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 Brief report on networking - MSTAT...
 Case studies add new dimension...
 Adding microcomputers to an agricultural...
 FSSP training materials availa...
 Ideas
 Farmer field days help integrate...






Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071908/00014
 Material Information
Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Alternate Title: FSSP newsletter
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Farming Systems Support Project
University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: The Project
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1983-
Frequency: quarterly
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- International cooperation -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1 (spring 1983)-
Issuing Body: Issued by: Farming Systems Support Project, which is administered by: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
General Note: Title from caption.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071908
Volume ID: VID00014
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 10387162
lccn - sn 84011294

Table of Contents
    Brief report on networking - MSTAT training workshop
        Page 1
    Case studies add new dimension to FSR/E training course
        Page 2
    Adding microcomputers to an agricultural development project: Lessons from the Gambia
        Page 3
    FSSP training materials available
        Page 4
    Ideas
        Page 5
    Farmer field days help integrate research and extension programs
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
Full Text







Volume Four, Number Three
Third Quarter, 1986


Farming Systems Support Project Newsletter


BRIEF REPORT ON NETWORKING

A NETWORKSHOP ON "THE INTRODUCTION, INTENSIFICATION AND
DIVERSIFICATION OF THE USE OF ANIMAL POWER IN WEST AFRICAN
FARMING SYSTEMS: IMPLICATIONS AT FARM LEVEL" WAS HELD IN
SIERRA LEONE FROM 19-25 SEPTEMBER.
THE WORKSHOP WAS ORGANIZED BY THE WEST AFRICAN INTEGRATED
LIVESTOCK SYSTEMS COMMITTEE, UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE WEST
AFRICAN FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH NETWORK (WAFSRN). FUNDING
AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT WAS PROVIDED BY THE FSSP WITH ADDI-
TIONAL FINANCE AND SUPPORT FROM IDRC, ILCA, IITA, AND
GTZ. THE HOST ORGANIZATION WAS THE SIERRA LEONE WORK OXEN
PROJECT, WHICH RECEIVED LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FOR THE
NETWORKSHOP FROM THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION, FRENCH
EMBASSY AND SAID.
NATIONAL ANIMAL TRACTION EXPERTS ATTENDED FROM SENEGAL, THE
GAMBIA, GUINEA, SIERRA LEONE, LIBERIA, COTE D'IVOIRE, TOGO,
NIGERIA, MALI, BURKINA FASO AND NIGER, AND EXPERTS FROM GHANA,
BENIN AND CAMEROON WOULD HAVE ATTENDED BUT FOR LAST MINUTE
LOCAL CONSTRAINTS. OTHER ORGANIZATIONS SENDING REPRESENTA-
TIVES INCLUDED ILCA, ICRISAT, IITA, FAO, GTZ, NIAE (UK), UNIVERSITY
OF EAST ANGLIA (UK), CEEMAT (FRANCE), AFVP (FRANCE), COLORADO
STATE UNIVERSITY AND TILLERS SMALL FARM PROGRAM (USA).
THE NETWORKSHOP INCLUDED FARM VISITS AND DETAILED DISCUSSIONS
IN SMALL GROUPS RELATING TO ANIMAL TRACTION EQUIPMENT, ANIMAL
HEALTH, ANIMAL TRACTION RESEARCH METHODOLOGY, SOCIO-ECO-
NOMIC ASPECTS, SOIL CONSERVATION AND EXTENSION AND TRAINING
METHODOLOGY. DETAILED CONCLUSIONS WILL BE CIRCULATED TO AID
MISSIONS, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND NATIONAL GOVERN-
MENTS AS SOON AS PRACTICAL. ALL SMALL GROUPS INDEPENDENTLY
EMPHASIZED THE NEED FOR A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY FARMING SYSTEMS
APPROACH TO ANIMAL TRACTION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND
ALL GROUPS STRESSED THE VALUE OF SUCH NETWORKING EXCHANGES.
A NEW COMMITTEE COMPRISING NATIONALS OF SENEGAL, THE GAMBIA,
SIERRA LEONE, LIBERIA, TOGO, NIGERIA AND MALI WAS NOMINATED TO
PLAN A FOLLOW-UP NETWORKSHOP, PROVISIONALLY SCHEDULED FOR
1988. THIS COMMITTEE WILL MEET IN EARLY 1987 TO DISCUSS THE
LOCATION AND THEME OF THE NEXT NETWORKSHOP AS WELL AS
FURTHER NETWORKING INITIATIVES.
PARTICIPANT EVALUATION WAS HIGHLY POSITIVE, CITING THE VALUE
OF THE NETWORKSHOP HELD IN SIERRA LEONE,ANDFSSP FACILITATOR
FELT ALL OBJECTIVES HAD BEEN ACHIEVED. FSSP COMMITMENT TO
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES IS STRONG. FSSP WILL BE DISCUSSING POSSIBIL-
ITIES FOR SUPPORT FOR FURTHER NETWORKING ACTIVITIES WITH
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DONOR AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZA-
TIONS THAT WERE PRESENT AT THE NETWORKSHOP.


MSTAT

TRAINING WORKSHOP
From December 8 through 12 an
MSTAT Training Workshop will be
held at the Crop and Soil Sciences
Department of Michigan State Uni-
versity in East Lansing, Michigan
(48824).
The workshop is designed to pro-
vide training in the use of MSTAT
and other software with micro-
computers. Emphasis will be placed
on experimental design, data analy-
sis, and graphical presentation of
data. Participants will receive train-
ing in use of various hardware com-
ponents: plotter, printer, hard disk,
RAM disk, modem, mouse, etc.
Participants will be instructed in
principles of experimental design as
well as in proper file management
practices and use of statistical com-
puter algorithms. Each participant
will receive a copy of the MSTAT
manual and the software.
The training fee is (U.S.) $600.00.
This fee does not cover the costs
associated with travel, food, or lodg-
ing. We can make recommendations
and help in finding suitable housing.
Participants should bring additional
funds along in case they wish to pur-
chase documentation, diskettes, or
additional software packages at the
MSU bookstore.
Space is limited to 30 participants.
We are already about 20 percent
filled for the first workshop, so
please respond quickly if you are
interested.
If you wish to work on a specific
computer, please contact us to see
what arrangements can be made.
MSTAT has a severe shortage of non-
IBM equipment.
Russ Freed
Director, MSTAT







Case Studies Add New Dimension

to FSR/E Training Courses


In a recent FSR/E training course,
researchers from Cameroon, Mauri-
tania, Uganda, Honduras, Niger and
the U.S. spent two days debating,
often heatedly, the best way to
manage the FSR/E process in
Zambia. Yet none had ever been in
Zambia before, and for several it was
the first time they had ever learned
about this country.
The vehicle which facilitated their
entry into the complexities of the
research and extension system is a
teaching case study of the Zambia
Central Providence, written by
Charles Chabala and Robert Nguiru.
Mr. Chabala is a Zambian Agricultural
Economist who recently completed
his Masters Degree at the University
of Illinois. His colleague, Mr. Nguiru,
is a Kenyan who also completed a
Masters Degree at Illinois and plans
to pursue further doctoral studies.
Their case study is the first in a series
of eight being prepared through a
joint effort of the FSSP and the
Population Council, located in New
York City (See FSSP Newsletters
Vol. 3, No. 1 and Vol. 4, No. 2). In
addition to Zambia, the second com-
pleted case comes from Burkina Faso
and was developed by Joe Nagy and
Herb Ohm, Purdue University and
Sibiri Sawadogo, IBRAZ, Burkina
Faso. Other case studies scheduled
for completion in the near future
deal with FSR/E activities in the
Philippines, Indonesia, the Eastern
Caribbean, Colombia, Botswana and
Kenya. Together, the eight case stud-
ies provide unique tools for learning
how to use the FSR/E approach.
The key criteria for selecting the
cases were demonstration of FSR/E
methods that went beyond the diag-
nostic stage (e.g. design, on-farm
experimentation, dissemination of


*Dr. Susan Poats is Associate Director of the
Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP).


results) and diagnostic and analytical
consideration of gender, inter- and
intra-household issues on the design
of technology. The cases are written
to demonstrate how the efficiency
and effectiveness of FSR/E is im-
proved through better analysis,
understanding and inclusion of gender
and household issues.
Each case follows a style similar to
that of Harvard Business School case
studies. The data, however, are pre-
sented only in narrative and tabular
form; all analysis is withheld. Analy-
sis is done as a part of a training
activity, conducted by the trainees
using the case as they work first in-
dividually, and then in small groups.
A conceptual framework and study
questions serve to guide and focus
analysis on specific areas of the case
study. Thus, the case provides a type
of 'hands-on', interactive learning
experience.
An additional feature of the cases
is that they are 'telescoped', or
written in two or three parts. The
objective is to take trainees through
similar phases of diagnosis, analysis
design and interpretation of results
that the actual FSR/E team went
through. Part I of the case takes the
reader through a project team's initial
project design and diagnostic stage,
leaving the reader to analyze the re-
sults of the diagnosis and then design
a strategy for on-farm research. Part
II describes what the team actually
did design, based on their diagnosis,
and provides the results of whatever
interventions were tested. Again,
participants must analyse these re-
sults, and propose a second phase of
work. Part III of the case study sum-
marizes either the actual results of
the project's second design effort,
or the current status of the project.
An important part of the case study
development involves their testing in
training settings. This proves to be
the best way to catch undesirable in-
2


consistencies, missing information or
erroneous data. Thus far this year
the Zambia case has received the most
extensive testing. Part I was tested
with sixty volunteers during the Uni-
versity of Florida's conference on
Gender Issues in Farming Systems
Research and Extension. During the
FSSP Regional FSR/E training
course, it was used again, this time
with emphasis placed on Part II. A
group of undergraduate students at
Virginia Polytechnic University were
the next Zambia case study users.
Finally, between June and August,
it was used twice in University of
Florida courses. In each situation,
the case stimulated active discussion
and brought insights to participants
on how the methods of FSR/E ac-
tually function within a real setting.
One of the unplanned benefits of
the case study approach is its versa-
tility. Because the whole context of
the case is presented (agricultural,
social and institutional), it is effective
not only to explore gender and
household analysis in FSR/E, but
also the management of the approach
within a specific national setting. As
trainers gain familiarity with the case,
they will be able to write their own
study questions and thus direct the
analysis in many other relevant
analytical directions.
FSSP plans to have all eight cases
completed by June 1987. Though
plans call for their eventual publica-
tion through a commercial press,
they will be available initially as part
of the FSSP training materials series.
As they are completed, FSSP will be
looking for training courses or work-
shops where they can be tested. For
further information on the case
studies, please contact Susan Poats,
FSSP 3028 McCarty Hall, University
of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611,
USA, or Hilary Feldstein, Case Stud-
ies Managing Editor, RFD #1, Box
821, Hancock, NH 03449, USA. N







ADDING MICROCOMPUTERS TO
AN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
PROJECT:


The microcomputer is here to stay
and is increasingly viewed as an
"appropriate" technology for a broad
spectrum of development and project
Third World applications. A great
many donor funded technical assis-
tance projects now include or anti-
cipate using microcomputers as a re-
search and/or administrative-clerical
tool.
The Gambian Mixed Farming Pro-
ject (MFP) adopted microcomputers
for field activities at midproject. Two
objectives were sought: 1) serving
research and administrative needs of
MFP and 2) leaving the Government
of The Gambia with an in-house com-
puter facility at the project's close.
MFP proceeded with lots of good
advice but little in the way of exist-
ing precedent. A recursivee, dynamic
program of on-site experimentation",
(a la trial and error) succeeded in
meeting most of the first objective
and part of the second. The lessons
learned were instructive and are
summarized here so that those who
follow might avoid some of the
pitfalls.
Evolution and Integration
It is important to place the MFP
experience in historical perspective.
The MFP contract as signed six
months before the birth of the
IBM-PC and closed during the
month of the PC's fifth anniversary.
In part, MFP's teething problems
reflected the fledgling state of the
technology at the time.
In 1981, for various reasons,
MFP elected to process research and
baseline date at Colorado State
University on mainframe equipment.
This proved a failure and we strongly
recommend against repeating this
approach. Several generic problems
arose. First, transferring data from

*Professor at Colorado State and Director,
Gambian Mixed Farming Project.
**Former Peace Corps Volunteer and computer
facility manager in The Gambia.


LESSONS / '"I

FROM 1 ^

T H E ililiiilll ill

GAMBIA

by Jerry Eckert* and Paul Jakus**


field to campus involved consider-
able expense and several chances for
introduced error. Second, researchers
who collected the data were unable
to provide interpretive guidance and
verification during the final data
entry step. Third, turnaround times
were excessive. Fourth, and most
important, researchers were divorced
from the data processing, thus pre-
empting the close interaction between
analyst and data that can be a signifi-
cant source of creativity.
At midproject, our earlier decision
was reversed and a microcomputer
based computational capability was
added to field operations. Initial
equipment included an IBM-XT with
512 KB RAM and a Qume Sprint
9/45 letter quality printer for the
central unit. A COMPAQ portable
computer and an Epson FX-80 dot-
matrix printer were included. Their
portability was important to permit
computer work and training at
multiple sites. IBM equipment was
obtained for the on-campus office
to permit full interchange of data
files and reports.
Shortly after the initial in-country
training, demand for access to the
machines rose to exceed supply. The
project at that time had a professional
staff of eight plus counterparts and
clerical personnel. An IBM-PC with
256 KB RAM was added specifically
for word processing. Within weeks
this had been enhanced to serve re-
search needs with 512 KB RAM and
a board that simulated a hard drive.


Nevertheless, during the project's
last years, the facility worked over-
time and scheduling was a continuing
administrative problem. In retrospect,
yet another PC reserved just for word
processing would have been a small
cost compared to the work interrup-
tions that occurred and the manage-
ment expended to allocate scarce
machine time. In the MFP, a fully
adequate equipment component
would have included: one machine,
configured for research, for every
three expatriate researchers and their
three counterparts; and one PC for
word processing and accounting per
three secretaries. This assumes some
word processing could be done on
the research machines when needed.
The initial year with computers in
the field was only marginally produc-
tive as staff with limited experience
attempted to familiarize themselves
with various software packages. The
graphic capability became somewhat
of a fascination, possibly usurping
more time than warranted. At the
end of a year, the project obtained a
Peace Corps Volunteer with an MS in
agricultural economics and consider-
able experience with microcomput-
ing. He was assigned responsibility
for developing and managing the
computer facility. A systematic pro-
gram emerged for training and facility
utilization. The difference in the
impact of the computer facility was
significant enough to stand as a strong
recommendation for a similar full
time person in any such computeri-






zation effort overseas. The need
begins when the machines arrive and
continues until a local national
replacement is fully trained.
Training Needs
Five formal training programs were
offered after the facility became
operational. These included courses
in BASIC, LOTUS 1-2-3 STATPAC
for computer staff and scientists,
plus two courses in word processing
for secretarial staff. Less formal
training was offered on MSTAT.
Different teaching modes were used,
leading to one clear observation:
learning speed and retention were
greatly enhanced when training was
done on the machines using a real
analytical problem or document as
opposed to training in a classroom-
cum-lecture mode.
A significant continuing problem
arose in synchronizing research data
product with the analytical capabili-
ties of available software. Senior
researchers on the project were not
accustomed to using computers for
data processing. And in the 1983-
1985 period, available software was
limited in its capacity. Over time
these problems will abate; software
analytical capabilities have at least
doubled in the last two to three years,
and researchers are becoming increas-
ingly computer fluent. Nevertheless,
researcher training in computer capa-
bilities-prior to designing field trials
-was necessary for MFP and likely
will be on other projects.
Finding time for computer train-
ing, especially for senior staff, was a
significant problem. The method that
did not work was to spread the train-
ing out over time. Almost universally,
participants suggested concentrating
the training into intensive, full time
activities, formally designated as
training courses. This mode would
permit trainees to block out the
necessary time with a single decision
rather than facing repetitive schedul-
ing conflicts on each class day.
Technical Problems
A number of technical problems
arose. Solutions are presented briefly
here; in most cases the problems are
self evident. First, equipment should
be given a full test, including perhaps
30 days of utilization, before sending


units abroad. Repairs are more easily
made in the supplying country.
Second, voltage surge protectors are
essential. Two of them operating in
series would be better than one. In-
sulation from power outages can be
realized through elaborate electrical
systems involving battery packs or
by rigorous use of frequent file
storage and backup routines. Word
processing programs are available
which automatically store text every
few lines.
Dust may be an unavoidable
nuisance, (as was the case in West
Africa) and dust-proof disk storage
is essential. Dust-proof, air-condi-
tioned computer rooms are worth
trying to obtain. Nevertheless, in
reality, all frequently used disks
should be backed up regularly and
budgets should allow for replacing
disk drives every two years.

Institutionalization
Institutionalizing a microcomput-
ing capacity into a country's govern-
mental structure requires planning,
time and resources. Simply handing
over some printers and computers,
obviously, will not create a sus-
tained capacity.
First, an adequate environment is
often unavailable without capital
investment. Electricity supplies, both
primary and backup, dust and tem-
perature control, component storage
and security are needed provisions
before the machines are delivered.


Second, line items in recurring
budgets for computer supplies and
replacement parts do not exist in
most developing country budgets
today. While a separate line item
may not be needed, an operating
budget definitely is essential. Due to
the high-tech nature of microcom-
puters, single missing elements, no
matter how small, can bring every-
thing to a complete halt.
One institutional need of some-
what longer gestation is the local
staff. At this point in history, few
Third World nations have com-
puter specialists, data entry clerks
or other similarly recognized posi-
tions within the civil service. A
first order of business is to establish
such needed positions, complete
with well-defined terms of reference.
A second necessary step, often in a
second year, is to see that these new
positions are funded. Second gener-
ation issues in this regard lie in de-
veloping career paths and reward
systems for computer specialization.
Finally, training time can be
easily underestimated. Our experi-
ence in The Gambia indicated that
technical training for computer
facility personnel will be needed
periodically over about two years.
Thereafter there will continue a need
for training researchers, research
program planners and administrators
on optimum utilization of their new
facility. This need will likely continue
over several years.


FSSP Training Materials Available


The FSSP has produced two
volumes of training units to assist
with the training of professionals in
the necessary skills of Farming
Systems Research and Extension
(FSR/E). Each unit provides specific
learning objectives, key points, def-
initions of terms, a brief text, sug-
gested training activities and practical
exercises, and trainers's notes.
Volume one, Diagnosis in FSR/E,
contains nine units (212 pages) which
introduce trainees to various diagnos-
tic steps in the FSR/E approach.
Volume one stresses, but is not lim-
ited to, initial diagnosis. Its units also
4


detail ongoing, or continuous, diag-
nosis throughout the FSR/E process.
Links between social and biological
science disciplines are stressed, as are
considerations of intra-household
and socio-cultural issues. Supplemen-
tary materials includes in Volume
one are (1) Anatomy of On-Farm
Trials: A Case Study From Paraguay
and (2) Volume 1 and 2 of the Bib-
liography of Readings in Farming
Systems Research and Extension.
Volume two, Techniques for De-
sign and Analysis of On-Farm Ex-
perimentation, contains six units
(367 pages) which detail the farm






trial design and analysis process.
A statistical analysis unit is included
so that trainers do not need to de-
pend on outside materials in this
critical area of trial design and analy-
sis. Volume two contains three
documents which support the units:
(1) On-farm agronomic trials in farm-
ing systems research and extension,
by Peter E. Hildebrand and Federico
Poey. (2) On-farm experimentation:
A manual of suggested experimental
procedures, by CARDI (the Carib-
bean Agricultural Research and
Development Institute) staff, and
(3) Introduction to economic analy-
sis of on-farm experiments, a draft
workbook by CIMMYT's Economics
Program.
The set of FSR/E Training Units
(two volumes and all supplementary
materials) is available for $175.00
U.S. prepaid (includes postage and
handling). Make checks payable to
University of Florida and send
your order to:

Ms. Lisette Walecka
I FAS/International Programs
3028 MCCarty Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
U.S.A.

The two volumes of FSR/E
Training Units will be mailed out as a
complete set only. Each mailing will
contain the two volumes and all
support documents. Each unit within
each volume is complete with
separate instructions for trainers, and
each includes text material written
for trainees, and hands-on training
exercises. Each volume will be sent
out in a loose-leaf binder, to allow
for ease of access and use, and to
allow each volume to be updated
(with trainer's notes, etc.).
The FSSP provides, and is con-
tinuing to develop, additional train-
ing materials in order to expand the
training resource base for FSR/E.
Examples include slide-tape modules,
detailed case studies, as well as addi-
tional training units. As each volume
of training units is used, we encourage
users to notify us of any adaptations,
or new material developed by the
users so that this information can be
included in future editions of the
training units. N


IDEAS


a microcomputer data recording system
for the comprehensive evaluation of livestock performance
in African and other production situations


The International Livestock Centre
for Africa (I LCA) has pioneered the
development of a unique database
management package. Using a rela-
tively inexpensive microcomputer
system, the package is designed to
record all aspects of cattle, sheep,
goat, donkey and camel production.
Animal records are stored in one or
more of ten integrated databases: herd
details, basic animal details, reproduc-
tion details, weight details, milk
details, wool details, traction details,
health details, nutrition details and
climate details. Entry of details such
as mating, reproduction and weight
are automatically checked for con-
sistency.
The package will maintain records,
provide instantaneous reports on im-
portant production factors such as
the milk yield, progeny weight and
viability of specified animals, and
perform statistical analyses to identi-
fy factors such as breed, sex, manage-
ment group etc relevant to enhanced
production. IDEAS is being installed
to monitor animal production in a
number of African countries, where
it will be invaluable to both research
and commercial production systems.

Installation and operation
IDEAS is supplied on diskettes
and can be simply installed. It comes
complete with an Introduction and
Guide and a Technical Reference
Manual. Sample herd data on cattle
and sheep management systems are
also provided, to be used along with
the Introduction Guide to quickly
familiarize operators with the easy-
to-use screen menus.
The package will run on an IBM
XT/AT microcomputer or any com-
SThe user must supply the hardware.


patible hardware such as the HP
Vectra. The system requirements
are at least one floppy diskette
drive, 512 Kb of RAM, a 10 Mb
hard disk and a printer. Ideas has
been written using Ashton-Tate's
dBASE III and comes in two com-
piled forms depending on whether
it is to be run on 512 Kb or 640 Kb.
Some analyses are carried out using
Microsoft Fortran programs.

How to obtain IDEAS
IDEAS has been developed by I LCA
primarily for the benefit of animal
production systems in developing
countries in Africa and can only be
used under a licensed agreement with
this institute. The cost of the soft-
ware package will be as follows:'
1. African government-funded opera-
tions with no external funding
Software, free. Annual updating
and maintenance, free. Installation
and training, free.
2. Donor-funded government opera-
tions in Africa
Software, US$800. Annual fee,
US$200. Installation and training,
free.
3. Commercial or non-government
operations in Africa
Software, US$800. Annual fee,
US$200. Installation and training,
at cost.
4. Outside Africa
Software by post, US$800. Annual
fee, US$500. No training provided.
Further information can be obtain-
ed by forwarding details of your
computing facilities and livestock
recording requirements to:
The Computer Manager
I LCA, P.O. Box 5689
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia








Farmer Field Days Help Integrate


Research and Extension Programs


Research is no longer an activity restricted to the
experiment stations or laboratories. Considerable
amounts of research must be conducted in the con-
ditions that farmers face in different parts of the
country or district. Further, on-farm testing can
make important contributions to the extension pro-
cess even while itself being research.
Similarly, extension should not be narrowly viewed
as a field activity in which the chief professional skills
are special teaching methods. It is being realized that
those giving information about new technologies to
farmers must themselves be involved in the generation
of those technologies. Consequently, intimate and
continuous interaction between research and extension
workers is now seen as a key activity in generation and
dissemination of appropriate agricultural technologies.
PRESENT LEVELS OF EXTENSION AND FARMERS
PARTICIPATION ACHIEVED BY RESEARCHERS
Glancing through literature on collaborative research
reveals that most of the efforts to integrate research
with extension or enhance farmers' participation in
technology development comes from the research
workers. Consequently the degree of participation
achieved or desired depends on the objectives and
background of the researcher. The following are some
of the reasons for soliciting farmers or extension worker
participation in research programs.
The extension workers' knowledge about the local
situation at the farm level and the responsibility
they will eventually have for disseminating the
results of FSR make it imperative that the extension
worker be involved or at least consulted at each
stage of the F RS project.
Farmer participation is often limited to mean of
farmer accepting to host a trial-i.e. providing part
of his resources to the field trial.
The need to involve the extension worker has also
been prompted by the realization that the extension
worker was the link between the farmer and the
researchers because the extension workers were deal-
ing with a much larger audience than the researchers,
therefore, if adequately involved in technology
evaulation, can offer practical insights from their
experience.

*Mr. Ndiyoi, a Zambian, served as agronomist with the Adaptive
Research Planning Team (ARPT) in Zambia from 1981-85. He is
presently a graduate student in agronomy at the University of
Florida.


It is accepted among FSR circles that farmers will
participate readily in tests directed towards what
they consider to be major constraints. Perhaps what
is not so easily apparent is that the methods used to
identify the major constraints determine the degree
to which farmers will participate.
THE NEED FOR A VEHICLE FOR SUSTAINED
RESEARCH-EXTENSION INTEGRATION
Three areas of OFR/FSP offer potential integration
with the extension worker:
Diagnostic surveys; where extension workers may
participate as enumerators or indirectly by answer-
ing questions.
On-farm site trials.
Organizing farmer-field days to observe and discuss
technology alternatives.
Normally, for a given target area, the last two are
the most recurrent and therefore, offer the means by
which continued interaction between farmer, extension
and researcher can be achieved. The interaction pro-
duces certain output. This output then forces the basis
for integrating research and extension programs. It is
more realistic to effect integration at program initia-
tion rather than opting one into the other at some
later stage.
OUR EXPERIENCE
The Adaptive Research Planning Team became
operational in Western Province in November 1981
(following an informal survey in August 1981). Since
then three farmer field-days have been held. The first
was held in February 1983 in Kaoma. The second and
third were in March 1984 in Kaoma and in Senanga.
Organization:
In each case one day was set for touring the trial
sites with the farmers and the following day for a dis-
cussion based on what had been observed on the farms.
The touring usually took the whole day particularly
where the sites were many. Discussions during the tours
were necessarily brief; farmers being encouraged to
note their observations and bring them up during the
meeting. The design did not allow for detailed discus-
sions right in the field.
Besides the trials/observations on farmers' farms, the
program included visiting the research station trials.
The farmers were particularly impressed, 1984 with
ZSV-1 and ICP-220 (varieties of sorghum and millet).
In general they were surprised and pleased to learn that







so much work was going on in their districts. They all
agreed that what they had seen could not be conveyed
by word of mouth.
After the tour, ARPT provided food the FTC pro-
vided catering services and accommodations. The
following morning was occupied by the discussion.
PLANNING THE FIELD DAY
Long term:
During the planning of the experimental program,
thought should be given to how the treatments are
going to be used in explaining your objectives to the
farmers and extension workers. The idea of replications
and their use in establishing the consistence and hence,
the validity of a conclusion is strengthened by having
replicants on several farms. The act of moving from
one farm to another and seeing a similar layout brings
more to mind the sameness of what is seen and the
idea that it is being repeated than by seeing five repli-
cants on one site. In other words, the farmer is more
likely to appreciate that the replications have been
repeated when they are on different sites than when
they are on the same site.
The field day should not be a spontaneous activity.
Familiarity with the farmers should be cultivated well
beforehand. This is necessary to ease out inhibitions
in self expression-particulary in situations where the
farmer may want to comment negatively on the
technology.
Frequent visits to the sites and discussions with the
farmers, no matter how brief, help in removing com-
munication barriers between researcher and farmers.
This period also helps the researcher to know what
type of farmers he has: outspoken, timid... and special
constraints they might have that condition their re-
sponse to the technology.
It is during the same period that, where necessary,
the comprehensibility of the trails should be improved.
Mention to the farmer the names of other farmers who
are participating in the program-this creates a sense of
belonging.
Short term:
Ensure that you have enough food for the number
of people involved. Ready cash will prove helpful.
Contact the District Agricultural Officer and make
known your program. We have had variable success in
degree of cooperation obtained from the District Agri-
cultural Officer. A positive response we got from one
district meant the District Agricultural Officer drawing
up the program of the field-day, chairing the meeting,
and writing up the minutes with the Trail assistant.
Arrive on time. Unless your reputation is good, you
may lose some of your participants.
HANDLING STATISTICAL CONCEPTS
Statistical concepts that are normal use in Agronomic
data interpretation are foreign to most farmers. Draw-
ing up analogous examples has proved a convenient
tool in conveying the concepts to the farmers.


SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE: is interpreted as the
difference between 5 ngwee and 5.0 kwacha-as opposed
to 5 ngwee and 10 ngwee (100 ngw = 1 k). Replications
are there to establish the truth that treatment differ-
ences are real. A person is convinced only after seeing
something happen the same way several times. The sun
risng from the east everyday is used to draw a parallel
with repeated observations (i.e. everyone is convinced
the sun won't rise from the west). The idea of Randomi-
zation is similarly handled by explanations. It is not
always necessary to explain randomization. One case
where it is necessary is where the treatments are below
the eye level of the participants. Where treatment diff-
erences are noticeable farmers will pick out the same
treatment across blocks. When we randomize, we avoid
bias. Randomization has no meaning in the local
language but bias (ketululo) does. The concept is thus
handled. You have to explain what biases you avoid by
randomization.
Throughout the tour, the researcher must be on the
alert to correct any misconception arising from drawing
of wrong conclusions from what the farmers observe.
A significant amount of the content for discussion will
be obtained from the comments/questions participants
make/ask among themselves. These should be noted and
a decision made on how to use them in the meeting.
HANDLING THE DISCUSSION
Equality of Roles:
Start by stressing the equality of the roles each group
of participants played; the farmer, the extension work-
ers and the researcher. Show also how these interact in
addressing agricultural problems. This is most important
to achieve an atmosphere of free expression directed at
the problem. Aim to divert attention from you to the
problem which each trail addressed.
Trial Rationale:
Ensure that as each trial is discussed, the farmers
know what the idea behind the trial was and why and
how they should incorporate it into their farming.
Calling back on the rationale for the trial has proved
useful.
Let the Farmer Be:
You too are a participant-you only differ from the
farmer because you know the difference between MM
752 and SR 52 (related varieties). That should be your
role; to supply technical information. Chip in your
knowledge in the manner that everyone else is doing,
do not dominate the discussion.
Farmer Circumstance:
The circumstances in which farmers learn about new
agriculture practices and decide whether to adopt it
tend to be unique to each individual. But the individual-
ity with which agricultural innovations are considered
and decided upon is the ultimate manifestation of
numerous environmental influences. By recognizing
and accepting the individuality of each farmer and the
uniqueness of his particular circumstance, the research-





er is better able to guide the discussion.
For example, an opinion expressed by one farmer
may be referred to another who is felt to be in a
slightly different circumstance for comment.
The researcher should weigh and relate farmers'
comments to his resource base. He should deduce the
degree of objectivity in what the farmer says based on
his (researcher) knowledge of how his (farmer's) cir-
cumstance might influence the farmer's opinion.
Leverage points:
Look out for leverage points during the discussion.
For example, when a farmer is critical about a tech-
nology, guide him into listing the advantages. Follow
the lead with other farmers who might have similar ob-
jections. When you are satisfied that all have put their
criticism across, ask for suggestions for improvement
on each point raised. The same procedure can be used
for pursuing a positive statement about a technology.
Never downgrade or scorn a farmer's suggestion or
opinion no matter how "obviously" useless. He might
have made it out of ignorance but definitely not in
jest. Your task is to realize the nature of the ignorance
manifested in such a comment and correct it as you
would make any other contribution (see above). It is
necessary to exercise infinite patience and pay precise
attention to detail.
BENEFITS
Farmer Participation:
Field-days are potentially useful vehicles for effect-
ing farmer participation in programs.
Creation of Awareness:
Communication is a process by which one person
recommends an innovation to another, with the intent
of favorably influencing his behavior. This need for
awareness creation is (should be) present in the farmer,
the extension worker and the researcher. Field-days
provide a forum for achieving a cumulative effect
through repeated exposure to an idea.
Creation of Common Focus for Research and Extension:
The output from the field days that need attention
is considerable. The output can be used to draw up a
program of work that utilizes both extension and
research. The advantage here is that the program or
area of focus is formulated or selected jointly with the
extension workers-arising from what both had discus-
sed with the farmer.
Revealing Priority Constraints:
A field-day improves focus of effort on constraints
perceived by the farmer. In particular, it helps in


weighing the importance and possible approaches to
addressing such problems.
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED
Inability to Act on Suggestions:
The most important problem that needs attention
is the lack of capacity to move with suggestions ob-
tained from the field-day. For example, one experi-
ment on the jab-planter was shelved after one season
despite constructive criticism from the farmers. The
need for reliable backup services is emphasized.
Relation with Extension Workers:
We have had mixed success in establishing working
relations with extension. How do you address an in-
different officer, or one who is very sympathetic to
the team effort but does not tolerate the farmer's
"unsound" ideas, talks for extended periods "teach-
ing" the farmers what is "right"?
Trial Versus Demonstration:
In 1984, we received many requests to extend our
trials beyond Kaoma central block. How would you
respond to this in a hall full of extension workers and
farmers?
A compromise was that if possible, farmers from
other areas should be brought in to see the trials. It
was also suggested that more emphasis should be
placed on discussing issues right in the field than
postponing them to the meeting. Two days (or more)
instead of one should be allowed for the tour.
REFLECTIONS
Farmer field-day is a useful tool that needs serious
attention. It is not only a tool for extension of messages
but also for program formulation that affords integra-
tion of research and extension programs.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Andrew, C. O. "On the Need for Indigenous Capacity in
Africa", in FSSP Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1984.
2. Fresco, L. "Comparing Anglophone and Francophone
Approaches to Farming Systems Research" in FSSP Net-
working Paper, No. 1, originally a paper presented at the
4th annual conference on Farming Systems Research, KSU,
Oct. 1984.
3. Leagans, J. P. Adoption of Modern Agricultural Technology
by Small Farm Operations: An Interdisciplinary Model for
Researchers and Strategy Builders, Cornell International
Agriculture Mimeo. 69, June, 1979.
4. Matlon, P. et. al. Coming Full Circle: Farmer Participation
in the Development of Technology, Ottowa, Ontario, IDRC,
1984.


The FSSP newsletter is published quarterly by the Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP), which is funded by AID Contract No. DAN-4099-A-00-
2083-00 and administered by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. 32611. IFAS Is an Equal
Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer. The FSSP newsletter encourages the contribution of stories, pictures and Ideas, which should be
sent to FSSP Editor, 3028 McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.




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