• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 New directions of the systems approach...
 Theory and practice in FSRE: Consideration...
 New resources for international...
 Toward the concerted management...
 Management of natural resources:...
 Underexploited tree crops: Components...
 An indigenously developed pond...
 A systems approach for better understanding...
 Agricultural price policy and export...
 The role of training in women and...






Group Title: Journal for farming systems research-extension.
Title: Journal of farming systems research-extension
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071921/00011
 Material Information
Title: Journal of farming systems research-extension
Alternate Title: Journal for farming systems research-extension
Abbreviated Title: J. farming syst. res.-ext.
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension
Publisher: Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension
Place of Publication: Tucson Ariz. USA
Publication Date: 1990-
 Subjects
Subject: Agricultural systems -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Research -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Sustainable agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1-
General Note: Title varies slightly.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: Vol. 1, no. 2, published in 1990.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00071921
Volume ID: VID00011
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 22044949
lccn - sn 90001812
issn - 1051-6786

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
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    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    New directions of the systems approach for the modernization of Latin American peasant agriculture, by Julio A. Berdegue and German Escobar
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    Theory and practice in FSRE: Consideration of the role of modeling, by Barry Dent
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    New resources for international agricultural cooperation: Village-based self-help and agricultural research in Japan, by Teruo Wada, John S. Caldwell, and Shigeki Yokoyama
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    Toward the concerted management of agro-ecosystems, by A. Huijsman
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    Management of natural resources: Systems approaches to Striga control in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Helmut Albert and Artur Runge-Metzger
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    Underexploited tree crops: Components of productive and more sustainable farming systems, by Robert Moss
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    An indigenously developed pond aquaculture system in Bangladesh, by Wajed Ali Shah and Philip Townsley
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    A systems approach for better understanding of policy impact: The vulnerability of family farms in western Europe, by Karlheinz Knickel
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    Agricultural price policy and export and food production in Cameroon: A farming systems analysis of pricing policies, by F. Heidhues, F. Kamajou, J. Chataigner, M. Griffon, A. Fadani, Ali Madi, and L. Temple
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    The role of training in women and development: A case of participatory training in gender analysis, by Anita L. Frio, Armando Jerry S. Erguiza, and Ellis L. Matheny
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Full Text

Volume 5, Number 1
1995




journal
for Farming Systems
Research- Extension














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The Vlea iltofFmlFaminWsenErp
Ka0en Knike
143~~~~~ Cmro:AFmingSsesAayi fPiigPlce







Journal
for Farming Systems
Research-Extension


Volume 5, Number 1, 1995


Published by
the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension








Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension


Editor
Timothy R. Frankenberger
Office of Arid Lands Studies
The University of Arizona, Tucson

Associate Editors
Jennifer Manthei, M. Katherine McCaston, Karen Coelho and Claude P. Bart
Office of Arid Lands Studies
The University of Arizona, Tucson

Production and Layout
Jennifer Manthei and Claude P. Bart
Arid Lands Design, Office of Arid Lands Studies
The University of Arizona, Tucson

Sponsors
Ford Foundation
The University of Arizona




The Journalfor Farming Systems Research-Extension is published by the Association for
Farming Systems Research-Extension (AFSRE), an international society organized to
promote the development and dissemination of methods and results of participatory
on-farm systems research and extension. The objectives of such research are the
development and adoption through participation by farm household members of
improved and appropriate technologies and management strategies to meet the
socioeconomic and nutritional needs of farm families; to foster the efficient and
sustainable use of natural resources; and to contribute toward meeting global require-
ments for food, feed, and fiber.
The purpose of the Journal is to present multidisciplinary reports of on-farm
research-extension work completed in the field, and discussions on methodology and
other issues of interest to farming systems practitioners, administrators, and trainers.
The Journal serves as a proceedings for the annual international Farming Systems
Symposium from which selected and refereed papers are included. It also welcomes
contributed articles from members of the AFSRE who were unable to attend the
symposium. Contributed articles will be judged by the same review process as invited
articles.


ISSN: 1051-6786









Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension
Volume 5, Number 1, 1995


CONTENTS

1 New Directions of the Systems Approach for the Modernization of
Latin American Peasant Agriculture
Julio A. Berdegut and German Escobar

31 Theory & Practice in FSRE: Consideration of the Role of Modelling
Barry Dent

45 New Resources for International Agricultural Cooperation:
Village-Based Self-Help and Agricultural Research in Japan
Teruo Wada, John S. Caldwell, and Shigeki Tokoyama

79 Toward the Concerted Management of Agro-Ecosystems
A. Huijsman

91 Management of Natural Resources: Systems Approaches to
Striga Control in Sub-Saharan Africa
Helmut Albert and Artur Runge-Metzger

107 Underexploited Tree Crops:
Components of Productive and More Sustainable Farming Systems
Robert Moss

119 An Indigenously Developed Pond Aquaculture System in Bangladesh
Wajed Ali Shah and Philip Townsley

129 A Systems Approach for Better Understanding of Policy Impact:
The Vulnerability of Family Farms in Western Europe
Karlheinz Knickel

143 Agricultural Price Policy and Export and Food Production in
Cameroon: A Farming Systems Analysis of Pricing Policies
F. Heidhues, F. Kamajou, J. Chataigner, M. Griffon, A. Fadani,
Ali Madi, and L. Temple

155 The Role of Training in Women and Development:
A Case of Participatory Training in Gender Analysis
Anita L. Frio, Armando Jerry S. Erguiza, and Ellis L. Matheny









New Directions of the Systems Approach for
the Modernization of Latin American
Peasant Agriculture'

Julio A. Berdegue and German Escobar2



ABSTRACT

Latin American agriculture faces fundamentally new economic, cul-
tural, political, and social scenarios. The conditions under which the
systems approach took form in our Continent 25 years ago, are no
longer valid nor are the objectives that agricultural scientists and rural
development workers are asked to meet.
This paper examines these changes, discusses the current vulnerability
of the conventional application of the systems approach, looks at the
new directions being explored by numerous research and develop-
ment teams in different countries, and finally attempts to suggest
some concepts and criteria that could be useful to adapt the systems
approach to the new circumstances and new objectives of Latin
American peasant agriculture.


INTRODUCTION

Latin American agriculture faces fundamentally new economic, cultural,
political, and social scenarios. The conditions under which the systems
approach took form in our Continent 25 years ago, are no longer valid nor are
the objectives that agricultural scientists and rural development workers are
asked to meet.
This paper examines these changes, discusses the current vulnerability of the
conventional application of the systems approach, looks at the new directions
being explored by numerous research and development teams in different
countries, and finally attempts to suggest some concepts and criteria that could
be useful to adapt the systems approach to the new circumstances and new
objectives of Latin American peasant agriculture.


1 Keynote paper presented at the Thirteenth Annual Farming Systems Research-Extension
Symposium, Montpellier, France, November 21-25, 1994.
2 RIMISP, Casilla 228 Correo 22, Santiago, Chile


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






BERDEGUE AND ESCOBAR


A TURNING POINT: THE CRISIS OF THE 1980'S
The crisis of the decade of the 1980s can now be seen as a turning point for
a large number of Latin American countries. That the crisis had the effect of
putting an end to the old paradigms that had been in effect since the post-war
period, was due, to a large extent, to its magnitude. The per capital Gross
National Product (GNP) in 1989 for the region as a whole, was equal to that
of 1976, with several of the major countries, such as Argentina, Peru or
Venezuela, showing average rates of growth of the per capital GNP of 20% or
greater for the 1981-1989 period (CEPAL, 1990).
The inflation rate reached the highest levels in history, climbing to an
annual average of 1 023% in 1989 (CEPAL, 1989), an increase of 18 times
when compared with the 1980 rate. The value of exports dropped in 11 of the
main 19 countries, from a price index of 100 in 1980, to only 72.3 in 1989
(CEPAL, 1990). Over 70% of our exports are primary products, which show
an annual rate of growth of only 1.6% in the 1962-1985 period, as compared
with an annual increment of 8.1% for the technology intensive manufactured
goods (CEPAL, 1990). In other words, by the end of the decade, it had
become apparent that there was a fundamental discrepancy between the
structure of international demand and the composition of Latin American
exports (CEPAL, 1990).
The crisis hit hardest the poorest sectors ofsociety. In 1988,61% of the rural
population (76 million people) lived below the poverty line (FIDA, 1993).
Small-scale farmers and landless peasants are among the poorest social groups
in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala
(FIDA, 1993). For example, in Mexico the rural poor include 1 million small-
scale farmers, 1.5 million minifundistas (peasant with extremely small plots, of
1.7 ha on the average) and 1.2 million landless peasants (FIDA, 1993).
According to de Janvry (1994a), the qualitative nature of rural poverty in
Latin America has changed in the last decade. The smallholder sector is larger
in absolute numbers as well as in terms of its share of total agricultural
employment; non-agricultural income has become more important for agri-
cultural households; households headed by women represent a larger fraction
of the poor; and ethnic groups have been differentially affected by the crisis as
a result of such factors as racial discrimination and language disadvantages.


A NEW PARADIGM
The economic issues of the 1980s and the pressure originated by the size of
the external debt ofsome Latin American countries, marked the collapse of the
prevalent import-substitution model. All the major countries and many of the
smaller ones, implemented structural adjustment programs oriented, in the
short run, to deal with the external debt issue and, immediately after that, to
the reorientation of the economy under a fundamentally new paradigm.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






NEW DIRECTIONS


The major characteristics of the new economic model included the follow-
ing:
The principle was accepted that economic decisions were to follow free
market rules and conditions. The role of Government in society was redefined
in the direction of transferring resources and attributions to the private sector.
All economic factors and all production and consumption activities must be
inserted in the market regardless of the economic sector or the individual firm.
The axis of economic development was shifted from the industrialization
and import-substitution policy that had been in effect for several decades, to
an export-oriented strategy. The national economies were rapidly opened to
international markets, through the reduction of tariffs and custom duties, the
dismantling of protection policies in most economic sectors, and the promo-
tion of exports through different mechanisms. In order to stimulate a
minimum level of competitiveness of the economy, liberal monetary policies
and new exchange rates policies were implemented.
Most sectorial (e.g., agriculture) compensation and regulation instruments
were removed or downsized in order to let market forces operate in the
allocation of resources among the different sectors of the national economy.
Most internal prices were let free to vary with the international market
tendencies.
Regional and international trade agreements and economic integration
mechanisms were adopted by most countries in the region, to increase their
market size and as an answer to the economic blocks created by Europe, the
Asian Pacific region, and North America.


THE NEW SCENARIO OF LATIN AMERICAN AGRICULTURE
There is a consensus that Latin American agriculture is already immersed in a
new scenario. In general terms, this means that Latin American agriculture is
being called upon by our societies to fulfill new objectives under new economic
and political conditions.
Although the new scenario places important and difficult challenges in front
of Latin America's agricultural sector, it is also true that it has opened new
opportunities, as testified by the fact that in the 1980s and for the first time
since the post-war period, agriculture grew at significantly faster rates than
industry (2% and 0.5% per year, respectively, as an average for the period
between 1980 and 1990; Kay, 1994).
In the past 30 or 40 years, the essential objective of Latin American
agriculture, was to provide basic food staples at a low cost to sustain the growth
of the urban-industrial sector, considered the main engine of our economies.
Today, the least that can be said is that this objective has been qualified:
agricultural development must be based on its own the competitiveness in the
international markets; it must be ecologically sustainable; and it must lead to
greater social equity (Calder6n et al., 1992).


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






BERDEGUE AND ESCOBAR


There are subsectors of agriculture in each country that have long been
oriented towards the international markets and that have enjoyed a compet-
itive aptitude for many years and even decades (e.g., fresh vegetables in North
East Mexico; coffee in the Caldas region of Colombia;. banana in the
Ecuadorian region of Guayas; table grapes in the Central valley of Chile; small
grains in the Argentinean Pampa; or citrus in Southern Brazil).
Also, in almost all countries one can find regions where important programs
have been developed to manage and restore the quality of important water-
sheds, to promote soil conservation, to reduce deforestation, to regulate
pesticide use or to insure water quality. Examples of these major efforts are the
Plan Sierra in the Dominican Republic (de Janvry, 1994b) and the micro-
watershed management program for soil erosion control in the Brazilian state
of Parani (Fialho et al., 1992).
The emphasis under the new scenario, however, is that all of agriculture
must be competitive and sustainable. Thus, the new problem is to integrate
what up to now have been dispersed and fractioned issues. This is a major shift
in the formulation of the objectives of Latin American agriculture.
On the other hand, the economic and political conditions under which
these new objectives must be achieved, have also changed profoundly. First
and foremost, the new scenario means that the viability of Latin America's
agricultural sector rests on its ability to compete with price and quality
standards set by the international markets. This is obviously and immediately
true in the for-export sector, but it will become an increasingly valid condition
for that fraction of agriculture which is oriented towards the internal markets
and that is being forced to turn out products at a similar cost and with
comparable quality than those which could be bought in the open internation-
al market (see Box 1).
In general, prices of agricultural products have been adjusted to interna-
tional levels as a direct consequence of an open economy and a revaluated
currency that facilitate imports (e.g,. Chile has changed over 4000 agricultural
custom positions from an average tariff of 95% to 11% of the CIF value).
This has occasioned at least two additional problems: the profitability of
several agricultural products (mainly those considered as traditional) has
decreased in the last five years, since international prices of these products have
notoriously diminished in the same period. In Chile, the participation of
salaries and revenues in the total value of agricultural products, dropped from
24.3% in 1980 to 18.7% in 1989, corresponding with the period in which Chile
made the strongest changes in the economy (Larrariaga, 1991).
At the same time, exports of traditional agricultural products have de-
creased from 51% to 39% in the ALADI countries (L6pez Cordovez, 1993).
Although Latin American agricultural exports grew twice as fast as internal
market products (4% and 2%, respectively) in the period between 1964 and
1984 (Kay, 1994).


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension







NEW DIRECTIONS


A number of subsidies and direct transfer expenditures have been discon-
tinued, due to the termination of compensation policies that favored the
agricultural sector. Minimum support prices for agricultural products, favor-
able interest rates for agricultural credit, direct subsidies to particular inputs,
land reform programs, free irrigation water through public investment,
subsidized technical assistance and direct government market interventions
are but a few of the subsidies that are being discontinued (e.g., tradable water
rights for irrigation were created in Chile in 1981; direct subsidies to fertilizers
and other agricultural inputs were eliminated in Venezuela in the early 1990s).
Some support services to agricultural production and marketing that used
to be supplied by the government are being privatized or downsized. Activities
that were usually run by Government such as production ofagricultural inputs;
banking and financial intermediation; investment on production services like
technology transfer, agricultural research and marketing centers, have been
turned over to the private sector or have suffered enormous budget reduction
when still managed by the government (e.g., the government agricultural
marketing agency in Colombia, IDEMA, has reduced direct purchasing of
products from 39 to 8, which have been designated as critical for small farmers,
and which will continue to receive government support for only three



Box 1: The New Scenario and Milk Production in Costa Rica
Estrada (1992) has documented the effect of micro- and macroeconomic variables on the
technological and production decisions of small-scale dairy farmers in the regions of Rio Frio and
Sonafluca, in Costa Rica's low humid tropics. It had been observed that the decisions of farmers
were at variance with the recommendations that originated in the research of CATIE (Tropical
Agronomy Research and Education Center), with respect to such variables as size of the dairy
operation, type of pastures, use of fertilizers, and production levels.
The studies concluded that the interaction between biological and economic variables could
explain the farmers' behavior. For example, CATIE recommended the application of 250 kg of
nitrogen/ha-year, but this technology was not adopted at all in Rio Frio and only to a very limited
extent in Sonafluca. It was found that in low-fertility soils, infested with a low quality pasture
(Ischaemun indicum), the response to nitrogen fertilizers was lower than expected. On the other
hand, the price ratio between nitrogen and milk in 1979-84, when the farmers started their dairy
operation, was the best in 20 years (1 kg N2: 2 kg milk). However, the oil crisis forced farmers to
pay 40% more in terms of milk to obtain the same amount of nitrogen fertilizer. This in turn
stimulated farmers to turn to nonrecommended, native pastures, that had low nitrogen require-
ments.
On the other hand, high international meat prices in the 1970's convinced the Government of
Costa Rica to implement support programs for cattle-based systems and in particular, to stimulate
dual-purpose (milk-meat) operations. Large amounts of public funds were channelled to imple-
ment subsidized credit programs and road-building and rural electrification projects, which
provided a favorable environment for dairy-improvement projects such as that .evaluated by
Estrada. For example, US$ 3,595 were made available between 1970 and 1989, as subsidized
credit for cattle-related investments.
The outlook changed substantially in the 1980's, due to shifting consumer preferences in the
developed countries and because of the economic crisis that forced Costa Rica to drastically curtail
all kinds of price-support and other subsidized programs. After 15 years of work, the end result is
that the net farm income per hectare has dropped 68% in Rio Frio and 84% in Sonafluca.


Vol. 5, No. I, 1995






BERDEGUt AND ESCOBAR


additional years. Mexico has initiated the process to regularize a free land
market by privatizing the public land assigned to small farmers in the form of
ejidos).
The integration of national economies into free-trade blocks is causing and
will continue to force major shifts in the agrarian structure of the participating
countries. For example, Figueroa and Muchnik (1993) foresee that the Free
Trade Agreement that is being discussed between the United States and Chile
would cause a drop of employment in Chile in the sector of basic agricultural
products (cereals, dairy products, sugar and oils) of 8,000 jobs per year.
However, 2,000 jobs would be created annually in the sector of fresh for-
export products, and an additional 8 500 jobs per year in the agroindustrial
export sector. Small-scale farming in Chile is related basically to those
products that face a more serious challenge.
This single fact ought to be enough to recommend a major reorientation
of systems-oriented research and development projects in Chile, in particular
if one considers the geographic distribution of the future economic dynamics:
The job-losing areas are in the Central-Southern and Southern provinces,
where peasant farms are most abundant, while employment net gains are
concentrated in the Central-North regions, dominated by modern, capitalist
farms.
As a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the USA and
Canada, Mexican agriculture will have to undergo major adjustments within
the next 15 years. Essentially, at the end of this period, all production,
transport and marketing costs, in all agricultural and agroindustrial products,
will have to be covered directly by producers in a context of zero barriers to
trade with the US and Canada. A detailed study of nine major crops (L6pez
and M6ndez, 1994), found that 57.6% of their harvested area could not expect
to compete under the new conditions. Since these crops account for 81% of the
national harvested area, 47% of Mexican agriculture (in terms of acreage) will
face a serious and probably terminal challenge as a consequence of the new
scenario.
Corn and field beans (the two major crops ofsmall-scale farmers in Mexico),
are considered largely non-competitive (63% and 62% of the corn and bean
acreage, respectively). If new on-the-shelf technology is applied, about
305,000 ha could be reconverted to the other seven crops included in the
study, out of a total of 5.7 million ha of corn and beans which are considered
non-competitive. It is estimated that about 947,000 jobs can be lost in corn
and 170,000 in beans, which are equivalent to 77% and 67% of the total of each
crop, respectively. Finally, it should be noticed that an additional 3.5 million
ha (31.4% of the total for the nine crops, or 25% of the agricultural area) are
only marginally competitive, so that a 10% decline in prices would render them
non-competitive.
As can be seen from the examples of Chile and Mexico, the changes in the
economic and political context of the agricultural sector, are producing


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






NEW DIRECTIONS


differential effects across social groups and across regions. These effects often
disfavor small-scale farmers. Peasant farms, linked as they usually are to the
traditional agricultural subsectors, have faced a deterioration of their produc-
tion structure and of their capacity to compete in a relatively free market
economy. This undesired condition is aggravated by the reduction of govern-
ment expenditure on physical and production infrastructure in areas of small-
scale producers and by the downsizing of investment in rural development
programs.
The agricultural context in the case of small-scale farmers is marked by the
fact that the crisis aggravated the bimodal characteristic of the agrarian
structures of most Latin American countries, in which there is a segment of
capitalists agricultural firms, more or less modernized, and an important and
differentiated contingent of peasant production-consumption units. Schejt-
man (1994) has argued that the bimodal characteristic of our agrarian
structures is a major impediment for the diffusion of technological progress.
Technological patterns in an homogeneous agrarian structure tend to be valid
for the majority or a large fraction of the production units. However, when the
agrarian structure is highly heterogeneous, options which are valid for the
larger, modern, capitalist farms, are usually not appropriate for the large
contingent of peasant family farms. It follows that this bimodal characteristic
of Latin American agrarian structures is a major impediment for the advance-
ment of social equity, for the transformation of production patterns, and for
the objective of increasing the systemic competitiveness of the agricultural
sector as a whole.
But again, the new scenario, while challenging, is also a source of new
opportunities. To begin with, despite the major crisis of the 1980s and the
unfavorable political environment of the 1970s with the prevalence of right-
wing dictatorships, peasant agriculture continues to be a major economic
reality in Latin America. In the 1980s, it controlled over 33% of the arable land
and over 40% of the harvested area (Kay, 1994). Peasant farms employed two
thirds of the labor force, and supplied 40% of the internal market products and
33% of the export goods (Kay, 1994). In Guatemala, close to 150,000 peasant
households are involved in non-traditional for-export agriculture; one million
small-scale farmers (less than 5 ha) form the backbone of the Colombian
export coffee industry; in Mexico, property of state-owned agroindustries is
being transferred to innovative associations of small farmers (see Box 2).
In a recent article, de Janvry (1994a) discusses several new phenomena
which ought to facilitate the task of achieving more equitable growth in the
Latin American rural areas: (a) Real exchange rate depreciation and trade
liberalization not only reduce the bias against agriculture in general, but also
tend to favor small-scale farms which are more intensive in the use of
nontradable inputs; (b) Public expenditure in agriculture increased slightly in
the last years of the last decade, as compared with a strong decline in the
previous period; (c) Improved technologies are being developed for peasant


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995







BERDEGUE AND ESCOBAR


Box 2: Pineapple Agroindustry in Loma Bonita, Mexico
According to Castillo Cuazcle (undated), in the 1940's pineapple was introduced to the region
of Loma Bonita, in the Papaloapan watershed, in the state of Oaxaca. In the last 15 years, the
pineapple production of Loma Bonita has represented about 20% of the national total, with about
1,000 ha. Due to accumulated technical, organizational, and economic problems, only a small
fraction of the potential area was planted with pineapple.
In 1989, the Mexican government decided to transfer property of the agroindustry COFRINSA
to the pineapple producers. Three Farmers' organizations joined to form a new firm: Agroindus-
triasLoma Bonita,which received a US$0.5 million loan to start operations. The main product was
juice concentrate for the national market. However, a 5,000-ton contract was negotiated with the
one of the Mexican juice-producing firms (Jumex), which allowed the factory to operate at close
to full capacity and was a critical factor in offering a more stable price to producers throughout the
season.
The new agroindustry is now attempting to organize and rationalize production by contracting
specific acreages with the different farming communities. Also, plans are underway to improve
specific technical problems at the farm, factory, and marketing levels. Finally, the agroindustry is
studying ways to form a Credit Union in order to be able to intervene in the financing ofproducers.

farming systems and new partnerships are being developed between govern-
ment agencies and non-governmental organizations (Bebbington et al.,
1993); (d) Democracy has returned to almost all countries in the region; (e)
NGOs and Grass Roots Organizations (GROs) have proliferated in direct
relation to the downsizing of the public apparatus; and (f) There are rising
concerns for environmental protection.
In summary, beginning in the 1980s a whole new scenario has developed
for Latin American agriculture in general and for small-scale agriculture in
particular. Systems-oriented research and development in Latin America, with
its strong emphasis on small-scale farmers, must make fundamental adjust-
ments to stay in tune with this new scenario, or else it will become irrelevant.
The starting point is to be able to evaluate our achievements and, above all, our
shortcomings.


SHORTCOMINGS OF THE CONVENTIONAL APPLICATION OF
THE SYSTEMS APPROACH

In the early 1970s, organizations for international development (notably the
Rockefeller Foundation with the pioneer Puebla Project in Mexico; US AID
in Guatemala with ICTA; or Canada's International Development Research
Center with the Caqueza project in Colombia) had the largest influence in the
dissemination of the systems approach in Latin America. Since the early 1970s,
a number of major systems-oriented projects, involving tens of millions of
dollars, were implemented in the region.
While the money lasted, many of these Latin American projects shared the
label of "Farming Systems Research and Extension" (FSRE, or IESA in
Spanish). However, aside from the name, what is important is that many
projects did have a number of characteristics in common.


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THE CONVENTIONAL FORMULATION
OF THE SYSTEMS APPROACH
Since the issue at stake was that small-scale, resource-poor farmers had not
benefited from the Green Revolution, the projects implemented under this
conventional formulation had the objective of adapting and disseminating
appropriate technologies that could be adopted by these peasant farmers
(Byrnes, 1993; Escobar and Berdegu6, 1990).
To obtain this type of product, research and extension activities were
conducted at the farm system level, since this was recognized as the key
conceptual and operational unit (or "system of reference").
Interactions between the farm subsystems, and between the farm and the
socioeconomic and biophysical environments, were presumed to condition
the farmer's decisions concerning technology and production, and thus were
to be taken into consideration when designing new alternatives.
Usually, the method was organized as a set of five stages: characterization
or diagnosis, design, on-farm research, validation, and dissemination.
Given the multidimensional nature of the farm and its environment,
interdisciplinary work was considered to be an essential characteristic of the
method. With time, new concepts were added to respond to new issues, such
as that of farmer participation, gender, or ecological sustainability.
There is no doubt that this conventional formulation had important
positive impacts in Latin America. Perhaps one of the most significant
contributions is that it started the idea that agricultural researchers had to get
out of their experiment stations and confront the actual conditions under
which their technologies were to function, by working closer and more
systematically with farmers, under real field conditions.
Also, small-scale farmers were recognized as important customers of
agricultural research and extension. Working at the farm level, it was rapidly
understood that technology was not neutral and that social, economic, and
cultural variables played a decisive role in starting or frustrating effective
adoption processes.
Finally, these farming systems projects were instrumental in the organiza-
tion and strengthening of several national and regional agricultural research
and rural development institutions, as in the case of Guatemala, Colombia, or
Mexico.
In short, the first generation of Latin American systems-oriented projects,
made an important contribution in redefining agricultural research and
extension in the region and in opening new opportunities for small-scale
farmers to be integrated into these activities.
However, with some exceptions, the balance indicates that the projects
developed under this conventional formulation of the systems approach, fell
short of achieving their objectives (Berdegu6, 1993a; Byrnes, 1990, 1993;
Hibon, 1993). This was a fact recognized by most practitioners, and as Hibon


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(1993) recently wrote: "A growing disconcert is noticeable among the
practitioners of Farming Systems Research and Extension."
There are several factors that help explain this limited result in terms of
actual impact at the farmer level. Since the specific operational problems have
been well documented (Tripp, 1991; Byrnes, 1993; Berdegu6, 1993b), forthe
purposes of this paper we will emphasize four issues which in our opinion are
of a more fundamental nature.


FOCUS ON INCREASING SUPPLY
A large number of the research and development projects that responded to
the conventional formulation of the systems approach, were designed from the
almost exclusive point of view of increasing the output of the farm system. The
relevant problem usually was defined as some variation of the idea of "...
increasing adoption rates by adapting, validating and disseminating improved
appropriate technologies ..."
It was normally forgotten that the farmer's objectives are almost always
defined in terms of their participation in one or more markets, i.e., are defined
and achieved outside the farm gate. Technology adoption is not a farmer's
objective per se, but, in the last analysis, only a dependent variable, a
"condition for."
This is true even in the case of subsistence agriculture, in which the farmer's
decisions are greatly influenced by such factors as regional and seasonal
opportunities for off-farm employment, availability of transportation, possibil-
ity to trade goods with farmers from the same or other villages, non-
agricultural income, and many other variables related to different markets for
goods and services (Berdegu6 et al., 1990; Espinosa et al., 1990; Martinez et
al., 1990; Miranda, 1990).
This problem was aggravated in those cases in which it was proclaimed a
priori "...the option of rescuing traditional, low productivity technologies, in
a peculiar interpretation of what is adequate ..." (Schejtman, 1994, p. 150).
There is no substantial difference between this approach and that of the
"neutral technology" school, since both negate the farmer's objectives and
place the technological artifact or process as the central issue (Berdegu6 and
Nazif, 1988).
The well-known argument that farming systems projects should concen-
trate on promoting small, cumulative and gradual changes in the existing
system structures is probably at the base of this neglect for the demand
variables (Baker, 1993; Berdegu6, 1993b).
While farming systems practitioners went around building projects around
this dogma, Guatemalan Indian farmers increased the acreage of non-tradi-
tional agricultural exports by almost 100% in only 14 years, in a strong linkage
with over 300 new agroindustries (see Box 3).


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NEW DIRECTIONS 11

Box 3: Non Traditional Export Crops in
Guatemala's Highlands

The Guatemalan highland is a region traditionally dominated by small- and medium-size crop
and beans markets (CEPAL, 1994b). However, between 1979 and 1993, nontraditional export
grew 90.9% (an annual average of 6.5%, which more thandoubles the rate for the agricultural sector
as a whole), to reach a total area of almost 70,000 ha. Macadamia nuts, mango, okra, broccoli,
minivegetables, and strawberries are among the emerging crops planted mainly by approximately
140,000 small-scale farmers in plots of only 0.5 ha on the average. Yields have consistently
improved in the last 14 years, with increases that usually range between 80% and 112%. A recent
study concludes that
Even through this new generation of farmers have maintained their minifundista production
system, their capacity to innovate made them modernize their production marketing processes...
the small and medium size of the production units was no impediment to their rapidly achieving
high levels of competitiveness in the in the international markets. Their ability consisted in
specializing in a given crop to obtain high productivity and qualitylevels... (CEPAL, 1994b,p. 26).
The case of the "Cooperativa Cuatro Pinos" in the state of Sacatep6quez (altitude 2,000 m) is
considered a paradigmatic example of how small-scale farmers can achieve high levels of
international competitiveness. The Cooperative was formed in 1979 by 1,600 Indian minifundis-
tas to help in the reconstruction of their village after a major earthquakes. In 1981, with support
from Swiss agencies and from the Guatemalan government, they started a small dehydrating plant
to improve the marketing of their traditional summer vegetables. By 1983, they were exporting
fresh vegetables, having built extensive cold storage facilities. The Cooperative today runs
complementary operations, including their own research, technical assistance, credit and rural
infrastructure programs.

Neglecting the issue of determining the structure of market demand for
agricultural products is always a problem, but it becomes a cardinal sin in the
context of open market economies because in the new scenario a key to success
is the ability to identify new market opportunities.


MISSING MACRO-MICRO RELATIONS

A large number of projects simply did not pay attention to the basic systems
concept that the functions and dynamics of the farm system are conditioned
to a large extent by the perceptions of the household members about the
context in which their productive activities take place (Berdegu6, 1992).
"Macro" analyses were frequently limited to a compilation of secondary
data, and very few cases are documented when projects tried to deal with the
important issue of the interaction of "micro," "macro," and sectorial variables
(Estrada, 1992).
This is true in the field of economics, when the most frequent role of the
specialist was to prepare partial budget analyses or other forms of documen-
tation of the effect of specific technologies on gross and net margins.
However, the situation is even more dismal in relation to other types ofnon-
farm variables. For example, there are few efforts to systematically research the
role that can be played by intermediate agrarian institutions in the articulation
of the farm, the farmer, and the household, with their environments in general


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and in the dissemination of technical progress in particular. Also, the social and
cultural elements that determine the gender dynamics of the farm system, were
rarely understood even when they had a direct and evident relationship with
the technological issues being addressed by the projects (Campaia, 1992;
Flora, 1994; Feldstein et al., 1991; Feldstein et al., 1989).
Off-farm variables and the issues of policy and support systems, were
defined as external parameters (Baker, 1993; Berdegu6, 1992). Of course,
neither assumption holds true, since these phenomena are highly variable (and
increasingly so in the new scenario) and are also fundamental criteria in the
farmers' decision-making processes (Ashby, 1989; Benito, 1976; Gladwin,
1980, 1976; Low et al., 1991).
For example, Gladwin (1980) found that land-poor, subsistence agricul-
ture farmers in the highlands (Altiplano) of Guatemala, consider market
conditions, labor availability, and access to capital, as key criteria in deciding
which of eight crop and crop mixtures to plant.
It has been common for researchers and rural development workers to
blame peasant risk-aversion for the shortcomings of their projects in the case
of land-poor households. However, it has been found that many times these
projects are based on the promotion of new technologies that are cash-
intensive, in a context of highly variable output prices and poorly-developed
marketing infrastructure (Reinhardt, 1987) and that often the new technol-
ogies cannot claim to yield increased net returns(de Janvry, 1983). Develop-
ment strategies that are unreasonable from an economic point ofview, actually
deserve to fail.
Setting the off-farm variables as external parameters, allowed practitioners
to think the expected or desired outputs of their projects in terms of optimal
trajectories, which were themselves held constant at least for the duration of
a given project.
The very nature of the innovation process in a context first of a major crisis
(the 1980s) and then of global markets and reduced state intervention,
increasingly questioned the appropriateness of this major assumption. Farmers
reacted to the new contexts by developing livelihood strategies that usually
confounded the efforts of the technical staff of many of these projects. The
changes of direction were very pronounced in the case of small-scale farmers,
since often they meant significant shifts in the combination of farm and off-
farm activities and in the very structure of the farm systems (Estrada, 1992).
The false assumption that off-farm and cultural variables are external
parameters, has many times cornered systems-oriented projects in an impos-
sible contradiction between the true "battle field," which is the development
and transfer of improved technologies for the crop and animal subsystems, and
the off-farm environment, perceived basically as a source of problems, a source
of constraints, and rarely as a source of opportunities.
New or emerging societal concerns, such as that of sustainability, added
complexity to this picture, for in general they meant the obligation to


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incorporate and act upon new dimensions, such as those of time and cultural
variables, that were at the root of the new issues. It is not surprising that many
projects reacted with a combination of generic conceptual acceptance of the
new questions and effective incompetence to deal with them in practical terms.
In Latin America we are still far from having designed efficient and practical
ways to operationalize the concept ofsustainability or even to agree upon basic
indicators to deal with it (Harrington et al., 1994).
The sustainability issue implies the operationalization of the time variable
at least over one generation, and this is an impossible task when the usual
analytical and operational horizon of the conventional systems-oriented
projects usually do not extend beyond three to six years.
Incorporating the dimension ofsustainability also means that projects need
to be able to deal with trade offs in farmers' objectives. There are trade offs
over time (e.g., short term versus long term family income), over space (e.g.,
upstream versus downstream benefits of a watershed management project),
and across objectives at any one time and space (e.g., reducing soil erosion and
family income in the short run through less intensive crop rotations).
By overconcentrating on the farm as the reference system, by defining
expected products in terms of technology adoption, and by reducing the
importance of "macro" and sectorial variables, the conventional formulation
of the systems approach places additional conceptual and operational con-
straints to the integration of the new attribute of sustainability.


NARROWING THE OPERATIONAL FIELD TO THE FARM
In many of the conventional systems-oriented research and development
projects, the correct definition of the farm as the primary scenario of peasant
farmer development, was fatally distorted when it was interpreted as meaning
that the project's action could be limited to the farm. We forgot that practicing
agriculture means more than growing crops or raising cattle.
In the five-step methodological protocol (characterization, design, on-
farm testing, validation, dissemination) that most projects usually followed,
the actual, real problem was defined in terms of taking a component X of the
system, and modifying or replacing it with a component Z. This protocol
corresponds to a strategy designed to "modify technologies rather than
modifying farmer circumstances" (Baker, 1993). We were happy thinking that
our method was superior because we were able to recognize constraints to this
process, even if we actually did little about them.
We can now see that the important issue is not to understand that, for
example, lack of credit will impair the adoption of a given technology; this
knowledge is of little use if we do not act to surmount this bottleneck. The
lesson to be learned is that constraints are there to be removed, and not simply
to be analyzed.


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Even when projects are successful in adapting new appropriate technologies
and in stimulating their adoption, many technical and institutional obstacles
usually still remain to be solved before the increased output can get to the
consumers at the appropriate time, with the required quality and at a
competitive price.
Considering that FSRE teams are in a unique position to provide farm-level
knowledge about how agricultural support systems work, in particular in the
case of the input and output markets, it is a great puzzle why many farming
systems projects restrained themselves from acting beyond the farm gate
(Baker, 1993).
In the new scenario, small-scale farmers need to be able to innovate all along
the chain that leads from their field to the buyer of their product, and
moreover, many times they will need to adjust their production, their
postharvest processes, their local organizations, their marketing channels,
their input supply systems, and their access to numerous other services, in
order to reach those markets that are more dynamic and more profitable. In
other words, new farming systems projects need to be based on a mid- and
long-term strategy for developing farmer competitiveness.
Comparative advantages turn into competitive advantages when organiza-
tions, information and management systems, and top quality technical exper-
tise, are put in place on a permanent and self-reproducing basis.
The issue of developing farmers' organizations deserves to be addressed in
particular. Successful and stable technical change in small-scale agriculture is
always a collective enterprise, involving local communities and microregions
rather than isolated, individual farms.
Farming system projects rarely understood that together with achieving a
specific technological or production objective, it is necessary to put in place
mechanisms to strengthen the permanent capacities of the local communities
to innovate and to administer and expand the results of the innovation. The
issue of local and microregional community institutions of which functional
farmers' organizations are the most important, was not a fundamental
preoccupation of the conventional farming systems projects in Latin America.
To a large extent, this explains why the positive results of many projects
dissipated after the external sources of funding and technical support were
terminated.
The process of political and administrative descentralization and ofstrength-
ening of municipal governments that is taking place in many countries, can
help in opening wider opportunities for organized participation of the local
communities in the decision-making processes of agricultural research and
rural development. Colombia is perhaps the leading country in this area,
having designed decision-making and funding mechanisms that give a greater
voice to the municipal governments and the local communities, in the
definition of priorities and approval of specific research and development
programs and projects. As local governments grow stronger, it will become


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more difficult for the agricultural research and rural development institutions to
design and implement centrally-controlled programs and projects.


THE INABILITY TO BUILD STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Many of the limitations of the conventional systems-oriented research and
development projects can be traced to the fact that most were implemented by
a single institution or by one or two institutions with an analogous mandate
(e.g., an international and a national agricultural research agency).
Baker (1993) has argued convincingly that in the early FSRE analytical
models, agricultural policies and institutions were prominently included, and
that "the most important reason" why the primary function of the method-
ological approach was reduced to technology design and testing, was that "the
early FSRE methodology development took place mainly in the International
Agricultural Research system."
Few cases are documented in which complementary institutions, public and
private, established active partnerships to provide the required expertise to
adequately cover the relevant links in the chain between the farm fields and the
marketplace. Interdisciplinary dialogue--in itself rare and evasive occurrence-
-lacked an executive, action-oriented dimension, in which farmers and pro-
duction experts got together with people that could actually plan and work on
the financial, marketing, infrastructure, or organizational issues relevant to the
farmers.
In the new scenario, the development of the farmers' ability to compete in
the national and international markets, will require to develop strategic
partnerships between complementary organizations, always including at the
very center, those of the farmers themselves.
In summary, the conventional formulation of the systems approach in Latin
American agriculture, has implicitly led to an unnecessary reductionist posi-
tion, in contradiction with all the central tenets of the systems concept:
Reductionist because it overemphasizes the farm and its subsystems; reduc-
tionist because of its overemphasis on technology adoption; and reductionist
because it was quite incapable of dealing operationally with macro-microeco-
nomic relations and with social and cultural variables and with new societal
concerns.
The end result was that the farm was isolated from its environments in
general and from the markets in particular. This was the cardinal failure of the
conventional application of the systems approach in Latin America between
the early 1970s and the late 1980s.
This issue of the reductionist nature of the conventional formulation of the
systems approach, needs to be emphasized because addressing it must become
the number one conceptual and methodologicalpriority in the new scenario with
its dynamic conditions, its new objectives and its new concerns.


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THE SYSTEMS CONCEPT AND THE FARMING SYSTEMS
METHODOLOGY
It has been argued (Berdegu6, 1993a, 1993b) that the conceptual framework
of the systems approach has comparative advantages in the new scenario. The
notion that the interactions and dynamics among the components ofa system
are not expressed additively in defining the end result ofa process, and the idea
that systems are hierarchically related "upwards" and "downwards" so that
agricultural processes have global and local manifestations, are two important
concepts of the systems approach that are particularly pertinent under the new
conditions of Latin American agriculture.
Additionally, the practical work of the past two decades has trained
hundreds of Latin American farming systems practitioners, so that there is now
a significant regional expertise in the use of methodological approaches which
are very suitable to the new scenario; in particular, the ability to work in the
field with small-scale farmers, is an invaluable capitol.
Therefore, in our opinion the systems conceptual framework and many of
the conventional methodological developments of the first generation of
systems-oriented projects, will remain fully valid in the years to come.
In fact, numerous governmental institutions that are undergoing modern-
ization processes, have explicitly adopted the systems approach as their basic
conceptual framework for dealing with the current problems of Latin Amer-
ican agriculture. Such is the case, for example, of INTA (National Institute for
Agricultural Technology) in Argentina, EMBRAPA (Brazilian Organization
for Agricultural Research), INIAP in Ecuador (National Institute for Agricul-
tural Research), CORPOICA (Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Re-
search), or INDAP in Chile (Agricultural Development Institute). In the
1990s, the use of the systems approach has responded to a national option
rather than to the influence of multilateral or bilateral donor agencies.
However, it is important to recognize that our conventional formulation
cannot be projected linearly into the future, because it showed significant
weaknesses under the old scenario and also because there are fundamental
discrepancies with the demands of the new conditions and the new objectives
of Latin American small-scale agriculture.
The present challenge is to develop new strategies, new methods, new
combinations of the already proven instruments, and first and foremost, to
foster a new outlook and a new mentality of those who are in charge of
directing and applying the systems concept in specific agricultural research and
development institutions, programs, and projects.
The task is to retool the systems approach, to gain a new efficiency and a new
efficacy in the research and development of competitive, sustainable, and
equitable agricultural systems.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension







NEW DIRECTIONS 17

RETOOLING THE SYSTEMS APPROACH

The new scenario imposes new constraints to peasant development, but it is
also offers new opportunities. Already a large number of systems-oriented
projects in Latin America have been designed precisely to take advantage of the
opportunities offered by the new scenario. The examples inserted in the text
boxes of this document, are only an illustrative sampling of a widespread
reality. In dozens of research and development experiences in Latin America,
a new generation of systems-oriented projects is gradually starting to take
shape, which is addressing many of the shortcomings of the conventional
methodological formulation of the systems approach. By analyzing what these
projects are doing, it is possible to highlight some common characteristics of
this second generation ofsystems-oriented research and development projects.


DEVELOPING A NEW MENTALITY

All successful projects of the second generation are engine by a new mental
outlook on the part of their central actors (see Box 4). There is no hope to
move ahead if we remain anchored in the old paradigms. A famous British
economist once said that it is relatively easy to find new ideas, but that the
difficult problem is to get rid of the old ones.
BOX
To act aggressively in the search of new sources of competitiveness; to think
and operate in terms of broad systems such as agroindustrial chains and
regions; to focus on the quality of processes and not only on products; to
integrate dynamic and often contradictory attributes and objectives of devel-
opment, resisting the temptation to move them out of the picture because of
the inherent complexity of this task; to foster functional and efficient farmers'
organizations and other such permanent capacities of the local communities;
and to build strategic alliances and partnerships (see Boxes 5 and 6), are six key


Box 4: Natural Foods of Irupana, Bolivia
Natural Foods of Irupana was formed in 1987 by a group of professionals linked to NGOs who
were interested in experiencing with a new type ofmicroenterprise, capable of working according
to market rule (Hurtado, 1994).
Initially, the firm tried to compete in the regular coffee market, but found that
... this was the first lesson: Microenterprises cannot and should not compete in the mass
products market, on the contrary, they must take advantage of the quality of their labor to make
high quality products, with greater added value and higher price. Paradoxically, our market is in
the rich social classes..." (Hurtado, 1994, p. 149).
Following this rule, Irupana started making sugar-free toasted coffee,introducing after thatnew
types of natural foods, produced from over 25 kinds of agricultural products bought from small-
scale farmers. For example, Irupana buys coffee from peasant farmers with a scheme that's different
from that used by the traditional intermediaries in that it pays a quality bonus of up to 15% and
provides technical assistance. Thanks to this kind of measures, Irupana now has a network of
peasant suppliers that process their coffee with special attention to quality.

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concepts that define the new mental outlook that to a greater or lesser extent
characterize the numerous research and development projects that in Latin
America are already exploring new ways to deal with the conditions imposed
by the new scenario.


IDENTIFYING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES AND
ACHIEVING COMPETITIVENESS

As de Janvry (1994a, p. 90) has very well pointed out, "identifying market
opportunities and achieving competitiveness has become the hallmark of rural
development..."
Even where transitional periods have been established to allow for the
adjustment of the more disadvantaged sectors of the rural economy (e.g.,
Fifteen years for some basic staples in Mexico under the new Free Trade
Agreement with the US and Canada), it is a hard fact that under the new rules
of the game, small-scale farmers will eventually need to compete under more
or less the same rules that apply to all producers.
New generation systems-oriented projects have in common that they have
been able to construct a clear and precise idea of the market demands that they
are trying to fulfill. The new methodological approaches must incorporate
top-quality market studies to be able to define in the most precise terms the

Box 5: Rice Processing and Marketing in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
"La Campana," a rice processing and marketing firm, was formed in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in
1991 (Matzuzaki, 1994). It is defined as a mixed corporation for risk-sharing, involving a large,
commercial farmer (50%), an NGO (36%), and an organization of 243 small-scale farmers (14%).
There is a private contract between the NGO and the farmers' organization that establishes that
eventually the latter will gain ownership of an additional 26% of the society, for a total participation
of 40%.
La Campana provides different services to the rice farmers: storage, grading, drying, processing,
and marketing, all with the direct participation and control of the peasants.

Box 6: The Vaquerias Contract of Association
in Participation, Mexico
One of the best known Mexican Asociacionesen Participacion involves 400 farmers and the large
aroindustrial complex GAMESA (Suarez, undated). GAMESA contributed US$6 million to
finance large investments in irrigation works, machinery and technology. The Mexican govern-
ment, through a debt swap scheme, placed another US$6 million to finance the farmers' capital
contribution to this contract. A specific corporation, DICAMEX, was formed to manage the
project started under this contract.
At the beginning of the project, the farmers contracted 2,500 ha of beans (first crop season) and
3,500 ha wheat (second crop season). The contract was signed for 12 years or 24 cropping cycles
and of this period the farmers will have an option to buy back the equipment at 25% of its original
value.
Profits are divided in equal parts and farmers can obtain cash advancements during the season.
If no profits are obtained in one season, the farmers are still guaranteed 8% of the gross value of
their crop.
^ -J


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NEW DIRECTIONS


products and varieties that are demanded by buyers and what are the
specifications of such products in terms of quality, packaging, presentation,
labeling, volume, and opportunity.
For example, the yuca project being implemented in the Guayas province
of Ecuador by such organizations as CIAT and FUNDAGRO, has had to test
a number of varieties to find those that are best adapted to different uses in a
dynamic market that fluctuates between fresh consumption and industrial uses
in the extensive shrimp farms that characterize that region. At the same time,
they have had to innovate permanently to improve the postharvest processes
in order to obtain a top-quality product for each market.


ARTICULATING THE GOALS OF COMPETITIVENESS,
SUSTAINABILITY, AND SOCIAL EQUITY
Many agricultural research and rural development projects have become
trapped in a false dispute between the search for economic, environmental, or
social objectives (competitiveness, sustainability, and social equity, respective-
ly).
Second-generation systems-oriented projects are showing in a practical
manner that these three objectives not only are not contradictory, but that in
effect reinforce each other and are mutually necessary for the sustainability of
each of them in the long run.
The Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL, 1990) has indicat-
ed that long-term competitiveness can only be achieved if the increasing
participation in the markets is achieved simultaneously with an improvement
in the levels of wellbeing of the population. In other words, in the long run
economic competitiveness cannot be based on such factors as low wages or
declining investment on educational, housing, or health systems. This is so
because, increasingly, economic development is based on such factors as
information-intensive production processes, permanent technological inno-
vation, and high savings rates to finance investment, which are not compatible
with an impoverished and marginalized population. As CEPAL (1990, p. 71)
has stated: "The dividing line between the successful and unsuccessful
experiences of international insertion, apparently is linked with the efficient
use of resources at a given time and with the capacity to undertake activities
which require a growing intellectual added value."
On the other hand, it is increasingly improbable that competitiveness can
be achieved and maintained in the long run if it is based on production systems
that are not environmentally sustainable. First of all, because "environmental
quality" is being appreciated by consumers as a desired attribute of agricultural
products, not only in terms of the absence of contaminants in the product
itself, but also in relation to the effect that the production process had on the
quality of the physical and biological resources; the debate in Brazil about


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sugarcane production, or the worldwide concern about livestock systems in
deforested tropical rain forests, or the standards set by the European Union to
the packaging materials used by Chilean fruit exporters, are examples of this
factor.
Second, competitiveness and sustainability are increasingly interlinked
attributes because inter-sectorial environmental conflicts are being recognized
as important sources of inefficiency. The conflict in the coastal region of
Ecuador between banana growers and shrimp producers over the use of
pesticides that apparently affect the environment in which shrimp larvae
develop, is an example of this type of issues.
Third, numerous cases have been documented that show that environmen-
tal degradation has become the main cause of decreasing productivity and/or
increasing production costs (de Camino and Miiller, 1993). For example,
Ramirez and Martinez (1994) used multiobjective mathematical program-
ming to analyze the trade off between the farmer's objectives of increasing
gross margins and decreasing the erosion rates in small farms in the Andean
piedmont in Chile. They found that in the very short run, more erosive systems
yielded higher incomes, but that after only two to six years (depending on the
erosion rate), the farmer's income was higher in the less erosive alternatives.
However, it is easier to recognize conceptually the positive and mutually
reinforcing linkage between competitiveness, sustainability, and social equity,
than to operationalize this approach to the problem. Several institutions are
exploring research and development projects designed and implemented at
the scale of micro-regions, to attempt to bridge this gap, because it is at this
level that it is possible to operate simultaneously on variables that have an
influence on all three objectives (INDAP, 1994; Namdar-Irani and Quezada,
1994). In particular, the discussions about the appropriateness of agricultural
development (economic emphasis) versus rural development (social emphasis)
projects, and between the incorporation or not of "viable" versus "inviable"
peasant families, lack meaning if placed in the context of projects that aim at
developing the agricultural systems at the level of micro-regions rather than
farms.


DEVELOPING BROAD SYSTEMIC COMPETITIVENESS
Most of the ongoing Latin American second generation systems-oriented
projects, design research, and development plans to cover all the relevant links
in the chain that is required to produce the product and take it to the intended
buyer at the appropriate time, in the required volumes, with the demanded
quality specifications, and at a competitive price.
Thus, for example, Chile's PROCAMPO S.A. is implementing programs to
provide its small-scale vegetable suppliers with a range of different top-quality
technologies, from seedlings to transplanters to portable drip irrigation
systems to new packaging materials to low-cost cold storage. The issue at hand,


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






NEW DIRECTIONS


according to the General Manager (P. Rioseco, personal communication,
August 1994) of this peasant-owned firm, is that no single variable can be left
out if their products are to maintain the quality that allows them to hold a
privileged position in a demanding and sophisticated market.
As de Janvry (1994a) has pointed out, contract agriculture, linking small-
scale farmers with specific agroindustries is a promising channel to have access
to international markets which are highly competitive and demanding in
product specification and quality.
It should be noticed that by the early 1990s, Latin American agroindustrial
exports had reached the annual sum of US$ 27 billion, equivalent to 22% of
the total regional exports (CEPAL, 1994a). In addition, it is interesting to
note that the most important group of agroindustrial exports is that of high
added-value goods, which account for about one third of the total value
(CEPAL, 1994a).
Schejtman (1994) states that agroindustry presents three characteristics
which make it particularly valuable for the purpose of strengthening small-
scale, family-based agriculture: (a) Greater flexibility than other industries in
the scales or magnitudes of the required fixed-capital investments, which
allows for a greater range of options of size adjustments to "fit" with the size
and resources of the local units with which it must become articulated; (b) It
allows for the integration of capital-intensive and labor-intensive processes,
especially in the agricultural activities that supply the raw materials or primary
inputs for the agroindustry; (c) Agroindustries impose production calendars,
volumes of production and quality specifications, and, through them, they can
play an integrative and organizing role of those units which are its direct or
indirect suppliers.
Production systems which integrate agroindustries with small-scale agricul-
ture, have a greater competitive advantage in those areas in which the primary
processes are very labor intensive per unit of land, and in which mechanization
is not an efficient option (Schejtman, 1994). This is because the opportunity
cost of the small farmer tends to be lower than that of the capitalist sector.
According to Schejtman (1994), the association of agroindustry and small-
scale agriculture has a greater competitive advantage when the agricultural
product is also highly perishable so that it cannot be easily obtained in the open
market; and when the raw input has a high cost per unit of volume so that
transaction and transportation costs are of less relative importance. In Schejt-
man's (1994) typology, the modern agroexport agroindustries (e.g., vegeta-
ble and fruit products, flowers), followed by the modern agroindustries of
basic agricultural products (e.g., milk products, sugar from sugarbeets, animal
feed), show the greater advantage from the point of view of their potential to
generate technical progress in small-scale, family-based agriculture (see Box
7).
However, it is important to underline that the search for export-oriented
and agroindustrial opportunities for small-scale farmers, does not preclude the


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Box 7: Asparagus Production by Small-Scale Farmers in Peru
In terms of value, asparagus in 1990 was the most important vegetable crop of Peru and, by far,
the most important nontraditional agricultural export (CEPAL, 1993). In that year, 17,930 ha
were planted with this crop, up from 1,512 ha only ten years before. In 1970, there were only three
agroindustries that processed asparagus, but the number had increased to 14 by 1993. IQF and
fresh exports have diversified the traditional markets of canned product.
In one of the most dynamic asparagus regions, Piura 47% of the crop acreage is under the control
of small-scale farmers, with less than 3 ha each. The majority of the minifundista peasants used to
plant between 0.5 and 3 ha of basic crops, such as cotton, rice, corn and grain legumes, facing severe
problems of shortage of irrigation, obsolete technology and lack of access to technical assistance
and credit. For these farmers, the new crop meant new development alternatives based on the
substitution or complementation of their traditional crops. Despite the fact that asparagus is a
foreign crop in their farm systems, it represents a safer market and more stable income. Also,
asparagus production implies access to financing, training and technical assistance.
In 1986, a group of businessmen linked to the mining industry decided to explore new
investment options in the agroindustrial sector in Piura. Two corporations were formed to set up
the project, which started with an adaptive experimentation project in 2 ha, with the cooperation
of CIPA, an agency of the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture. A scheme was setup in which the
Agrarian Bank of Peru (BAP) would make long-term loans to start new asparagus plantations to
all those persons that had previously signed productions contracts with the new agroindustry.
Given the social orientation of BAP, it promoted the new crop mainly among land-poor farmers.
Technical assistance was obtained from an important Dutch firm. Soon, two other agroindustries
started operations in Piura to buy asparagus from local small-scale producers.

competitive production of staple foods for the regional and national markets
as a convenient platform for effective development (de Janvry, 1994a). As a
matter of fact, this may be the best option to open access to economically
feasible alternatives to peasant communities that lack the natural, capital, and
infrastructure resources required to produce for the international markets or
the agroindustries (see Box 8). '
Another dimension of this concept of broad competitive systems refers to
the geographic territories in which it is possible to identify peasant farmer
communities that can collaborate in common efforts to develop new market
opportunities. Region-based projects can tap the social dynamics that exist
between these communities and, at the same time, provide different options
so that specific social groups (youth, women, landless peasants, local mer-
chants) can participate in the new on-farm and off-farm activities that originate
in a new economic initiative. Region-based projects, at the same time, provide
an opportunity to integrate agricultural and rural development, as in the case
of the successful "Cooperativa Cuatro Pinos" in Guatemala that not only has
established a number of production-related services, but that also funds such
projects as rural electrification.
Alain de Janvry (1994a) has argued that projects need to be designed to
accommodate different and changing types of demands, due to the heteroge-
neity of peasant households and their income strategies; in particular, it is
important the new generation projects avoid the tendency to narrowly define
its area of interest to the issue of agricultural development, neglecting the
potentials offered by the development of linkages with industries and services,
including microenterprises.


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NEW DIRECTIONS


Box 8: Marketing of Field Beans in Chile
Several regional organizations of small-scale farmers, together with a private trading firm and
the technical and financial support of the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP), have
implemented an innovative marketing system to improve the competitiveness of peasant farmers
in the national and international grain legume markets (Tello and Gonzalez, 1993; Tello and
Rojas, 1994). This mechanism has operated in two consecutive seasons (1992-93 and 1993-94)
and has been approved for a third (1994-95).
In the first season, four organizations representing 1,880 small-scale farmers, in three of Chile's
13 regions, signed an agreement with a private trading firm and INDAP to improve the marketing
of field beans and garbanzo beans. The agreement included guidelines for the following processes:
(1) Preparation of storage, facilities, and personnel, indicating the minimum facilities that each
organization had to have in place in order to participate in this system. (2) Common quality and
sanitary standards and product specifications and a common sack and logo.
(3) Buying criteria and procedures in which the trading firm faxed daily national and
international price reports to each organization and each of them calculated the daily buying price
by subtracting their costs and operational margins. In this way, the price farmers received was finely
tuned to market tendencies. (4) Selling criteria and procedures; each day each organization
informed the trading firm about the volume of bulk and processed beans in storage. Since the
quality was homogeneous across regions and organizations, the trader could add all the individual
volumes into a larger package. After that, the trader would contact the main six or seven bean
exporters and have them bid for the product in storage. The offers could vary significantly among
exporters, as could the form of payment and transportation conditions. The trader would choose
the best offer and fax the information to the organizations, each of which would ship their lot to
the agreed port and prepare a separate invoice to obtain their payment directly .
An Executive Committee (organizations trader and INDAP) would meet every 15 days to
review the process and results. INDAP provided loans to the organizations (US$543,000 in the
first season and US$833,000 in the second) to finance a revolving fund to buy the legumes from
farmers and pay for their operational costs. The export firms found the system very convergent
since it guaranteed that the quality and volumes ordered would be exactly those received, a
condition which not always held true when they dealt with the traditional or informal market
intermediaries.
During the second season (1993-94), four new organizations joined this program and the
system was extended to a total of seven regions; the seven organizations represented 12,290
farmers, an increase of 690% with respect to the first season. A total of 34 local organizations
participated with 32 buying points;with this extensive network, the system had an effect on average
prices on a national scale, by introducing competition and minimum-prices in almost all the major
bean producing regions. Also, the mechanism was expanded to include two new crops: lentils and
chickpeas.
In the first season, the prices that farmers received were 18% and 40% higher than those paid
by the traditional intermediaries for field beans and garbanzo, respectively. In the second year, the
differentials were smaller since most intermediaries were forced to match the minimum price
offered by the organizations, but there was a 23% jump in field bean prices the week that the
program started operating during the second season. In addition to the price differentials obtained
by farmers, the organizations made a total net profit of US$79,979 in the second season.
Finally, farmers were also able to obtain payment for the full 18% value-added tax (IVA), which
they could then discount from their IVA accumulated when buying their agricultural inputs. This
was possible since INDAP negotiated with the Internal Revenue Service two new decrees (N 6
111 and 6 510) that ordered that buyers (i.e., the participating farmers' organizations as well as
the traditional intermediaries) instead of sellers (i.e., farmers) retain the IVA tax and pay it to the
Treasury. The two new decrees were a major blow to traditional intermediaries who after that could
not avoid paying their taxes and adding the 18% legal value to the payments they made to the
farmers. Thus in this system, all players won, with the exception of the traditional intermediaries.
^ J


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LEARNING TO BUILD STRATEGIC ALLIANCES
WITH NEW PARTNERS
Most new generation systems-oriented research and development projects
have learned that no single organization is capable of providing the required
expertise to deal with all the relevant problems and dimensions involved in the
task of achieving a competitive position in their markets. The self-sufficient
project, or the self-sufficient organization, is a thing of the past.
It should be pointed out that the diminished ability of the public sector to
act as direct provider of such services as credit or marketing infrastructure,
implies that increasingly the private sector will need to be involved in farming
systems research and development projects.
In Mexico there is vast experience in the development of this kind of
partnerships. The Mexican Ministry of Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources
(Suirez, undated) has registered 142 "associations in participation" (asocia-
clones en participaci6n, which are contracts between two or more parties that
do not generate a permanent legal entity). These types of contracts have been
used to start joint ventures between farmers and different types of businesses
in agriculture, livestock, horticulture, and forestry, involving about 15 000
farmers and 40 000 to 50 000 hectares.
Technological and management innovation systems, marketing ofproducts
and access to inputs and services, long term financing for investment, and
strengthening of farmers organizations, are four key components that in one
way or another, have been solved by all projects which have been successful in
developing the long-term competitiveness of peasant agricultural systems
(Berdegu6, 1994).
It is not conceivable that a single agricultural research or rural development
organization, can develop the required expertise to understand and act
effectively in these four basic instrumental components. Moreover, the public
sector in most Latin American countries is clearly pulling out specifically of
these areas that imply a direct economic intervention. The consequence is that
agricultural research and rural development organizations must learn to build
inter-institutional strategic partnerships, but also that public-private cooper-
ation is a sine qua non condition for success.
The adjustment will be more difficult in the case of agricultural research
institutions than in that of rural development organizations, because the
former have had a historic difficulty in linking the issue of technological
innovation with that of agricultural development. Moreover, there is a strong
tendency in many research circles to see this line of thought as an unwanted
and harmful intrusion in the essence of scientific undertakings. The problem
will not be solved ifit is not understood that the question is not that ofscientists
leaving research in order to undertake other tasks for which they are not
prepared and trained, but one of orienting research in response to the demands
of clients and of learning to work in close contact with other agencies and


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






NEW DIRECTIONS


organizations that can provide the goods and services that are required for
effective technological innovation.


FLEXIBLE PROJECTS FOR PERMANENT INNOVATION
It is necessary to revise our mostly linear methodological schemes in which a
fixed and almost invariable objective is defined at the start of a project, to be
achieved by a series of redesigned steps or stages.
The very nature of the innovation process in the new scenario, implies that
it has become nearly impossible to establish optimal trajectories for projects.
Hence, the new generation of systems-oriented projects tend to be demand-
led, or,to use de Janvry's (1994a) terminology, "project-making projects."
Here, innovation processes; mechanisms for rapid adaptation to changing
conditions; agile access to services; and strong, effective, functional organiza-
tions of producers; in the long run are as important products ofa project as the
technological product itself.
To achieve this, second generation systems-oriented projects must develop
an understanding of the relationships between macro and micro variables and
must establish capabilities to research long term market and technological
tendencies, to capture new development opportunities that arise from them
and to react to unforeseen circumstances that may affect the results of the
project.
Economic, social and technological developments in the new scenario of
Latin American agriculture are much more dynamic than in the past. Institu-
tions and projects must be equipped to work in this context of rapid changes.


DEVELOPING PERMANENT CAPACITIES IN THE LOCAL
COMMUNITIES
Successful peasant development projects always involve organized groups of
farmers, because individual and isolated small-scale farm systems cannot
expect to become competitive in the new scenario.
Functional farmer organizations are required for peasant producers to
achieve economies of scale, to have access to goods and services under
adequate conditions, to negotiate with buyers of their products and improve
their marketing systems, to implement high quality management services that
are indispensable in this age of great competition, and, in the end, to be able
to capture a greater share of the benefits of their productive activity.
A new "organizational technology" must be developed for this purpose,
because the old schemes that were useful when the issue was that of represent-
ing peasant demands vis-a-vis the state, have been overcome by the new
demand for organizations that are efficient and effective in providing compet-
itive goods and services to their members.


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The development and strengthening of local organizations has often been
seen as a distant task by most public agricultural research institutions.
Nongovernmental organizations have developed an important experience in
this respect. Fortunately, in many countries it is now a frequent occurrence to
see innovative schemes in which governmental and non-governmental orga-
nizations work together in the design and implementation of agricultural
research and rural development projects.
Several types of linkage mechanisms between NGOs and public agricultural
research and rural development agencies have been documented by Bebbing-
ton et al. (1993). For example, NGOs in Chile are contracted by the public
extension system to provide this service to close to 40% of all the attended
peasant families. In Colombia, joint farming systems research programs are
carried out between NGOs, the national agricultural research institute and an
international agricultural research organization of the CGIAR system. In
Ecuador, NGOs are implementing adaptive research programs to fill in the gap
between the research conducted by the public sector institutions in the
experiment stations and the small farmers' conditions. In Bolivia, local
agricultural experimentation centers were developed by NGOs and later,
agreements were established with the governmental research institutions to
manage and operate them jointly.
This tendency for greater public-NGO cooperation is not without prob-
lems and limitations. However, the important fact is that common objectives
have been identified in many cases and that successful schemes have been
developed to design and implement joint and/or complementary research and
extension programs. Since almost all NGOs base their work in some form of
collaboration with local or regional farmers organizations, these schemes have
in effect served the purpose of bringing public agricultural research institutions
closer to dealing with organized groups of peasants.
There are specific issues concerning functional farmers organizations that
still need to be better understood and that deserve greater attention from
systems-oriented projects. It is a complex transition between more or less
informal local groups of farmers and well structured farmers organizations
capable of operating as efficient providers of goods and services. However,
unless we can advance in this direction, small-scale farmer development will
always be dependent on external funding, management, and technical sup-
port, and we know well that that is a sure prescription for frequent failures and
frustrations.


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CEPNA, Mexico, 78 p.
Low A.R., Waddington S.R., and Shumba E.M., 1991. On-farm Research in Southern
Africa: The Prospects for Achieving Greater Impact. In: Planned Change in Farming
Systems: Progress in On-Farm Research, R. Tripp, ed., West Sussex, England, John Wiley
and Sons, p. 257-272.
Martinez E., Ortiz A. and Reyes L., 1990. Caracterizaci6n de los sistemas de producci6n
minifundistas de la parte alta de la cuenca del rioAchiguate, Guatemala. In: Tipificaci6n
de Sistemas de Producci6n Agricola, G. Escobar and J.A. Berdegue, ed., Santiago,
RIMISP, p. 221-231.
Matzuzaki P., 1994. Participaci6n campesina en la Sociedad La Campana S.R.L. In:
Agroindustria y Pequena Agricultura, A. Schejtman and C. F. Toranzo, ed., La Paz,
Bolivia, FAO and ILDIS, p. 201-217.
Miranda E.E., 1990. Tipificaci6n de los pequefios agricultores: Ejemplo de la metodologia
aplicada a los productores de frijol de Itarare, Sao Paulo, Brasil. In: Tipificaci6n de
Sistemasde Produccidn Agricola, G. Escobar and J.A. Berdegu6 ed., Santiago, RIMISP,
p. 119-138.
Namdar-Irani M. and Quezada X, 1994. Propuestas locales de desarrollo silvoagropecuario
para pequeios productores. Una experiencia metodol6gica. Tomo I. Santiago, Chile,
GIA-INDAP, 115 p.
Ramirez E. and Martinez H., 1994. Evaluaci6n de impact ambiental en sistemas de
producci6n campesinos. Santiago, Chile, RIMISP, 45 p.
Reinhardt N., 1987. Modernizing peasant agriculture: Lessons from El Palmar, Colombia.
World Development 15(2):221-247.
Schejtman, A., 1994. Agroindustria y transformaci6n productive de la pequefia agricultu-
ra. Revista de la CEPAL 53:147-157.
Suarez B. Undated. Documento base para la elaboraci6n delestudio sobre la transformation
productive de la pequena agriculture, Unpublished manuscript.


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BERDEGUt AND ESCOBAR


Tello C. and Gonzilez M., 1993. Reported final del program de comercializaci6n de
leguminosas de grano y maiz, temporada 1992-93, Santiago, Chile, INDAP, 21 p.
Tello C. and Rojas C., 1994. Reportefinaldeldprograma decomercializaci6n deleguminosas
degranoy maiz, temporada 1993-94, Santiago, Chile, INDAP, 34 p.
Tripp R., ed., 1991. Planned change informing systems: Progress in on-farm research. West
Sussex, England, John WIley and Sons.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension









Theory & Practice in FSRE:

Consideration of the Role of Modelling '

Barry Dent2



ABSTRACT

This paper has three major sections: the first attempts to analyze the
process of farming systems research-extension (FSRE); the second
represents an enquiry into the nature and need for models in FSRE;
the third is a philosophical discussion about concepts and paradigms
required for further modelling as an essential component for more
efficiency in FSRE.
In the first and second parts, emphasis is placed on FSRE as a holistic
concept that incorporates some modelling component as a vital part
of the process. The nature ofsuch models is discussed. The second part
of the paper progresses from the point of view that any discipline or
branch of study that does not develop its basic paradigms will fail to
progress and will be replaced by more robust approaches. Research
into FSRE itself has been limited and consideration is given to the role
modelling could play in research activity into the ideas and concepts
of FSRE.


THE FSRE ACTIVITY SEQUENCE
Figure 1 attempts to capture the basic steps in the process of farming systems
research-extension (FSRE). The most noticeable activities within FSRE are
focused on the applied/adaptive research step. Simplistically, this may be
viewed as the development of appropriate technology followed by demonstra-
tion of this in farmers fields. The research carried out is guided by the perceived
needs of farmers in the district or defined agro-ecological zone. So, zone
definition, description of the farm systemss, and establishment of databases
must be the first step in the whole process. From this first step to the
prioritization of research represents an enormous logical leap. In Figure 1, this
leap is shown as assisted by some form of modelling. This is universally the case,
even if for the most part the modelling is implicit and non-formal.

1 Paper presented at the Thirteenth Annual Farming Systems Research-Extension Symposium,
Montpellier, France, November 21-25, 1994.
2 Institute of Ecology & Resource Management, The University of Edinburgh, School of
Agriculture, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JG.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995





DENT


Figure 1

FSR/E Sequence of actions


Research
prioritisation


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Applied and
Adaptive research






THE ROLE OF MODELLING


Adoption of technology that will permit improved farm systems in terms of
level and reliability of output is usually seen as the overriding aim ofFSRE. The
technology is generated in the series of vertical steps in Figure 1 together with
the indicated feedbacks. An important feedback in this respect is implied
within the single block of the figure linking applied research with the adaptive
research procedure. Technology development is portrayed as reliant on field
experimental work.
This dependence on field trials to develop 'technology packages' has got to
be a matter of concern. Particularly in locations characterized by climatic
variability, the cost/effectiveness of such work must be questioned. Observed
and significant differences between treatments may be relevant only for the
year and specific conditions of the trial. Other circumstances may negate or
reverse treatment priorities. Repetition over years only expands the cost
without necessarily improving the information provided and results in unac-
ceptable delays. Other areas of biological science have developed adjacent
methodologies (Jones & Kiniry, 1986) in response to this situation. Computer
models of crop and livestock enterprises are widely available and well tested
and should by now be replacing some routine field experimentation (Dent &
Edwards-Jones, 1991). Here is a first, simple, and relatively well proven
opportunity to apply modelling methods with potential gain to conventional
FSRE.
The process of FSRE is then essentially driven by technology. Farmers are
included in the research process because there is little doubt that, otherwise,
factors can be overlooked which can hamper the subsequent adoption of
successfully tested recommendations.
Hence, the concept has grown of FSRE being concerned to improve the
efficiency of farming systems within the socio-economic constraints on develop-
ment. This concept must surely be questioned; socio-economic factors should
not be viewed as constraints but specifically as part of the system itself. The soil
type may be a constraint, as may the climate, but the social organization of the
farm family within its community is as much part of the system as the
organization of crop production. Because FSRE recognizes the farmer as the
main client of research, it must address high priority problems for farmers;
these, however, are not always related to existing and currently operated
technology or even to under-performing farm systems. (Byerlee & Tripp,
1988; Farrington, 1988). Hence, in rural areas, the farm as such, and its
associated technology, should not be the sole (or even the main) focus for
development. This is a crucial element because it begins to generate doubts
about the kind of research as well as the research resources committed to FSRE
in the name of development.
An alternative definition for FSRE and one that specifically emphasizes
people and the social framework in which they live and work, as distinct from
technology, is offered by Brossier & Chia (1994). They see FSRE as oriented
toward farmers, of course, but argue "that researchers are not external to the


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






DENT


systems under study." This Action-Research defines farmers and local opera-
tors (researchers, extensionists, local business) as part of the system. This is a
view that generally appears to be favored by exponents of the soft systems
approach (Checkland 1993; McAdam, et al., 1994); it specifically incorporates
an analysis of processes and structures needed to deliver enhanced institutional
frameworks and improved social, economic, and technical processes.
This paradigm is quite different from technology oriented FSRE. It is not
necessarily (or mainly) on-farm experimental (trial) based and it is designed to
release discovered "bottle-necks" that may be related to institutional incapac-
ity, poor information flow, structural deficiency (e.g., inappropriately defined
property rights), cultural restrictions, or technical limitations. Research/
investigation may then be prioritized as social, cultural, administrative, or
technical problems within rural communities. From this realist perspective,
FSRE is best seen as being activated when technology becomes an obvious
restriction on the farming sub-system to the extent that it limits growth of the
welfare of people in the defined community system.


MODEL TYPES IN FSRE
A crucial step that appears not to be formally addressed from the FSRE activity
sequence is how (by what mechanism) perceived problems are identified, how
they are prioritized, and what exactly is the 'research' process used to solve
problems.
Figure 1 suggests that these processes are, in practice, achieved by a
modelling activity. It is necessary now to clarify this by examining the model
types that have been and may potentially be involved.

Implicit models
In FSRE practice such models are the norm and may perhaps better be
described as 'mental' models. We all recognize such models that develop over
time to become a mental framework that provides the structure for thinking
about and defining a system. In an informal way the sub-systems, the driving
variables, the outputs, and conditions (the 'environment') are assembled.
Often such models are refined by discussions with colleagues and also with
farmers and their families. Although informal, they can still be powerful
constructs.
The problem with such models is that neither their structure nor the
embedded interactions are stated or quantified. Neither can they be formally
tested (validated). Furthermore, it is difficult to provide for sensitivity analysis,
which is crucial for prioritization of research/investigation activity. Addition-
ally, the system boundary definition is not specifically stated and this can cause
fuzzy thinking in determining priorities of research. Most usually, the model
relates to a perspective of a farm typical of the defined zone and the boundary
is associated with the farming system.
Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






THE ROLE OF MODELLING 0D

Clearly, FSRE practitioners use their experience against their mental model
to gauge priorities for the research phase. Their judgements, however, are less
easy to assess (and to share with others) than when the model is explicit and
more formal.

Computer Models
Many reported examples have exploited mathematical programming con-
cepts to create suitable models at all levels of application. In Action Research,
for example, linear programming models have been used to explore the
response ofa representative farm to potential new technology or management.
This process has been used to assist in formulating research needs by
discussing output from the model with the actors involved. Farmers are, of
course, part of this dialogue, but in addition the outputs from such models
have been used in discussions between farmers and their wider community
(e.g., market organizations). In reported examples (Brossier, Vissac, and Le
Moigne, 1990) this has been seen as a useful device to ensure that farm
technology, infrastructure, and socio-cultural elements are considered in
harmony. Some authors have specifically outlined the mathematical modelling
methodology which provides for the links between farming systems and the
broader communal economy (see Dent and McGregor, 1993; Doppler,
1994).
Those models that have been developed have tended to include structural
variables such as farm size and enterprise mix, whereas the social elements of
the systems (usually households) have been assumed to be uniform and to act
as rational financial maximizers (Wossink et al., 1992). Although possible
within such models, it is not usual to illustrate the impact of trade-offs between
the many and different objectives within farm households. Other mathemat-
ical programming structures (such as goal programming) have this capability
and examples of their value have been provided by Romero & Rehman (1989).
Such models are conceptually quite simple but are still normative in nature.
Thus an objective may, for example, be stated that the typical farm household
for a defined zone would not wish to take more than X units of seasonal credit
into their farming system and then only ifoverall 'profit' was likely to be greater
than Y units.
But the issues relating to credit use are much more complex than this and
few farmers are interested solely or even mainly on achieving high levels of
'profit.' As a result, attempts to create models of behavior of the typical farm
family are now beginning to emerge (e.g., Edwards-Jones et al, 1994). In such
models, and staying with the same example, the level of credit uptake has been
linked to the age of the head of the household, whether this is a male or a
female, and the level of education achieved by this person. Availability of credit
may be determined by the equity status of the household and the past record
of credit use.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






DENT


Behavioral models that may associate decision making with key character-
istics of the farm household and of the community in which the members live
and work, as well as to the prevailing infrastructural and institutional condi-
tions, are in the early stages of development. Mostly, they incorporate
experiential information, and examples to date are established within a rules-
based framework.
The range of different models outlined in this section have different
characteristics and it is important to select the model type to the circumstances
of the FSRE program and the information available. Mathematical program-
ming models largely require quantitative data input; behavioral models, on the
other hand, are able to accommodate qualitative assessments and 'rules of
thumb' as well as quantitative relationships. Behavioral model approaches may
be said to be more closely akin to mental models but expressed within a more
formal structure.

Soft Systems Models
Models developed under a soft-systems approach have characteristics that
are similar to those described under Action-Research. Their main function is
to create debate and discussion about an agreed problem area in development,
by providing indicators that describe possible outcomes of alternative actions.
Such models can be developed at a farming systems level but are much more
likely at rural livelihood systems level. The soft systems methodology may be
summarized as follows.
Soft Systems Steps:
1. Determine the problem situation.
2. Analyze the situation development of the 'rich picture.'
3. Create the conceptual model (ensure validity).
4. Generate feasible and desirable changes options for change by way of
model.
5. Actors discuss resource and infrastructure limitations.
6. Implement changes.
The process is not as focused as FSRE because field-type research is not a
target. Work is centered on debate by key actors associated with the system
under study and the conceptual model is drawn-up by all actors as a mechanism
for helping the debate. The conceptual model may involve quantitative
elements but discussions are often based on qualitative assessments.
The model involved in this process often takes the form of a description of
the system-a picture description shared mainly by the actors involved.
Conflicting objectives among groups of actors is likely to be endemic, whether
at farm household level or at community level, and where progress is related
to relaxation of institutional or infrastructural constraints, moving forward
may clearly be painfully slow. On the other hand, the model may identify
simple constraints that, once released, may move the system 'up a full step' in
meeting objectives.


journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






THE ROLE OF MODELLING


Often answers will relate to lack of official commitment, institutional
inadequacies, poor information flows, and poor participatory learning experi-
ences. Experimentation and demonstration are not specifically brought into
the cycle of events, but they are not excluded either. The process then is not
related to the development of research priorities but to examination of the
whole raft of conditions that restrict local people in attaining their (perhaps
poorly inarticulated) targets.


A SYSTEMS APPROACH
To this point, discussion has been focused on the importance in development
of defining appropriate systems and the role of modelling in the exploration
of systems at all levels. Now it is useful to consider the basic concepts of the
systems approach and relate them to FSRE.
The fundamental tenants of a systems approach may be set-out as follows:
1. Define the boundary of the system to be studied.
2. Define the relevant sub;systems and the hierarchy in which they are
placed.
3. Analyze the sub-systems and interactions between them by experiment
station or observation.
4. Understand sub-systems that provide the building blocks for the total
system.
5. Systems synthesis-drawing the sub-systems together-usually by mod
selling.
There are two important issues here for FSRE. The first is concerned with
definition of research priorities; the second with issues concerned with the
transferability of knowledge.
The prospect of targeting research resources more effectively. Within a systems
hierarchy of sub-systems and sub-sub-systems, it is important to define those
that form the appropriate bottom level-the finest relevant amount of detail.
These are sub-systems for which a clear understanding of structure and
function is essential to an operational appreciation of the system defined at the
top of the hierarchy. For a crop production system, sub-systems representing,
say, soil-water dynamics may be required. On the other hand, for rural
community systems, a sub-system dealing with the dynamics of household
decision-making may be one of those at the base of the hierarchy-soil water
subsystems may represent an unwarranted level of detail.
The issue at the heart of the problems where research efforts should be
directed. Research aimed at gaining a clearer understanding of sub-systems
below the relevant bottom level of the hierarchy is likely to have poor pay-offs
in terms of the goals for the main system. For example, in semi-arid areas in
Southern Africa where concern is with improvement in the social welfare of
communities, it may be said that sub-systems concerned with ruminant


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






DENT


metabolism are just too far down the hierarchy to warrant research attention.
Research into sub-systems dealing with grazing property rights in communal
lands, on the other hand, may be at the right level to be targeted. Such research
may provide opportunities to improve the welfare of village communities.
Unfortunately, both science-led and technology-driven research have usually
been directed below the relevant bottom-line of sub-systems. Consequently,
a lot is known about detailed science-based systems and relatively little about
the wider social systems in which they are embedded. Research into farm
livelihood systems and rural community systems is likely to bring increasingly
rapid pay-offs if directed at socio-economic and socio-cultural sub-systems.
It is important to recognize here that the debate is not about relatively
minor shifts in research resource allocation but rather major changes in
research orientation with different skills and different disciplines becoming
involved.
The prospect of transferring knowledge. Systems theory implies that sub-
systems are autonomous within a defined boundary. If this is true, such sub-
systems should be capable of being applied within a range of systems
hierarchies. Thus it should be feasible to transfer knowledge within a sub-
system (or at least the sub-system structure) from one location to another.
Furthermore, research may be carried out on such systems in various locations
by different teams and apply the findings in other locations. This is an approach
well recognized in conventional science research but FSRE has been driven by
case applications of the FSRE art. There is now a need, relevant to rural
systems, not only to improve the efficiency of the development process but also
to look for more rapid solutions to problems.
Roling (1994) has defined just such a paradigm (sub-system structure) that
has application at a number of different levels. He distinguishes between the
actual system on the one hand and the 'platform' for decision making about
the system on the other. Others have expressed the same concept in terms of
the actual (bio-physical) system and the information system used to manage
it. Each, in this case, is more properly defined as a sub-system. Roling (1994)
illustrates this by instancing at the farm level, the farm household as the
platform and it interfaces with the farm production system. At a more
communal level, a group of farm families with a common problem and with
common aspirations represent the bio-physical domain, while the platform
consists of the collective decision making representatives of the farm and other
households involved. Figure 2 shows the systems hierarchy for application at
farm level.
The platform that may operate at the communal level as well as at farm
household level is a crucially important concept that has had even less research
attention than issues related to research prioritization and transferable knowl-
edge within sub-systems. The nature of the platform (its structure, compo-
nents, and mechanisms) has hardly been analyzed. Figure 2 implies that in any
given circumstance (that is for any class of farm household), social, cultural,


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension





Figure 2

SYSTEM HIERARCHY

10- 0

Farm livelihood system
for defined type z






DENT


and infrastructural elements will determine at least the componentry of the
platform. Only the most general view of the actual mechanisms of the decision
process are available.
Figure 3 offers a farm-level view of this vital ingredient for FSRE. The
platform here is hypothesized as a nested group of decision support systems
(Dent, 1994). The farm family has a number of objectives (some specific,
others general) falling under the headings of technical, social, and economic.
Information concerning each of these is perceived by the farm decision making
unit by way of various pathways. A second hypothesis is that providing such
information indicates that objectives are being met, then the decisions made
will generally coincide with those made during the last production cycle (last
season).
This implies that the decision making unit not only has a view about its
objectives but also monitors in some way (mainly informally) the extent to
which these objectives are being fulfilled. When one or more objectives are not
being met then corrective action will take place. In some circumstances, the
platform involved is extremely simple, with maybe only one or two decision
support systems functioning. For example, in a highly capitalized and intensive
European farm system, the economic performance indicators are likely to
override most others. More complex situations may be the norm in other
places where cultural objectives and perhaps subsistence nutritional levels for
the family may be paramount.
In passing, it should be noted that these kinds of processes can be relatively
easily constructed into formal models using 'rule of thumb' and qualitative
data within formats suggested by expert systems methodology.
It seems only a minor logical step to conclude that FSRE procedures should
be directed only toward decision support systems that are 'active' for a group
of farms. Indeed, it can be supposed that farm livelihood systems may be
satisfactorily classified relative to the decision support systems that apply.
Perhaps herein is a prospect of grouping farms within an agro-climatic zone
according to useful operational characteristics. It can be argued that adaptive
research, whether at farm technology level or at institutional level (i.e.,
infrastructure or people empowerment), will only be successful if it reinforces
existing and operational decision support systems. Similar comments may be
directed towards rural policy; to be effective it must bear directly on active
decision support systems.
The concepts of platforms, the mechanisms of decision making, and the
hypotheses involved are a far cry from conventional notions that farm families
seek to attain the best financial performance or even specifically high levels of
security and organize their resources accordingly. But the fact is that little is
known about the decision-making process and this is a stark contrast with
extensive and detailed knowledge of the biological components of rural
systems.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension





Figure 3


0
Indigenous t ( Commeclal 0
Knowledge ) L Media )


MAKING UNIT | o


SPlanning 1 |
1 fnrml r Infnrm-l I I I






DENT


This debate has touched one paradigm that may be transferable and may
indeed operate at a number of levels in organized society. This is but a single
example and illustrates the kind of research and its orientation and the kind of
approach to modelling that is now required. Other such paradigms easily come
to mind: researching unsatisfactorily defined property rights; motivation and
empowerment models for women; and creating infrastructural safety nets for
rural communities in regions of extensive climate variability.


CONCLUSIONS
The discussions have highlighted a number of issues pertinent to rural
development and have attempted to show the relevance and use of modelling.
1. It is questionable whether rural development should be addressed at the
farm level.
2. A systems framework is appropriate for rural development research and
action. Such work needs to be people oriented rather than technology driven.
3. Modelling is intrinsically part of the development process and more
formal methodologies have advantages over conceptual models. Newer mod-
elling techniques can utilize qualitative data and can mimic behavior patterns
of individuals and communities.
4. More explicit use of modelling encourages the definition of concepts into
general paradigms and theories. It may also encourage more attempts to put
some order into sociocultural heterogeneity (classification). Both ofthese may
assist in the transference of knowledge from one region to another.


REFERENCES
Anderson J.R. 1985. Assessing the impact of farming systems research: framework and
problems. Agricultural Administration 20:225-235.
Benoit M. 1994. Environmental issues: Use of Farming Systems Research/Extension to
resolve environmental and spatial problems. Dent JB & McGregor (eds). Farm &
Rural Systems Analysis: European Perspectives, CABI, Wallingford.
Brossier J. and Chia E. 1994. Participatory research: Water quality and changes in farming
systems, in, Dent JB & McGregor MJ (eds). Farm &Rural SystemsAnalysis: European
perspectives, CABI, Wallingford.
Brossier J., Vissac B. and Le Moigne J.L. 1990. Modelisation Systematique & Systeme
Agraire. Decisionet Organisation, INRA, Paris.
Byerlee D. and Tripp R. 1988. Strengthening linkages in agricultural research through a
farming systems perspective: The role of social scientists. Journal of Experimental
Agriculture 24:137-151.
Checkland P. 1993. Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.
Dent J.B. 1994. Enabling technologies for land use and resource management: The
human response, Proc. 5th International Congress for Computer Technology in
Agriculture, Stoneleigh, RASE, pp40-45.


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THE ROLE OF MODELLING


Dent J.B. and Edwards-Jones G. 1991. The context of modelling in future: the changing
role of R & D funding in agriculture. Aspects of Applied Biology 26:128-133.
Dent J.B. and McGregor M.J., 1993. A systems approach to conflict resolution in rural
resource management. Proc. International Fed. of Operations Research Societies
Conference, Lisbon.
Dent J.B. and Thornton P.K., 1988. The role of biological simulation models in Farming
Systems Research. Agricultural Administration & Extension 29:111-122.
Doppler W., 1994. The role of quantitative methods in integrating farming, village and
regional systems approaches, This Conference.
Edwards-Jones G., Dent J.B., Morgan O., McGregor M.J. and Thornton P.K., 1994.
Incorporating farm household decision-making in whole farm models. International
Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer: A systems approach to Research
and Decision Making. Kleuwer, Amsterdam (in press) in Tsuji G. (ed).
Farrington J., 1988. Farmer participatory research: Editorial introduction. Expl.Agric
24:269-279.
Jones C.A. and Kiniry J.R. 1986. CERES- Maize:A simulation model ofmaizegrowth and
development. Texas A & M Univ. Press, College Station.
McAdam R., Van Asch R, Hedley B., Pitt E. and Carrol P., 1994. A case study in
development planning using a systems learning approach: generating a master plan for
the livestock sector in Nepal. Agricultural Systems. (in press)
Olsen M.E., Canan P. and Hennessy M., 1985. A value-based community assessment
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Roling N., 1994. Interaction between extension services and farmer decision making: New
issues and sustainable farming,in, Dent J.B. & McGregorM.J. (eds), Rural&Farming
Systems Analysis: European perspectives. CABI, Wallingford
Romero, C. & Rehman, T. 1989. Mutliple Criteria Analysis for Agricultural Decisions.
Amsterdam, Elsevier, p257.
Wossink, G.A.A., Koeijer, T.J., Renkema, J.A. and de Koeijer, T.J. 1992. Environmental-
economic policy assessment: a farm economic approach. Agricultural Systems39:421-
438.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995









New Resources for International

Agricultural Cooperation:

Village-Based Self-Help and Agricultural

Research in Japan'

Teruo Wada2, John S. Caldwell3, and Shigeki Tokoyama4



ABSTRACT
Participatory elements in Japan's domestic agricultural development
history are compared with its international development assistance.
Three movements which increased self-help in rural development and
farmer participation in agricultural research from the 19th century are
described, culminating in the systems research concept ofs6g6 kenkyu
and its application in the 1952-62 eindshiken national program ofon-
farm trials. Japan's government-to-government agricultural develop-
ment assistance has emphasized self-help at the national level, but
farmer participation in implementation has been limited. An excep-
tion to this has been the cataloging of 449 indigenous technologies.
Japan's domestic experience and the registry of indigenous technol-
ogies could serve as models to increase farmer participation in
agricultural development cooperation in Japan and other countries,
through formalization of the assessment of indigenous technologies
and knowledge systems as local resources for self-help; involvement of
area specialists; application of participatory methods developed in.
Japan; and establishment of a registry of farmer and extension
practitioners who could participate in development assistance.





1 Keynote paper presented at the Thirteenth Annual Association for Farming Systems Research-
Extension Symposium, Montpellier, France, November 21-25, 1994.
2 Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
3 Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univer-
sity, Blacksburg, Virginia, and former Abe Fellow and Visiting Researcher, 1992-1993, Depart-
ment of Agricultural Economics, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
4 Senior Researcher, Section of Comparative Farming Systems, Department of Farm Management,
National Agriculture Research Center, Tsukuba, Japan, and former Japan International Cooper-
ation Agency (JICA) expert, UN ESCAP CGPRT Center, Indonesia.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






WADA ET AL.


INTRODUCTION
The assumptions and methods used in international agricultural assistance and
cooperation have undergone an evolution over the past 50 years. This
evolution has increasingly come to recognize the knowledge and capacity of
farmers and rural inhabitants for self-improvement, when their initiatives are
supported institutionally.
During the 1950s and 1960s, while there were major changes in percep-
tions of the rationality of traditional agriculture and farmers and rural
inhabitants, a perceived need for an outside impetus for change was a constant
assumption. In the 1950s, developing country agriculture was seen as being
often tradition-bound and economically irrational. Change from traditional-
ism to rationalism and adoption of developed country agricultural technology
through integrated rural development promoted by polyvalent village workers
was advocated and implemented in many developing countries.
By the 1960s, however, the rationality of traditional agriculture and farmers
had come to be recognized. The Green Revolution technology of high-
yielding seeds of rice and wheat accompanied by synthetic fertilizer was
substituted for developed country technology, and farmers were expected to
respond as economically rational producers to this superior technology
introduced through massive extension and credit programs such as Masagana
99 in the Philippines (Caldwell, 1994b; Chambers, 1993; Ruttan, 1975;
Ruttan, 1977; Schultz, 1964).
The 1980s and the 1990s have seen much greater recognition of farmers'
and rural inhabitants' own capacities for change. From the beginning, farming
systems research recognized the essential role of farmers as partners in site-
specific agricultural research. More recently, increased emphasis on participa-
tory methods gives farmers the central role in analyzing their own farming
systems and proposing and designing change (Chambers, 1993; Shaner et al.,
1982).
Today, Japan is the largest donor of development assistance, known by the
acronym ODA ("Official Development Assistance") in Japan (Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, 1990). Concurrently, Japan is changing from a regional actor
to a global actor in international agricultural assistance. Its efforts are increas-
ingly moving both geographically and in types of farming systems beyond its
traditional domain of technical assistance in wet rice production and associated
farming systems in Southeast Asia. At this time of change, it is useful for Japan
to look back on its own experience in light of the above international evolution
in assumptions and methods of agricultural development assistance, to ask
what aspects of its own domestic agricultural development history are most
likely to be relevant to its current international efforts.
This paper seeks to address this question through an examination of several
key elements of the history of rural development and agricultural research in
Japan, as a basis for comparison with its approaches to international agricul-


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VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


tural development assistance. The paper first provides an overview of the
history ofself-help in rural development in Japan, as background to presenting
the history of the development of the agricultural station research system in
Japan. The paper then shows how these two strands came together in the
eindshiken program of 1952-1962. The paper next summarizes the approaches
used in Japan's overseas development assistance, and compares these with the
self-help tradition. The paper concludes with suggestions on how current
overseas development assistance by both Japan and other countries could draw
from the traditions ofvillage-based self-help and agricultural research in Japan.


FARMER PARTICIPATION IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN JAPAN


The Self-Help Tradition in Rural Development
Farmer participation in agricultural innovation and rural development has
a long history in Japan. Three movements stand out as prominent examples of
this history: the Senzokabu Kumiai cooperative in the first half of the 19th
century, the ChdsonZe Movement from the late 19th century to the 1920s, and
the Ndsangyoson Keizai Kdsei Keikaku during the Great Depression of the
1930s. In each of these movements, we can see a pattern in which farmer
initiative and participation intersect with the central administration, reflecting
the dual nature of the Japanese mura.
The mura or village community is the basic unit of both land use and local
governance in Japan. Most mura originated with the initial settlement by
groups of families in a previously unexploited valley or other area of cultivat-
able land. Many murain Central and Northern Honshu date back to the defeat
of the Heike clan in a famous civil war Southern Japan that ended in 1195, but
others were founded in later centuries, particularly in Northern Honshu. Japan
also has a long history of central government, dating back to the seventh
century, initially modelled after the Chinese Imperial system by leaders of clans
who sought greater power as a result of social differentiation within Japan in
the early centuries A.D.
While rainfed agriculture has played an important but less recognized role
in Japanese agriculture, the role of irrigated rice farming has had a major
impact on the relationship between the mura and the central government.
Many mura have been able to develop networks of canals from small rivers,
increasing their agricultural production through better irrigation and im-
provements in farming practices not dependent on the central government.
This has provided the basis for the development of a tradition of local, self-
governing autonomy in mura. In such mura, the central government is an
outside force that draws on the mura's social organization to promote its
objectives, and also extracts local wealth from the mura through taxation. But


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WADA ET AL.


for the further development of agriculture, irrigation systems drawing from
large rivers and large-scale land reclamation, serving many mura, become
necessary. In these cases, mura become more dependent on the central
government. Hence, mura have developed a dual nature being both an
indigenous unit of local autonomy and a subordinate unit of centrally-derived
administration (Goto and Inamura, 1993).
Senzokabu Kumiai. Ohara Yugaku 5 (1797?-1858) was said to be the
second son of a high official of one fiefdom in western Japan. At the age of 18
he separated from his family for reasons that are unclear, and as a result moved
around and lived in a number of different parts ofWestern Japan over a 20-year
period. This enabled him to acquire a wide practical knowledge of agriculture.
Then, about 1835, he finally settled in the village of Nagabe in Shimosa
(present Chiba Prefecture). There he organized one of the earliest agricultural
cooperatives in Japan, called the Senzokabu Kumiai,6 to restore prosperity to
this village which had fallen on hard times.
The SenzokabuKumiaiwas a kind ofa joint trust fund based on mutual aid.
Each member farm household contributed a portion of its land to the
cooperative. The cooperative then let the pooled land out to tenants to farm,
and used the tenancy rent to build a fund for cooperative member use. The
cooperative used the fund to make loans to members in need. Through the
trust fund, members who had gone bankrupt were able to reestablish them-
selves, and members who had had to pawn their farm land to lenders from
other villagers were able to buy their land back.
The Senzokabu Kumiai carried out other activities as well. It purchased
supplies and materials in bulk for the membership. It arranged for pooling and
consolidation of fragmented farm land, even extending to moving the site of
the farmhouse in the process. When fields had to be redemarcated for such
consolidation, members donated their time voluntarily to the task.
Field consolidation was done with the objective of improving farming
practices, and was part ofa series of innovations that Yugaku and the Senzokabu
Kumiai introduced in the village. Field consolidation made it possible to drain
low-lying, bog fields so that they could be used for double cropping ofdryland
crops after rice. It also made it possible to introduce straight-line rice planting.
Other practices that Yugaku introduced included the amendment of loam to
improve soils, improved rice seedbeds, and better weeding. He also intro-
duced the practice of keeping a calendar of farm activities. Some of the farm
households in the village continued until the 1950s to keep this type of
calendar that he introduced more than 100 years ago. This shows how strong
5 In this paper, we write Japanese proper names in the order they are written in Japanese: family
name first, followed by personal name (the opposite from English). Hence, Ohara is the family
name and Yfgaku the personal name of Ohara Yugaku (which would be written Yigaku Ohara if
in the English order). In addition, prior to the modern era that began with the Meiji Restoration
in 1868, persons are often referred to by their personal name (Yigaku, referring to Ohara Yigaku),
whereas from the modern era persons are always referred to by their family names (Maeda, referring
to Maeda Masana).


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VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


an influence he left on the village (Society for the Study Agricultural Develop-
ment History, 1953; Kuwahara, 1974).
The dual nature of mura in Japan can be seen in the effects ofYugaku's
work. Yugaku did not intend to lead farmers in a revolt against the central
government, but the cooperative use of land that he promoted conflicted with
the land tenure system of the Edo government. Under the feudal system, all
land ownership rights were invested in the lord ofthe fiefdom, and farmers had
only use rights given to them by the lord. The use rights permitted inheritance
but not transfer of land, and farmers were not allowed to move from one piece
of land to another. Thus, the pooling of land in the cooperative was contrary
to the land control system of the feudal government. The Edo government and
the various fiefdoms built river dikes and carried out land reclamation to open
up new paddy areas, but they did not engage in field reorganization. Only
towards the end of the Edo period did some wealthy farmers, who were often
also local officials, carry out field reorganization as part of the introduction of
new agricultural practices like straight-line planting, horse plowing, and field
drainage. Some small farmers appear to have done field reorganization in
secret, hiding this from governmental authorities, but Yugaku's organizing of
small farmers into a cooperative was a radical step. For this reason, the Edo
government broke up the senzokabu kumiai, and Yugaku himself was dis-
graced and forced to commit ritual suicide.
Yugaku's followers nevertheless continued his work, and both Yugaku
himself and his followers wrote a number of books describing his approach, but
his approach was not adopted beyond the eastern part of Chiba, nor did
Yugaku's ideas become well known until the 1910s. In 1911, the economist
and member of the House of Peers of the pre-war Diet Tamura Inajiro
assembled a 566 page Complete Works ofYugaku, and the ChbsonZe movement
described in the next section adopted Yugaku's philosophy as one of the
guiding principles of the movement. It is fair to say that the ideas and concrete
methods that Yugaku first put into action are the foundations of the modern
cooperative movement in Japan today (Kimura, 1981).
Chdson Ze Movement. Ch6son Ze7 was a policy of stimulating rural industries,
focusing on although not limited to agriculture, that was carried out in villages
throughout Japan from the end of the 19th century until the 1920s. The idea
of ChSson Ze was first advanced by Maeda Masana in 1893. Maeda was a high
official in the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. He proposed ChSsonZe
as a movement to be undertaken by agricultural societies called Ndkai. NSkai
were local organizations that worked for the improvement of agriculture.
6 Senzo are ancestors, and kabu means stock (in the financial sense). Kumai is a cooperative or union,
hence Senzokabu Kumai literally means "Ancestors' Stock Union."
7 Chdson is a word combining ch6 and son, township and village. Ch6 is the Chinese-style reading for
township, read machiin indigenous Japanese reading, or kunyomi, when used as a single word. Son
is the Chinese-style reading for villages, read as mura in kunyomi when used as a single word. Ze
is usually used in combination with other characters, such as in zesei, to correct a situation. Hence,
choson ze is to "rectify" townships and villages: to put their economic situation on a more stable
and self-sustaining basis.
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WADA ET AL.


Initially, ChdsonZe began as a locally organized movement as envisioned by
Maeda, but from 1904 this began to change. With the outbreak of the Russo-
Japan War, the government began to take over Ch4son Ze and carry it out in
a standardized manner as a national policy. In this policy, township and village
planning was officially encouraged under the names of Ch6 Ze (Township
Rectification) and Son Ze (Village Rectification). Each township and village
first carried out an analysis of its existing situation through a survey and then
submitted a plan for stimulating the rural economy. Townships and villages
were the basic units of government in Japan, and their plans became the basis
for planning at the higher levels of the county (Gun Ze), the prefecture (Ken
Ze), and the nation (Koku Ze).
This hierarchy ofplanning starting from townships and villages reflected the
beliefof Maeda that successful planning had to be built up from the most basic
unit of government. As each township and village made a plan centered around
the promotion of its most typical economic activities and enterprises, the
economy of the region and the nation as a whole would be stimulated.
The Chdson Ze planning surveys included an inventory of land holdings,
farm production, non-agricultural industries, and sources of township or
village public revenue. From the results of the survey, Chsson Ze plans
promoted both technical and socio-economic change. On the technical side,
they advanced such changes as selection of improved varieties from farmer seed
stock using the salt water method, field reconsolidation, and introduction of
improved agricultural practices. On the socio-economic side, they included
measures to protect tenants, organization of cooperatives for joint purchase of
supplies and materials, repurchase of land that had fallen into the hands of non-
villagers, farm household financial management to encourage economization
of expenses and increased saving, and education of children (Takeda, 1960;
Tanaka, 1977).
While Ch6son Ze planning thus came to be promoted in a top-down way, it
contributed to bottom-up self-help in two key ways. First, it established a
tradition of self-analysis for planning, and gave this official approval. Second,
it recognized local planning and initiative as the basis for developing national
planning policy. Although local government was forced to serve as a means of
implementing national policy, in essence it became the source of that national
policy at the same time.
Ndsangyoson Keizai Kdsei Keikaku (Agricultural, Forest, and Fisheries
Village Economic Renewal Planning Program). This rural development
planning program began in 1932, in an attempt to address the economic
difficulties of villages during the Showa Depression (corresponding to the
Great Depression in the United States). This program proposed to select
1,000 townships and villages a year and have each prepare an economic
renewal plan. In return, these villages would receive a small amount of
assistance from the national government to implement their plans. By 1940,
82 percent of the townships and villages in Japan were in this program.


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The Village Economic Renewal Program envisioned using the spirit of
mutual aid that characterized village culture to reorganize village and town-
ship economies in a more organized, planned manner. Concrete measures
included development of production plans, organization of producers' coop-
eratives for the sale of agricultural products, the purchase of supplies and
materials, and provision of credit to farmers.
Development of the economic renewal plans was left to local initiative, but
few regional characteristics were reflected in the actual plans that emerged.
Most followed a similar "cookbook" pattern that in effect envisioned a return
to a subsistence economy based on self-help. Key elements of the model plan
prepared by the Imperial Farmers' Society (the national-level organization to
which the local N6kai belonged) were: (1) increasing the percentage of village
self-sufficiency in food, feed, and fertilizer production; (2) reducing costs of
production, and in particular minimizing cash outlays; (3) formation of
marketing and joint purchasing cooperatives; (4) increasing production; and
(5) achieving economies in domestic expenses (Tanaka, 1977).
This program can be seen as an attempt by the government to use the rural
traditions of self-help and self government for its own political reasons. The
government had no resources for improving rural infrastructure or otherwise
providing financial support to villages, so to deflect potential criticism of lack
ofa rural policy, it chose to fall back on exhortations to villages to be more self-
sufficient. Nevertheless, while the government's motives may have been
political, and many of the plans tended to be "cookbook," this program had
the effect of continuing to encourage and recognize value in villagers' self-
analysis and planning. In this respect, although more by default than by design,
paradoxically the government's lack of financial resources to carry out national
programs conceived by central authorities forced it to recognize and promote
rural self-reliance and self-help.

Development of the Station Agricultural Research System
Japan has had a nationwide agricultural research system for approximately
100 years. Japan also has a long history of farmer participation in agricultural
research and development. This participation goes back to the beginnings of
modern agriculture in Japan, in the early Meiji period (1868-1912). This
reflects the fact that the development of modern agricultural science in Japan
resulted from a process of the synthesis of indigenous agricultural science and
agricultural science brought in from the West.
Initially, between 1871 and 1886, the Meiji government sent high govern-
ment officials to the West to learn about agricultural practices and its systems
of agricultural research and education. When the first agricultural college was
opened, the Meiji government also hired instructors from England, the
United States, Holland, and Germany to carry out research and education. At
the same time, veteran farmers (rdn6) and innovating farmers (tokund)


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WADA ET AL.


continued research begun in the latter part of the Edo Era on indigenous
agricultural methods (Saito, 1970).
At first, there was no contact between the two types of research, Western-
derived and indigenous. The government rejected tokun6 technology as
lacking a scientific basis, and for their part tokun6 relied only on experience and
ignored modern analytical science. However, as the government began to
realize that it would be extremely difficult to transplant directly Western
agriculture and agricultural science under the completely different natural and
socio-economic conditions of Japan, it came to recognize through a process
of trial-and-error that a modern agricultural science for Japan would have to
be built upon the incorporation of knowledge from modern Western agricul-
tural science into indigenous agricultural technology and science. At the same
time, the tokun6 themselves also began to incorporate some of the results of
research by agricultural scientists into their own thinking and practices. They
treated the results of agricultural research like technology from another region
of Japan that they combined with their own practices, within the framework
of indigenous knowledge (Saito, 1970). It is important to keep this process of
incorporation in mind to understand the background behind the establish-
ment of the national agricultural experiment station system.
The government first began to recognize the importance of tokun6and r6n6
in the 1880s. After the largely unsuccessful attempt to import Western
agriculture into Japan in the 1870s, the Meiji government requested each
prefecture (equivalent to a state or province in North America, a dipartement
in France, or a cercle in West Africa) to identify one or two leading r6n6. These
farmers gathered information on practices and varieties developed or identi-
fied by innovating farmers, or tokun6, and disseminated them to other farmers.
In 1885, the work of the r6n6was formalized in the Itinerant Instructor System
(Hayami et al., 1979; Ogura, 1968). This parallels one of the roles for farmer-
participatory research proposed by Chambers (1993).
Prior to the establishment of the Itinerant Instructor System, the first
forerunners of the national agricultural experiment stations were established.
In 1876, the Sapporo Agricultural College was established; this would later
become the College of Agriculture of Hokkaido University. In 1878, the
Komaba Agricultural College was established; this became the College of
Agriculture of Tokyo University. These were the main pathways through
which Western agricultural science entered, with all courses initially taught by
foreign instructors. After graduation, students of these two schools went
abroad for further study before returning as instructors in their schools of
origin. These instructors were able to provide much more realistic instruction
than the foreign instructors had been able to do. They also began to carry out
research to determine the scientific basis of indigenous agricultural practices
whose real-world validity had been proven empirically. In this process, they
were aided by the fact that some r6n6 were appointed instructors at the
Komaba Agricultural College. At Sapporo Agricultural College, in Hokkaido


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where Western agricultural techniques were more directly applicable, returned
instructors began to conduct experiments on problems associated with the
agriculture of newly-opened lands (Hayami et al., 1979; Ogura, 1968; Saito,
1970).
The impetus for the establishment of the national agricultural experiment
station system was the economic depression in the rural areas and the debate
about its causes and proposed solutions during the 1880s. One school of
thought took the position that the way to rebuild depressed rural economies
was through reduction of the high rate of tenant rents, and that this in turn
required reduction of the land tax. Government agricultural scientists took the
position, however, that the main cause of high tenant rents was competition
for land by tenants, and that lowering the land tax would not change this. They
argued that a more fundamental solution could only be obtained by increasing
productivity through the development and extension of new, more perfor-
mant technology. A call arose for the establishment of a national agricultural
research station as an institution to carry out such development and extension
of improved technology (Saito, 1970). This technology-centered solution
proposed by government agricultural scientists has parallels with the conclu-
sions advanced by Schultz (1964) that traditional agriculture could only be
improved through new technology.
The initial conception of a national agricultural experiment station came
from Sawano Atsushi. Sawano became an Itinerant Instructor for the Agricul-
tural Bureau of the government after his graduation from the Komaba
Agricultural College. As he went around giving lectures in different parts of the
country, he became increasingly aware of the need for an experiment station
to determine scientifically if the content of what he presented was indeed
appropriate to each location. In 1886, he first advanced a proposal to establish
an experiment station. This was based on the need common to all the Itinerant
Instructors for better information to extend to farmers. He believed that such
an experiment station could respond to this need by carrying out applied
research closely linked to real-world production (Saito, 1970). In essence,
Sawano's proposal sought to give the Itinerant Instructors a broader "menu"
of technologies based on what has been called "upstream" farming systems
research (Gilbert et al., 1980).
Sawano's proposal was not immediately implemented, but the first steps
towards an agricultural experiment station system soon appeared. Between
1886 and 1890, "key grain and vegetable test production" trials were begun
at 10 sites on rented farm land in the greaterTokyo area. Trials on rice, wheat,
barley, and vegetables were given to r6n6 to carry out. The real-world
experience of r6n6 was seen as essential to achieve the multiple objectives of
these trials. Their main objective was to develop technology that would meet
both technical and economic requirements of farmers' production. This
objective closely parallels the "can adopt" and "willing to adopt" objectives for
on-farm trials of Norman (1983). At the same time, they also had an


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






WADA ET AL.


educational and demonstration objective, to show farmers new techniques
(Saito, 1970).
These early trials were simply empirical tests of new technology, not carried
out according to a systematic methodology for comparing it to existing
technology. Gradually the need for more systematic comparisons came to be
recognized. In response to this recognition, in 1890 the "Provisional Exper-
iment Station of the Agriculture Bureau" was established in Nishigahara, just
north of Tokyo. This was followed by the establishment in 1893 of six branch
stations in the prefectures ofMiyagi, Ishikawa, Osaka, Hiroshima, Tokushima,
and Kumamoto. With this a national agricultural experiment station system
came into being (Saito, 1970).
Each branch experiment station carried out some research on commercial
crops of particular importance to its region, but the overall the emphasis of the
experiment station system was on rice research. This basic emphasis on rice has
remained unchanged to the present. Initially, applied research and demonstra-
tions made up the bulk of the work of the stations, and basic research did not
play a prominent role. Applied research and demonstrations are more properly
the province of prefectural experiment stations and research carried out at the
local level, but these institutions did not come into being for some time. The
national experiment stations also lacked the facilities needed to do basic
research (Saito, 1970).
In addition to their research role, the national experiment stations carried
out a number of other roles, essentially extension in nature. At the request of
local government officials, they would send staff members to give lectures on
agriculture and serve as judges of agricultural products, improved agricultural
tools and implements, and improved agricultural practices at agricultural fairs
and contests. They collected local varieties for research and breeding, and on
request they carried out free promotion and distribution of seed of varieties
they selected or bred at the stations. For example, from 1890 to 1894, they
distributed seed of six varieties of wheat and barley to some 90,000 farmers.
They provided analytical and evaluative testing services for soils, fertilizers,
feeds, and agricultural products. They also responded to requests from farmers
for advice and for observational visits to tests that farmers themselves initiated
(Saito, 1970).
The extension role of the national agricultural experiment stations was due
to several factors. The current system of governmental extension offices was
established only after World War II. Before World War II, extension was
carried out primarily by the farmers' associations (Ndkai) and production
cooperatives, with technical support from the national experiment stations.
Even after the establishment of the governmental extension office system,
farmers' cooperatives (now called N6ky6) have continued to play an important
role in extending new technology, especially for specialty crops such as locally
labelled fruits and vegetables. The main task of the government extension
system has shifted to lifting up small-scale and marginal farmers. In this sense,


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VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


the two forms of extension (farmer-based and governmental) complement
each other. We also see again the role that farmers, through their associations,
have continued to play in promoting agricultural technology change.
The development of the prefectural experiment station system began with
the promulgation of an ordnance in 1894 for their establishment. In 1899, the
national government passed a law providing for partial financial support for
these stations from the national budget. As a result, by 1903 every prefecture
had its own agricultural experiment station. With the establishment of the
prefectural experiment station system, the national experiment stations aban-
doned three of their branch stations (Miyagi, Hiroshima, and Tokushima) and
began to reorganize themselves to focus more on basic research (Saito, 1970).
The tradition of drawing on tokuns knowledge continued at the prefectural
experiment stations. Prefectural experiment station technicians took over the
role that the r6n6 had played in the Itinerant Instructor System. These
technicians were trained at new agricultural high schools and at training
centers at the national and prefectural experiment stations. Their training thus
gave them knowledge of the results and methods of formal, Western-derived
agricultural science. At the same time, however, since the mission of the
prefectural experiment stations was to carry out applied agricultural research
on real-world problems, they interacted with tokun6 and drew from tokun6
knowledge (Hayami et al., 1979; Ogura, 1968). One can say that it was these
technicians who were the real synthesizers of Western-derived science and
indigenous knowledge within the agricultural experiment station system.
Even up to the 1960s, informal interaction between tokunsinnovating farmers
and prefectural experiment station researchers played an important role in
generating new technology (comments by researchers in a discussion follow-
ing a seminaron FSRE given by Caldwell at the National Agricultural Research
Center, Tsukuba, Japan, July 7, 1992).

Convergence of Self-Help and Agricultural Research:
The Eindshiken Program
The ein6shiken program was a national program of on-farm trials carried out
from 1952 to 1962. The word ein6shiken could be translated as "agricultural
management trial." The first word, ein6, literally, "managing agriculture,"
combines concepts of planning and evaluating one's overall farming with
physically carrying out all the concrete steps of producing each crop and type
of animal in one's farming. A shiken is simply a "test," so ein6shiken means a
test of how to improve one's overall farm management through specific
production activities.
Eindshiken were on-farm trials carried out with farmer collaborators, usually
for a period of three to four years with the collaborator. Comparisons were
made across farms, between farmer-collaborators and noncollaborators. The
trials did not attempt to change the entire farming system of collaborators at
once, however, but rather began with specific technologies. Thus, ein6shiken


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WADA ET AL.


can be seen as on-farm trials with double objectives: to find better means of
managing agriculture, and to test specific technologies in the context of the
whole farm. They can be seen as systems tests of specific technologies.
The theoretical basis of eindshiken can be found in a theory of systems
research that had been developed in the 10 years preceding the establishment
of this national program. A type of systems research called s6g6 kenky4, or
comprehensive research, was proposed with the creation of a new agricultural
station in the Tohoku region of northern Honshu, established for the specific
purpose of initiating this new type of research.
There are several parallels between agriculture in the late 1940s in Tohoku,
and agriculture in the parts of the developing world where FSRE originated,
West Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Like those regions, Tohoku
also has many upland areas suited only for rainfed agriculture. Farmers in the
Tohoku region had similarly evolved complex rotation systems with a range of
rainfed crops, including foxtail and barnyard grass millets, wheat, buckwheat
(soba), and soybean. Agriculture was predominately subsistence, with shifting
cultivation and land preparation by hand co-existing with cultivation in
permanent fields using animal traction (Sasaki, 1988).
The theory of s4g6 kenkyf adapted an ecological model of feedback and
equilibrium to a concept of a farming system seen as consisting of three main
elements, people, crops, and animals (Nishigori, 1952; Iwasaki, 1952; trans-
lation into English of key sections and more detailed discussion of their
implications are provided in Caldwell, 1994a). This closely paralleled similar
ideas thirty years later, when the theoretical underpinnings of FSRE appeared:
the ecologically-based systems analysis of Hart (1979); the concepts of
equilibrium and feedback in agricultural systems of Ruthenberg (1980); and
the household, crop, and animal subsystems of the structural models of
McDowell and Hildrebrand (1980). S6g6 kenkya also proposed methods
similar to FSRE. It sought "the harmonious fitting together of components,"
assuming that the new "harmonious equilibrium, or combining, of complex
things cannot be achieved at once, but is the result of many efforts of trial and
error, achieved only through real tests of management." Sdg6 kenkyi com-
bined the "static observation" of social science survey research and the creation
of a "dynamic perturbation" in the system by technical research. The objective
of this combination of methods was to subject technology to a "socioeconom-
ic filter" (Nishigori, 1952; Iwasaki, 1952; Suzuki et al., 1958). .
The eindshiken program began in 1952, when Japan was not yet fully out
of an era of subsistence agriculture, spanned the period of post-war economic
recovery through the 1950s, and continued until 1962. The year 1960 can be
seen as a watershed year, when a new administration came into power after a
political crisis and proposed a program of rapid economic transformation,
capsuled in the promise to "double income." As part of this program, in the
followingyear, 1961, a new Basic Agriculture Law was promulgated. This Law
established the objective of achievement of income parity between agriculture


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and industry. With the movement of rural labor into the rapidly-expanding
industrial sector, the creators of the Law envisioned a consolidation of farm
land into fewer, larger farm units; mechanization of the remaining farm units;
and increasing specialization of agriculture, particularly into commodities
such as animal and fruit tree production for the urban market with its
increasing incomes and diversifying food preferences. In other words, after
1960, agriculture in Japan began to be transformed to an industrial model.
The eindshiken program was thus the last stage in culmination of efforts to
improve agriculture under conditions of diversity and subsistence, prior to
entering an industrial transformation.
Over the 10 years from 1952 to 1962, three series of ein6shiken were
conducted at a total of 389 sites. Figure 1 shows the distribution of the types
of ein6shiken carried out over this period. Rainfed agriculture was the most
common single type, comprising 24 percent of the total trials. Trials focusing
on rainfed agriculture, animal husbandry, and rice production spanned both
the first and second series of trials (1952-1955 and 1956-1961), continuing
over nine of the 10 years of the program. Trials on soil improvement, multiple
cropping after rice, and fall yield decline syndrome (aki-ochi) were carried out
only during the first series of tests (1952-1955). The third series of trials was
fundamentally different from the first two, and reflected the new Agricultural
Law. Those trials introduced mechanized communal farming during the last
two years of the program (1961-1962) (Kodama, 1965; Mori, 1956; Suzuki,
1986).
Three concrete examples from the first series of trials will illustrate how
these ein6shiken trials had many parallels with on-farm trials in developing
countries today.
In the Kanto region, one set of ein6shiken trials on rainfed crops involved
improved relay cropping through the substitution of wheat for barley as the
first crop in the rotation. This permitted a 15-day earlier planting for relay
upland rice, on May 10 instead of May 25. Barley could be harvested three
weeks earlier than wheat, on June 2 instead June 23. However, this earlier
harvest created a labor conflict with the transplanting of wet rice on paddy
fields. Due to the labor conflict, farmers would have to employ seasonal labor.
The improvement of relay cropping had brought out another problem, which
required another solution: an improved rice seedbed permitting wet rice to be
transplanted in mid-May instead of early June (Nakamura, 1956).
Another set of trials in the same series focused on the need for improved
farm implements. Row seeding improved the growth of wheat and reduced
lodging, but it was tiresome to prepare ridges when farmers only had the hoe
for land preparation and seeded by hand. New hand implements were
developed and tested for making ridges and for seeding in rows. Initially, only
men were involved in the trials, and women were left with the simple task of
spreading fertilizer. When researchers realized that women had not learned
how to use the new implements, they involved women directly in the trials.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995








Figur. Types of Einoshiken on-farm trials

(389 sites, 1952-1962)


Rainfed agriculture
Animal husbandry
Soil improvement
Multiple cropping
Communal farming
Fall lodging
Rice production


68 17. 5%




12 3. 1%


45 11.6%


25 6.4%


81 20. 8%






VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


When both men and women worked together, yield increases were greater
(Nakamura, 1956).
Integration of crop and animal production is a focus of much on-farm
research in West Africa. Trials with a similar objective were also important in
the ein6shiken program. An example was mulberry dairy integration. Mulber-
ry has long been an important crop in Japan because of its use in silkworm
production. With increased demand for milk after World War II, dairy farming
had also appeared.
One of the main constraints of mulberry producers who had begun dairy
farming was the provision of feed for cows. Farmers planted feed crops
between mulberry rows only in the winter, avoiding summer feed crop
interculture because of negative effects on mulberry leaf quality. Farmers
depended largely on purchased feed for their dairy cows.
The trials explored a number of ways to improve land use for better
integration of mulberry and dairy cow production. The most important was
summer interculture using a wider spacing between the mulberry rows. In the
farmer system of 120-150 cm spacing between rows, the mulberry tree
canopies would fill the space between rows in the summer, and interculture
was not possible. With new spacings of 300 to 420 cm, a summer soiling crop
could be planted without decreasing mulberryyield (Kant6 T6san Agricultural
Experiment Station, 1959). The improved method resulteded what today
could be called "mulberry agroforestry."


FARMER PARTICIPATION IN JAPAN'S
OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE


Government-to-government Agricultural Development Assistance
Japan's government-to-government agricultural development assistance
consists of two main components: programs of the Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA) and government-supported volunteer programs.
In addition, a non-profit corporation created by two government ministries
interacts with JICA and both government and non-government volunteer
activities to catalog indigenous technology in developing countries.
JICA Technical Cooperation. Japan's government-to-government agricul-
tural development assistance is carried out primarily by JICA. Research
support for the solution of technical production problems in tropical agricul-
ture identified through JICA field research or by host country research and
extension is provided by the Japan International Research Center for the
Agricultural Sciences (until 1993 called the Tropical Agriculture Research
Center, or TARC). JICA provides three types of technical cooperation:
project-type technical cooperation, development studies, and development
cooperation. The main goal of JICA's technical cooperation is the develop-
ment of human resources in the countries where it provides assistance.
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WADA ET AL.


In project-type technical cooperation, JICA provides a coordinated re-
sponse to needs identified by host countries through three types of coopera-
tion: dispatch of technical experts, training of host country research and
extension personnel, and provision of needed equipment. Project-type tech-
nical cooperation aims at transferring Japanese knowledge and technology.
Preliminary and long-term studies begin at least two years before the inception
of project assistance, to assure that the project will address real needs. Human
resource building is accomplished by having on-site JICA experts work with
host country counterparts in their country, and by bringing host country
counterparts to Japan for technical training.
In 1992, JICA had 73 project-type technical cooperation programs in 34
countries. This represented a three-fold increase in the number of programs
and a doubling in the number of countries from the 1975 figure of 25 projects
in 16 countries. Table 1 shows the breakdown of the 73 programs by type of
project (agriculture, livestock, forestry, and fisheries) and region (East,
Southeast, and South Asia; West Asia and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa;
Latin America; Oceania). While agriculture comprises 53 percent of the
programs, other areas, particularly forestry, are increasing in importance. East,
Southeast, and South Asia has declined to approximately half (56 percent) of
the total number of programs, with Latin America now comprising nearly a
quarter (24 percent) of the programs.
JICA conducts six types of development studies, of which long-term master
plans and feasibility studies are the most important. These studies are increas-
ingly moving from a production infrastructure to a resource management
focus. In agriculture, irrigation and drainage development studies have
predominated, but rural and environmental development studies are now
becoming more important. Similarly, in forestry and fisheries, studies designed
to improve resource management for sustainable use are increasing in impor-
tance. These studies involve sending a team of experts from Japan to the host
country to carry out detailed field surveys. Host country counterparts partic-
ipate in the field work and thereby strengthen their own survey and analysis
techniques. After the first field survey, the data obtained are studied in detail
in Japan, and an interim report prepared as the basis for a second field survey.
The survey work may also be supported by on-site technology verification
trials. At the end, a final report is prepared in the language of the host country,
and a seminar on the results presented.
In 1992, 45 development studies were underway in 26 countries. Four-
fifths (80 percent) focused on agriculture, with the balance divided between
forestry (11 percent) and fisheries (9 percent). East, Southeast, and South
Asian countries made up 46 percent of the countries with these studies, with
the remainder divided among West Asia/North Africa (19 percent), Sub-
Saharan Africa (15 percent), and Latin America (19 percent).
Development cooperation is a program that links the private sector and
agricultural development. In this program, JICA provides loans to Japanese


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VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


companies for experimental projects and facilitates technology improvement,
feasibility studies, verification studies, and technical guidance. Three-fourths
(76 percent) of the 25 development cooperation programs in 1992 were for
experimental projects. In experimental projects, JICA loans support the
collection of necessary data on natural and social resources and technical
research to develop appropriate technology, to reduce the risk for the private
sector to provide new technology on a commercial basis. Experimental
projects involve fruit, horticulture and other special crops; beef cattle; and
afforestation (JICA, 1992).
As the above description shows, the emphasis in JICA's approach to date
has been to strengthen host country capabilities by providing technical
knowledge and infrastructure. At the national level, JICA has emphasized self-
help. However, at the local level of implementation, while there are some
outstanding examples of farmer-to-farmer cooperation (lijima, 1986), these
have reflected more initiative taken by individual members in specific projects,
than a conscious programmatic effort by JICA to make farmer participation a
key element of its overall program.
Despite the general lack of programmatic effort to increase farmer partic-
ipation, some JICA specialists have carried the farmer-based tradition into
their international cooperation work, resulting in a field orientation in their
work. "Field" here is used in the anthropological sense of the area one is
working in, or in the sense of the "real world," and not in the sense of a crop
field. This field orientation is expressed by three sayings frequently used by
JICA specialists coming from this tradition:
"[In development], you have no right to speak without field experience first."
"Regardless of discipline, if you seek to be an agricultural technology transfer
specialist, there is no substitute for constantly going to the field and observing."
"There is no such thing as 'better' or 'worse' technology, there is only
'appropriate' and 'inappropriate' technology."

Government-supported Volunteer-based Cooperation. Two volunteer pro-
grams, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and the Senior
Volunteer Programme (SVP), complement the larger-scale JICA programs.
Both programs have placed emphasis on technical skills and experience in their
recruitment of volunteers and in the manner in which volunteers work.
JOCV began in 1965. Its volunteers are young persons (age 20-39), and in
this regard are similar to most U.S. Peace Corps volunteers. There is a key
difference in skills between the two programs, however. The U.S. Peace Corps
has traditionally used many generalists and provided them with some skills
training before sending them to work in a community development mode.
JOCV, however, has sought out persons with specialized technical skills and
experience. Moreover, these volunteers have been drawn not only from
college B.S. programs, such as in the agricultural production disciplines, but


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






WADA ET AL.


have also included young persons who have graduated from technical high
schools and then gone back into real-world work using their skills. Skills
brought to the developing counties by such volunteers have included tradi-
tional apprenticeship crafts, such as pottery (JOCV, 1993).
The Senior Volunteer Programme is a recent (1990) creation. The SVP
accepts persons in the age range 40-69 as volunteers, and even more than
JOCV it has sought out persons with real-world experience. In essence, SVP
has provided an opportunity for mid-career or retired, skilled technicians and
craftsmen, such as lathe operators and even bicycle repairmen, to share their
skills in developing countries.
Both of these programs are building on the tradition of local technology
development that has been a major factor in the transformation of agriculture
in Japan. While these volunteers are not often directly linked to JICA projects,
they do provide an important complementary mechanism to involve farmers
in technology adaptation and development.
Cataloging ofIndigenous Technology. As described in Section II.B, Japan's
agricultural research system has a long tradition of drawing out indigenous
technology and systematizing it for wider dissemination and application. This
tradition has been applied in JICA's program as well, through a registry of
indigenous technology developed by the Association for International Coop-
eration ofAgriculture and Forestry (AICAF). AICAF was established in 1978
as a public service corporation under the joint supervision of the Ministry of
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Its mandate is to collect, compile, and supply information as well as to
conduct surveys on agriculture and rural development in developing countries
aimed at promoting technical cooperation (AICAF, 1993). The registry was
begun in 1981, and 449 technologies have now been cataloged. These
technologies are listed in the publication, "Useful Farming Practices," first
published in 1982 and updated annually. Eight English versions have also been
issued, beginning in 1985, with the latest English version published in 1994.
The concept behind the registry is similar to a gene bank. The practical use
of a particular wild species may not be evident at the time of its collection, but
it is still saved because once lost through development, there is no way to
regenerate it. Similarly, a wider use of an indigenous technology found in a
given location may not be evident when it is encountered by an outsider, but
once it is lost due to development, it cannot be regenerated if it has not been
documented.
There is also a fundamental difference between the information stored in
seed in a gene bank, and information about indigenous knowledge systems. If
the seed of that wild variety is saved in the gene bank, even if not all the value
of the information stored in its genetic code is apparent or understood at the
time of its storage, this information can be held for the future, when its value
may become apparent, or progress in science may make it possible to
understand better all of its genetic code. However, indigenous knowledge of


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VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


social arrangements (such as organization of cooperatives like the senzokabu
kumiai) is part of the life of its users. Although some structures or physical
objects may remain (such as the field demarcations in Nagabe resulting from
the social arrangements of the senzokabu kumiai of a century and a half ago),
the social arrangements themselves do not have a physical identity apart from
the people who practice them (the use of the calendars introduced by Yugaku
could be reconstructed today because farmers continued to use them into the
1950's). Thus, documentation of social arrangements is not as simple even as
storing tools and implements or recording the physical movements of how to
make or use such objects. It requires representation of the knowledge of
human interactions through coding and translation into more abstract,
universal terms that others removed in time and place can understand. At the
same time, it is critical that this coding be not simply an apparent translation
into the etic categories of researchers who use modernization criteria alone as
their coding base, but that an effort be made to capture and integrate into the
translation the emic criteria of the users of those social arrangements as well.
To document such indigenous technology, AICAF provides JICA special-
ists, JOCV volunteers, and others involved in technology generation and
transfer with technology cataloging cards. When a specialist or a volunteer
encounters a technology that they think is worth recording, they note its
location of use, characteristics and manner of application, effectiveness, and
background on one of these cards. They then send the card back to AICAF
together with a photograph or drawing of the technology. AICAF staff write
this up and publish it in the registry. Recently, AICAF has begun adding two
additional types of technologies to the register: farmer technology in Japan
that might be applicable in developing countries; and improved technology in
developing countries that results from the activities of Japanese development
specialists finding and improving upon indigenous technology in developing
countries.
Table 2 shows that 69 percent of the 449 technologies were found in East,
Southeast, and South Asia. Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa were
sources of 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, of the technologies. This
bias in regional distribution is consistent with the fact that more of Japan's
agricultural development efforts have been carried out in East, Southeast, and
South Asia (Table 1). More technologies were found for horticulture (29
percent) than for non-horticultural agriculture (25 percent). The larger share
of horticulture may be partly due to its diversity (in addition to the diverse
nature ofvegetable production, tree crops are included under "horticulture"),
and to the diversity in methods of cultivation among the many types of
horticultural crops. The importance of horticulture may also reflect the fact
that less research and technology transfer has been done for horticulture
compared to non-horticultural agriculture. The latter includes wet rice
agriculture, the basis of farming systems in much of East and Southeast Asia,
where most of the Japanese researchers and development practitioners have


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






WADA ET AL.


Table 1. Geographical and Programmatic Distribution of JICA Project-type Technical
Cooperation Programs

Region Type of Program
Agriculture Livestock Forestry Fisheries Total
E/SE/S 21 4 11 5 41
Asia
WAsia/ 1 0 0 1 2
N Africa
Sub-Saharan 5 1 2 0 8
Africa
Latin 11 2 1 4 18
America
Oceania 1 0 1 2 4
Total 39 7 15 12 73




worked. "Green Revolution" technology may have displaced more indigenous
technology forwet rice agriculture, whereas there may have been less displace-
ment for horticulture, leaving a larger pool of indigenous technology that the
persons contributing to the registry have observed and drawn from. The fact
that wet rice technologies make up only 14 percent of the cataloged technol-
ogies (Table 2) is consistent with this interpretation (JNCIC, 1994).
Table 3 shows that while specialists have played an important role in
identifying these technologies, the role of volunteers has also been important.
Specialists from JICA and TARC (since 1993, the Japan International
Research Center for the Agricultural Sciences) have identified 41 percent of
the technologies in the registry. At the same time, JOCV volunteers have
identified 20 percent, and volunteers from Japan's largest NGO, OISCA
(Organization for Industrial, Spiritual, and Cultural Advancement8 have
identified 10 percent of the technologies (JNCIC, 1994).
Despite the potential value of the registry, like the tradition of field
orientation of JICA specialists, this effort has lacked programmatic support.

8 The word "spiritual" in the name of OISCA is a literal translation of the Japanese word seishinteki.
However, OISCA should not be therefore misinterpreted as being an organization that includes
a religious agenda. The Japanese word seishintekiand the Englishword "spiritual" have fundamen-
tally different cultural meanings. The word "spiritual" in English reflects the traditionally
monotheistic basis of Western European and North American society, and refers to religious
values. In Christianity, the essence of the human spirit derives from the soul, which is believed to
be given by God. In contrast, in Japan the essence of the human spirit is not derived from religion,
but has its own non-religious value. Hence, seishinteki does not have the religious connotation of
the English word "spiritual". Seishinteki might more accurately, although more awkwardly, be


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension










Table 2. Indigenous Technologies Cataloged by AICAFz by Region and Type of Technology, 1982-94


Type of Technology

Region Agriculturey Horticulture Livestock Forestry Fisheries Engineering' Others Total

E/SE/S Asia 81 (60) 92 34 9 7 58 31 312

W Asia/N Africa 2 (2) 4 2 0 1 5 0 14

Sub-Saharan Africa 11 (0) 14 1 1 4 10 6 47

L. America 12 (0) 17 12 4 2 5 6 58

Oceania 5 (0) 2 0 0 0 5 2 14

Not known 1 (0) 0 1 0 0 2 0 4

Total 112 (62) 129 50 14 14 85 45 449

S Association for International Cooperation in Agriculture and Forestry.
x Agricultural Engineering, machines, tools.
Y Number in parenthesis is that for wet rice.


tT
r,
14











Table 3. Indigenous Technologies Cataloged by AICAFZ by Region and Collector, 1982-94


Affiliation of Collector

Region JICA Expert TARCY JOCVx OISCAW Others' Total

E/SE/S Asia 102 26 52 45 87 312

WAsia/N 12 4 26 0 19 61
Africa

L. America 30 4 7 0 17 58

Oceania 5 0 6 1 2 14

Not known 0 1 0 1 2 4

Total 149 35 91 47 127 449


z Association for International Cooperation in Agriculture and Forestry.
Y Former Tropical Agricultural Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry,
International Research Center for the Agricultural Sciences.
" Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.
w Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement.
V MAFF Staff other than TARC, other NGO than OISCA, and others.


and Fisheries (MAFF), now called Japan






VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


Documentation of indigenous technology is not a part of the official job
description of JICA specialists, but simply something they may do if they
choose to. As a result, coverage of potentially documentable technologies is
spotty, and those technologies that are documented are not always accurately
and fully described.

Non-governmental Cooperation
The total number of Japanese non-governmental organizations is estimated
to be over 300 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1990). Among these, 186 are listed
in the Directory ofNon-governmental Organizations inJapan (JNCIC, 1994).
According to this Directory, 74 organizations are engaged in agricultural and/
or rural development. Most of these were established from the late 1970's to
help Indochinese refugees and to provide famine relief in Africa (Table 4).
Eighty percent of their activities are based on Asia. Africa is next in numbers
after Asia, although its share is less than half of that of Asia. Japan's NGO
activities are least in Latin America and Oceania where the need for assistance
is increasing (Table 4). The overwhelming presence in Asia is based on
historical, geographical, and cultural ties. The weak presence ofNGOs in Latin
America despite the fact that Japan has strong ties with some countries of the
region through its immigrants is largely due to concerns about political
instability. There is a need to undertake more human resource development
of assistance personnel, to enable the NGOs to respond to increasing numbers
of requests from different countries and regions.
The financial status of Japanese NGOs has improved substantially since the
government started a subsidy program for NGOs in 1989. Donations by large
private companies aiming at improving the companies' public image have also
increased. It appears that the government could not ignore NGOs as their
social and political presence became stronger both domestically and interna-
tionally. A more pragmatic reason why the government strengthened its
commitment to the NGOs may be to utilize their know-how for effective
implementation of official aid.
This trend of increased government subsidization of NGO finances has two
potential implications, one negative and one positive. The negative implica-
tion is the danger that the more the NGOs rely on the government financially,
the less they will be able to maintain their political independence and private
voluntary character. The positive implication is the possibility that the NGOs
experiences at the grass-root level can contribute to making ODA more
people-oriented and more effective. There would seem to be a natural
complementarity between the financial capacity of ODA and human capital in
the NGOs. However, while it is clear that the Japanese government has more
translated as "of the human spirit," while shdky6teki (religious) would more accurately reflect the
meaning of "spiritual" as used in most English contexts. OISCA might be therefore more
accurately be written in English as the Organization for the Advancement of Industry, the Human
Spirit, and Culture.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995







WADA ET AL.


Table 4. Number of Japan's Agriculturally-Related NGOs Active in 1993 by Year
Established and Target Region.


Year Total Target Regions
Established

Asia Africa Latin Oceania
America

Before 1950 1 1 1 0 0

1950-59 0 0 0 0 0

1960-69 3 3 3 1 1

1970-79 12 12 3 1 1

1980-89 47 35 17 8 4

1990- 11 8 4 1 0

Total 74 59 28 12 8

Percentage 100 80 38 16 11

Source: Compiled from the Directory of Non-governmental Organizations in Japan,
Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation, 1994.



Table 5. Number and Distribution of Japan's Agricultural Related NGOs Carrying Out
Different Types of Activities



Type of Activity Number Distribution (%)

Financial aid 56 (76)

Provision of materials 38 (51)

Sending personnel 49 (66)

Acceptance of trainees 17 (23)

Development education 12 (16)

Information service 28 (38)

Total 74 (100)


Source: Compiled from the Directory of Non-governmental Organizations in Japan,
Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation, 1994.


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than adequate funds available for development aid, how rich the NGOs are in
both quality and quantity of human resources is questionable. Table 5 shows
that even in the NGOs, human resource-related activities are relatively weak
compared to financial and material assistance activities. Among their human
resource-related activities, sending personnel is the most important (carried
out by 66 percent of the NGOs), while only 23 percent of the NGOs engage
in training young people from developing countries. To fill this large gap
between financial capacity for development assistance and actual activities in
human resource-building, an effort to promote and appeal to the younger
generation in Japan is increasingly needed. Moreover, aid activities as a whole
need the support of all sectors of society if it is to expand in the future. In this
respect, development education in Japan could play an important role in
creating more public awareness of conditions in developing countries and the
necessity of aid. However, only 12 NGOs or 16 percent are involved in this
activity.
Some NGOs have also inherited the traditions of self-help and farmer
participation in development. The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and
Cultural Advancement International (OISCA), Japan's biggest NGO estab-
lished in 1961, advocates hitozukurior human resource development, and can
be a show case (OISCA, 1994; Kobayashi, 1992; information on OISCA's
activities hereafter is taken from these two references except as indicated
otherwise in explanatory notes). The first OISCA technical assistance mission
arrived in India in 1966. To gain the trust of the villagers, they visited many
places searching for tokund or advanced farmers respected by their neighbors.
They worked to acquire those farmers' skills and then modified and improved
on them little by little. Eventually they succeeded in making significant
progress, obtaining a high-yield rice harvest on land which the villagers
thought was barren and useless. Seeing the large potential of the land they
cultivated and the techniques they practiced, the villagers realized their own
latent human potential. Once OISCA gained full trust of the villagers,
technology transfer became smooth.
From that time until now, OISCA has continued to apply this same
philosophy. During the past nearly 30 years, it has sent a total of around 1,700
persons (technical trainers) to 13 countries and regions in Asia and Pacific.
Human resource development both in the developing countries and in the
acceptance of trainees from Japan as well as to Japan is an even more important
activity for OISCA. OISCA has established and operates more than 40 training
centers and farms in 12 countries and regions in Asia and the Pacific, where
nearly 6,000 people have been trained so far. A unique feature of these training
programs is that young Japanese volunteers who want to work in development
assistance are trained at the same time together with local people. By 1994
around 3,500 persons, including 400 long-term persons with the balance
short-term persons, have been sent from Japan to those training centers.
OISCA also accepts 200 to 300 trainees yearly from Asia and the Pacific and


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






WADA ET AL.


trains them at four training centers in Japan. The cumulative number of
trainees to date is 4,600, of whom nearly 60 percent are in agriculture. OISCA
does not necessarily attach importance to technology transfer itself, although
it supports training in practical skills. Even if a person from a developing
country is well trained and acquires certain skills, he or she may face difficulty
when coming back to his or her home village where farming conditions arevery
different from the place of training in Japan. The ability to adapt techniques
to make them suitable for local conditions is more important. In addition to
practical skills, OISCA teaches trainees the fundamentals of basic subjects such
as mathematics, chemistry, and biology. Through this training OISCA hopes
the trainees will be respected by local people and become leaders of the
community (talk given by Shibako Misao, Director of OISCA's Indonesia
training center, 1990).
The idea that technology itself, though important, is merely one part of the
development process, and that farmers' practices are also resources with large
potential, is being increasingly recognized among development assistance
practitioners based on their experience. Another important effect of aid
activities is the change in the orientation of OISCA volunteers themselves.
Simply stated, the orientation of volunteers changes from helping to learning.
Learning indigenous technology and ways of life is significant not only for
development itself but also for improvement of the quality of Japanese rural
(and perhaps also urban) life. In the course of rapid economic growth, Japan
is losing many of the values of rural society. Returned volunteers try to feed
back what they have learned in the developing countries to revitalize fading
Japanese rural society. These volunteers feel that their role now is to translate
in a simple way the energy and message they receive from local people in the
country they have worked to common Japanese people (Saito et al., 1991).


CONCLUSIONS:
SELF-HELP AS A MODEL FOR FARMER PARTICIPATION IN
AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION
As the above comparisons have shown, Japan has traditions of self-help in
agricultural development and openness of the formal agricultural research
system to farmer knowledge and technology. Moreover, these traditions have
converged to form programs within Japan that incorporated many of the
characteristics of FSRE some 20 years before the formalization of FSRE in
developing countries.
Japan's international development cooperation has benefited from these
traditions at an informal level, because it has drawn its specialists from an
agricultural research community with those traditions. However, at the
formal, programmatic level, its international development cooperation has not
incorporated in a significant way the key lesson Japan's domestic experience


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provides: that indigenous farmer knowledge is an essential resource for
effective agricultural change. It is this gap between the informal influence of
Japan's domestic traditions and the more top-down, infrastructure-technical
bias of its programmatic approach that represents both a need and an
opportunity.
A programmatic shift in JICA's programs could enable Japan's tradition of
self-help to serve as a model for farmer participation in its agricultural
development cooperation. The registry of indigenous technology could be the
model for such a programmatic shift. The shift would be achieved by building
four new components into JICA project-type cooperation: formalization of
the assessment of indigenous technology and knowledge systems as local
resources for self-help, involvement of Japanese area specialists in the social
sciences, application of participatory methods developed within Japan, and
establishment of a registry of JICA Practitioners and their inclusion in JICA
projects.
A formal assessment of indigenous technology and local knowledge systems
could be the made the first activity in the preliminary and long-term studies
that precede design and implementation of JICA project-type technical
cooperation. This assessment methodologically could draw from Japan's own
rich tradition in participatory methods, including the KJ method, the TN
method, and various muraokoshi (rural revitalization) approaches (Monma et
al., 1992; Sato, 1991; Caldwell et al., 1993; Caldwell, 1994a; Hiyama et al.,
1995). These efforts could build on the experience of a pilot project that has
just begun in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, applying an approach similar to
the TN method.
The problem of language differences and the inclusion of emic categories
of local knowledge systems could be addressed in two ways. First, if a JOCV
volunteer was or had recently been working in the area, that person could be
made a full team member in the assessment phase. Second, such teams could
include an area specialist from one of the social sciences throughout their
lifetime. For example, a number of young anthropologists in Japan have now
acquired language skills and knowledge of culture, local agricultural practices,
and the rationale behind those practices in West Africa. Area specialists with
language skills and insights into indigenous agricultural practices, knowledge,
and logic similar to those that anthropologists acquire can be found among the
other social sciences as well, particularly in agricultural economics focusing on
farmer economic behavior and village-level or sub-national regional-level
economics. Both the JOCV volunteer and the anthropologist or area specialist
would work with JICA technical specialists to insure real farmer input in the
design of the JICA project. The anthropologist or area specialist would not
have to continue as a long-term specialist, but would provide checking and
feedback on the cultural congruence of the technology being developed
through periodic short-term return visits to the project area during its
implementation.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






WADA ET AL.


In inviting anthropologists into JICA work, it would be important to
respect the particular area (village or county equivalent) in which each
anthropologist does his or her long-term field work, and not ask for the
anthropologist to contribute in that area. The development of the long-term
relationship between an anthropologist and his or her community of long-
term study is much more of an art, and the relationship must be slowly
nurtured without other outside influences for the anthropologist to be able to
acquire valid knowledge and insight into the culture of study.
At the same time, however, collaboration in a JICA project in an area similar
to an anthropologist's area of long-term study could be of value to anthropol-
ogists for their own work. It would represent more than their simply serving
as resource persons. This collaboration would provide them with a companion
study area in which change is actively promoted, to compare with their long-
study area. This could open up new avenues for comparative research in
cultural change in anthropology, as well as help break down the tension that
often exists between anthropologists and development specialists. Anthropol-
ogists would not feel that they only are brought in after it is too late to undo
inappropriate development efforts, and development specialists would not feel
that anthropologists simply criticize after the fact, without providing insights
beforehand that could help avoid mistaken efforts.
A catalog of participatory methods could also be developed by AICAF in
collaboration with JICA and MAFF. A small joint task force could be
established, for example based in a relevant research institute ofMAFF and the
international training center of JICA located at Tsukuba, for this purpose. The
task force could develop training programs both for JICA specialist teams, and
for use in internships and training carried out in Japan for developing country
specialists as part of JICA project-type technical assistance programs.
In carrying out JICA projects, farmers and agricultural research and
extension specialists with on-farm trial experience in Japan could be included
on the specialist team. Including one such person on each team where on-farm
research would be identified in the project design as a necessary component
would allow JICA to draw directly from Japan's domestic experience in on-
farm, farmer-based research. Depending on who was available and best-suited
to meet a given project need, these persons might either be members of the
Senior Volunteer Programme, or be brought in a new category of JICA
Practitioners.
To identify potential JICA Practitioners, AICAF could add a registry of
technology development practitioners to its existing system of registry of
indigenous technologies. The same task force that would develop training
programs in participatory methods would work closely with the National and
Prefectural Agricultural Research Stations and Extension Offices to identify
such individuals.
The establishment of a JICA Practitioner system could have two additional
benefits. First, it could help insure that Japan's agricultural research system


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






VILLAGE-BASED SELF-HELP


retain its farmer-based traditions. As in other developed countries, the
younger generation of researchers is increasingly specialized in more narrowly-
defined scientific disciplines, and often lack field orientation. Through work-
ing together in JICA projects, JICA Practitioners would help transmit the
field-based, farmer-oriented tradition of agricultural research to younger
specialists who may not have had farmer-based research experience. These
specialists would return from their JICA assignment not only with knowledge
of their country of assignment, but also with a new perspective on the
relationship between agricultural research and farmers within Japan itself.
The establishment of the JICA Practitioner system could also have impor-
tant social benefits for agriculture and rural communities in Japan, as has been
shown already in the experience of the Karaimo K6ryu program in Kyushu
(Yamada, 1990). Recognizing and drawing upon the experience of farmers
and agricultural research and extension personnel in this way would send a
strong signal to young people in rural areas that agriculture is an internation-
ally-valued occupation. This could help reduce the negative image of agricul-
ture and consequent lack of pride that are one of the major causes of the lack
of kdkeisha (younger farmers who take over farming from their farmer parents).
Increasing k6keishais critical today with the aging of the agricultural work force
and rural communities in Japan.
The experience returning JICA Practitioners would bring back to their
communities would also provide a new window to the outside world, giving
those communities a real understanding of at least one society in a country in
the developing world. This in turn could help counteract the Western
developed country bias that permeates much of the popular media in Japan.
Such an understanding could also help break down the psychology of insularity
in Japan that has been a persisting residual effect from the Edo Era period of
national seclusion, and build greater support for international cooperation.
Other developed countries could likewise apply these same ideas. The
Indigenous Technology Register might be expanded to include indigenous
technology in other developed and newly-industrializing countries in Europe,
North America, and Asia (Taiwan, South Korea, and China). For example,
horse-drawn implements still in barns and even sometimes even still used on
farms in Appalachia and the Southeast United States (Caldwell et al., 1985)
should be cataloged before these technologies are lost. A JICA Practitioners
program could be used as a model in other similar programs, such as USAID
or CIRAD collaboration in field-based research. In the United States, USAID
could draw from the small-farm technicians and para-professionals of TVA,
Balanced Farming, Farm-and-Home Development, 1890 extension, and
other similar programs. These programs have emphasized farmer participation
and represent predecessors of FSRE in the United States (Caldwell, 1985;
Hagan, 1984; Johnson, 1981).


Vol. 5, No. I, 1995






WADA ET AL.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

An earlier draft of this paper was first presented as a keynote address on
November 21, 1994, at the 13th AFSRE International Symposium on
Systems-Oriented Research in Agriculture and Rural Development," held
November 20-26, 1994, Montpelier, France.
The research reported here was supported by a grant from the Abe
Fellowship Program, funded by the Center for Global Partnership (CGP),
Tokyo, and administered by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC),
New York. The authors wish to thank both the CGP and the SSRC for their
support to make this work possible. All information and opinions presented
here are exclusively the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the
opinions of either the CGP or the SSRC.


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Toward the Concerted Management
of Agro-Ecosystems '

A. Huijsman2



THE NEED FOR LOCAL-LEVEL CONCERTED
ACTION AND EMPOWERMENT

In many areas of the world, agro-ecosystems are under strong pressure; the
quality of natural resources is rapidly declining due to overexploitation. The
rate of deterioration ofarable lands increases alarmingly. These processes point
to the idea that in many agricultural production areas time is running out:
immediate action is required. Given these circumstances, the inclination is to
legitimize quick fixed, top-down operations. The compelling argument is that
the longer environmental degradation persists, the higher its remedial costs,
both in social and economic terms.
However, in many of those countries facing environmental degradation, we
are confronted with the following situation. On the one hand, we see
governments trying to change people's behavior, reflected in policy objectives
and intentions, but lacking means, capacity, and administrative structures to
effectively design and implement strategies to do so. On the other hand, we
see individual land users facing a high level of legal, organizational, and
economic uncertainty, which paralyzes their decision-making and action.
There is a growing recognition that such situations may lead to inertia:
environmental degradation will be considered as everybody's problem but
nobody's responsibility.
The central tenet of the papers' contribution to this session is that
sustainable land use critically depends on the way management of natural
resources is organized, shaped, and institutionalized at the local level. The
premise here is that rural people have both a right and an obligation to
participate actively in their own development, and in the control and manage-
ment of their environment. Entrusting responsibilities and accountability to
local-level institutions-to the direct users-is considered a prerequisite for
successful environmental management and natural resources use.
The papers3 deal with institutional and management issues--the focus is not
on the "what" but rather on the "how" of natural resource management, and

1 Session paper presented at the Thirteenth Annual Association for Farming Systems Research-
Extension Symposium, Montpellier, France, November 21-25, 1994.
2 Director Agriculture and Enterprise Development, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Mau-
ritskade 63, 1092 AD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






HUIJSMAN


process rather than impact. The papers present both conceptual and method-
ological discussions and specific case studies. In total, nine papers were selected
by the Symposium organizers for this session. Most of the case studies deal
with group action of farmers at the community level. Although reference is
made to the importance of linking local-level action to higher systems levels,
except for Mali, no concrete examples are given. This will limit the field of
actors that will be referred to in the discussion.
Agro-ecosystem management deals with the organizing and decision-
making related to the multiple and competing uses of natural resources. These
uses include crop and livestock production, forestry, gathering of wild
products, nature and gene reserves. The need for agro-ecosystem management
arises from the fact that decisions related to the utilization of natural resources,
whether it concerns individual fields or freely accessible common resources
(pastures, woodlands), can not be solely left to individuals.
Attention to natural resources management brings to the foreground a
number of factors that until recently have received little attention from systems
researchers and development practitioners. As highlighted by the various
papers, key features of dealing with agro-ecosystem management include
interdependencies, conflicting situations, power relations, and decision-mak-
ing mechanisms.

Inter-Dependency
Increasing resource scarcities articulate interdependencies between natural
resources users in both space and time. The importance of managing the spatial
dimension of natural resources is felt more and more as space becomes more
restricted. The impact of decisions made by one individual or groups of
individuals on others ('externalities') is becoming more pronounced. The time
dimension addresses the interdependency of resource users over time ata given
locality. It draws attention to the intertemporal effects of resource utilization,
the fact that the livelihood of future generations depends on the rate and
nature of resource exploitation of present generations. Conventional FSR
approaches hardly touch upon these issues.

Conflict Resolution
The increasing scarcity of natural resources (cultivable land, pastures,
forestry products) is giving rise to spatial conflicts between user groups within
and between rural communities, as well as between rural communities, urban
centers and the State. Addressing these conflicts requires taking into account
3 Given the geographical and -consequently- the institutional setting of the papers, four are
based on experiences from Sub-Saharan Africa, three on experiences in the United States,
Australia and -to a lesser extent- the Netherlands, and one is based on India. The discussion
will focus on those situations where environmental degradation has become a threat to the
livelihood ofpeople and concerted action with respect to natural resource managementis most
urgently needed.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






CONCERTED MANAGEMENT


the composition of local communities and the different groups of outside
users: permanent and temporary residents; landowners, tenants and landless
people; men, women and children. It is essential to acknowledge that each
category has its own background, perceptions, and interests. This makes joint
decision making related to natural resources use an inherently political and
complicated process; unique, optimal solutions do not exist. Processes of
conflict resolution, negotiated settlement, and agreement are of crucial
importance (Van Beek, 1991). Yet few experiences exist as how to manage
these processes.

Power Structures
Dominant groups may attempt to control decision-making processes or
existing community management structures may frustrate the participation of
the village community as a whole. Often specific attempts have to be made to
stimulate participation of different groups, as has been done for example in
Mali (Diarra et al., 1994). In many rural communities, the role ofwomen and
young men as users of natural resources and their possible contributions to
improved agro-ecosystem management is not sufficiently taken into account.
But, as Roling argues, increased interdependencies in natural resources use
implies that also socially less powerful actors have a potential capacity to affect
the outcomes of decision making processes. Knowledge about power struc-
tures is important to assess the impact of intervention programs and outcomes
of change processes.

Empowering Local Institutions
Social and political acceptance among rural land users of the idea that
environmental management requires concerted decision making is needed for
defining rules and regulations and joint action to implement them. In different
papers it is argued that strong local institutions are not only necessary to see
to it that individuals abide by the rules that have been agreed, restrict the
chances of free riding, and solve conflicts when they arise. They also have an
important role to play in linking the community to higher agro-ecosystems
levels (e.g., watersheds) as well as in providing claim making power to higher
institutional levels for technical assistance and financial support (Laban,
1994).


SOFT SYSTEMS, COLLABORATIVE LEARNING, AND ACTION
To address these issues, various papers indicate the need to improve upon
existing system concepts, research methodologies, and intervention approach-
es. Joldersma calls for an action-oriented research methodology for socioeco-
nomic and institutional experimentation (e.g. Joldersma et al., 1994). Ruling
argues for the combination of hard system thinking and soft systems approach-


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






HUIJSMAN


es, with the former focusing on the biophysical aspects of agro-ecosystems and
the later dealing with social actor networks, interdependencies, conflicts and
power structures. Campbell (1994) and William (1994) suggest new models
for interactive learning, inquiry and action. It is argued that present systems
approaches are still strongly dominated by the technical and economic
perspectives, and lack an effective complementary operational social and
institutional perspective (e.g., Roling, 1994).
Bringing together these concepts and methods, the following components
appear to be central to a people-centered approach to agro-ecosystem manage-
ment:
an actor-oriented approach
supported by participatory action research
based on systems thinking

Actor-Oriented Approach
The essence of actor-oriented approaches is to make explicit the different
life-worlds, interests and strategies of the various actors in a given situation,
including the network of institutional actors (Campbell, 1994a). As a diagnos-
tic methodology it is aimed at understanding the dynamics between actors and
the conditions determining their decisions. It provides insights into social
processes governing natural resources use. Social actor analysis, however, is
not aimed for action to improve situations. RMling suggests making the
approach operational by introducing the notion of "human platforms" as a
way to bring actors together facing interlinked problems. Creating human
platforms focuses on a gradual process of establishing mechanisms for medi-
ation and conflict resolution between interest groups, accommodation be-
tween multiple perspectives, and on reaching joint agency, i.e., the ability to
act as a group and to decide upon joint action to improve a problem situation.
Such an approach clearly deviates from conventional FSRE programs that
consider farmers as clients and end-users of technologies rather than as
interacting stakeholders competing for resources.

Participatory Action Research
The principles of participatory research are well established, although often
much less applied in practice. The increasing complexity and location specific-
ity of the issues involved, however, underscores the need to further develop
robust participatory methodologies focusing on action. In line with the actor
orientation, there is increased attention for empowering participation stimu-
lating actors-to participate in decision making. As argued by Campbell, the
basic idea behind empowering or decision making participation is that it
extends ownership of both process and results to natural resources users and
thus promotes sustainability. Other papers deal extensively with new ap-
proaches to interactive learning and action research. These may help groups to


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






CONCERTED MANAGEMENT


explore common interests, and may lead to consensual solutions in conflicting
situations. William provides an overview of participatory approaches that are
available for addressing complex problems through collaborative learning and
joint action.

Systems Thinking
Systems thinking provides the basis for making visible and discussing
interdependencies in natural resource use. Various papers mention system
tools and techniques that have been developed to assist groups in revealing
patterns and relationships and exploring insight into complex problems: the
GRAAP methodology applied in West Africa, participatory rural appraisals
using relational diagrams and land use mapping byvillagers, and rapid appraisal
of agricultural knowledge system. William and Campbell mention some new
techniques carrying such esoteric names as Farmer-Scientists Focus Sessions,
learning or behavioral inventories, and mind maps and matrices. This seems to
be a fruitful area for exchange of experiences between the North and the South,
although one obviously should keep in mind the social and cultural contexts
within which tools have been developed and applied. Various papers indicate
that hard-systems oriented research has a powerful contribution to make in
supporting group learning by assessing together with those concerned the use
of natural resources and assessing systems dynamics to depict future trends and
effects of different scenarios.


PUTTING INTO PRACTICE
The underlying principles in applying actor-oriented approaches supported by
participatory action research include building on existing knowledge, local
wisdom and experiences; going ahead only with the support of the population;
and implementing only programs that fit the rhythms of the community and
are institutionally viable. Such a process approach implies dealing with
problems step by step, breaking down large, complex problems into smaller
units amenable to solution. These approaches go typically through the
following steps (William, 1994):
Situational/problem analysis of'what is' aimed at sharing views, percep-
tions, and interests and determining common ground;
Brainstorming on 'what ought to be' searching for common interests in
improving natural resources management, and developing goals that are
acceptable to everyone;
Strategic thinking on 'how to get there' exploring different courses of
action and examining the consequences of each alternative.
The Mali paper by Diarra provides an example of such process. It describes
how participatory land use planning may be applied as an iterative process,
integrating new elements in a plan through learning by doing, combining new


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






HUIJSMAN


ideas with local practical experience. It is stressed that land-use plans are the
end result of a process. If land use plans are prepared by outsiders to be
discussed with the village population, the process might well end right from
the start. Land-use planning is a continuous, flexible process; it must gradually
evolve and be adjusted over time to meet changing circumstances.
There is general agreement that outside agents play an important role in
facilitating the learning process as well as linking different village (interest)
groups and the local community, and the community to outside sources of
information and assistance. However, putting facilitation into practice is
difficult. It requires skilled listening and asking questions, analytical capacities,
a sensitivity to group processes and a capacity of synthesis, handling conflicts
and fostering synergy, while knowing when to lead, when to wait, when to
challenge, and when to withdraw (Campbell, 1994). This requires an under-
standing of communication processes within communities. Until now, these
aspects receive little attention in training programs.
It is much less clear from the papers how and at what level of system
aggregation learning processes and agency development could start and
should be supported. This obviously depends on the institutional setting and
the type of issues at stake. For instance, in Mali three different approaches are
used to address natural resource management issues ranging in focus from land
improvement, management of natural resources at village level, to embedding
natural resources management in a comprehensive approach to community
development. In assessing the effectiveness of approaches, it seems indicated
to carefully consider the balance between the current trend to more complex,
multicomponent interdisciplinary approaches and the need to keep approach-
es comprehensible and applicable for practitioners to make headway. The
underlying dilemma is that if the approach is too specific, it loses the holistic
context that is necessary to develop comprehensive strategies for natural
resource management. On the other hand, if too broad, the approach becomes
synonymous with the concept of development itself and may lack an opera-
tional and pragmatic orientation of what can and should be done in agro-
ecosystem management.


THE NEED FOR HARD SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
It is clear that research into institutional and organizational aspects is vital to
sustainable natural resources use. However, as various papers quite correctly
indicate, bringing these to the foreground does not take away from the need
to develop technologies and hard system research. The long-term challenge
here is to reverse environmental degradation by shifting from curative to
preventive measures. In many agricultural production areas, this implies
somehow curtailing the 'extensification process,' as the expansion ofcultivat-


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






CONCERTED MANAGEMENT


ed areas is increasingly encountering ecological, technical, economic, and
social problems. Hence, there is an urgent need to find ways to intensify
agricultural production in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.
Measures to rehabilitate the environment should be combined with sustain-
able productivity improvement.
In the search for better technologies, attention should focus on the whole
of range of options, from low to high external input techniques, from agro-
forestry techniques to biotechnology. Existing biases toward high use of
external inputs and short-run productivity improvement must make way for
strategies based on long-run nutrient cycling processes, maximum use of
biophysical potential, and integrated land use management systems. What
counts is creative thinking because more sustainable farming systems are
inherently more knowledge-intensive in nature posing a challenge to the
different actors involved: natural resource users, commodity and location-
specific systems researchers, extension agents. It must be better realized that
different situations require different types of inquiry, based on different
assumptions and requiring different type of skills. Working towards sustain-
able agriculture demands not only new theoretical and practical methods of its
professionals, but a new sense of what it means to be a professional in
agriculture (Campbell, 1994). Simulation studies such as presented by Weber
aimed at modelling man-resource interactions under different context condi-
tions and management strategies of resources users may help to understand
system dynamics and testing the implications of different scenarios.


REQUIRED CHANGES IN THE MACRO ENVIRONMENT
Strengthening joint decision-making and action at the local level supported by
better technologies for sustainable agricultural productivity improvements is
a necessary but not sufficient condition. The present focus on participatory
approaches, local initiative, and decentralized decision making should not be
taken to the other extreme, in which all responsibility is shifted to local
organizations. In many areas in the world, efforts to stimulate better use of
natural resources through participatory action will be in vain if conditions in
the legal and economic environment will not change (Laban, 1994).
First, various papers mention that the lack of a coherent framework of
adequate rules and regulations related to natural use at the national and
regional level may seriously hamper local level initiative in resolving disputes
and taking decisive action (Joldersma et al., 1994; Laban, 1994). Successful
efforts to introduce more sustainable land use practices-through participa-
tory approaches-on a larger scale (Indonesia, Australia, Netherlands) are all
nested in a well defined regulatory context (Roling). Among other factors, in
many countries existing land legislation and customary law need to be
reviewed, simplified, and conflicts between these systems need to be resolved.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






HUIJSMAN


Such formal legislation could find in many cases inspiration in local customary
right systems. At the same time, ways and means have to be found to adapt
customary systems to the changed environmental, socioeconomic, and polit-
ical conditions of today (Laban, 1994). Active involvement of government
agencies in experiments with natural resources management, such as in Mali,
may facilitate this process.
Market failure or poor functioning markets is a second major cause of
environmental degradation. Open access resources allow land users to exter-
nalize environmental costs, shifting these to the community and future
generations, especially when alternatives for a more sustainable use are not
economically attractive. The growing natural resource scarcity should be
reflected in increasing resource prices. This would stimulate efforts to reduce
the growth of demand and improve the efficiency of land utilization. Market
distortions due to government policies and monopoly situations render input
and output prices such that farmers' choices are far from optimal from an
environmental point of view.
The third, and probably most severe constraint, is the limited investment
capacity of rural households in marginal areas. The conflict between income
and environment is a stark reality for the fast growing number of resource-poor
rural land users searching for a livelihood. They have limited access to financial
opportunities and other means of production, and poor alternative employ-
ment opportunities. Their room to manoeuvre is extremely limited. Farmers
often have no other option but to overexploit their land, or to migrate to more
productive areas, reinforcing the process of environmental degradation in
those areas.
In such situations, specific incentives and special funding programs will be
necessary to bring about a change in behavior, stimulating people to partici-
pate in environmental (investment) activities. This applies specifically to the
often expensive, onetime investments in environmental rehabilitation mea-
sures. Recurrent maintenance costs should in principle be considered part of
the costs of exploiting natural resources; ways need to be found to include
these costs as production costs. In assessing the benefits of financing incen-
tives, funding agencies should take into account the opportunity costs of
nonintervention such as increased deforestation and desertification (climate),
migration to urban centres and international migration as well as social unrest
and warlike conflicts. The likely response of different types of farm-house-
holds, and the differences between agricultural zones, have to be carefully
assessed if incentive programs are to succeed. The combination of systems
thinking, participatory action research and a social-actor approach may
contribute considerably to the identification of promising incentives, combin-
ing the micro and macro perspective.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






CONCERTED MANAGEMENT


ISSUES
The strategy advocated in the various papers requires resisting the urgent need
to combat environmental degradation directly through top-down coercive
intervention programs, and instead to act first by investing time in people, as
well as their organizations. Strategies and programs are needed that gradually
provide the rural population with the means, decision-making power, and
authority that will enable them to take the management of natural resource use
into their own hands, and to do this with confidence.
As demonstrated by the papers, there is a growing body of experience on
working with rural communities on environmental management. It is also
clear that much work remains to be done in the methodological field of
combining hard- and soft-system research and developing robust participatory
action approaches. A number of outstanding issues include:

'Facilitation expertise'
Group learning approaches may initially create more problems than they
solve. In predominantly agricultural societies, dealing with natural resources
management touches upon the very fabric of social life. Latent conflicts may
come to the surface and new conflicts may arise. Comprehensive solutions may
not be found immediately. Outside agents facilitating such social processes
must have the appropriate skills and professional background. Amateurish
tinkering with social engineering processes may have lasting negative effects on
rural communities. The question is where will these facilitators come from and
who will train them. Nongovernmental development organizations are seen as
important contributors. However, in the short term their role should not be
exaggerated, as these organizations are themselves often still in a process of
defining their roles and building up their own capabilities.

Institutional cultures
Supporting institutions often have institutional cultures, which do not favor
participatory and interdisciplinary approaches. For example, top-down, sup-
ply-driven T&V extension systems are still dominant in many countries. An
important question is how to align these systems to the sort of participatory
learning and action approaches advocated in this session. Although a platform
approach may offer learning possibilities to overcome these constraints, one
has to be cautious that platforms do not become restricted to supporting
institutions only, excluding the institutional participation of natural resource
users as appears to be the case in Mali. Concertation and collaboration may
become an end in itself or an excuse for not starting concrete actions.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






HUIJSMAN


Vertical integration
Local-level environmental management institutions must be embedded in
a multi-tier management system, in which national, regional, and local
government, as well as nongovernmental organizations, play their respective
roles (Laban, 1994). Finding the right balance between central government
regulation and local autonomy is probably one of the most difficult challenges
in establishing environmental management systems. Critical questions include
what type of organizations are needed at different levels and, more important-
ly, what type of mandates these organizations will have in terms of decision
making, implementation, and monitoring. A related question is how to bring
together the approach of participatory agency development as advocated by
Ruling with the current efforts taking place in many countries of decentralizing
political authority to provincial and local governments.

External triggers
Similar with FSR programs in the past, there is a risk that, without changes
in the macro-environment, participatory approaches aimed at natural resourc-
es management do not get past the diagnostic stage. It is relatively easy to
initially mobilize interest, but concrete options for improvement in terms of
knowledge, profitable technologies and resources must be available to keep
the momentum going and to institutionalize the learning-by-doing process.
Moreover, looking at examples from Australia, Europe, and Northern Amer-
ica, it is my firm belief that specific incentive measures and funding mechanisms
will be required as an external trigger to motivate land users to work together
and invest in environmental measures. Based on micro-level information and
opinions of natural users, propositions should be made to policy makers about
the most promising incentives and other measures.

Scaling up
If the sort of people-centered approach advocated is to be successful in
combatting environmental degradation, due attention must be given to the
process of scaling-up and institutionalization of activities from the outset
taking into account the resource implications of broader application in terms
of funding, human resources, and institutional support. A very critical ques-
tion is whether the rate of environmental degradation does not outrun the
speed with which and the scale at which participatory approaches may have an
impact on natural resources management.

Time horizon
Participatory learning and action processes are incremental and necessitates
dealing with problems step by step. Such processes take time to mature; for
example land consolidation processes in the Netherlands often took over 25


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension







CONCERTED MANAGEMENT


years to be completed. Time horizons of support programs should be in line
with these realities.

International context
Finally, a debate about the state of the environment necessarily includes the
developmental process at large, and consequently, not only policy making of
local and national governments but also the relations between the South and
the industrialized North. Environmental problems are inherently global and
political, demanding redistribution of resources (Redclift, 1984; Blaikie,
1985).


SYMPOSIUM PAPERS

Bousquet, F., Antona, M. et J. Weber. 1994. Simulations multi-agents et gestion des
resources renouvelables.
Campbell, A. 1994a. Participatory Inquiry. Beyond Research and Extension in the
Sustainability Era.
Campbell, A. 1994. Landcare in Australia. Spawning new models of inquiry and
learning for sustainability.
Diarra, S., Hilhorst, T. et N. Coulibaly. 1994. Vers une gestion durable des resources
naturelles: Quelques experiences avec des programmes tests Gestion du Terroir
Villageois au Mali-Sud.
Joldersma, R. et.al. 1994. L'int6gration de la recherche-systeme et la gestion des
resources naturelles: un marriage de bon sens.
Laban, P. 1994. Accountability, an indispensable condition for sustainable natural
resource management.
Ruling, N. 1994. Creating Human Platforms to Manage Natural Resources: First
Results of a Research Program.
Singh, K.P. 1994. Farmers Involvement in Improving Farming Systems in an Area of
Resource-poor, Rainfed Agriculture in Tribal Region of Bihar, India.
William, R.D. et.al. 1994. Improving Oregon's Natural Resources: Collaborative
learning, systems approaches, and participatory action research.


OTHER REFERENCES

Blaikie, P.M. 1985. The political economy of soil erosion in developing countries.
London: Longman.
Redclift, M. 1984. Development and the Environmental Crises: Red or green alterna-
tives? London: Methuen.
Van Beek, P. 1991-. Using a workshop to create a rich picture: defusing the ponded
pastures conflict in central Queensland. Paper for the Workshop on Managing
Complex Issues in Uncertain Environments: Systems Methodologies in Agricul-
ture. Brisbane: Queensland Dpt of Primary Industries, 26-29 August.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995









Management of Natural Resources:
Systems Approaches to Striga Control in
Sub-Saharan Africa '

Helmut Albert2 and Artur Runge-Metzger3



ABSTRACT

Strigahermonthica is a parasitic weed that is still spreading throughout
sub-Saharan Africa. To date, many control methods have been
developed that differ with respect to their demand for land, labor,
capital, and management capabilities. Some have been applied suc-
cessfully in parts of Africa. However, in most situations, limited
adoption of Striga control methods have not prevented further
dispersion of the so-called 'witch weed.'
In order to develop a promising extension strategy, scientific and
indigenous knowledge must be integrated. First, as government
budgets are restricted, extension activities must target areas where
Striga control will provide the best returns. Therefore, a monitoring
concept has to be developed. Second, Striga control methods must be
screened for technical and economic feasibility. Third, control meth-
ods must be evaluated from the farm household perspective. Fourth,
farmers' perceptions about the biology of Striga must be considered.
The occurrence of Striga has to be regarded as a symptom of
deteriorating soil fertility. The continuing spread of Striga appears to
show that past investments made by individual households into the
maintenance of soil fertility were highly inadequate. Clearly, individ-
ual decisions lead to undesirable outcomes in the long term. From the
societal point ofview, individual decisions lead to external effects that
have a negative impact on the income possibilities of future genera-
tions. It is therefore necessary to discuss whether policy interventions
are justified and which type of intervention is operational and feasible
under the conditions of sub-Saharan Africa.
The results of a recent study in northern Ghana are presented. These
show how participatory interviews, formal household surveys, region-
al surveys, and secondary data sources may be integrated to improve
natural resource management.
1 Paper presented at the Thirteenth Annual Association for Farming Systems Research-
Extension Symposium, Montpellier, France, November 21-25, 1994.
2 Nyankpala Agricultural Experiment Station, POB 483, Tamale, Ghana.
3 Institute of Agricultural Economics, Georg-August-University, Platz der Gbttinger Sieben 5,
37073 G6ttingen, Germany.
Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






ALBERT AND RUNGE-METZGER


INTRODUCTION
Sustainable management of natural resources has become the primary objec-
tive of rural development. In the past, different schools of thought covering
various scientific disciplines have contributed toward improvement of the
understanding of various aspects of natural resource management, notably
institutional economics, resource economics, human ecology, and farming
systems research. But how can these different aspects be integrated in a
practical methodological approach to achieve sustainable development? A
systems approach is discussed, taking as example Striga hermonthica.
Striga hermonthica is a parasitic weed that is spreading throughout sub-
Saharan Africa. In the past, several control methods were developed. These
differ in their requirements for land, labor, capital, and management capabil-
ities (Robson and Broad 1989; Gworgwor 1993; Sauerborn 1991). Some of
the methods have been applied successfully in parts of Africa. However, in
most areas, farmers have not adopted recommended Striga control methods
to levels required to prevent further dispersion of the so-called 'witch weed.'
This paper aims to identify the reasons underlying the technology transfer
gap, and to determine appropriate interventions to alleviate the identified
constraints using a systems approach.


HYPOTHESES AND METHODOLOGY
Constraints may occur at different levels of the system, notably:
Government policy may favor agricultural practices that result in the
propagation of Striga;
Research does not address farmers' constraints adequately, leading to
unacceptable recommendations;
A weak performance by extension services restricts dissemination of
effective Striga control measures to farmers;
Farmers reject the control measures because: they are unfamiliar, they do
not fit into their farm household system, they are not regarded to be effective,
Striga is not perceived to be a major problem. In addition, agricultural
practices facilitate the propagation of Striga..
Systems analysis therefore appears to be an appropriate methodological
approach to identifying the constraints. The analysis comprises a set of five well
defined steps to identify:
(a) actors in the system and their goals;
(b) resources (including natural, financial, perceptual, and knowledge)
available to the different actors;
(c) behavior and activities of the different actors and their impacts on the
performance of other actors and on the status of resources;
(d) constraints within the system; and
(e) potential future interventions.


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






STRIGA CONTROL


Steps (a) and (b) are largely descriptive. At each step different empirical
methods are used. Step (c) is the most cumbersome because, ideally, functional
relationships have to be established between the actors, activities, and perfor-
mances (i.e., state and flow variables dependent upon time). It also includes
assessment of known interventions, such as new agricultural technologies.
Appropriate, mainly standard methods must be employed to assess possible
impacts of interventions depending on the scope ofintervention. Basically, this
must be done in a participatory manner, with detailed explanations of
interventions to farmers being backed by extensive discussion.
This approach helps identify specific constraints of adoption. Moreover, the
results of farm interviews also provide the basis for more rigorous approaches
to economic analysis. The impacts of minor changes are modelled using partial
budgeting. If inputs and outputs are affected over several years, investment
analysis has to be employed. More drastic changes in the agricultural system
could be simulated at household level on the basis of comparative static farm
household models. When new crops are introduced or substantial yield
increments are anticipated, aggregated effects beyond the farm household
level must also be considered. Hence, market analysis is necessary. Synthesis
of the results of the preceding analytical steps allows explicit identification of
constraints in step (d). Step (e) concerns possible future interventions.
The general aim of this study was not to be innovative in terms of creating
a new sophisticated econometric model, but to demonstrate how various
standard methodological modules can be integrated in a systems approach to
participatory problem solving using the case of Striga control in a West African
setting.


DATA BASIS
The study was based on the results of different empirical field studies. Detailed
secondary information was available from earlier surveys:
Village level surveys conducted between 1984 and 1992 (Baur 1992;
Runge-Metzger 1993a);
Striga questionnaire for extension agents (Sprich 1993);
Striga surveys (Sauerborn 1991b; Vogel 1993; pers. comm. Sprich,
Schellinger, Universitit Hohenheim, 1992; Honisch 1989);
Official sources (Food and Agriculture Organization 1992; PPMED
1993; Statistical Services 1989).
In addition, two empirical surveys were conducted in 1993-an in-depth
questionnaire was circulated in August/September 1993 to 69 farmers in
three different areas of northern Ghana (Runge-Metzger, 1993b), and a short
questionnaire targeting 4218 farm plots was completed in October/Novem-
ber 1993.


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995






ALBERT AND RUNGE-METZGER


ACTORS AND RESOURCES

Table 1 shows the different actors of the system-government, research,
extension services, and the farmer-who indirectly and directly influence the
population dynamics of Striga.

Table 1. Actors of the system, their goals and resources.
Actors Goals Resources
Government Income (reelected), Budget, manpower, know-how
equity, economic growth,
balanced budget
Scientists Income, respect Budget, manpower, know-how
NARS'
Cotton research
Regional network
MoFAb
Extension services Income Budget, manpower, know-how
MoFA
Private (cotton)
NGOs'
Farmers Income, secured satis- Natural resources (land,
Resource rich faction of basic needs soil fertility, rainfall, know-
Resource poor (shelter, food prefer- how, capital)
ences)
Striga hermonthica Propagation Weak cereal crops
a. NARS, national agricultural research systems.
b. MoFA, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana.
c. NGO, nongovernment, nonprofit organization.

For government, scientists, and extension services, predominantly financial
resources are converted into staffing and logistics. But also very important is
the quality aspect of the staffing, its know-how or human capital. The
government of Ghana relies for its activities on a limited budget that has
become even more constrained. This inevitably affects availability of research
and extension resources. For scientists, most funds are channelled through the
government. A limited number of researchers are employed privately by cotton
companies. A special budget for Striga research in northern Ghana-funded
by a foreign donor-strengthens the available manpower.
Extension is conducted by government, private (cotton), and nongovern-
ment, nonprofit organizations (NGOs). Government service has been reorga-
nized considerably in recent years, notably with introduction of the World
Bank favored T&V system. The number of extension workers has been
drastically reduced. Almost all former technical assistants have been made
redundant, reducing substantially the ratio of extension workers to farmers. In
addition, government extension workers do not always have the appropriate


Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension






STRIGA CONTROL


know-how for dealing with Striga. Nongovernment organizations-predom-
inantly church agricultural projects-can be found in several communities
scattered throughout northern Ghana.
Besides labor and capital, which can be converted to inputs and hired labor,
farmers exploit natural resources including soil fertility, available water, and
solar radiation. Earlier studies of farming systems revealed that farmers in the
region differed greatly in terms of access to these resources, major factors being
population density and market access (Baur 1992; Runge-Metzger 1993a). As
differences in relative resource availability determine to some extent applica-
bility and profitability of innovations, farm households are stratified according
to the population density and access to capital (Runge-Metzger 1993a; Smith,
Weber 1993). The capital assets of farm households are predominantly held in
livestock and this plays an essential role in risk management.
Information about farmers' indigenous knowledge and perceptions regard-
ing the biology of Striga was gathered during the in-depth field survey of
August/September 1993. In general, farmers regard Striga as a severe
problem that has increased over past years. However, their perceptions about
biological aspects do not necessarily match scientific knowledge. For instance,
many farmers are unaware of the exact mechanisms whereby Striga seeds are
further propagated, while a considerable number wrongly associate the
symptoms of other diseases (e.g., wilting of yam and groundnuts) with Striga.
Farmers' perceptions of the impact of various farming practices on Striga were
also examined (Figure 1). In particular, the interrelationship between Striga
and soil fertility is well-known.
Striga relies on the presence of cereals, which provide carbohydrates and
mineral nutrients for its growth. Cereal seeds provide the main vehicle for the
spread of Striga seeds (Berner et al. 1993).
An important feature of water, one of the major natural resources on which
all crop activities and Striga depend, is that its availability is highly variable
from year to year and across locations within the same year.


PERFORMANCES OF ACTIVITIES AND IMPACTS ON THE
OCCURRENCE OF STRIGA
The goals and resources of the actors of the system were presented in a top-
down manner; activities and associated performances will be presented bot-
tom-up.
Parasitism of cereal plants is an activity essential to the multiplication of
Striga hermonthica. The performance of Striga is highly variable as it depends
on the state of various fluctuating natural conditions. Another important
factor is the nutritional status of the host plant (Patterson 1987; Gworgwor
1993; Vogt 1993). When the cereal plants are nourished well, the damaging
effects" of Striga are reduced, and conditions become unfavorable for seed


Vol. 5, No. 1, 1995




















LOW DENSITY FARMING SYSTEMS

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


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MEDIUM DENSITY SYSTEMS

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%


HIGH DENSITY FARMING SYSTEMS

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* first

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mixed
non-burnt vs.
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flat vs. ridges

early vs. late
sown
no vs. org.
manure
no vs
fertilizer

epd. vs bush

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vs.loamy
early vs. late
mature.
wet vs. dry
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