Citation
Generating small farm technology : an integrated multidisciplinary system

Material Information

Title:
Generating small farm technology : an integrated multidisciplinary system
Creator:
Hildebrand, Peter E.
Place of Publication:
Guatemala, C.A.
Publisher:
Sector Publico Agricola, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
33 p. ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricolas (Guatemala) ( LCSH )
Farming ( LCSH )
Caribbean ( LCSH )
Agriculture ( LCSH )
Farm life ( LCSH )
Farms, Small -- Guatemala ( LCSH )
Agriculture -- Technology transfer -- Guatemala ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
Guatemala.
Caribbean

Notes

General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
"An invited paper prepared for presentation of the 12th West Indian Agricultural Economics Conference, Caribbean Agro-Economic Society, 24-30 April, 1977, in Antigua.
General Note:
Includes bibliographical references (p. 33).
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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GENERATING SMALL FARM TECHNOLOGY:
AN INTEGRATED MULTIDISCIPLINARY SYSTEM


Peter E. Hildebrand










An invited paper prepared for presentation at the

12th West Indian Agricultural Economics Conference
Caribbean Agro-Economic Society
24-30 April, 1977
In Antigua














Socioeconomfa Rural
INSTITUTE DE CIENCIA Y TECNOLOGIA AGRICOLAS
SECTOR PUBLIC AGRICOLA
GUATEMALA, C. A.
April, 1977











GENERATING SMALL FARM TECHNOLOGY:

AN INTEGRATED MULTIDISCIPLINARY SYSTEM




Peter E. Hildebrand 1


INTRODUCTION

The Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA) is a

young and dynamic entity, inaugurated less than four years ago to generate and pro-
2
mote agricultural technology Emphasis has been on the basic grains and the small

and medium farm sector. Because this sector is comprised largely of traditional farm-

ers who have remained mostly outside the influence of modem technological innova-

tions, it was envisioned at the time of formation of the Institute that a new method of
3
attack would be required to achieve the goals proposed by the government. Included

in the conceptualization of the methodology were several key points:


1. Because the conditions and farming systems of the traditional farmer were

not known, an understanding of his agro-socioeconomic situation would have to be


1 Agricultural Economist, The Rockefeller Foundation, assigned as Coordinador de
Socioeconomra Rural, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologra Agrrcolas (ICTA), Guate-
mala. Special thanks are extended to Ing. Astolfo Fumagalli, Subgerente of ICTA,
for helpful comments and suggestions.
2 Created by law in October, 1972, and inaugurated on May 10, 1973.
3 Emphasis on the traditional farm sector does not exclude realizing benefits for com-
mercial farmers who utilize much of the seed developed, as well as the fertilizer,
pest control and other recommendations produced.






- 17


the starting point from which to generate improved technology appropriate to his needs.


2. Traditional farmers tend to possess inferior land and farm in such diverse con-

ditions that most experimental work would need to be undertaken on farms rather than

on experiment stations, most of which tend to be on the better lands.


3. Farmers should be directly involved in the research process to assure the prac-

ticality of the technology being generated.


4. Final evaluation should be based on the acceptance of the technology by the

farmers and not on its desirability from the technician's point of view; that is, a tech-

nology would not be considered "good", or "useful" or "successful until and unless it

was being used by the farmers for whom it was generated.


These points implied the formation of an Institute which departed significantly

from the usual organization, and would require the incorporation of the social sciences

to help identify and interpret the problems of the traditional farmers. Realizing that

there was no one model to use as a starting point, rather several models, each one im-

parting some desirable aspects, the Institute has always operated on the principle of

innovation and flexibility in its organization and operational procedures. Hence, what

is discussed in this paper at the present time will surely be modified somewhat over the

next few months just as this presentation incorporates modifications which took form

over the last few months. It should be noted, however, that these changes do not

create divergences but rather always help us converge on an organization that we sense






-3-


is "optimum" but only little by little are able to conceive. An important characteris-

tic of the Institute, and one that has been valuable in maintaining flexibility, is that

the top administrators are highly qualified technicians who also have experience at

top levels of the national government.


The history of the development of the present methodology would, in itself, make

an interesting study, but will not be included in this paper. Rather, an attempt will

be made to present the philosophy and structure of this methodology and the theoretical

basis (when appropriate) on which it has been based. First, the organization of the Pub-

lic Agricultural Sector will be presented, and then the general organization and opera-

tion of ICTA. The integrated, multidisciplinary system that functions at the regional

or subregional level will be discussed in detail and some examples of non-traditional

technology for traditional farmers will be given.





ICTA AND THE PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

The Ministry of Agriculture is organized on the concept of a coordinated, region-

alized and decentralized public service sector. There are four principal decentralized

agencies:


4 See apprendix.
5 Several steps in the evolution of the methodology are included in the following ref-
erences: Grupo de Trabajo III, 1971; Congreso de la Rep6blica de Guatemala, 1972;
Waugh, 1973; Hildebrand, 1976; and ICTA, 1976.







-4-


1. Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologra Agrrcolas (ICTA), responsible for generating

and promoting agricultural technology;


2. Banco Nacional de Desarrollo Agrrcola (BANDESA), which provides farm credit;

3o Intituto Nacional de Comercializaci6n Agrrcola (INDECA), which administers

the price support, crop storage and import program; and


4, Instituto Nacional Forestal (INAFOR), the National Forest Institute.


In addition a non-decentralized agency, DIGESA, maintains the extension activ-

ities, credit assistance and some other centralized administrative functions. The agrar-

ian reform institute (INTA) operates directly under the President of the country.


Representatives of each of the decentralized agencies form regional committees

presided over by the regional representative of Dl GESAo These committees coordinate

activities at the regional level, and in many aspects, serve as pressure groups to funnel

local needs and problems back to the national advisory committee of the sector, COSU-

CO, comprised of the Directors of the above agencies. This committee in turn, acts

as an advisor to the Minister.




ICTA ORGANIZATION

ICTA is governed by a board of directors comprised of the Ministers of Agricul-

ture, Economy and Finance, the Secretary General of the National Economic Planning







-5-


Council, the Dean of Agriculture of San Carlos University, the head of INTA (Agrar-

ian Reform) and an outside member chosen by the Board. The Manager (Gerente) of

ICTA and those of the other entities in the Public Agricultural Sector serve as advisors

to the governing board.


The Institute is managed by the Gerente, and is organized into three main sec-

tions:

1o Administrative and financial services

2o Programming, and

3o Technical production


The technical production unit (Figure 1) is the heart of the Institute and contains

the majority of the personnel. Most of these, in turn, are assigned to regions rather

than the central offices. In the technical unit there are no departments nor department

heads, a designation which tends to create islands, each of which is separated from the

others. To avoid this tendency, each group within the technical unit is headed by a

Coordinator, most of whom have national responsibilities.


Two distinct kinds of groups are recognized:

1. Commodity production programs, and

2. Support disciplines


The Corn Program, for example, assumes primary responsibility for generating

corn production technology, and in this task the Disciplines provide support activities.






ORGANIZATION


ADMINISTRATIVE
& FINANCIAL


TECHNICAL UNIT
FOR PRODUCTION


ADMINISTRATIk
SERVICES
PERSONNEL
FINANCES
ACCOUNTING


I


BEANS I
a, WHEAT C I
RICE I CE
I SORGHUM E
a HORTICULTURE 0o
SWINE
|L SOYBEAN-SESAME _


FIGURE I


GENERAL
PLANNING


I Centralized Activities
-- Regional Execution of Programs
-__jRegional Execution of Programs


OF I CTA


I


fO\ DRM







-7-


At the national level, the Coordinators of.programs and disciplines form a technical co-

ordinating committee chaired by the Director of the Technical Unit, which reviews re-

sults, coordinates recommendations and approves new projects.


In each region, ICTA is represented by a Regional Director who is responsible ad-

ministratively to the Gerente and technically to the Director of the Technical Unit. All

coordinators of programs and disciplines who have projects in the region form a coordi-

nating and advisory committee at the level of the Regional Director, Figure 2. Within

a region, a representative of the Regional Director (or the Director, himself) is in

charge of each project area. Personnel of all programs and disciplines who work in a

project area form an integrated and multidisciplinary "Regional Team" and it is at this

level that the majority of the technical work is conducted.





THE INTEGRATED, MULTIDISCIPLINARY SYSTEM

The work of the regional team the generation and promotion of technology-

is divided into five broadly defined activities:


1. Agro-socioeconomic studies

2. Germplasm selection

3. :Farm Trials

4. Farmers' tests

5. Evaluation









REGIONAL
DIRECTOR


COORDINATORS OF
PROGRAMS AND
DISCIPLINES


I I


PROJECT AREA
REPRESENTATIVE


PROJECT AREA
REPRESENTATIVE


REGIONAL
EXPERIMENT
STATIONS


PROGRAM AND1
DISCIPLINE STAFF


PROGRAM AND
DISCIPLINE STAFF


FIGURE 2. REGIONAL ORGANIZATION OF ICTA


t


--








-9-


Except for the early stages of germplasm selection and some basic work in agronomic

practices, which is conducted.at the regional experiment stations, all of the activities

are conducted on farms and mostly with farmer participation.



AGRO-SOCIOECONOMIC STUDIES

As a regional team is formed to work in a new area, the first activity is a recon-

naissance to define a target group of farmers homogeneous with respect to their tradi-

tional farming systems and technology (agro-socioeconomic characteristics) and delimit

the zone within which this group is an important section of the farm population. The

theoretical premise for selecting the target farmers and work area on this basis is that

farmers who are homogeneous with respect to their traditional cropping systems have

been selected by a long, natural process into a group with common agro-socioeconomic

characteristics and are responding in a similar manner to the most important limiting

factors they face. The task of the regional team is to identify the common factors or

agro-socioeconomic characteristics and then assess the relative importance of each to

the generation of improved technology. The obvious advantage of this procedure over -

choosing a target group by farm size or political boundary or other artificial parameter,

is that the factors the "homogeneous group" have in common are those that affect their

agricultural technology -.and those are the ones with which the team must be con-

cerned.


The reconnaissance and survey are usually completed in the period between crop

seasons and depth of interview rather than number of interviews is stressed. The purpose









- 10 -


of the survey is not to obtain benchmark information but to identify factors and problems

important in generating technology. Although some preliminary cost information is ob-

tained in the survey, it is based on recall and is not sufficiently accurate to use in eco-

nomic analyses of farm trial data. For this and other reasons, a minimum of 25 collabo-

rators are chose to initiate farm records immediately after the survey is completed. This

number is increased to at least 50 in the second and succeeding years and the informa-

tion serves as a basis for monitoring change and the acceptance of technology. The farm

records are simple forms on which the farmer notes each day, for each crop, the work he

has done, on what area, with what contracted and family labor, and the inputs which

were used. Other information such as planting distances, populations, varieties, etc.,

are obtained in discussions on the frequent visits made by ICTA personnel. Through

these periodic visits, the farmers become permanent contacts for the technicians, and

are useful sounding boards on which to test new ideas or to provide information on gen-

eral problems which in less personal situations may never be discussed.



FARM TRIALS (ENSAYOS DE FINCA)

The survey information is analyzed by the regional team, who use it to plan farm

trials in which existing varieties are tested and agronomic practices are explored and

to orient plant breeders in their germplasma selection process, Figure 3. In the first

year, one of the primary purposes of the farm trials, for which ICTA and the farmers

share expenses,is for the members of the team to familiarize themselves first hand with

the farmers' systems and to continue the process of identifying problems and limitations.


















AGRO-SOCIOECONOMIC
INFORMATION


PUBLIC
AGRICULTURAL
SECTOR


EXPERIMENT
STATION


FARM TRIALS
AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
VARIETY TESTS


FIGURE 3. UTILIZATION OF FARM SURVEY
INFORMATION


FARMERS
1


I






- !2-


For this reason, the number of trials should be small, the design should be flexible to

permit changes when they seem desirable, and the technicians should work very closely

with farmers from the target group, using them as advisors and not just workers. A lim-

ited number of the most promising varieties can be screened in the first year and prelim-

inary fertilizer response work can also be included. But the nature of these latter activ-

ities should not interfere with the primary purpose of the first year's trials -becoming

thoroughly familiar with the target farmers, their traditional technology, and the proj-

ect area,


Two different types of Farm Trials are used. The first, which could be termed

Basic Farm Trials or Technical Trials (Ensayos Agrot4cnicos) are used when the trial

needs to be replicated to provide information on response for each specific site. These

are usually, though not necessarily, conducted in more than one location within the

zone and include variety trials as well as work on agronomic practices, In most cases

the check treatment is a representative, traditional technology of the region.


Before a practice or "technology" can be passed to farmers for Farmers' Tests,

Figure 4, the ICTA technicians (Regional team, Coordinators and Regional Director)

must be satisfied that the practice works, that it is practical for the target farmers of

the area, and that it is economical (in the broad sense of the term). To satisfy these

criteria, promising practices and/or materials usually will be subjected to "Agro-eco-

nomic Trials" (Ensayos Agroecon6micos). These trials are designed to provide economic

as well as agronomic information on a region (rather than a site) basis; hence, there










GENERATION

TESTING


GERM PLASM TECHNICAL FARMERS'
SELECTION FARM ---- TESTS
AND TRIALS
BASIC
AGRONOMIC AGRO ECONOMIC
PRACTICES FARM -
STRIALS



FIGURE 4. PROCEDURE FOR TESTING TECHNOLOGY







- 14 -


should be many trials, well distributed throughout the area but they are not replicated

at each location. The number of treatments is usually quite limited and one of them

must be the traditional technology (usually the technology of each farmer rather than

one standard, representative technology, more often used in the technical trials). Eco-

nomic as well as agronomic records are maintained and both economic and agronomic

analyses are made. Estimates of risk associated with each treatment or practice are

calculated to aid in assessing potential effect on farmers who may adopt the technology.



FARMERS' TESTS (PARCELAS DE PRUEBA)

In the Farm Trials, the ICTA technicians evaluate the technology being produced.

A critical aspect of the Farmers' Tests is that the farmer is the prime evaluator. The

technician becomes an interested spectator who obtains what information he can from

the trial, but the information obtaining procedure should not interfere with the farmer's

capability to judge the practice for himself. It is important that the practice be con-

ducted strictly by the farmer with only the technical advice of the technician. This is

different from the Farm Trial in which it is the technician who is responsible for con-

ducting the work, Another very important aspect of Farmers' Tests is that the farmer

pays for all costs except technical assistance. In other words, he is a full partner in

the testing procedure.


The ideal Farmers' Tests includes two, three or at most four equal and similar sites

on the farm. Each should be large enough to be significant for the farmer, to insure he

gives them the attention they merit. On one, the farmer plants in his accustomed manner







- 15 -


and on the other or others he plants according to the technology being tested. This

technology must be simple enough that he can comprehend and conduct it himself.6

Where possible, differences in time requirements and inputs used, both on the farmer's

own plot as well as actual use on the "ICTA" plot, should be determined and recorded.

Yield information should also be obtained. These data provide much more realistic in-

formation on how the practice or technology will work in the hands of the farmers and,

in particular, provide much better estimates of the risk factor than is available from

the Farm Trials. But if the farmer indiscriminately harvests the two plots and yield data

are not available, the test should not be considered lost, because the farmer obviously

has made up his mind about the practice. Whether his decision is positive or negative,

he has evaluated the technology and the following planting season, his decision will

be evident in what he does.


Although ICTA does not have extension responsibilities (they are in DIGESA) it is

obvious that Farmers' Tests (and to some extent Farm Trials) initiate the process of tech-

nology transfer. Recognizing that the Institute must promote the use of its technology

over a sufficiently wide number of cases to validate its evaluation process, this amount

of promotion or transfer is considered appropriate for research purposes. The coordina-


6 This simple technology is a choice of one, two or at most three alternatives such as
a new variety alone or a new variety plus fertilizer, We have found in testing com-
plete and complex "technological packages", that the farmer may select two or three
not necessarily complementary parts, and may be worse off than before. Simplified
technology can also have an important influence on credit policy. Technological
packages are sufficiently complex that credit programs tend to lend for almost all
expenses. With simple technology, only the small additional cost needs to be con-
sideredo







- 16 -


tion of this activity with extension is covered in another section.



E VALUATION

It is in the year following the Farmers' Tests, that ICTA again becomes the eval-

uator. This time, the evaluation is with regard to the acceptance or rejection of the
7
technology by the farmers who conducted the Tests. If a high proportion put the tech-

nology into practice over a large part of their land, it can be considered well accepted.

In this case, it can be recommended to the Extension Service as a technology that will

be readily received. When the farmers reject the practice, attempts are made to deter-

mine why, and then if it still looks promising, it will go back to one of the previous

steps in the technology generating process for further development. If the practice has

been rejected for reasons which cannot immediately be corrected, it joins the pool of

basic information for future use and reference.


The farm records provide information which is used for longer run evaluation on

changes in practices and yields; and comprise a more representative sample than of only

those farmers who participated in Farmers' Tests. Ultimately, a completely randomized

sample of all target farmers will need to be conducted to determine adoption of tech-

nologies, but this has not been undertaken in any area to date.





7 Two reports on evaluations have been published: Busto Brol, eto al., 1976 and Rua-
no, et, al., 1977.







- 17 -


COORDINATION WITH OTHER ENTITIES

Figure 5 shows a more complete picture of this integrated, multidisciplinary ap-

proach to the generation and promotion of technology for small, traditional farmers.

Three factors in this figure were not discussed previously: 1) the inputs to the system

from international centers, universities, industry, etc.; 2) the product from the agro-

socioeconomic studies which goes to the other entities within the Public Agricultural

Sector; and 3) the relationship to other entities, both public and private, with respect

to the transfer of the technology to the target farmers and for other purposes.


The two public agencies with which ICTA has the closest relationship are DIGE-

SA (extension and credit assistance) and BANDESA (credit). Coordination at the inter-

institutional level has been weak, but should strengthen considerably this year. The

area of greatest emphasis is to create closer cooperation between ICTA's Farmers'Tests

and initial extension tests or demonstration plots. Beginning this year, some DIGESA
\
personnel will work under ICTA supervision in Farmers' Tests so they are familiar with

the technology before it is placed in their control. At the same time, the DIGESA per-

sonnel will be familiarized with the technology generating process and the new technol-

ogy being evaluated in the Farm Trialso


Both DIGESA and BANDESA coordinate technology recommendations with ICTA

in the regions where ICTA has regional teams, but because ICTA is still expanding, and

working with rather severe budget restraints, this is not yet effective throughout the

country, nor for all commodities. The Institute is working with some cooperatives to





PUBLIC
AGRICULTURAL
SECTOR



INTERNATIONAL
CENTERS





UNIVERSITIES -
~-

E:




GOVERNMENTS G
S

C

INDUSTRY






OTHERS


AGRO SOCIOECONOMIC INFORMATION


-4


XPERIMENI
STATIONS


ERMPLASM
ELECTION
IN
)NTROLLEC
CONDITIONS
A-


FIG.5 AN AGRICULTURAL
TECHNOLOGY SYSTEM


GENERA


YES


TION


FA


TRIALS


AGRONOMIC.
AND
ECONOMIC
EVALUATION
BY ICTA

FARMERS
AND ICTA
SHARE
EXPENSES


TRANSFER

TESTING -.--
I ---------*--'.-- -- ~~


FARMERS'
TESTS


EVALUATION
BY THE
FARMER
AT HIS
EXPENSE

EVALUATION
OF FARMER
ACCEPTANCE
BY ICTA


NO


EVALUATION


PROMOTION



PUBLIC
AGRICULTURAL
SECTOR



ORGANIZED
GROUPS




OTHERS


PRODUCTION


















FARMERS


I


-4. 4_~


FEEDBACK AND INFORMATION BANK


/1


r ^


YES


YES






- 19 -


help generate technology for their members, an activity that will probably expand in

the future as the cooperative movement receives more widespread and coordinated sup-

port.


Except for the use of ICTA's farm record information as an aid in determining

price support levels, the coordination with INDECA in the marketing area is very weak.

The nature of INDECA is such that their focus is macro (production estimates, price re-

porting, etc.) rather than micro, and the needs felt by ICTA are more the reverse. How-

ever, because INDECA is the institute charged with marketing activities, ICTA has not

entered into this field. As a result, little effort is being undertaken on farmers' prob-

lems of sales, storage, and transportation; nor on commercial aspects of the marketing

process. Occasional private or semi-official studies are made by students or interested

domestic or foreign entities, but in the absence of incorporated participation by local

agencies, these have little effect.





EXAMPLES OF NON-TRADITIONAL TECHNOLOGY

FOR TRADITIONAL FARMERS

One of the most difficult aspects of understanding the methodology presented here

is to visualize the types of technology that can be generated for traditional farmers who

lie outside the influence of modern technological advances as we know then today. It

is particularly difficult for many agronomists to conceptualize the conversion of agro-

socioeconomic information into guidelines for designing agronomic technology, with the






- 20 -


notable exception of the criterion of profitability. Indeed, this criterion is still one of

the most important we have in judging the applicability of a technology for any farmer,

but alone, measures productivity only in terms of one possibly limiting resource. In

order to increase the probability of adoption, the productivity of the other resources

which are limiting must be considered for each specific group of farmers.


Generally, there are four broad approaches in designing or developing crop tech-

nology: 1) plant nutrition, 2) plant architecture and yield components, 3) pest control,

and 4) other agronomic practices including topological arrangement or plant distribu-

tion. Examples of each of these classes will be given as they have evolved in the work

in the Institute, but it must be remembered that because the methodology is just being

developed, all of these examples have not necessarily resulted from the completely in-

tegrated, multidisciplinary effort.




FERTILIZATION

In one of the first areas in which the Institute initiated work, the farmers in a land

parcelization project complained of little or no corn response to fertilizer even though

it was included in the complete credit package. Previous experiments conducted by the

predecessor to ICTA were not consistent so this became one of the first priority items

to be investigated. Results from Farm Trials indicated responses in some cases, especial-

ly in some of the hybrids tested, but in none was it profitable. Conventional wisdom,

coupled with the natural tendency to consider fertilizer necessary in any complete re-







- 21 -


commendation, had created a situation in which the farmers were being forced into un-

profitable investments. Fortunately, because of the widespread evidence (which was re-

peated the second year), consideration for the farmers' opinions, and an open attitude

on the part of ICTA, the recommendation not to fertilize has been accepted by BANDE-

SA and DIGESA, and in the first evaluation of acceptance of technology, only 2% of

the area in corn among farmers who participated in Farmers' Tests the previous year, was

still receiving fertilizer, (Busto Brol, et. al., 1976)o




VARIETIES

In generating technology, we are beginning to recognize the need to differentiate

between subsistence and commercial crops, even on the same farm and for the same farm-

ers. This is most easily seen in the Highlands, where corn and beans have been the sub-

sistence crops of the area for hundreds of years and wheat is a relatively recent introduc-

tion and almost never consumed in the home, There is a much greater tendency to accept

new technology for the commercial crop than for the corn and beans. Evidence of this

is available from the evaluation study made in the Western Highlands (Ruano, et. al.,

1977). Among the collaborators, 97% of the wheat was improved varieties while only

31% of the corn was one of the recommended varieties even though there is a high re-

sponse from variety in the area (Schmoock, et. al,, 1976), We have also established

that on the South Coast where corn is primarily a commercial crop sold at harvest, farm-

ers readily accept hybrids, while in the Highlands, where they have historically saved

their own seed, open pollinated varieties are necessary.







- 22 -


Another interesting development resulted from a corn variety produced early in

the life of the Institute from work initiated previously. A high yielding hybrid with a

broad range of adapatability was promoted, but it was not being widely accepted even

by commercial growers. The plant is low in stature with a heavy stalk that resists lodg-

ing in high winds, but the husk did not completely cover the ear and the cob was much

larger than the local corn varieties (the last two characteristics resulted from attempts

to enlarge the size of the ear). Without a heavy and complete husk covering, bird

damage was unacceptably high in corn that was left in the field to dry. Also, with the

thick cob, less corn was shelled from each "netfull" of ear corn carried out of the field,

and it is on the basis of these "netfulls" that labor is paid at harvest time, thus increas-

ing harvest costs of shelled corn to levels that were also unacceptable to the farmers.

An additional negative factor of the thick cob, coupled with the scant husk, was a ten-

dency for the ear to hold moisture and begin sprouting in the higher rainfall areas. These

factors were discovered in a special evaluation study (Busto Brol, et. al., 1975) and

verified through the contact of ICTA personnel with farmers, and these defects are now

being corrected in the breeding program.




PEST CONTROL

On the surface, pest control practices would seem to be fairly straight forward,

but they are some of the most difficult to analyze from the point of view of the small

farmer. In the first place, on farm experiments, it is difficult to achieve sufficient ex-

perimental control to obtain accurate information on insect control benefits. Secondly,







- 23 -


the investment for many small farmers is too great to warrant control. They prefer to

plant higher populations and suffer whatever damage nature brings, A third problem

for the small farmer has been overlooked previously, That is the availability of water

in sufficient quantity and under safe conditions to be able to use liquid pesticides.


On the south coast, we found a rapid acceptance of granulated insecticides that

can be applied easily with virtually no purchased equipment and without the need for

water except for washing hands after use. This same area faces an accute and increas-

ing shortage of labor, and herbicides should be very advantageous. However, herbicide

use is not common, partially because of the difficulty of application and the need for

sources of water and equipment. If recommendations for the use of granulated herbicides

can be developed, it should be a readily accepted technology, because the yield poten-

tial has already been demonstrated, and the need as a substitute for labor exists.


In a similar area nearby the one described above, there is not a labor shortage

and the farmers are accustomed to using horses for cultivation. Even though agro-cli-

matic conditions are nearly the same, it is doubtful that herbicides will find ready ac-

ceptance in this project area.




OTHER AGRONOMIC PRACTICES

More latitude exists for ingenuity and ability to adjust to the peculiar conditions

of the small, traditional farmer with respect to agronomic practices than perhaps, any

of the other approaches with which we have to work. At the same time, one of the







- 24 -


primary reasons that modern technology has not penetrated traditional agriculture to any

marked degree is that is has mostly been designed with the larger, commercial and mech-

anized farmer in mind, It has been much more convenient and has shown more rapid

results to work with the farmers for whom mechanization has been the great homogeniz-

ing factor. Most all modern technology including high populations in monoculture,close

row and plant spacings, high levels of fertilization, rigid pest control schedules and

costly seed that must be newly purchased every year, is designed for conditions in which

machinery is available, capital is abundant, the entire crop is sold, and labor is a

scarce resource. In most situations, these are exactly opposite the conditions faced by

the traditional farmer who produces with little or no machinery and almost never with

a tractor, who has very little capital to spend on his agricultural enterprises, utilizes

the majority of his crop for family consumption and farms mostly with his own family's

labor on farms so small that labor is usually an abundant factor of production.


Historically, it has not been necessary to work in the difficult and site specific

conditions of the traditional farmer. As land becomes scarcer, food production reaches

critical levels and rural poverty threatens the well being of the established economic

and social system, however, it is becoming essential for the agricultural scientists to

get involved with these farmers who have been largely ignored in the past. It is ironic

that just at the time when the world is running out of fossil fuels that have supported

the modernization of agriculture, we now turn our attention to that segment of the econ-

omy that has been living outside the high energy consuming sphere. Thus, it is extreme-

ly challenging to today's scientists, to generate technology that the traditional farmer










can adopt in his agro-socioeconomic conditions without making him newly dependent

on a source of energy that may not exist at an acceptable price level for very many

years into the future,


In designing agronomic practices, agricultural economists and other social scien-

tists can contribute significantly to help agronomists generate appropriate technology

for the traditional farmer. In an area in eastern Guatemala, the survey provided infor-

mation indicating that the two controllable factors most important in limiting produc-

tion of the traditional farmers on the steep hillsides were the availability of labor in the

short planting season and the amount of bean seed the farmer had left to plant. Subsis-

tence farmers in this area normally plant corn, beans and sorghum together at the same

time in a number of similar arrays. Through the use of twin or double rows of corn and

sorghum and a reduction in the population of beans which consume the majority of plant-

ing time, productivity of planting labor and of bean seed was raised significantly by

allowing each farmer to plant more land than he previously had been able to with his

traditional cropping system, This non-traditional technology is possible because amount

of land is not a limiting factor for most farmers in the area.


Results from Farmers' Tests in 1976 indicate that on the average, each farmer

could plant about 40% more land using the same amount of planting labor and somewhat

less bean seed and produce 75% more corn, 40% more sorghum, the same amount of

beans and 33% more income (Hildebrand and Cardona, 1977). The system allows him


8 Details on the use of double rows can be found in: Hildebrand, 1976, Multiple Crop-
ping Systems ...; Hildebrand, et, alo, 1977; Hildebrand and Cardona, 1977; and
French and Hildebrand, 1977.







- 26 -


to work about 60 more days on his farm than otherwise would be the case and earn about

$1.25 per day which is slightly under what he has to pay for hired labor. Risk of loss

is very low and there is no requirement for pesticides or fertilizer that the farmer nor-

mally does not use in these conditions. This year, as Farmers' Tests are being conducted

on a wider scale, emphasis is being given to conservation practices which must accom-

pany a higher proportion of cultivated area on these rocky slopes.


In the Central Highlands, another survey showed that land was the most limiting

factor and capital was very scarce, but labor was relatively abundant throughout the

year. In addition, three classes of subsistence farmers were defined. One class cannot

produce enough corn to sustain the family for the year, a second class achieves self suf-

ficiency at times, but not always, and a third class always produces enough to satisfy

family needs (Duarte, elo al., 1977). Each of these three classes has different require-

ments even though their cropping system is basically the same, and a special technology

was designed for each.


For the first class, and again, using the concept of double rows, the population

of corn was increased 50% without changing the form of planting within each row and

using the same amount of fertilizer and seed per hill that the farmers are accustomed to

using. The system, in effect, gives them 50% more land on which to plant, but because

of some economies in labor utilization, such as not needing to prepare the extra land,

labor costs increase only 30%. Corn production increased 45% and profit, after charg-

ing opportunity cost for all labor, rose from $7 per hectare to $60 (Hildebrand, et.al.,







- 27 -


1977). More important, it would permit the average farmer in this group to achieve self

sufficiency in the production of corn.


For the farmer in the second category who desires to diversify and has a little cap-

ital to invest (mostly earned by his wife weaving local cloth) we were able to plant 40%

of the land to wheat (the least risky alternative) and at the same time plant the normal

population of corn on the same land using the double rows. This system, with a one

meter bed of wheat, traditionally broadcast by hand, between each set of twin corn

rows, presents some very useful labor efficiencies and also increases labor use only ap-

proximately 30% over the traditional corn system used in the area. Corn production

dropped slightly (though it was not statistically significant) but 1266 kg/ha of wheat

was produced and profit increased to $219 per hectare,


In another system, cabbages were planted in the wheat about two weeks before

the wheat was planted, and provide a great potential for the third class of farmer who

has some risk capital to invest in crops with more potential (and risk). Nearly 14,000

cabbages can be planted per hectare without having a negative effect on the wheat

(there was a small, though significant increase in wheat yield probably due to utiliza-

tion of the fertilizer applied to the cabbage). Although demand does not exist for large

additional amounts of cabbage, nor could they be absorbed by the present marketing

system, there is potential for the production of broccoli andcauliflower for freezing as

well as the incorporation of other crops into the system.


In all three systems, only the traditional amounts of fertilizer were used and no







- 28 -


insecticides were applied, in accordance with the findings of the survey. Additional

advances can, of course, be achieved, with the incorporation of these factors as well

as the use of improved varieties, all of which can be included in the longer run. In

the meantime, the farmers can benefit from the results of this initial Farm Trial.





SUMMARY

In this paper, an agricultural technology system is discussed as it exists in its pres-

ent state of development at the Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and Tech-

nology (ICTA). This system is an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the gen-

eration and promotion of technology for traditional farmers, who are the primary produc-

ers of basic grains and have been outside the influence of most modem technology. The

integration of social and biological sciences and the direct and continuous incorpora-

tion of farmers in the generation and promotion process are two of the most significant

features of the methodology. At the same time, these features present unique challenges

to the technicians who are involved in the work.


Conducting research in less than optimum conditions on farms and under the watch-

ful and critical eye of the farmer is an experience that few researchers have, but one

that creates a special awareness of the farmer's problems. One is immediately aware

that the technician is not the source of all knowledge; the farmer knows much more than

the technician about the conditions he faces in production. Because the traditional

farmer is affected not only by bio-climatic conditions, but also by socio-economic and







- 29 -


cultural factors much different than those that affect the mechanized, commercial pro-

ducer, the participation of social as well as biological scientists in the process is criti-

cal. Yet historically, there has been little harmony and less cooperation between these

two groups of scientists; hence, the system requires a special orientation of the individ-

uals who participate in ito


A factor of utmost importance is that the individuals understand the significance

of socioeconomic as well as biological factors in applied research for traditional farm-

ers. The social scientists must have sound knowledge of agriculture and be acquainted

with agricultural research needs and the biological scientists must be prepared to par-

ticipate in and interpret socioeconomic research. These are not common characteristics

and in most cases, both types of scientists need to be specially trained. Training in

the technology system is an important part of the ICTA program and has helped to con-

tribute to the success which we have had to date. But most important has been the ded-

ication of the technical staff to the challenge of surmounting all obstacles in order to

generate appropriate technology for this too-long ignored sector of the rural population

of Guatemala.











6/2/77







- 30 -


APPENDIX

The General Manager (Gerente General) is an Ingeniero Agronomo who has oc-

cupied the following positions:

1. Head
Department of Statistics
Agricultural Research Division
Ministry of Agriculture

2. Deputy Director
Agricultural Research Division
Ministry of Agriculture

3. Professor
Agronomy Faculty
San Carlos University

4. Director
Department of Agricultural Research
Agronomy Faculty
San Carlos University

5. Vice Minister of Agriculture

6. Minister of Agriculture

7. Member of Board of Directors of
CATIE and CIAT


The Deputy General Manager (Subgerente) is an Ingeniero Agr6nomo who has oc-

cupied the following positions:

1o Director
Experiment Station Labor Ovalle
National Agricultural Institute
Ministry of Agriculture

2. Head
Wheat Program







31 -


National Agricultural Institute
Ministry of Agriculture

3. Director General
Agricultural Research and Extension
Ministry of Agriculture

4. Deputy Director General
Agricultural Services
Ministry of Agriculture

5. Guatemalan Representative on the
Board of Directors of I C A







- 32 -


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Busto Brol, Bruno; Osman Calder6n y Esau Samayoa. 1975. Evaluaci6n del maiz hibri-
do ICTA tropical 101 en varias plantaciones de la Republica de Guatemala. IC-
TA, Guatemala.

Busto Brol, Bruno; Osman Calder6n y Peter E. Hildebrand. 1976, Evaluaci6n de la a-
ceptaci6n de la tecnologra generada por ICTA para el cultivo de maiz, en el Par-
celamiento La M6quina. ICTA, Guatemala.

Congress de la Republica de Guatemala. 1972. Ley Org6nica del Instituto de Ciencia
y Tecnologia Agrlcolas. Sector Publico Agrfcola, Guatemala.

Duarte M., Rolando; Peter E. Hildebrand y Sergio Ruano. 1977o Tecnologra y estruc-
tura agro-socioecon6mica del minifundio del occidente de Chimaltenango. ICTA,
Guatemala.

French, Edwin C, and Peter E. Hildebrand. 1977, Dynamic multiple cropping systems
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(In Press)
Grupo de Trabajo II11 1971. Antecedentes, objetivos, proyecto de estructura y presu-
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Hildebrand, Peter E, 1976. Multiple cropping systems are dollars and "sense" agronomy.
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cation Number 27. Madison, Wisconsin.

Hildebrand, Peter E, 1976, Generando tecnologra para agricultores tradiconales: una
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Hildebrand, Peter E. y Daniel Cardona. 1977. Sistemas de cultivos de ladera para pe-
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Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologra Agricolas, ICTA. 1976, Objetivos, organization,
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Ruano A., Sergio; Valerio Macz Pacay y Peter E. Hildebrand. 1977. Evaluaci6n de la
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