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Title: Agricultural research in Guatemala
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Title: Agricultural research in Guatemala
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Fumagalli, Astolfo.
Publisher: Agricultural Science and Technology Institute,
Copyright Date: 1977
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Bibliographic ID: UF00066726
Volume ID: VID00002
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Resource Identifier: 71342420 - OCLC

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Full Text
A6


INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN GUATEMALA


Ing. Astolfo Fumagalli
Dr Robert K. Waugh



PRESENTED AT THE BELLAGIO CONFERENCE
OCTOBER 1977, BELLAGIO- ITALY










PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
GUATEMALA, C.A.





















AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN GUATEMALA


Ing. Astolfo FUMAGALLI
Dr. Robert K. WAUGH

ICTA Agricultural Science and
Technology Institute


Presented at the BELLAG10 Conference
October 1977, Bellagio Italia









AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN GUATEMALA


Ing. Astolfo FUMAGALLI C.
Dr. Robert K. WAUGH


INTRO DUCTION

Early in the 1970's Guatemala took steps to reorganize the Public Agricultural

Sector (PAS) (ie. the Governmental Sector). The principal changes were the

unification of banking creditto; the establishment of a marketing institute, the

reorganization of the operating arm of general services of the Ministry of Agri-

culture which includes extension, promotion, supervised credit and other ac-

tivities, and then the establishment of a technological institute responsible for

research and promotion of the use of technology. This is mainly a report of the

latter mentioned institute The Strtitute of Agricultural Science and Technology

(Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologra Agrrcolas -ICTA), established in 1973, as it

operates today within the Agricultural Sector.


BRIEF BACK GROUND

Guatemala is a country with 5.5 to 6 million inhabitants within an area of

108,000 square kilometers, located at the upper (northern) end of the isthumus

connecting the continents of North and South America. It lies entirely within

the tropical belt. The country is mountainous, the terrain highly varied.


Rainfall is seasonal, limited mainly to the months of May through October. The

rainfall curve by months is bimodal with peaks in June and September. Between











these two peak periods there is a period of low rainfall ( "canrcula" ) which is

more prolonged in some areas than others. The maximum rainfall by area is

also highly variable with maximums of around 4000 mm. (There are exceptions

with higher amounts) and the minimum around 500 mm.


Land distribution is similar to many of the developing countries, with 87% of

the farms consisting of 18% of the land in farms, these perhaps; averaging 2

hectares in size. There are probably 400,000 to 500,000 rural families repre-

senting about one-half of the total population. Production by these small farms

is highly important for the food supply of the country, these producing a rela-

tively high percentage of the basic food grains.


Maize is the main staple of the diet, especially of the rural people. The other

basic foods are beans, sorghum, wheat and rice, but with the corn acreage being

10 times greater than the second largest crop (beans).


Other important agricultural products are coffee, sugar, cotton, cattle and

bananas. These are produced principally by large farms.



THE PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL SECTOR PAS


THE PAS

The Guatemalan Government has developed a sector concept, with the PAS being

structured by law. This is illustrated in the diagram following this page. This sector is







PUBLIC AGRICULTURAL


COORDINATING COMMITTEE
--- FOR ----
I GOVERNMENTAL SECTOR









ADMINISTRATION
I


COORDINATING COMMITTEE
- FOR
PRIVATE SECTOR


I


N
A
T
I
0
N
A
L

0
R

A
N
I
Z
A
T
I
0
N




R
E
G
I
0
N
A
L

0
R
G
A
N
I
Z
A
T
I
0
N


(PAS)


SECTOR


I










headed by the Minister of Agriculture, with two Vice-Ministers, and consists

of the Ministry and decentralized, autonomous institutes


The Ministry of Agriculture

The Ministry of Agriculture consists of:

a) The offices of the Ministry;

b) Administrative Offices;

c) Sectorial Planning;

d) Special projects such as the cattle project; and

e) General Services (Development and Extension)

This latter is a large operating arm directly within the Ministry but with

activities at the same operational level as the decentralized insti utes. In

the diagram this is shown with a solid line. General Services includes the

Division of:


1, Development (Desarrollo) (crops). This division includes the supervised

credit program, with funds furnished by the Agricultural Bank.


2. Training and Education (Capacitaci6n y Ensefianza). This division includes

the extension service and the "Perito" School, a secondary vocational

training program in agriculture.


3. Natural Resources (Recursos Naturales), Mainly irrigation Projects.
4. Livestock development
5. Y

1/ Before the reorganization of the PAS, General Services also included research,
which has now been transferred to ICTA.












The Autonomous Institutes are:


1. The National Forestry Institute INAFOR

2. The Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology -ICTA

3. The Agricultural Development Bank BANDESA

4. The National Marketing Institute INDECA

5. A Milk Products Plant PROLAC



The Functioning of the Sector

The Head of the PAS, is the Minister of Agriculture as mentioned previously.



Regionalization

The country is regionalized and the Ministry and the autonomous institutes use

the common regional system. This allows Regional Committees to function as

a sector within a region as parts of the national PAS, in order to coordinate

regional activities. The reorganization of the PAS provided for these regional

committees but they only started to function in 1976. A committee is chaired

by the regional representative for General Services of the Ministry of Agri-

culture. This system promises to be effective and will be mentioned along

with the functioning of ICTA.


The Board of Directors of the Institutes. The Minister of Agriculture is the -






5



chairman of the board of all the autonomous institutes. There are also other

interlocking with the boards, which will be mentioned in the discussions of

ICTA.


The Planning System. The Sector Planning Unit is directly related to

the National Planning Council. In turn each Institute has a programing Office

which relates to the planning system.


The Coordinating Advisory Committee, is a committee of the

Directors of the autonomous institutes, as well as the Director of General ser-

vices of the Ministry which functions as an advisory committee to the Ministry.


The degree of autonopj of the Institutes, whilenota com-

plete autonomy does allow considerable leeway for the Institutes to develop

programs, hire and fire personnel and make contractual arrangements. Also the

relations with such national control bodies as the budget bureau and civil ser-

vice are direct. Some controls normally applied to ministries do not apply to

the Institutes and authority is given directly to the Director General of the

Institute or to him and his Board of Directors, While controls are strict, re-

sulting in cumbersome procedures, the degree of autonomy does allow more

initiative to be exercised by the Institutes than by Ministerial organizations

such as the General Services.










ICTA: ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTION WITHIN THE SECTOR



With the establishment of ICTA research was moved from General Services of

the Ministry to this decentralized Institute. However, ICTA is not viewed as

a strictly research organization as will be explained more in detail later.



RESPONSIBILITIES OF ICTA

A summary of the responsibilities of ICTA might be stated "to develop technol-

ogy and promote its use for the wellbeing of the population".


More specifically the objectives, policy and philosophy of ICTA are set forth

in Congressional Law (Decreto 68-72) which established the Institute. A sum-

mary of the objectives as stated in Article 3 and Article 19 of the law are as

follows:


Article 3:

1 ICTA is the Governmental Institution responsible for generating and

promoting the use of science and technology within the agricultural

sector,


2. Therefore, it is ICTA's concern to conduct research focused on the so-

lution of problems of the agriculture of the country in order to improve

the wellbeing of the population.










3, It falls to ICTA to produce material and determine methods to increase

agricultural production.


4. ICTA should promote the use of technology.


5, ICTA should promote regional rural development,



ARTICLE 1 9, Implies further responsibilities:

1. Research and studies related to agriculture.

2, Programs of training and promotion directed toward the application of

results obtained from research.


3. Formulate and propose academic programs for the formation of scientific

personnel.


4o Interchange of information and materials related to research, and

5. In addition those necessary for the proper function of the Institute al-

lowed within the spirit of the law establishing ICTA.



STRUCTURE OF ICTA

Based on the law of ICTA's establishment, it was given a relatively simple

structure, as shown in the diagram following page 7










The Board of Directors

In addition to the Minister of Agriculture, other members of the Board of

Directors are the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Economics, the Secre-

tary for National Planning, the Dean of Agriculture of San Carlos University

and one citizen at large named by the other members of the board. This

gives broad and powerful governmental representation to this board.


In addition, the head of the other decentralized institutes of the Sector and

the head of INTA (agrarian reform institute, which is not a part of the PAS),

are permanent advisers to the board, and are usually invited to the sessions of

the board, which meets about once a month. Thus the board is not only

heavily governmental, but a strong PAS voice is present.


The Management Office. 1/

The programs and functions of the Institute are directed by a General Manager

along with an Associate Manager and Adjunct Director. There are three Units:

1. Unit for Administrative and Financial Services 2
2, Unit for Programming

3. Technical Unit for Production 2/


1/ The Spanish term is "Gerencia General".
2/ The terminology was specifically selected believing that the Administrative
Unit should be a service unit to help programs and not run the Institute, and that
the Technical Unit should give emphasis to impact upon production and productivity
and that research results should not be considered the end product.





QOfGANIZATION OF C T A


REGION I
PRODUCTION CENTER
"LABOR OVALLE"
TECHNOLOGY TESTING


REGION II AND I

REGION II AND III


REGION IV
COORDINATOR
PRODUCTION CENTER
"CUYUTA" AND
"LA MAQUINA"
TECHNOLOGY TESTING


REGION VI
PRODUCTION CENTER
"CHIMALTENANGO"
AND "SAN JERONIMO"
TECHNOLOGY TESTING


REGION VI
COORDINATOR
PRODUCTION CENTER
"JUTIAPA"
TECHNOLOGY TESTING


REGION VII
PRODUCTION CENTER
"EL OASIS" AND
"CRISTINA"
TECHNOLOGY TESTING


[IL CENTRALIZED ACTIVITIES
J REGIONAL EXECUTION
OF PROGRAMS


ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

PERSONNEL

FINANCES

ACCOUNTING


CORN
BEANS
WHEAT
RICE
SORGHUM
IRTI CULTU
SWINE
SESAME


GENERAL PLANNING








The Technical Unit for Production .

This Unit is headed by a Technical Director. The groups within this Unit are:

1. National Commodity Programs which are principally research programs

responsible for the identification, generation, adaptation and initial

testing and technical evaluation of technologies.


These National Commodity Programs are:

a) Maize

b) Beans

c) Wheat

d) Rice

e) Sorghum

f) Horticulture

g) Sesame

h) Swine


2. National Discipline or support groups with Coordinators. / These are:

a) Socioeconomrcs

b) Validation of Technology (groups work as- area teams within
a regional team, since a Region is too large to be covered by
one group. The National Coordinator is the Technical Director)

c) Soil Management

d) In Service Training



/ Most technical discipline personnel are assigned directly to Commodity Programs
or to Regional Teams. It is recognized that not all in this list are technical
disciplines.









3. Technical Service Groups


a. Production Centers (Experiment Station)

bo Communications (Publications and documentation)

co Laboratory Analysis
d. Seed
4. Regional Teams, headed by Regional Directors. These are integrated

multidisciplinary groups of personnel; all personnel assigned to a region

whether from Commodity Programs, support disciplines or service groups

make up 'he Regional Teams. Personnel may be assigned to a Regional

Team and at the same time continue to be a part of a Commodity Team

or a Discipline.


All of these groups of the Technical Unit must work in a coordinated manner,

and are focused upon a common technological system in which each group has

a direct function within a production system.



A TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEM FOR PRODUCTION

ICTA has developed a strategy or a group of strategies which might well be

designated a Technological System for Production. The diagram following page

10 is presented to illustrate this system.


In discussing this system by Phases, or by showing these phases in blocks in the

diagram, there is no intention to indicate that these are separate steps, In fact,





TECHNOLOGICAL SYSTEM FOR AGRICULTURE


AGRO-SOCIOECONOMIC INFORMATION


TRANSFER


Farmers
tests


Evaluation
by the
Farmer


Evaluation
of
acceptance


Promotion

Agricultural
Sector
Agencies


Organized
Groups


Private
Sector
Industry,
etc.


FEEDBACK OF INFORMATION


and
economic
evaluation


Production


Farmers










to the contrary, the concept is that the technological system should be a

continuum. Neither does the process necessarily start on the left and p'o-

ceed to the right. If nothing existed a logical place to start might be with

Phase 6, starting by obtaining agronomic and socioeconomic information to be

used in guiding (or influencing) the other phases. However if no experience

has been gained about all phases it is extremely difficult to start by collect-

ing pertinent information from the farmers.



Phase 1, Use of Available Information and Materials:

Phase 1, might be called Use of Available Information and Materials. Much

of this information and materials is extrainstitutional. Such sources are:


1 o The International Centers

2. Universities

3o Governments and other national programs

4. Industry (fertilizers, seed, herbicides, etc.)

5. Foundations, Regional Organizations, etc,



Phase 2, Research ( The National Commodity Programs).

The information from Phase 1 is used largely in Phase 2, by Research Program

which generate additional technology. Herein Phase 2 is called the Experi-

ment Station and is what is usually visualized as traditional research. ICTA










relies heavily upon outside sources, and emphasizes research that should pay

off in a relatively short term. Scientific proceedure is basic to the process.

We have found no way to short-cut it. The process can be speeded up by

investing more money and the results made more relevant by understanding the

interphase between technology and production (technical and socioeconomic

information). For this the validation process at the farm level, along with

economic and sociological information, can be effective in reorienting Phase

2 work.



Phase 3, Farm Trials

Phase 3 is a continuation of the research (Phase 2), conducted on private farms

mainly small ones in the case of ICTA, in specific areas by Regional Teams

and covers a wide range of different kinds of experimentation, from generation

of technology to validation of previously tested technologies, through plots

seeded to give a better base for evaluation of the economics of technology,

before presenting it to farmers. The design of the trials, the kinds of studies,

depend on the level of the technology being advanced, the technology level of

the farmers, the conditions of the area one might say it depends on the status

of the art.


However, it is conceptualized that phase 3 should always include some trials

based on two principals; (a) new technology should always be revalidated by











competent scientisisso that they will be acquainted first hand with the

technology when managed under form conditions and (b) the validation should

be done in comparison with the farmer's technology (farmer practices). This is

the time to _,. :ine technology into associated cropping systems, This should be

done in such a manner so that the introduced practice can be evaluated technol-

ogically, as well as giving a measure of its adequacy for farmers of the region.

At this time the technicians have the opportunity and the obligation to learn local

farming.


This work should be conducted with experimental design and statistical analyses,

It must not be sloppy, careless work. It takes good farming to impress a farmer.

If not enough is known about local farming practices, which is frequently the case

for new areas, incorporate the farmer into the technological system and learn

from him.


It is in ths phase that the feed-back system should begin to function. Commodity

Programs should know what is happening to their materials at the farm level. The

teams doing the validation work may need help from Commodity Programs in

understanding or improving the technology, Some general idea of what farmers

think of the technology should be obtained in this Phase.


If there is adequate confidence in the technology, both. from the viewpoint of

production and economics, if it is possible to answer in the affirmative the question,

"Is this technology valuable for immediate use by the farmer?', the technology is

ready to be tested in Phase 4 by the farmer himself. If the answer is "no" or











"doubtful", it is information for the feedback system, must be improved or

discarded.


Phase 4, Farmer's Tests

The farmer's test, is further continuation of the research process, where the

opinion of the farmer is key to the evaluation of the technology.


This is a means of getting technology in the hands of farmers without exposing

him to much risk, since the technology has been validated in the farmer's area.

The success of this Phase depends upon cooperation of farmers, but finding

cooperators has not been a problem either for the farm trials or for farmer's tests.


The few year's experience in Guatemala with his kind of farmer participation

indicate that:


1. The technology should be relatively simple. Observations indicate that

modification of the farmer's traditional method is preferable to introducing

a completely new set of ideas, In other words the technology should be

designed to be managed by the farmers, andshould not involve excessive

time, cost or risk.


2. The farmer should understand the new technology and the number of com-

parisons that are to be made should be limited, to perhaps one introduced

technology to be compared with his usual practice, and differencesshou Id
be clearly evident.












3o This test belongs to the farmer and he should pay for the inputs. When

a farmer does not have the needed inputs to test a new technology,

these are furnished by ICTA, but with the understanding that the farmer

will pay at harvest time. (The institute should never furnish the land

nor the labor).


4. In each zone it is important that the technology be developed for the

kind of agriculturist that is testing it. In some cases two or more

alternatives may be offered to the farmer. For a farmer with limited

resources it may be best for him to test technology designed to maximize

the return per dollar spent, while for another farmer it may be better

to introduce technology planned to maximize total net return, though the

cost may be greater,


5. Hopefully yield data can be obtained from the farmer's test. If this is

not possible, the farmers has already seen the results. The principal

objective is farmer evaluation.


6. There is an indication that the size of plot is important, If it is to small,

even though the differences be great, the farmer is not impressed, gives

it little observation. The size of plot will depend upon availability of

land. In one area in Guatemala farmers have seeded tests as large as one

manzana (7,000 sq, meters), while in other areas the common size is a










cuerda ( a cuerda varies from region to region from 1/6 to 1/16 of a

manzana),


7, A measure of the evaluation by the farmer in addition to his yields

and his opinion, is his use of the practice the following year which

is being used to estimate the accep-ability of the technology.


8, The feedback of information to the commodity p-ograms starts with

the farm trials and should be continued through the farmer's tests.

This is a critical evaluation of varieties and practices and all tech-

niciansshould be informed.


9. While the principal purpose of both the farm trials and the farmer's

tests is critical evaluation, these do have an important transfer or

extension function both to extension workers and to farmers.


10, Wide and intensive testing, of the kind mentioned under both farm

trials (Phase 3) and Farmer's tests (Phase 4) develop expertise and

confidence in agronomists, allowing them to speak with authority

and confidence.



Phases 5 and 6 Production and Promotion

Phases 5 and 6 are visualized as generalized promotion (Extension or transfer)

and production phases. The prior phases are considered research, although












they do have a transfer function. There is some indication that farm trials along

with farmer's tests, can effect transfer on a large scale. However they were not

visualized as generalizing the transfer to large production groups, but only to

start the process and establish a solid technological base.


The farmers with which ICTA works in conducting farm trials and farmer's test are

considered ICTA's clients. These may represent an appreciable number of the

farmers of the area in which the testing is done, but it in no way represents an

extension system.


The General Services of the Ministry has the responsibility of the extension of

technology to the farmers. Therefore ICTA must consider the credit and extension

programsof General Services of the Ministry of Agriculture as direct clients, and

the farmers who work with them as indirect recip3nts of the technology.


This transfer to General Services has not been considered adequate. However,

since the Regional Committees (See Page 4) have begun to function this transfer

should now improve.


This year (1977), on a pilot basis in one region, ICTA and General Services are

working together with farmers who have seeded farmer's trails, the strategy being

to put ICTA and General Services personnel together at the field level.


ICTA has also worked with two private groups, where the private organization is











responsible for the farmer's tests. In other words ICTA has made the technology

available and the p-ivate groups have done the testing under farmer conditions,

while ICTA only serves to furnish technological backstopping. This system seems

to have merit and ICTA is studying the possibility of extending this arrangement

to other private groups, such as cooperatives.


In any event, with the p-esent structure and strategy ICTA must find intermediates

to receive the technology and transfer it to farmers, If this is possible, transfer

would not be limited to what is accomplished by General Services or what ICTA

can do directly.



Other Strategies within the Technological System

1. With the large amount of work on private farms the controlled, but

sometimes artificial, conditions of the experiment stations is much less a

limiting factor in developing relevant technology.


2. The National Commodity Programs are learning that the Regional Teams

can be a highly effective means of expanding their efforts and increasing

their efficiency. With the collaboration of these Regional Teams ad-

vance breeding materials can be much more throughly tested, and earlier

within the selection process.


3, 1 The Regional Teams now do most of the field work on soil fertility,

associated cropping systems, plant density, time of planting etc. on pri-

vate farms.












4. The Regional Team, working within the Technological System is a

mechanism for socioeconomic studies, conducted with the participa-

tion of both agronomists and social scientists in addition to the

agronomic studies. The agronomist is learning the value of economic

evaluation and is becoming aware of the social aspects of technology.

It seems to be important that agronomists and social scientists participa-

te together conducting studies, Otherwise there is lack of communication

and respect between the two groups.


5, Socioeconomic studies within the Technological System have been

largely the following kind:


a, Surveys to collect agro-socioeconomic information to guide

agronomic field work


b. Farm records, to document costs of farming systems. So far this

has been on an individual crop basis,


c, Evaluation of the acceptability of technology following farmer's

trials.


6. Imp-ovement of production through modification of the traditional

systems as practiced by farmers, seems to be more effective than

introducing new systems. Therefore studies on associated cropping start










at the farm I evel, not on the experiment stations,


7, With little objective data to confirm the belief, farmer's tests seem to

be more effective than demonstrations. A demonstration is something

done by the government agronomist. The governmental has unlimited

resources. Demonstrations have the inherent defect of being always

planned and designed to be successful, and as a result do not face up

to the realities of small scale forming. Also demonstrational failures

is embarrassing to the agronomist and point of derision on the part of

farmers. Farmers understand both success and failure better when they

do the work, especially when their traditional p-actices fail at the

same time.


8. Technological packages do not fit well in an area of highly varied

conditions, nor with the vagrancies of farmer practices. If a package

approach is used, the value or contribution of each component should

be well understood.


9. The area being studied should be delimited, and the work well dis-

tributed within the area. It is more efficient to select and delimit areas

which can later be expanded with a minimum of cost and effort, than

a ttemp* to cover too large and area at the start.

10. Soil and water management, particularly conservation has been












neglected within the ICTA system, and must now be given attention,

Empirical data indicate that this can yield high dividends within

relatively short periods.



International Dialog and Backstopping

International support, technological backstopping and training, can be offirst

order of importance, But this international "dialog" must be made more rele-

vant, more effective than normally ocurrs,


The first point of good international dialog is that it should be two way, and

should not be an imposition. The national program can only be an equal part-

ner in international dialog when it knows what is needed, what can be helpful

to it. This clearly means that the national program must have a good degree of

capability to define its own technological problems.


ICTA has taken several measures to improve this dialog and international help

has contributed favorably, in a major fashion, mostly froyn the International

Centers, CIAT and CIMMYT.



Training

ICTA has developed a pragmatic in-service training program, based largely on

experiences at CIAT, and with the direct aid of CIAT, molded to the pattern of

operation in ICTA. As contrasted to the usual in-service training where a person

is supposedly given special opportunities to learn while on assignment to a given









position, in ICTA a course was structured, based upon the Technological

System already discussed, and trainees assigned to the course. The course

is assigned a major responsibility For conducting a plan of work. The

course replaces the Area Team within a Regional Team.


This training program is in addition to short course training, principally

at the International Centers and graduate training at universities.



TECHNOLOGY IS NOT EVERYTHING

ICTA recognizes that technology carried through the Technological System

as conceptualized and practiced within ICTA is not everything. Credit,

marketing, infrastructure, availability fof inputs are necessary. Thus there

must be other "systems" operating along with the Technological System, and

requires the coordination of other institutions of the public and p-ivate

sectors.



GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

The national governments are the prime factors in food production and rural

development. Population and food supply must be brought into balance, not

just on a year to year basis, but over a long span of years. Latin America is

presently in an enviable position when present food production and potential

production is viewed in relation totfhe food demand, but is not taking

advantage of this favorable position to assure the-----------












continuation of this position over a long span of years. How to mount

rational demographic and food production programs is a political problem

because the time span necessary for p-ograms to be effective is longer than the

short term interests of politicians.


The continuity of programs, managed by personnel whose training period is

also long, has not been given high priority. It is incumbent upon the scientists

themselves, and those responsible for national programs, to help those making

political decisions to rationalize demographic and food production programs in

order to assure continuity of action, of personnel and agility with objectivity.



IN SUMMARY

ICTA is not just a research organization, nor research results its end product.

ICTA is a technological organization, using research as a tool to develop

technology, which is thoroughly tested and validated,by scientists and farmers,

before being promoted for general use.


ICTA has the responsibility to generate technology and promote its use. As to

the generation and validation of technology, the First few year's experience

indicate that the system is a good one. Promotion of the use of technology, as

a major responsibility, is not interpreted as operating all or even the major

transfer mechanism, but in finding means to back-stop *he transfer mechanisms,












and to help them to effectively transfer technology to the producers, and

within the limited experience of ICTA the strategies discussed herein show

promise of being effective,


avsm




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