a final evaluation in
1986 (Frolik and Thompson 1986).

Constraints: Core--l, 3, 4, 7; Operational--l, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
8, 9, 10; Generic--2, 3, 4, 5







E-5


4. MALAWI AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH PROJECT (612-0202)


Initial Authorization: 1979 (for 5 years)

Goal: "To increase agricultural production and real incomes of
smallholders."

Purpose: To strengthen the capability of the Ministry of Agri-
culture's Department of Agricultural Research "to provide so-
cially acceptable and economically sound research for smallholder
needs in satisfactory quality and quantity and in a form usable
by the extension services."

Outputs: Not an FSR project per se, but did provide support for
two new sections in the Department of Agricultural Research:
Farming Systems Analysis and Agricultural Economics. Outputs
included strengthened quality and quantity of research programs
in crop, livestock, and technical areas relevant to smallholders;
field trials completed by technical assistance team and counter-
part staff; and technology packages developed.

Implementing Agency: Department of Agricultural Research,
Ministry of Agriculture.

Technical Assistance Contractor: University of Florida.

Evaluations: Two--a midterm evaluation in 1981 (Thorne 1981)
when most of the technical assistance team members were arriving
at post, and a second evaluation in 1983 (Baker et al. 1983).

Constraints: Core--3, 4, 6, 9; Operational--1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8;
Generic--1, 2, 3, 4, 5


5. SENEGAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND
PLANNING PROJECT (685-0223)


Initial Authorization: 1981 (for 5 years)

Goal: "To increase the capacity of the Government of Senegal to
more effectively plan and evaluate agricultural development po-
licies and projects."

Purpose: The project had three subpurposes:

-- "To develop Senegalese agricultural research capacity
through in-country, third country, and long-term over-
seas training and through participation in the design







E-6


and execution of production systems research and macro-
economic research programs."

"To carry out macroeconomic research on food, nutrition,
and agricultural policies...to provide guidance to
policymakers on economic and institutional constraints
on agricultural production and marketing.with emphasis
on the food grain subsector and food security."

"To assist in organizing and carrying out production
systems research in major ecological zones in order to
identify social, economic, technical, and institutional
constraints on present farming systems and develop im-
proved technical packages which are biologically stable,
privately profitable, and socially acceptable."

Outputs:

1. Production systems studies, on-farm trials of improved
technical packages for "recommendation domains"
2. Macroeconomic studies of the agricultural sector
3. Upgraded technical and professional skills for
researchers
4. Expanded collection of socioeconomic documents in the
Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute's Documenta-
tion and Information Service and improved documentation
in two research stations
5. Improved computer capacity for the Production Systems
Research and macroeconomic programs

Implementing Agency: Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Re-
search, Government of Senegal.

Technical Assistance Contractor: Michigan State University.

Evaluations: One--in July 1985, at the end of the project's
fourth year (St. Louis, Casey, and Pham 1985).

Constraints: Core--2(+), 3, 4, 9b(+); Operational--l, 4, 5, 6,
6(+); Generic--l, 2, 3, 4(+), 5(+), 6


6. TANZANIA FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH PROJECT (621-0156)


Initial Authorization: 1982 (for 3 years)

Goal: "Increase per capital food production. Better yielding and
more profitable crop varieties and practices developed and dis-
persed to farmers."




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