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GENERATING SMALL FARM TECHNOLOGY: C
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
Socioeconomi'a Rural INST1TUTO DE CIENCIA Y TECNOLOGIA AGRICOLAS SECTOR PUBLICO AGRICOLA GUATEMALA, C. A.
GENERATING SMALL FARM TECHNOLOGY: AN INTEGRATED MULTIDISCIPLINARY SYSTEM
Peter E. Hildebrand 1
INTRO DUCT IO N
The Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA) is a young and dynamic entity, inaugurated less than four years ago to generate and pro2
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 farmers who have remained mostly outside the influence of modem technological innovations, it was envisioned at the time of formation of the Institute that a new method of
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), Guatemala. 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 commercial farmers who utilize much of the seed developed, as well as the fertilizer,
pest control and other recommendations produced.
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 conditions 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 practicality 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 technology 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 imparting 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
is "optimum" but only little by little are able to conceive. An important characteristic 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 teoretical basis (when appropriate) on which it has been based. First, the organization of the Public Agricultural Sector will be presented, and then the general organization and operation 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, regionalized and decentralized public service sector. There are four principal decentralized agencies:
4 See apprendixo
5 Several steps in the evolution of the methodology are included in the following references: Grupo de Trabajo III, 1971; Congreso de la Rep6blica de Guatemala, 1972;
Waugh, 1973; Hildebrand, 1976; and ICTA, 1976.
1. Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologria Agrrcolas (ICTA), responsible for generating
and promoting agricultural technology;
2. Banco Nacional de Desarrollo Agrrcola (BANDESA), which provides farm credit;
3. 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 activities, credit assistance and some other centralized administrative functions. The agrarian 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 DI GESA. 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, COSUCO, comprised of the Directors of the above agencies. This committee in turn, acts as an advisor to the Minister.
ICTA is governed by a board of directors comprised of the Ministers of Agriculture, Economy and Finance, the Secretary General of the National Economic Planning
Council, the Dean of Agriculture of San Carlos University, the head of INTA (Agrarian 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 sections:
1o Administrative and financial services
2. 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 OF I CTA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ADMINISTRATIVE TECHNICAL UNIT
& FINANCIAL FO RDUTO PROGRAM UNIT
SERVICESUNT FOR PRODUCTIONj
S E BEANS 5 GE
ADMINISTRATIVE B EA
SERVICES 0- 2
ACCOUNTING ( HORTICULTURE (
L SOYBEAN-SESAME I
X Centralized Activities
FIGURE I --7 Regional Execution of Programs
At the national level, the Coordinators ofprograms and disciplines form a technical coordinating committee chaired by the Director of the Technical Unit, which reviews results, coordinates recommendations and approves new projects.
In each region, ICTA is represented by a Regional Director who is responsible administratively 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 coordinating 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
REGIONAL COORDINATORS OF
DIRECTOR PROGRAMS AND
PROJECT AREA PROJECT AREA
PROGRAM AND PROGRAM AND
DISCIPLINE STAFF DISCIPLINE STAFF
FIGURE 2. REGIONAL ORGANIZATION OF ICTA
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.
As a regional team is formed to work in a new area, the first activity is a reconnaissance to define a target group of farmers homogeneous with respect to their traditional 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 concerned0
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
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 obtained in the survey, it is based on recall and is not sufficiently accurate to use in economic analyses of farm trial data. For this and other reasons, a minimum of 25 collaborators 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 information 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 IOTA 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 general 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 germplasmd *selection process, Figure 3. In the first year, one of the primary purposes of the farm trials, for which IOTA 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.
EXPERIMENT FARM TRIALS
STATION AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
FIGURE3. UTILIZATION OF FARM SURVEY
For this recson, 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 limited number of the most promising varieties can be screened in the first year and preliminary fertilizer response work can also be included. But the nature of these latter activities 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 project area,
Two different types of Farm Trials are used. The first, which could be termed Basic Farm Trials or Technical Trials (Ensayos Agrot~cnicos) 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, Coordinotors 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 wil I be subjected to "Agro-economic Trials" (Ensayos Agroecon6micos)o These trials are designed to provide economic as well as agronomic information on a region (rather than a site) basis; hence, there
G E RM PLASM TECHNICAL FARMERS'
SELECTION FARM TESTS
AGRONOMIC [AGRO ECONOMIC PRACTICES FARM
FIGURE 4. PROCEDURE FOR TESTING TECHNOLOGY
should be many trials, well distributed throughout the area but they are not replicated at each location. The number of treatments is usually quite l imited 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). Economic 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 con 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 conduct ed strictly by the farmer with only the technical advice of the technician. This it different from the Farm Trial in which it is the technician who is responsible for conducting 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 sould 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
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,06 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. Y-,ield information should also be obtained. These data provide much more realistic information 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 responsi bilites (they are in DIGESA) it is obvious that Farmers'. Tests (and to some extent Farm Trials) initiate the process of technology 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 coordina6 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 complete 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-,
tion of this activity with extension is covered in another section.
It is in the year following the Farmers' Tests, that ICTA again becomes the evaluator. This time, the evaluation is with regard to the acceptance or rejection of the
technology by the farmers who conducted the Tests. If a high proportion put the technology 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 determine 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 allI target farmers willI need to be conducted to determine adoption of technologies, but this has not been undertaken in any area to date.
7 Two reports on evaluations have been published: Busto Brol, et, al., 1976 and Ruano, et, al., 1977.
COORDINATION WITH OTHER ENTITIES
Figure 5 shows a more complete picture of this integrated, multidisciplinary approach 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 agrosocioeconomic 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 DIGESA (extension and credit assistance) and BANDESA (credit). Coordination at the interinstitutional 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 personnel will be familiarized with the technology generating process and the new technology being evaluated in the Farm Trials
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 AGRO SOCIOECONOMIC INFORMATION
C ENTERS TRANSFER
F-- '"- _TI G ._.. ...........
TESTING.....PRODUCTION GENERATION PROMOTION
NIVERSITIE. I FARMERS'
....... FA RM T E STS
EXPERIMENT TRIALS PUBLIC
STATIONS AGRONOMIC. EVALUATION AGRICULTURAL
AND BY THE SECTOR
YES ECONOMIC YES FARMER YE
GERMPLASM EVALUATION AT HIS
SELECTION BY ICTA EXPENSE O
CONTROLLED FARMERS GROUPS
CONDITIONS IAND ICTA EVA LU ATIO N
SHARE OF FARMER
INDUSTRY EXPENSES ACCEPTANCE
NO I BY ICTA OTHERS
EVA LUATION N ___OTHERS --- ---_ _ _ _ _ _
FIG.5 AN AGRICULTURAL FEEDBACK AND INFORMATION BANK
help generate technology for their members, an activity that will probably expand in the future as the cooperative movement receives more widespread and coordinated suppo rt.
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 reporting, etc.) rather than micro, and the needs felt by ICTA are more the reverse. However, 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' problems 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 l ie outside the influence of modern technological advances as we know then today. it is particularly difficult for many agronomists to conceptualize the conversion of agrosocioeconomic information into guidelines for designing agronomic technology, with the
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 develo ping crop technology: 1) plant nutrition, 2) plant architecture and yield components, 3) pest control, and 4) other agronomic practices including topological arrangement or plant distribution. Examples of each of these classes willI 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 integrated, multidisciplinary effort.
FERTIL IZAT ION
In one of the first areas in which the Institute initiated work, the farmers in a land p.Drcelization 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, especially 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-
commendation, had created a situation in which the farmers were being forced into unprofitable investments. Fortunately, because of the widespread evidence (which was repeated 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 BANDESA and DIG ESA, 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)
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 farmers. This is most easily seen in the Highlands, where corn and beans have been the subsistence crops of the area for hundreds of years and wheat is a relatively recent introduction 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 f1% of the corn was one of the recommended varieties even though there is a high response 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, farmers readily accept hybrids, while in the Highlands, where they have historically saved their own seed, open pollinated varieties are necessary.
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 lodging 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 increasing harvest costs of shelled corn to levels thot were also unacceptable to the farmers. An additional negative factor of the thick cob, coupled with the scant husk, was a tendency 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.
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 experimental control to obtain accurate information on insect control benefits. Secondly,
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 vi rtually no purchased equipment and without the need for water except for washing hands after use. This same area faces an accute and increasing 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 potential 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-climatic conditions are nearly the same, it is doubtful that herbicides will find ready acceptance in this project area.
0TH ER AG-RONOMIC 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
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 mechanized 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 homogenizing 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 post. 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 I iving outside the high energy consuming sphere. Thus, it is extremely 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 scientists can contribute significantly to help agronomists generate appropriate technology for the traditional farmer. In an area in eastern Guatemala, the survey provided information indicating that the two controllable factors most important in limiting production 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. Subsistence 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 redution in the population of beans which consume the majority of planting 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 l imiting 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%X 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 Cropping Systems ... ; Hildebrand, eto al0, 1977; Hildebrand and Cardona, 1977; and
French and Hildebrand, 1977.
to work about 60 more days on his farm than otherwise would be the case and earn about S%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 former normalty 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 accompany 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 sufficiency of times, but not always,' and a third class always produces enough to satisfy family needs (Duarte, el,, al., 1977). Each of these three classes has different requirements 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 some amount of fertilizer and seed per hit I 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, suck as not needing to prepare the extra I and, labor costs increase only 30%. Corn production increased 45% and profit, after charging opportunity cost for all labor, rose from $7 per hectare to $60 (Hildebrand, et.al.,
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 capital 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 approximately 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 utilization 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 amount's of fertilizer were used and no
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.
In this paper, an agricultural technology system is discussed as it exists in its present state of development at the Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA). This system is an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the generation and promotion of technology for traditional farmers, who are the primary producers 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 incorporation of farmers in the generation and promotion proc ess 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 watchful 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
cultural factors much different than those that affect the mechanized, commercial producer, the participation of social as well as biological scientists in the process is critical. 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 individuals who participate in it,
A factor of utmost importance is that the individuals understand the significance of socioeconomic as well as biological factors in applied research for traditional formers. The social scientists must have sound knowledge of agriculture and be acquainted with agricultural research needs and the biological scientists must be prepared to participate 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 contribute to the success which we have had to date. But most important has been the dedication 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.
TI; t _M/
The General Manager (Gerente General) is an Ingeniero Agr nomo who has occupied the following positions:
Department of Statistics
Agricultural Research Division
Ministry of Agriculture
2. Deputy Director
Agricultural Research Division
Ministry of Agriculture
San Carlos University
Department of Agricultural Research
San Carlos University
5o 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 occupied the following positions:
Experiment Station Labor Ovalle
National Agricultural Institute
Ministry of Agriculture
National Agricultural Institute
Ministry of Agriculture
3. Director General
Agricultural Research and Extension
Ministry of Agriculture
4. Deputy Director General
Ministry of Agriculture
5. Guatemalan Representative on the
Board of Directors of I ICA
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