• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Introduction
 Background
 Modified stability analysis and...
 Focused sondeos
 Results
 Summary and conclusions
 Reference
 Figure 1: Researchers' production...
 Figure 2: Farmers' economic criterion...






Title: Focused sondeos to assess to assess farmers' technology evaluation criteria in Nicaragua
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071950/00001
 Material Information
Title: Focused sondeos to assess to assess farmers' technology evaluation criteria in Nicaragua
Physical Description: 6 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Betanco, J
University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publication Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Technology transfer -- Nicaragua   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Nicaragua   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Nicaragua
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaf 6).
Statement of Responsibility: J. Betancho, ... et al..
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "Presented at the 11th annual AFSRE Symposium, Michigan State University, Oct 5-10, 1990."
General Note: Typescript.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071950
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 75291585

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Introduction
        Page 2
    Background
        Page 2
    Modified stability analysis and index of acceptability
        Page 3
    Focused sondeos
        Page 4
    Results
        Page 5
    Summary and conclusions
        Page 5
    Reference
        Page 6
    Figure 1: Researchers' production criterion - maize fertilization, Nicaragua, 1990
        Page 7
    Figure 2: Farmers' economic criterion - maize fertilization, Nicaragua, 1990
        Page 8
Full Text
/6 &C;


FOCUSED SONDEOS TO ASSESS FARMERS' TECHNOLOGY
EVALUATION CRITERIA IN NICARAGUA '


















J. Betanco, L.V. Crowder Jr., E.C. French, P.E. Hildebrand,
C.A. Parera, and K. Talvela2
(authors listed alphabetically)















Presented at the 11th annual AFSRE Symposium
Michigan State University, Oct. 5-10, 1990
2 Respectively, Head of the FINNIDA/MAG project; Associate
Professor, Agricultural Education, Communication &
Extension, UF; Associate Professor, Agronomy, UF; Professor, Food
& Resource Economics, UF; Research Assistant, Vegetable Crops,
UF; and former FINNIDA representative in Nicaragua.







FOCUSED SONDEOS TO ASSESS FARMERS' TECHNOLOGY
EVALUATION CRITERIA IN NICARAGUA


J. Betanco, L.V. Crowder Jr., E.C. French, P.E. Hildebrand,
C.A. Parera, and K. Talvela
(authors listed alphabetically)


Introduction

Rapid appraisal to describe farmers' circumstances has become
standard methodology for farming systems research and extension
(FSR/E) projects. One technique, the sondeo, is a quick survey
procedure used to capture salient features of farming systems
(Hildebrand, 1981). "Exploratory sondeos" are concerned with 1)
initial characterization and analysis of farming systems to
understand farmers' problems and constraints and 2) preliminary
identification of environments for planning on-farm trials in
specific research domains. "Focused sondeos" are part of the
continual characterization process to refine recommendation and
diffusion domains as well as gather indepth information on
particular technologies and interventions.

This paper describes the use of focused sondeos in Nicaragua to
elicit criteria farmers used in 1) evaluating technologies being
validated by an FSR/E project, and 2) assessing the acceptability
of previously promoted technologies. The criteria farmers use in
evaluating technology may be very different from those used by
researchers. This may lead researchers to erroneous conclusions
concerning the acceptability of technology to farmers. As will
be seen, in Nicaragua using farmers' criterion elicited in the
focused sondeos resulted in the definition of different
recommendation domains than would have been defined using the
agronomic criterion of researchers.


Background

In March, 1991, a four-person team from the University of Florida
(UF) conducted a three-week FSR/E shortcourse in Nicaragua for
the Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA) and the
Nicaraguan Ministry of Agriculture (MAG). Participants in the
shortcourse were 37 technicians who worked with the FINNIDA/MAG
Agricultural Extension Project. FINNIDA/MAG had conducted on-farm
experimentation and technology validation and promotion in the
Masaya and Rivas Departments of Region IV for four years.
However, very little work had been done to evaluate farmers'
responses to technology or to monitor adoption.







FOCUSED SONDEOS TO ASSESS FARMERS' TECHNOLOGY
EVALUATION CRITERIA IN NICARAGUA


J. Betanco, L.V. Crowder Jr., E.C. French, P.E. Hildebrand,
C.A. Parera, and K. Talvela
(authors listed alphabetically)


Introduction

Rapid appraisal to describe farmers' circumstances has become
standard methodology for farming systems research and extension
(FSR/E) projects. One technique, the sondeo, is a quick survey
procedure used to capture salient features of farming systems
(Hildebrand, 1981). "Exploratory sondeos" are concerned with 1)
initial characterization and analysis of farming systems to
understand farmers' problems and constraints and 2) preliminary
identification of environments for planning on-farm trials in
specific research domains. "Focused sondeos" are part of the
continual characterization process to refine recommendation and
diffusion domains as well as gather indepth information on
particular technologies and interventions.

This paper describes the use of focused sondeos in Nicaragua to
elicit criteria farmers used in 1) evaluating technologies being
validated by an FSR/E project, and 2) assessing the acceptability
of previously promoted technologies. The criteria farmers use in
evaluating technology may be very different from those used by
researchers. This may lead researchers to erroneous conclusions
concerning the acceptability of technology to farmers. As will
be seen, in Nicaragua using farmers' criterion elicited in the
focused sondeos resulted in the definition of different
recommendation domains than would have been defined using the
agronomic criterion of researchers.


Background

In March, 1991, a four-person team from the University of Florida
(UF) conducted a three-week FSR/E shortcourse in Nicaragua for
the Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA) and the
Nicaraguan Ministry of Agriculture (MAG). Participants in the
shortcourse were 37 technicians who worked with the FINNIDA/MAG
Agricultural Extension Project. FINNIDA/MAG had conducted on-farm
experimentation and technology validation and promotion in the
Masaya and Rivas Departments of Region IV for four years.
However, very little work had been done to evaluate farmers'
responses to technology or to monitor adoption.






During the course, two focused sondeos were conducted to provide
training in the sondeo methodology as well as to obtain practical
information for crop improvement and interventions. The two
focused sondeos built on an exploratory sondeo conducted a year
earlier as part of an initial FSR/E shortcourse, also in
conjunction with the University of Florida. The exploratory
sondeo from the first course served both as a training exercise
and a basis for planning on-farm trials. An important finding of
the first sondeo was that cooperatives, the target of MAG
efforts, were not homogeneous and that distinct recommendation
domains were necessary to develop technologies for cooperatives
as well as individual family plots on cooperatives. This pointed
to the need for on-farm research that recognized various
recommendation domains within cooperatives and that different
cooperatives could share domains (Crowder et al.,1990).

The second course focused on analysis and interpretation of 1990
trial data and on technology adoption. Specifically, focused
sondeos were used to gather information on farmers' evaluation
criteria for use with modified stability analysis (MSA) of trial
data and to calculate indices of acceptability (IA) for
technologies promoted by the project during the previous four
years.


Modified Stability Analysis & Index of Acceptability

Modified stability analysis is a statistical procedure which uses
environmental variability on different farms to confirm
recommendation domains or partition farmers into more homogeneous
groups for recommendation purposes. As a means of
differentiating among recommendation domains, it is an efficient
way to assess technology and group farmers for targeted extension
efforts.

Modified stability analysis utilizes data from on-farm trials,
and farmers' evaluation criteria to assess the adaptability of
technology to specific environments. Mean treatment response at
each location, the "environmental index" (E.I.), is used to
describe technology performance over a series of environments by
means of regression. The environmental index reflects factors
such as climate, soils and farmer management practices in the
different locations. With environment as a continuous,
quantifiable variable, it is possible to establish the
performance of a technology in "poor and good environments" and
partition recommendation domains for intervention purposes
(Hildebrand, 1984; Hildebrand & Poey, 1985). One focused sondeo
elicited farmers' criteria to be used in MSA of the 1990 on-farm
trial data.






A second focused sondeo was used to obtain information to
calculate indices of acceptability for various technologies. An
index of acceptability, as described by Hildebrand & Poey (1985),
can be calculated after asking farmers if they are using a
technology that had previously been tested on their farm and, if
so, on what proportion of the crop for which it was recommended.

The formula is IA = (CxA)/100 where C is the percentage of
farmers interviewed using the new technology and A is the
percentage of their area in that crop on which the technology is
used. When IA exceeds 25 and C is equal to or greater than 50,
experience suggests that widespread adoption of the technology in
the recommendation domain is likely. It is important, of course,
to ascertain WHY farmers accept or reject a particular
technology. In the case of the focused sondeo in Nicaragua,
questions were also asked about modifications to the technologies
and communication networks among farmers.


Focused Sondeos

The particular advantage of the focused sondeo approach was that
it permitted collection of information in a short time (two days)
which could be used for immediate data analysis and
interpretation for planning new on-farm research programs. It
was also possible to quickly gauge the acceptability of promoted
technologies for extension purposes.

Cooperatives were selected for interviewing based on previously
defined research domains and collaboration in specific technology
validation trials. Given the particular purpose of the two
sondeos, distinct question guides had to be developed for each.
A concern was who to interview in each cooperative in order to
elicit reliable information. The decision was made to interview
"plaqueros," cooperative members responsible for crop production
practices. In some cases, where other cooperative members were
present, group interviews were held.

Four technologies were selected to measure technology
acceptability. All had been the subject of on-farm validation
trials during the last four years and had been promoted through
field days and other demonstration events. The technologies
studied were: 1) pre-emergent herbicide use on maize; 2) an
improved maize variety (NB-6); 3) an improved bean variety (REV-
81); and 4) minimum tillage in beans. The case of farmers'
acceptance of the maize variety is representative.






Results


NB-6, was introduced by MAG to address problems of low yields and
disease susceptibility of local maize varieties. Recommendations
for fertilization and planting density were given to farmers. To
assess acceptability of the technology, interviews were conducted
at 26 cooperatives which had collaborated in technology
validation and promotion. The IA for NB-6 was 50, indicating
that this variety had acceptable characteristics. Reasons given
by farmers were: higher yields than local varieties, tolerance to
disease, well developed husk, drought tolerance, and tolerance to
lodging. However, in almost 30% of the cooperatives important
modifications had been made to other components of the technology
-- farmers had reduced by half the recommended nitrogen
fertilization rate and increased plant density by 25%. Farmers
were following their own criterion (kg/unit cash outlay) rather
than the research criterion of kg/ha.

In 1990, the FINNIDA/MAG project conducted on-farm trials to
determine optimum nitrogen levels in maize. Four levels of
nitrogen (0, 30, 60 and 90 kg/ha) were tested on NB-6 maize. When
the standard research criterion of kg/ha was used to calculate
MSA, two recommendation domains were identified. In the "lower"
environments (E.I = 780 to 2750), higher yields were obtained
with 60 kg/ha of nitrogen. In the "higher" environments (E.I. =
2750 to 4500), yields were higher with 90 kg/ha of N (Fig. 1).
Substituting the farmers' economic criterion (kg/unit cash
outlay), a different interpretation of the data was evident.
Only one recommendation domain using 30 kg/ha of nitrogen could
then be defined for all environments (Fig. 2).


Summary and Conclusions

In early 1990, the FINNIDA/MAG Agricultural Extension Project,
with the help of a University of Florida training team, conducted
an exploratory sondeo of several cooperatives that was used to
help design pending on-farm trials. In planning the on-farm
research with cooperatives, consideration was given to the
finding that there could be various domains within cooperatives
and that different cooperatives could share domains. A year
later, in another course (March, 1991), two focused sondeos were
conducted to determine farmers' evaluation criteria to use with
MSA of trial data and to calculate IAs for promoted technologies.
The goals were to provide training in focused sondeos as well as
have information for data analysis and interpretation and
assessment of technology acceptability that could be used to
refine domains for research and extension purposes. Using
focused sondeos as a follow up to exploratory sondeos was found
to be an effective way to achieve continual, dynamic domain
characterization.






Results


NB-6, was introduced by MAG to address problems of low yields and
disease susceptibility of local maize varieties. Recommendations
for fertilization and planting density were given to farmers. To
assess acceptability of the technology, interviews were conducted
at 26 cooperatives which had collaborated in technology
validation and promotion. The IA for NB-6 was 50, indicating
that this variety had acceptable characteristics. Reasons given
by farmers were: higher yields than local varieties, tolerance to
disease, well developed husk, drought tolerance, and tolerance to
lodging. However, in almost 30% of the cooperatives important
modifications had been made to other components of the technology
-- farmers had reduced by half the recommended nitrogen
fertilization rate and increased plant density by 25%. Farmers
were following their own criterion (kg/unit cash outlay) rather
than the research criterion of kg/ha.

In 1990, the FINNIDA/MAG project conducted on-farm trials to
determine optimum nitrogen levels in maize. Four levels of
nitrogen (0, 30, 60 and 90 kg/ha) were tested on NB-6 maize. When
the standard research criterion of kg/ha was used to calculate
MSA, two recommendation domains were identified. In the "lower"
environments (E.I = 780 to 2750), higher yields were obtained
with 60 kg/ha of nitrogen. In the "higher" environments (E.I. =
2750 to 4500), yields were higher with 90 kg/ha of N (Fig. 1).
Substituting the farmers' economic criterion (kg/unit cash
outlay), a different interpretation of the data was evident.
Only one recommendation domain using 30 kg/ha of nitrogen could
then be defined for all environments (Fig. 2).


Summary and Conclusions

In early 1990, the FINNIDA/MAG Agricultural Extension Project,
with the help of a University of Florida training team, conducted
an exploratory sondeo of several cooperatives that was used to
help design pending on-farm trials. In planning the on-farm
research with cooperatives, consideration was given to the
finding that there could be various domains within cooperatives
and that different cooperatives could share domains. A year
later, in another course (March, 1991), two focused sondeos were
conducted to determine farmers' evaluation criteria to use with
MSA of trial data and to calculate IAs for promoted technologies.
The goals were to provide training in focused sondeos as well as
have information for data analysis and interpretation and
assessment of technology acceptability that could be used to
refine domains for research and extension purposes. Using
focused sondeos as a follow up to exploratory sondeos was found
to be an effective way to achieve continual, dynamic domain
characterization.







Sondeos that focus on farmers' evaluation criteria can
efficiently provide information that incorporates farmers'
perspectives in data analysis and interpretation. Likewise,
focused sondeos can be used to quickly assess acceptability of
technologies so that intervention decisions are timely.
Combined, this information can be valuable in partitioning
recommendation domains for targeted extension efforts. In
developing extension messages, farmers' evaluation criteria and
reasons for their modifications of technologies can provide
appropriate recommendations for specific as well as a range of
environments.


References


Crowder, L. Van, E. C. French et al. 1990. A farming systems
research and extension approach to working with cooperatives
in Nicaragua. Paper presented at the Association for
Farming Systems Research-Extension (AFSRE) Symposium. East
Lansing: Michigan State University.

Hildebrand, Peter. E. 1981. Combining disciplines in rapid
appraisal: The sondeo approach. Agricultural Administration
8:423-432.

Hildebrand, Peter E. 1984. Modified stability analysis of farmer
managed on-farm trials. Agron. J. 76:271-274.


Hildebrand, Peter E. and F. Poey. 1985. On-farm
in farming systems research and extension.
Publishers, Inc. Boulder.


agronomic trials
Lynne Rienner


/ '. R'd j














RESEARCHERS' PRODUCTION CRITERION
MAIZE FERTILIZATION, NICARAGUA, 1990
5000 .
45000- ------------------------- ------------------N ---0 -
4 0 0 ..................... ........ ................... ...... N = 0


3000 .. .................... .......... ... .... .. ....................... ....

2500----- N = 90
3 500..................... .. ........ . ...... .. -.


,,;***.. .9
3 0 0 0 ..................... .................... ..... ... ^ ^ ................... N ----------


1500 2000 2500 3000 3500
ENVIRONMENTAL INDEX














FARMERS' ECONOMIC CRITERION
MAIZE FERTILIZATION, NICARAGUA, 1990


2000 2500 3000 3500
ENVIRONMENTAL INDEX


--I--
N =30

N =60

N =a90
N=90


-7 CIA'I A4 -f




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