Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The project in review and the role...
 The project physical setting: a...
 Canton Quevedo
 APROCICO as institution
 APROCICO and the wider society
 APROCICO members: a profile
 The APROCICO farm
 Pests and their management on APROCICO...
 Small-farm agriculture in Canton...
 Farmers of Canton El Elpalme
 Canton Balzar
 Conclusions and recommendation...

Group Title: Five months with the Asociacion de Productores de Cultivos de Ciclo Corto (APROCICO), subproject in Quevedo, Ecuador : a report of experiences
Title: Five months with the Asociaciâon de Productores de Cultivos de Ciclo Corto (APROCICO), subproject in Quevedo, Ecuador
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072252/00001
 Material Information
Title: Five months with the Asociaciâon de Productores de Cultivos de Ciclo Corto (APROCICO), subproject in Quevedo, Ecuador a report of experiences
Physical Description: 198, 25 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Jones, James C
University of Florida
Publisher: ,
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1987
Subject: Rural development projects -- Ecuador   ( lcsh )
Technology transfer -- Ecuador   ( lcsh )
Farms, Small -- Ecuador   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Ecuador
Statement of Responsibility: by James C. Jones.
General Note: "February 25, 1987."
General Note: "Rural Technology Transfer System (RTTS) Project."
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: UF00072252
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 - 76883689

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    The project in review and the role of the sociologist
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    The project physical setting: a partial description
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Canton Quevedo
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    APROCICO as institution
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    APROCICO and the wider society
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    APROCICO members: a profile
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    The APROCICO farm
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Pests and their management on APROCICO farms
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    Small-farm agriculture in Canton Quevedo
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Farmers of Canton El Elpalme
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
    Canton Balzar
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
    Conclusions and recommendations
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Appendix one
            B 1
            B 2
            B 3
            B 4
            B 5
            B 6
            B 7
            B 8
            B 9
            B 10
            B 11
            B 12
        Appendix two
            B 13
            B 14
            B 15
            B 16
        Appendix three
            B 17
            B 18
            B 19
            B 20
            B 21
            B 22
            B 23
            B 24
            B 25
Full Text

1 ^/O. 781

Five Months with the Asociacion de Productores de Cultivos
de Ciclo Corto(APROCICO) Subproject in Quevedo, Ecuador
A Report of Experiences

Rural Technology Transfer System(RTTS) Project

By James C. Jones, Ph.D.
University of Florida
February 25, 1987

Five Months with the Asociacion de Productores de Cultivos
de Ciclo Corto(APROCICO) Subproject in Quevedo, Ecuador
A Report of Experiences

Rural Technology Transfer System(RTTS) Project

By James C. Jones, Ph.D.
University of Florida
February 25, 1987

Table of Contents

Introduction ...................................................... i

1. The Project in Review and the Role of the Sociologist......... 2
The Project Design.............. ........................... 2
Reflections on the Project Design.......................... 4
The Bitter Months: Early Efforts at Implementation.......... 6

2. The Project Physical Setting: A Partial Description...........13

3. Canton Quevedo........................... ......... .......... 16
A Brief Economic History: 1900 to 1986.................... 16
Demographic Change: 1950 to 1982......................... 20
Land Tenure: 1974 and 1986........... ...................... 23
The Town of Quevedo.. ................................. ...... 27
A Sort of Society......................................... 29

4. APROCICO as Institution..................................... 33
Founding and Growth.............. ............ .............. 33
Structure and Function..................................... 36
Power and Conflict Within and the Limits of Growth....... 40

5. APROCICO and the Wider Society ................................45
Members vs. Non-Members: Relative Numbers and Share of
Production ...... ...... ................................. 45
Attitudes toward Public-Sector and other Institutions..... 47
Crisis and Confrontation .................................. 50
Local Prominence.......................................... 53
Relations uith Small Farmers............................. 54

6. APROCICO Members: A Profile .......................... .........58
Political Orientation..................................... 58
Economic Position ...... ........... ........................ 59

7. The APROCICO Farm............................................ 61
Location and Structure .... .................................. 61
Production Patterns and Trends:.Nine Illustrative Cases... 62
Discussion and Analysis.................................. 69

8. Pests and their Management on APROCICO Farms..................74
Twelve Illustrative Cases............................ ..... 75
Discussion and Analysis........................... ........ 92
Biological Control........................................ 97
Discussion and Analysis........................... ............00

9. Small-Farm Agriculture in Canton Quevedo....................103
Numbers and Organization..................................103
Eight Illustrative Cases................................104
Discussion and Analysis.................................. 127

10. Farmers of Canton El Empalme.................................133
History and Demography. ...................................133
The June 30 Association of Maize Producers of El Empalme..137
Cooperatives in Canton El Empalme.........................141
Asociacion de Maiceros "30 de Junio" and APROCICO.........144
Agricultural Practices: Eight Illustrative Cases..........146
Discussion and Analysis...................................... 166

11. Canton Balzar ........... ..................................... 169
A Brief Sketch of the Area...............................170
Cooperatives and the Centro Agricola ................ ...172
Relations with APROCICO........................... .......... 173
Agricultural Practices and Problems: A Tentative Overview.173

12. Some Conclusions and Recommendations .........................176
A Need to Restructure Efforts............................177
Conception of the Research-Extension Process...........177
The Use of APROCICO as Vehicle.........................180
The Beneficiaries Issue..................................182
Recommendations to the RTTS Project Management............183
Recommendations for APROCICO.................................185

Notes............................................. ............. 189

List of Tables



Table 8

Demographic Change in Canton Quevedo....................21
Land Tenure in Canton Quevedo in Early 1975..............24
APROCICO Membership Growth...............................35
Membership Participation in APROCICO Presidential
Elections .......... ... ......... ..................... 39
Continuity of the APROCICO Elective Directorship.........42
Demographic Change in Canton El Empalme.................135
Farm Size and Area Planned for Winter Maize by Members
of Asociacion de Maiceros "30 de Junio" in 1986....140
Demographic Changes in Canton Balzar....................171


Appendix One

Appendix Two

Memorandum of June 23, 1986.... ....... ............1

My Communications with APROCICO'S Management......13

Appendix Three Issues Paper .......... ....... .....................17


This is not an ordinary report, but neither were the
circumstances that led to it. I arrived in Ecuador on May 24,
1986, and departed on October 10. During those five months I
worked as a "sociologist"(I am a social anthropologist and
agricultural economist) with the Asociacion de Productores de
Cultivos de Ciclo Corto(APROCICO) subproject of the Rural
Technology Transfer System(RTTS) project. I was to structure a
mechanism for the transfer of pest-control technology through
APROCICO to all farmers-small as well as large--in the Quevedo,
El Empalme, and Balzar areas and to assist in adapting the
subproject to local institutions, especially to APROCICO. But I
soon learned with dismay that APROCICO had its own agenda for the
subproject--an agenda that did not include working with small
farmers, the mandate of the project paper notwithstanding. In
the measure that I insisted on working with them, APROCICO
countered by erecting impediments--and, to my chagrin, was
supported by the RTTS project management. Alas, the subproject's
hidden agenda was revealed.

When it became clear that my reservations about the
structure of the subproject, especially its use of APROCICO as a
vehicle to transfer technology to all farmers, might appear in my
final report, both the RTTS and APROCICO managements initiated
efforts to control the content of that report. Those efforts
began with subtle pressures from the RTTS management and
culminated in a written directive, issued to me by APROCICO's

manager and supported by the RTTS chief-of-party, that I would
submit my report first to APROCICO's management, which would in
turn transmit it to the RTTS office in Quito. (A copy of that
directive is attached to Appendix Three, which is an "issues
paper" I drafted for restricted circulation on the eve of my
departure from Ecuador. In the paper I discuss, inter alia, the
issue of reporting by foreign technical personnel.) That
directive was subsequently amended(this time verbally, but again
with the support of the RTTS management) to require me to write
the report at APROCICO headquarters, where it would be a joint
effort of the manager and myself. When I balked at this
arrangement, the chief-of-party dismissed me from the project.
But the story does not end there. Within a month of my forced
return to the States, the Government of Ecuador requested that
the RTTS chief-of-party be relieved of his duties and removed
from the country.

Had this report been produced under favorable conditions,
its scope would have been narrower; the project entomologist and
I would have collaborated closely in the pursuit of realistic
goals, openly agreed to by all, and in such a way that the report
would have represented a mutual, highly directed effort.
Further, I had hoped that together he and I could draft an
operational work plan. But the RTTS management did not want
this; I was told instead that I would not be permitted to
"contaminate" the entomologist with my ideas.

And so to produce a document of intellectual substance
that faithfully hews to realities as I perceived them, I have
had to proceed in my own way. I have thus elected to make the
report broad ranging; in addition to information about pests and
their control, it includes much material germane and useful to
any proposed effort to improve agriculture in the Quevedo-El
Empalme-Balzar zone.

The opening chapter reviews the APROCICO subproject,

especially its design, and the role of the sociologist. Chapters
Two and Three describe the project physical setting and the
socioeconomic environment of Canton Quevedo. Chapters Four,
Five, and Six are about APROCICO--its institutional character,
its relation to the wider society, and its members in profile.
Production patterns on APROCICO farms is the subject of Chapter
Seven, while Chapter Eight deals with pests and how they are
controlled on those farms. Chapter Nine treats small-farm
agriculture in Canton Quevedo, and Chapter Ten deals with farmers
in El Empalme--their organizations and their agricultural
practices and problems. The report has less to say about farmers
in Balzar, the topic of Chapter Eleven, and closes with a brief
chapter of conclusions and recommendations.

Numerous persons in Ecuador, from both the public and the
private sectors, including several APROCICO members, helped to
make this report possible. My debt to a few of them is enormous,
and I here thank them all deeply and sincerely, especially the
farmers who gave me freely of their time. Owing to the
potentially controversial nature of the report, however, I think
it best that my benefactors remain anonymous. But they know who
they are, and I know they will understand that I have their best
interests at heart.

Gainesville, Florida
February 20, 1987

The Project in Review and the Role of the Sociologist

In this section I will review the design of the project
and discuss the role of the sociologist as well as some
experiences I have had which bear on the project and my work in
Quevedo. The project design is contained in a document submitted
in August of 1985. Its title: Short Cycle Crop Improvement
Project, Quevedo and Balzar Ecuador: Subproject Paper to Rural
Technology Transfer System, RTTS Project. The document exists in
both English and Spanish. I will occasionally cite the English
version of this project paper below.

The Project Design

The goal of the project is to develop the institutional
capacity of the Asociacion de Productores de Cultivos .de Ciclo
Corto(APROCICO), a private producer association of ninety-nine
members based in the town of Quevedo in Los Rios Province, to
serve farmers in the cantons of Quevedo, Velasco Ibarra(known as
El Empalme, located in Guayas Province), and Balzar(Guayas
Province). The project paper cites three purposes(p. 1): (1)to
replace the reckless use of chemical insecticides with Integrated
Pest Management techniques(IPR); (2)to use APROCICO as the
vehicle for the transfer of technologies to all farmers in the
cantons cited above and thus provide a model for the use of
private producer associations elsewhere in Ecuador and the
developing world; and (3)to develop the capacity of APROCICO to
identify and solve the production and marketing problems of its

members. The transfer of IPM technologies is only the initial
project activity and is to be followed by the transfer of
technologies to improve and conserve soils as well as the
introduction of a program to assess, develop and improve markets.

In several places the project paper stipulates that the
beneficiaries of the project are to be not only members of
APROCICO but also small farmers in the cantons of Quevedo, El
Empalme, and Balzar. To quote one passage from the Social
Soundness Analysis of the project paper, "The target group for
this project consists of the small maize producers who live in
the Quevedo and Balzar areas. Sixty percent of them cultivate
less than five hectares...They comprise one of the poorest
economic groups in the rural area of Quevedo"(p. 34). And again,
"The project will bring improved pest control techniques to small
maize producers"(p. 34). Such references to small-farmer
beneficiaries are numerous in the project paper.

That the project designers might have held to be
problematic the notion of using a large-farmer association to
transfer technologies to small farmers is suggested by a comment
regarding the end-of-term evaluation of the project, which
"should test the basis for this attempt to transfer technology to
small farmers through an association of large farmers: employment
of IPM technologies demonstrate to farmers their interdependence
and motivate large farmers to assist small farmers in adopting
them"(p. 44). Large farmers would therefore have to work with
small farmers in a pest-control program, runs the logic, since to
be effective such a program must be mounted over a wide area and
include all farmers. This is a central thesis of the project
design--"an inherent strength built into the major concept of
this project"(p. 25). The designers seem to have taken pride in
this logic, which they saw as a way to induce the two groups(but
mostly APROCICO) to cooperate. In this sense the IPM program was
seen as a pioneer effort, one that would lay the foundation for
later cooperation between the two groups on other fronts.

Although the achievement of effective pest-control may
have been seen as the initial incentive for large farmers to
cooperate with small ones, it was not the only incentive
envisaged by the designers. "Unless it enlists the support of
large numbers of small farmers," says the project paper,
"APROCICO will look like just another special interest group
looking for special treatment. Also, it would not have the
numbers needed to argue its case with congress...The small
farmers have the numbers that APROCICO needs to serve its own
self-interest"(p. 25).

The project design also specifies the close collaboration
of public-sector institutions with APROCICO. Both the Instituto
Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias(INIAP) and the Ministry
of Agriculture(MAG) are to be involved, with APROCICO as the
coordinating entity. APROCICO is to be the vehicle for
transferring technologies to all farmers, assisted by MAG
extension agents in the geographically peripheral areas of El
Empalme and Balzar(p. iv). And there is to be an exchange of
technical information between-INIAP(the nearby station at
Pichilingue) and the technical unit(the IPM unit) of APROCICO,
and INIAP is to assist with the extension outreach program in El
Empalme and Balzar once PIP(Programa de Investigacion en
Production) activities are initiated in those areas(p. 13).

The project design calls for a sociologist to conduct an
initial five-month study of "relevant groups" and to use the
results of that study to "develop methods and a strategy for
conveying knowledge to different farmer groups about integrated
pest management..."(p. 15). The sociologist would thereafter
monitor the technology-adoption process through several
subsequent visits to the project to "refine communication and
teaching techniques." But the mandate of the sociologist was
much broader than this, for he also would "study and plan for the
best possible means tp adapt the project to the area, in effect
to make APROCICO a bridge for technology transfer to small

farmers"(p. 19).

Reflections on the Project Design

After nearly a month in Quevedo(I arrived in Quito from
Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, May 24, and was taken to
Quevedo on Tuesday, May 27), I drafted a memorandum(dated June
23) to the Rural Technology Transfer System(R.T.T.S.) management
in Quito in which I expressed reservations about the design of
the APROCICO subproject and suggested some changes which I felt
would increase the likelihood that the project would meet its
goals and objectives. That memorandum, a copy of which is
attached to this document as Appendix One, is really a five-part
report based on my brief experience in the area at that early
time. I will now review some of the concerns I expressed in that

First, I was concerned for professional reasons with the
way the sociologist was to be used in the project. The
sociologist was a potential scapegoat for project failure, for if
pest-control technologies were not adopted by area farmers, it
could be said that the sociologist had not identified(or created)
the appropriate channels and mechanisms for technology transfer.
This concern is related to a more general one: In the project
design, the problem to be confronted is conceived overwhelmingly
as one of technology transfer. This I saw as a major flaw in
that design.

The design assumes the existence of pest-control
technologies, neutral to farm scale and other circumstances, that
are ready to be transferred through APROCICO to all farmers. The
project paper recognizes that small farmers may be reluctant to
adopt the technologies--"it appears that large and medium farmers
will adopt the new technology faster than small farmers..."(p.

10)--, but this problem is to be overcome by "packaging" the
technologies for them and by tailoring the extension approach to
their circumstances. Hence, the need for a "sociologist."
Although the project paper does make brief mention of the
eventual use of INIAP PIP teams(p. 13), which theoretically
operate with a farming systems research perspective and methods,
that isolated mention stands in stark contradiction to the
overwhelming thrust of the design. That thrust does not call for
making technologies appropriate to different farmer groups but
calls instead for making extension techniques appropriate to
those groups. This is not the way of IPM, which is an approach
for generating pest-control technologies appropriate for defined
groups of farmers.

In a word, I felt that the project made no provision for
making technologies adequate to different groups of farmers. It
is simply not the case, or is rarely so, that appropriate
technologies exist on a shelf in a form ready to extend to
farmers. There is a need for a process to make them adequate,
and that process, called by whatever name, is essentially a
research process.. Developing pest-control technologies and
transferring them to large farmers should not be difficult, and
doing so for small farmers may not be. But trying to transfer
inappropriate technologies, especially to small farmers, is a
futile task.

I would argue finally that the project design is twenty
years out of date in the way it uses the sociologist and in the
way it conceptualizes the technology-transfer process. Even if
we assume away the need for a process of making technologies
adequate and accept the design as it stands, a major problem
remains: Channels and techniques for technology transfer are held
to be technology neutral-that is, the same channels and
techniques, to be stipulated by the sociologist, are assumed
viable for the transfer of whatever technology the entomologist
thinks appropriate. A radio spot, for example, could be used to

promote either the use of a new agrochemical requiring a single
application, or the use of some combination of biological control
and agrochemicals requiring several precisely-timed applications
and close farmer monitoring. This is simply not true.

The Bitter Months: Early Efforts at Implementation

In that memorandum of June 23, I also cited a series of
other problems, most of them regarding the understanding of the
project by APROCICO officials in power at the time. I felt that
those officials, and other key members of the association, were
misinformed, or at least did not have a sufficient grasp of what
the project is about. And I was surprised to learn that APROCICO
did not have a copy of the project paper.

When I arrived in Quevedo, APROCICO leaders were hoping to
receive an entomologist, not-a sociologist, whose role they did
not understand. Indeed, r could detect little understanding by
them of the roles of any of the specialists or of the
institutions slated to participate in the project. There was a
decidedly negative attitude toward INIAP, for example. And it
was certainly not understood--or accepted--that the project was
to benefit large numbers of small farmers, much less that project
technical personnel should spend significant amounts of time
working with them. What the APROCICO leadership seemed most
aware of at the time was a laboratory to be installed on the
second floor of APROCICO headquarters once construction of the
floor had been completed. In a word, the project was for them
about the laboratory and a couple of entomologists who would work
there for APROCICO.

At the time of the memorandum, I was also acutely aware of
the need for an entomologist, not only to give the effort
technical credibility, but to work with me in gathering and

interpreting information from area farmers.. And though I made no
mention of it in this early memorandum, I felt an urgent need to
learn first about the situation of small farmers in Canton
Quevedo. Basic to the project design is the technical argument
that small farmers must be included in pest-control efforts--if
they are not, their farms become pest reservoirs that pose a
reinfestation threat to the large farms. If this argument is
valid, then that threat would be greater in Canton Quevedo, where
all but five or six of the ninety-nine APROCICO farms are
located, densely fringed by small farms.

I reflected on the problems enumerated above and in my
memorandum included a series of recommendations the
implementation of which I felt would address the problems and
thus increase the chances of success of the project. I will
recount those recommendations only briefly here; the attached
memorandum can be consulted for an expanded treatment.

First, I recommended that the subproject task be
conceptualized as first and foremost one of developing(or
adapting) appropriate technologies for broadly two groups--large
and small farmers--and only second as one of extending those
technologies to the groups. I emphasized the need for a close
articulation between research and extension in this effort, which
I argued should be mounted in accordance with the farming systems
approach to research and extension(FSR/E). FSR/E creates such an
articulation as well as recognizes the special circumstances
(limited resources) of small farmers. Moreover, the philosophy
and methods of FSR/E are quite close to those of IPM. I stressed
that the problem must not be seen as merely one of discovering(or
developing) channels of transfer for different groups, but rather
as one of developing(or adapting) and extending appropriate
technologies to those groups.

Second, to address the pest-control needs of area farmers,

especially the small ones, I suggested that a PIP(Programa de
Investigation en Produccion) effort be mounted soon in the area.
The PIPs use multidisciplinary teams which theoretically follow
an FSR/E approach. They represent an attempt by INIAP to follow
recent research and extension trends in other developing
countries and thereby make technologies appropriate to defined
farmer groups. I further suggested that the project establish
the necessary agreements(convenios) with INIAP and MAG since the
design calls for their participation--and since they are the
institutions formally charged with research and extension in

Third, I recommended that the project hire the counterpart
entomologist immediately, and suggested the name of a capable
man, an employee of INIAP who seemed to be available at the

And fourth, I recommended that there be a formal
presentation of the project in all its dimensions to the APROCICO
leadership and to some of its more influential members in order
to put it on a sounder footing. The presentation would include
the roles of the several project specialists, especially that of
the sociologist, as well as the roles of the several institutions
slated to participate. And most important, it would include some
of the problems and difficulties(working with small farmers, for
example) likely to be encountered. Such a presentation was
critical, I felt, if the major project challenge was seen as one
of generating appropriate technologies for small farmers, for
that challenge would require considerable research on small farms
and a frequency and intensity of interaction between researchers
and small farmers that might make the APROCICO leadership and
some of the members uneasy. Moreover, I suggested that the
project leadership in Quito should assist with that presentation,
and someone from U.S.A.I.D. as well, and I further suggested that
representatives from INIAP and MAG should be in attendance.

My suggestions were met for the most part with disregard
or disapproval by the R.T.T.S. management, which was not pleased
with my suggestion that the problem be recast as one of
generating appropriate technologies(rather than merely extending
them) and that the FSR/E approach be employed to do this. I was
told that the R.T.T.S. was an extension project, not a research
one, and that the word "research" should be dropped from my
vocabulary. The experts who designed the project had already
said that appropriate technologies existed for the area. And
besides, the project had no time for research, for only two years
remained and there had to be results soon. Further, the validity
of some of the methods of FSR/E, especially the rapid
survey(sondeo), were challenged.

There was no response to my suggestion that a PIP effort
be mounted(perhaps because the PIPs are concerned with technology
generation and follow an FSR/E approach).

The R.T.T.S. management referred to APROCICO the name of
the man I had recommended for the counterpart-entomologist
position, but APROCICO rejected him because he has a slight
speech impediment. He would not be able to give polished
extension talks, they argued.2 No counterpart entomologist had
been hired at the time I left the project(September 26), although
the foreign entomologist, just arrived-on station, was pressing
for one.

Neither had a meeting of minds through a formal
presentation of the project occurred at the time of my departure.
The roles of MAG and INIAP were still to be determined. The
relations of these institutions to the project are addressed
later in the report. As for the role of the sociologist and the
part small farmers are to play in the project, only confrontation
brought these issues to the fore. Since this confrontation
conditioned the initiation of the project as well as caused me
much personal anguish, I would like to say more about it.

For several days after my arrival in Quevedo in late May,
I had much difficulty getting the attention of the APROCICO
leadership, especially the president at the time, Antenor Aviles.
And I received little subsequent collaboration from that
leadership, especially from the gerente("manager"), Lic.
Rigoberto Lara(see Appendix Two). I would cite several reasons
for this.

First, several influential members of APROCICO hold a
negative concept of sociologists--and when I arrived, they were
disappointed that they had received a sociologist rather than an
entomologist. This concept is especially strong among members of
the Aviles-Lara faction, which represents the far right in

Second, I insisted that small farmers, especially those in
Canton Quevedo, be included in the project and proceeded to work
with them to the extent that I was permitted. The gerente told
me on one occasion to stop working with them--and my movements
could be monitored by the Aviles-Lara faction since Aviles's
brother-in-law was hired by the R.T.T.S project management as my

Third, I communicated directly with researchers at the
INIAP Pichilingue station during my presence in Quevedo. Aviles
resented this and told me that INIAP had done little for area
agriculture--yet they always put on a show before foreign
visitors to impress them with their achievements, he added.3

And fourth, much of the APROCICO membership is given to
randy behavior; considerable value attaches to boozing, gaming,
and whoring. Members gather nightly at APROCICO headquarters to
talk, drink, and to play pool and cards until up in the morning.
The talk is invariably laced with ribald humor. I had much
difficulty affecting this macho style and thus did not spend much
time of the evening at APROCICO headquarters. Also, these men

have administrators to run their farms and therefore do not have
to work after a night of revelry.

I have no evidence that the R.T.T.S. project management
ever underscored either the importance of the sociologist in the
APROCICO subproject or the need to address small farmers. The
groundwork that might have done this was never laid and the
sustaining support that might have subsequently made it possible
was never given. To my knowledge, project management made no
statement to APROCICO of the importance of the sociologist to the
subproject until a meeting on September 17--after the APROCICO
elections, after news of tensions in Quevedo surfaced in Quito,
and after I had been on station for nearly four months. And the
statement was made in the presence of an outsider, a consultant
sent to Quevedo by USAID to gather information for use in
strengthening extension efforts in Ecuador. My prior pleas for
help went unheeded. The situation was made worse by Jose Oromi,
the project "institutions specialist," who refused to supply me
with information and who for political reasons sided with the
APROCICO leadership against my work--and against the interests of
the subproject--rather than use his good offices to further those
interests. I essentially worked alone, assisted by two
Ecuadorian students, and was not able to communicate productively
with anybody on the project until the arrival on August 30 of Dr.
Philip Stansly, entomologist and subproject manager. Among the
APROCICO farmers, I often worked by gathering information
obliquely, and sometimes by exploiting the profound rifts within
the association membership.

During nearly five months(from May 24 to Oct. 10) in
Ecuador, I conducted open-ended interviews with a wide assortment
of farmers in the project area. These include individual
interviews with twenty-six(out of ninety-nine) members of
APROCICO; individual interviews with ten small farmers(with from
five to about thirty hectares) and a group interview with six
more in Canton Quevedo; individual interviews with seven small

farmers in El Empalme(Guayas Province) and group interviews with
seventy-two more; a group interview with twelve small farmers in
Canton Balzar(Guayas Province); and individual interviews with
three large farmers in Canton Quevedo who are not members of

I consulted with several knowledgeable persons regarding
the economic history of the project area and where APROCICO fits
in the broader socioeconomic scheme of things. I also gathered
information about several local institutions in some way related
to the project. These include APROCICO, MAG, INIAP, Asociacion
de Maizeros "el 30 de junio" de El Empalme, and the Centros
Agricolas in Quevedo and Balzar. And I gathered demographic data
on the project area from the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y
Censo in Quito.

The Project Physical Setting: A Partial Description

Geographically, the project is set in the central litoral
zone of Ecuador, the area of major incidence being Canton
Quevedo, in the northern part of Los Rios Province. The project
area reaches southward from Patricia Pilar, a small town on the
main highway in the extreme north of the province, to Mocache, a
hamlet on the River Quevedo to the south of the town of Quevedo,
a linear distance of about 70 kilometers. To the east the area
is bounded roughly by the border of Los Rios and Cotopaxi
Provinces, to the west by the border of Los Rios and Guayas
Provinces. Also included in the project area are parts of Guayas
Province near the towns of El Empalme, about 20 linear kilometers
west of the town of Quevedo, and Balzar, about 65 linear
kilometers southwest of Quevedo.

The project area includes farmers with more than 2,000
hectares of land and those with less than five hectares, and
exhibits a marked diversity in regard to agroecological variables
such as moisture, soils, light intensity, altitude, and terrain
relief. For the most part, these variables shift along a
gradient running from Patricia Pilar southwest to Balzar. On a
rainfall map, the northeastern corner of the project zone, near
Patricia Pilar, falls between the 2,500 mm and 3,000 mm isohyets,
while Balzar, 110 linear kilometers to the southwest, receives
only 1500 mm per year. But rainfall can vary considerably from
year to year as well. By data from INIAP's Pichilingue research
station near Quevedo, 3,538 mm of rain fell from December through

April of the 1982-1983 winter rainy season. But only 1,600 mm
were recorded for the same interval the following year. And from
May through September of the summer dry season of 1982, 163 mm of
rain fell, whereas 1,905 mm fell during the same period a year
later--making the dry season of 1983 wetter than the rainy season
of 1983-1984.

The moisture regime is a critical variable affecting
cropping practices in the project zone. There are two cropping
cycles in most of Canton Quevedo, whereas only some farmers can
take two crops--depending on terrain relief--in the area of El
Empalme. In Balzar only one cycle is possible--during the winter
rainy season. But soil moisture in this part of Ecuador,
especially during the summer dry season, is a function of cloud
cover as well as of rainfall. The summer crop relies mainly on
residual moisture, which is affected by the number of cloudy
days. And like rainfall, light intensity increases along the
gradient from northeast to southwest. And it too can vary from
one year to the next; there were fewer cloudy days during my
residence in Quevedo, from late May until early October. I was
told that the summer of 1986 was an especially dry one.

Soil properties also affect residual moisture, and soil
types do vary across the project zone. I visited a farm in the
Vergel area of Canton Quevedo in early August, when the farmer
was sowing an early-maturing variety of soybean. Located about
thirty minutes by car to the northeast of Quevedo, Vergel is
considered a particularly good agricultural area, partly because
of the presence of residual soil moisture for a summer crop. I
scratched the surface of the soil with my foot and immediately
saw damp earth. Only forty kilometers to the southwest, near the
Pichilingue research station, I could not have done this. There,
soybeans could not have been planted at this late date without
irrigation. Yet the soils around the research station are still
alleged to be among the best in Ecuador.

Altitude and terrain relief also vary along the
northeast-southwest gradient, as anyone who travels by car the
main highway southwest from Santo Domingo de los Colorados to
Balzar can observe. There is a marked decline in altitude. And
as the road approaches El Empalme, the terrain becomes more
undulating and much of it is unfit for machine cultivation. The
depressions fill with water in the rainy season and are suited
only for rice cultivation. Cattle are common from El Empalme to

To my knowledge, there is no comprehensive treatment of
the agroecology of the project zone. However, Ing. Vicente
Paliz, a capable INIAP entomologist at Pichilingue who also
teaches a course in ecology at the agricultural university in
Quevedo, recognizes(personal communication) four distinct
agroecological zones based on his professional experience of
several years in the area.

First, there is the zone to the west of Quevedo, along the
highway to El Empalme. The Pichilingue station is located here.
Second, there is the zone to the northeast of Quevedo, in the
direction of La Mana(Cotopaxi Province) but including also the
areas of Vergel and Costa Azul. This zone is deemed to have some
of the best agricultural land in Ecuador and many APROCICO farms
are found there. Third, there is the zone north of Quevedo,
along the highway to Santo Domingo de los Colorados(Pichincha
Province). There are also many APROCICO farms along this highway
as far as Patricia Pilar. And fourth, there is the zone south of
Quevedo along the highway to Babakoyo. The Paliz scheme thus
includes an area(south of Quevedo to Babahoyo) most of which is
not in the project zone, and fails to include an area(Balzar)
which is in the project zone.


Canton Quevedo

A Brief Economic History: 1900 to 1986

Canton Quevedo, where all but perhaps five of the
ninety-nine APROCICO-member farms are located, is today a major
agricultural area of Ecuador and has been so since late
nineteenth century. There were large cacao plantations in the
area at the turn of the century; Ecuador was one of the world's
leading producers from 1900 to 1920, when the boom was abruptly
terminated by the disease witches'-broom. These plantations, run
by resident administrators, generated proverbial wealth for their
owners, most of whom lived in Guayaquil. Forest products have
also been extracted from the area over the years. These include
tropical hardwoods and animal pelts, especially those of felines,
and balsa, which was in much demand for airplanes during the
Second World War. Latex was taken from the area's rubber trees
at the turn of the century and again during the Second World War.

With the abrupt decline of cacao in 1920, the area entered
a long period of economic slump from which it did not fully
emerge until after the Second World War, when President Galo
Plaza invited American banana companies to Ecuador. The years
1948 to 1972 were again boom years for Canton Quevedo, which had
achieved canton status only in 1943 and was now the heart of
national banana production when Ecuador was the world's leading
producer. Bananas were the major earner of foreign exchange at

the time. The population of the canton rose dramatically as
people arrived from other parts of the country to work in
bananas. An extensive network of dirt roads (guardarayas) was
constructed to extract racemes from the large plantations and
haul them to the port of Guayaquil, or ship them downriver to
port. These access roads are a vital part of the agricultural
infrastructure of the canton today and distinguish it from the
surrounding cantons.

But as had happened to cacao a half-century before,
disease brought the banana era to a close in Quevedo in the early
1970's. The culprits were sigatoka and mal de panama, especially
the latter, to which the Gross Michel variety had no resistance.
So banana production in Ecuador shifted southward to El Oro
Province, an area more favorably situated for ocean shipping as
well as better suited to the new disease-resistant Cavendish

If 1972 is held to mark the end of the banana era, 1975
might be taken as the beginning of the annual-crop(ciclo corto)
era in Quevedo. But the shift from bananas to annual crops was a
gradual one which seems to have occurred throughout the period
1970 to 1975. It was also a traumatic and costly one for many
area farmers. The planting of annual crops required the costly
clearing of vast areas of banana and forest. Necessary for the
use of agricultural machinery, this land clearance has continued
down to the present and has altered the local ecology and changed
the micro-climate. Several farmers told me that it now rains
less than it used to, for example, and small farmers producing
annual crops for subsistence during the banana years said there
were no insect problems then.

The shift to annual crops was traumatic for some larger
farmers because of the ever-present threat of land invasions.
The two major agrarian-reform laws, the first dating from 1964
and the second from 1973, both promulgated under military

regimes, posed a threat to large land holdings, especially those
not in production. But until disease struck, the banana
plantations in Quevedo were very much in production and thus
remained inviolate, generating valuable foreign exchange for
Ecuador. With the demise of bananas, however, matters changed
ominously. There was suddenly an army of unemployed banana
workers in quest of subsistence. And some of them, predictably,
invaded former banana lands and obtained legal titles. Farmers
still talk of the violence of the period and the pitched battles
between invaders and landowners. The pressure was thus great for
landowners to bring those lands under production if they wished
to keep them. And not all did, for when land values declined
with the demise of bananas, some farmers sold their lands, even
to former workers. I met several small farmers who had acquired
their lands in this way. On balance, however, the shift from
bananas to annual crops was made with only minimal disruption in
the integrity of the estates-indeed, Quevedo has enjoyed
substantial continuity in the integrity of its estates since at
least 1950. Such has not been the case in other areas of

At one time or another, depending on market conditions,
the production of dent maize,, grain sorghum, rice, and soybeans
has characterized the annual-crop era. Production has been
almost entirely for national consumption, a feature which makes
the era quite different from the previous one, when bananas were
the country's chief export and earner of foreign exchange. But
it is important to realize that the annual-crop era has coincided
almost exactly with Ecuador's oil boom, which also began in the
early 1970's. Since that time, oil, not agriculture, has been
the primary generator of foreign exchange. Oil revenues have
thus enabled the government to de-emphasize agriculture.

As of this writing, the annual-crop era may be drawing to
a close--at least several APROCICO farmers think so. The period
June through September of 1986 was filled with portentous events.

Oil prices dropped dramatically, thereby precipitating the
Ecuadorian economy into a crisis. Prompted by international
lending agencies, the government instituted a series of economic
measures(approved on August 11) chief of which were the floating
of the sucre on the foreign-exchange market, thus requiring
importers to obtain dollars(and exporters to release them) at
competitive rates on the free market(desincautacion de divisas)
rather than at the former artificially low official rate, and the
floating of interest rates, thus increasing the price of money.

The new measures are clearly designed to promote exports,
meaning that shrimp, bananas, coffee, and cacao, currently the
leading non-petroleum earners of foreign exchange, are favored.4
There was talk in government circles when I left Ecuador of
promoting the export of annual crops such as dent maize and rice,
and a large loan had just been authorized(by the World Bank, as I
recall) to that end. But the prices local farmers have
heretofore received for those crops have been well above world
market prices. When the new commodities exchange in Guayaquil
was instituted several months ago, it met much resistance from
local farmers, in part(other reasons also figured importantly)
because the government was forced to buy grains, especially
maize, at the floor price, which though well above the world
market price was still unacceptable to area farmers. It may,
therefore, prove difficult for farmers in Quevedo to export
annual crops.

On the other hand, some of the larger farmers were already
having reservations about annual crops, for there was an
incipient trend among APROCICO farmers toward diversification
well before the drop in oil prices and the new economic measures.
New products include African palm, coffee, cacao, bananas,
cattle, and sunflowers(experimentally). This trend will likely
continue, perhaps at a quickened pace in the new economic

The future remains uncertain for agriculture in Quevedo.
The full impact of the government's austerity package has not yet
hit the country; moreover, the opposition in congress, which
gained a substantial majority in the elections of June 1, has
declared the package unconstitutional and has mounted an
energetic campaign to defeat it. But there is no question that
the country is' facing a period of austerity. And decisions on
how to deal with it will be made ultimately in the political
arena, where contending groups and interests must allocate the

Demographic Change: 1950 to 1982

Canton Quevedo is today the most populous canton in Los
Rios Province and Quevedo the largest city of the.province,
though not its capital, which is Babahoyo. Table 1 provides
population statistics on the canton from the four national
censuses, beginning in 1950. .

Several salient patterns emerge from the table. First,
the rate of population increase in Canton Quevedo has been
greater than that for the province at large over all three
periods represented by the figures, and substantially so over the
first two. This is predictable, for the first two coincide.
almost exactly with the banana era, when the canton was the heart
of banana production in Ecuador. But the dramatic effect of that
era on local demography is seen in the spectacular population
increase of more than 800% registered for the town of Quevedo
between 1950 and 1962. The rate of increase for the town remains
at a high 92% for the following period and does not level off
until the annual-crop era, when a modest increase--but still an
increase, not a decrease--of only 7% is registered.

But while the rate of urban population(i.e., the town of

(From Census Data)


Provincia Los Rios
(Rural Area)

Canton Quevedo
(Rural Area)

Town of Quevedo@

(No Data)




250,062 (66%)*
(No Data)

76,873 (132%)
39,097 (35%)

37,776 (806%)


383,432 (53%)

130,588 (70%)
58,093 (49%)

72,495 (92%)


455,869 (19%)
307,491 (8%)

164,920 (26%)
87,624 (51%)

77,296 (7%)

*Figures in parentheses are percentage changes since the preceding census.
@Figures include the population in a suburban zone Zonaa periferica), which first appears in the 1962 census.


Quevedo) increase in the canton is only 7% for the period 1974 to
1982, the annual-crop era, the rate of rural population increase
over the same period is 51%, thus surpassing the rate of urban
increase for the first time since 1950. The exact opposite was
occurring in the province at large, which registered a 52% rate
of increase in the urban population and an 8% increase in the
rural population over the period 1974 to 1982. Over the same
period, the rural fraction of the total population of the canton
increased from 44% to 53%, an increase that follows a period of
decline in the fraction, which was 87% in 1950 and 51% in 1962.
And again, the reverse seems to have occurred in the province at
large, at least over the period 1974 to 1982(the only years for
which rural population figures are readily available), when the
rural fraction of the total population decreased from 75% to 67%.

The dramatic population increase of the canton, especially
of the town of Quevedo, over the period 1950 to 1962, is a clear
indication of the wealth generated by bananas .and thus of the
draw of that era- There has been nothing like it since,
certainly no comparable demographic swing. But with the demise
of bananas, the statistics do not suggest massive departures from
the canton, not even from the town of Quevedo, which might have
been expected. Population shifts, however, do seem to have
occured- The rate of rural population increase is greater than
the rate of urban increase in the canton over the period 1974 to
1982, and the rural fraction of the canton population increases
from 44% to 53%. Although it is difficult to explain these
shifts with certainty using only the gross statistics at hand, I
would argue that two population movements are responsible for
them: a decline in migration to the town of Quevedo over the
period and a human exodus from it, the two together sufficient to
substantially reduce the rate of urban population increase; and a
continuing movement into the countryside, albeit at a slightly
higher rate(51% over the eight-year period as opposed to 49% over
the previous twelve years). But migrants are now entering the
countryside not to work on the banana estates, but to invade or

purchase former banana lands and form their own production
units(and a few would, of course, be entering to work on the new
annual-crop estates).

The population of the canton is a young one according to
the 1982 census; 45%(74,848) of it(47% for the rural areas) is
under fifteen years of age. And 22%(14,673) of the rural
population of the canton(24% for rural Los Rios Province)over ten
years of age is illiterate. Although corresponding figures were
not available at the canton level, 21%(97,658) of the 1982
population of Los Rios Province was not born there. Thirty-five
percent of the immigrant group was born in neighboring Guayas
Province, 27% in Manabi. The foreign-birth figure is probably
much higher for Canton Quevedo because of the draw exercised by
economic cycles there. Rarely did I encounter a small farmer
born in the canton. Most seem to be from Manabi.

Land Tenure: 1974 and 1986

To my knowledge, reliable current statistics on land
tenure for the canton do not exist. However, statistics from the
agricultural census of 1974(11 Censo Agropecuario 1974:
Resultados Provisionales), gathered from September of 1974.to
February of 1975, do afford a picture of land tenure during the
period of transition between bananas and annual crops. They
probably portray reliably the land-tenure structure at the close
of the banana era. Figures for Canton Quevedo appear in Table 2
by parroquia("parrish"). The percentages in parentheses are
fractions of the total, either number of production units(-N) or
surface area(-S) in hectares, represented by the adjacent figure
to the left. The aggregations by land-size class are mine, as
are the percentage calculations.

Looking at the canton as a whole, one immediately notes

(Statistics gathered from September 1974 to February 1975)

0-10 has.

0-50 has.

100-500 has.

> 50 has.

> 100 has.

Total for Canton
@ N 7,061 units, S 193,203 has.

4,003 (57%)^
13,222 (7%)

6,341 (88%)
62,159 (32%)

305 (4%)
54,723 (28%)

820 (12%)
131,044 (68%)

347 (5%)
100,833 (52%)

42 (.59%)
46,110 (24%)

Total for Parroquia Valencia
N 2,040 S 71,964
N 988 (48%) 1,718 (84%) 124 (6%) 322 (16%) 144 (7%) 20 (.98%)
S 3,141 (4%) 19,231 (27%) 22,653 (31%) 52,733 (73%) 41,305 (57%) 18,652 (26%)

Total for Parroquia Mocache
N 2,646 8 w 54,776
N 1,613 (61%) 2,457 (93%) 58 (2%) 189 (7%) 65 (2%) 7 (.26%)
S 5,668 (10%) 24,445 (45%) 10,213 (19%) 30,331 (55%) 22,700 (41%) 12,487 (23%)

Total for Periferia
N 2,375 S 66,463
N 1,402 (59%) 2,066 (87%) 123 (5%) 309 (13%) 138 (6%) 15 (,63%)
S4,413 (7%) 18,483 (28%) 21,857 (33%) 47,980 (72%) 36,828 (55%) 14,971 (23%)

* The figures in the table are based on my calculations using data from Distribucion
Resumen Nacional. II Censo Agropecuario 1974: Resultados Provisionales. Ministerio
y Ganaderia and Instituto Naconal de Estadistica y Censos. 1974, Quito, Ecuador,
SN Number of production units. S- surface area of production units in hectares.
* figures in parentheses are percentages of the total "N" or "S" in the indicated ge

de la Tierra:
de Agricultura

graphic units.


2 500 has.

the predictably skewed nature of the land-tenure regime. Over
half(52%) of the land in production, representing only 5% of the
production units, was held in lots of 100 hectares or more. And
just over half of one percent of the total number of production
units held nearly a quarter(24%) of the land under production,
and this in lots of 500 hectares or more. On the.other side of
the spectrum, holdings of ten hectares or less accounted for only
7% of the land under production but over half(57%) of the
production units.

Although small and large holdings lay in proximity
everywhere in the canton(each of the three areas of the canton
supported about a third of the production units) at this
transitionary time, certain areas did favor one or the other.
Forty-one percent of the production units of 100 hectares or more
were located in Parroquia Valencia, where their holdings
accounted for 57% of the land area under production, for 41% of
the area under production for that size class in the canton, and
for 21% of all land under production in the canton. Of the
production units of ten hectares or less in the canton, 25% were
located in the parroquia, where they represented only 4% of the
land area under production, 24% of the area under production for
that size class in the canton, and 2% of all land under
production in the canton.

Although still predominant, as elsewhere in the canton,
large holdings were less favored in Parroquia Mocache, where
small holdings were more numerous. Only 19% of the production
units of 100 hectares or more were sited in Mocache, where they
still accounted for 41% of the land area under production, for
23% of the area under production for that size class in the
canton, and for 12% of all land under production in the canton.
Forty percent of the production units of ten hectares or less
were located in Mocache, where they accounted for 10% of the land
area under production, for 43% of the area under production for
that size class in the canton, and for 3% of all land under

production in the canton.

This differential incidence of large and small holdings in
the two parroquias is not by chance, for conditions of moisture,
terrain relief, and proximity to communication arteries all
favored Valencia. Thirty-seven percent of all land under
production was located there, whereas only 28% was in Mocache.
According to one former banana producer and today annual-crop
farmer, the best banana lands were those of Vergel(in Parroquia
Valencia) and those north along the highway between Quevedo and
Patricia Pilar, especially near Buena Fe. Neither is it a
coincidence that those areas are deemed today the best for annual
crops and that most of the APROCICO farms are found there.

The Periferia, or area surrounding the town of Quevedo,
was also prime agricultural land(Buena Fe is located there) as it
is today. The statistics indicate that its tenure structure
corresponded to that of the canton at large and that there was a
greater mix of small and large production units there than in the
other two areas.

The real issue is how the tenure structure has changed
since the agricultural census, which was conducted at a time of
transition from bananas to annual crops. According to one former
banana producer, there are more farms in Quevedo today than there
were during the banana era, and they tend to be smaller. And the
total area under banana production was greater than the area
under annual-crop production today, he said. This observation
accords with processes that are known to have occurred.

With the close of the banana era, land prices temporarily
fell and some of the banana lands were broken up and sold off by
the owners, sometimes to former workers. Other lands were
occupied by invading peasants who had worked in the area, or else
entered from outside, and who have since acquired legal title to
them. And yet other lands of the former banana estates have been

divided among heirs who today cultivate annual crops.

In conclusion, I would say that small-farm production
units are everywhere more numerous in the canton today than they
were in the banana era. The rural population increase of 51%
between 1974 and 1982 also strongly supports this conclusion.
Moreover, the labor demands of mechanized production on today's
annual-crop estates are modest indeed as compared with those of
the banana estates. So today's rural population is perforce
independently productive.

The Town of Quevedo.

Located on the main highway between Quito and Guayaquil,
about three hours and a half from Quito and two and a half from
Guayaquil, Quevedo-is the largest town in the province and a
major commercial center for the area. Its urban infrastructure
and urban services belie this role, however, for they are sadly
lacking. One wonders indeed what happened to the fabulous wealth
of the banana era, and to the not inconsiderable wealth of the
annual-crop era.

The traffic-jammed streets are filthy and in great
disrepair, with large breaks and deep potholes in the pavement.
Sidewalks are often nonexistent, or their transit made parlous to
the unwary by holes and sudden drops. The jumbled buildings are
in chronic disrepair, the colors of their dingy facades weathered
to dull pastels. Saturday and Sundays are market days, when the
town brims with the surrounding rural population and when local
shops extrude their sundry wares onto the streets in chaotic
display. If vehicular traffic is heavy, the scent of diesel
fumes lingers on the air.

In contrast with the well-manicured and aesthetically

pleasing plazas in other towns of the Americas, that of Quevedo
is small, poorly maintained, and singularly without
distinction--hardly a pleasant place for an evening stroll with
the family. The Catholic church across the street, of plain
brown brick, is architecturally unremarkable. Its interior is
even more so: the sanctuary is unrelieved by alcoves harboring
saints, and the walls and altar are barren of the usual religious
icons and images. Schools are reputed to be poor at all levels;
and according to one teacher, student pilferage is a major
problem in the secondary schools. The town does boast a small
agricultural school, a branch of the university in Babahoyo.

Despite an abundance of Chinese restaurants, or chifas,
the legacy of a large Chinese population that settled in the area
before the banana era, good restaurants are few. Only one hotel,
which also has the best restaurant, offers accommodations that
are reasonably clean and secure. The hotel also has a sauna, a
Turkish bath, and an olympic swimming pool from which it
appropriately enough derives-its name. The pool eclipses the
restaurant and guest rooms, which were an afterthought in the
construction chronology anyway, and jars raucously with the
social and physical essence of Quevedo.

One is struck by the large number of idlers and petty
vendors hawking a miscellany of notions, candies, and cigarettes
on the streets of Quevedo. On weekends, especially Sundays,
agricultural laborers with overnight satchels and machetes in
hand mill about the local plaza awaiting an offer of temporary
employment. Rampant prostitution is another sign of unemployment
and economic hardship, and the area's ubiquitous brothels cater
to the passions of all economic strata in a society where harlots
and their services are a popular theme in local male

A Sort of Society

Society in Canton Quevedo is less complex than in many
other areas of Latin America. There are no Indians, no divisive
ethnic chasms that human relations must bridge. Town society
consists of a small economic and power elite made up of grain
buyers and large farmers, including APROCICO members; a middle
class of mostly smaller merchants and a few professionals; and a
large unstable lower class of menials and those engaged in petty
service occupations. This lower class often has close kin and
other social ties to the surrounding countryside. Rural society
is made up of a mass of peasant farmers, largely undifferentiated
except by migrant origin.

A kind of society, especially manifest in the town of
Quevedo among individuals of the middle and upper economic
strata, has developed over the years in the canton. I would
locate its origins chiefly in-the economic cycles of the area.
Quevedo is still a hinterland, a frontier, and in many ways is
reminiscent of the frontier towns of Amazonia. This is seen not
only in the physical aspect of the town, which I describe above,
but also in the timber of human relations--in how people get on
with each other.

If I were to describe the essence of Quevedo society in
one word, I would say that it is transient. The lack of'a sense
of permanence among its denizens is pervasive. Although the
massive human influx of the 1950's has undoubtedly strained the
capacity of some local institutions to provide adequate
infrastructure and services, I would argue that much of the
failure is due to a lack of identification with Quevedo by those
who reside there. The social and cultural life of the monied
set, including many APROCICO farmers, centers on Guayaquil, where
they maintain homes to which they repair on weekends, or where in
some cases they spend most of their time. They abide Quevedo for

a time in order to make money, which does not stay there.

But this lack of identification with Quevedo is not
restricted to the monied classes, for individuals of all strata,
especially the young, aspire to one day settle in Guayaquil. To
see Quevedo as one's station in life is to think less of ones
self, even to admit of failure. This is true to a degree of
rural dwellers as well, in some of whom the beck of Guyaquil is

It is because of this lack of identification with Quevedo
that the urban infrastructure is derelect, and because of it that
the Iberian aesthetic and love of towns that elsewhere make for
warmly embellished churches and pretty plazas have never taken
hold here.

This quality of transience combines with the historical
fact of newness--Quevedo is a new town, as I was reminded on
several occasions-to affect the quality of human relations,
which tend toward conflict. Disputes are frequent: there is the
cult of the gun: the level of violence runs high, exacerbated by
a vigorous machismo and the heavy consumption of alcohol.
Backbiting is common, often among individuals who might be
expected to live in perfect harmony, or who appear at first blush
to so live.

Society in the area is in general poorly structured.
Unlike other Latin American communities, for example, Quevedo has
no old families. Social groups tend not to be well defined, and
there is much confusion of social identity, for the criteria by
which individuals otherwise know who they are and where they fit
in the social scheme of things-and therefore how to behave--are
few or absent. There has been no time for the rules governing
the interaction of individuals and groups to be worked out. So
human relations are unstable and fraught with tension, and
behavior is often unpredictable.

This lack of structure can perhaps best be seen in the way
scandal is treated. If social groups and individual social
identity are ill defined, then to that extent the notion of
scandal is devoid of sense. According to an immigrant friend
from another Latin American country and resident of some years in
Quevedo, women there readily reveal the most intimate details of
their lives, such as drubbings and infidelities inflicted on them
by randy husbands and lovers. This is hardly behavior
characteristic of Hispanic women in a stable social setting. But
if there is no potential for scandal, there is nothing to check
such revelations. In like manner, Quevedo is locally rumored to
have an unusually large homosexual population. But the seeming
largeness may be illusory, the result of a normal distribution of
homosexuals leaving the closet in a setting where there is no
looming potential for scandal to keep them there.

In Quevedo, the only criterion that guarantees social
standing is material wealth. Money as social referent emerges in
casual conversation. When I asked a friend what I should wear to
an evening social function at APROCICO headquarters, I was told
that a coat and tie were de rigueur because attending would be la
sociedad, la gente de plata--"high society, the monied people."
Members of APROCICO would occasionally boast to me discreetly of
the money they had, or banter each other in my presence with
attributions of poverty, penuriousness, or ill-got gains. That
one is socially worth what one materially has, with education and
public service(as such) counting for little, was dawning
uncomfortably on one Quevedo youth studying agriculture in
Guayaquil and whose reflections on local society had reached
unusual depths. "A fool in a mercedes is more highly regarded
than a pundit in a ford," he said. And so it is.

If material wealth is the sole measure of social worth,
then the scramble for that wealth is apt to be frenzied indeed.
People become nasty and grasping: envy, rivalry, and greed
flourish. And so it is in Quevedo, where that scramble is


reinforced by the cyclical nature of the local economy: one must
make one's pile before the cycle ends. The oil boom in Ecuador
may also have provided a seductive lure and thus further
reinforced the scramble. And now with the drop in oil prices and
a period of austerity in the offing, the pain may be acutely felt
in Quevedo, where everything turns on wealth.

APROCICO as Institution

Founding and Growth

With a current membership of ninety-nine(the membership
was purged from 105 during my presence in Quevedo), including two
women, APROCICO was founded in 1977 by fifteen men, eleven of
whom(one is deceased) remain members today.

With the demise of the banana era, the banana producers
had to shift their production resources to other crops if they
were to remain in agriculture. The threat of invasions and the
requirement of agrarian reform laws that land be in production
made a shift all the more urgent. And so the founders of
APROCICO turned to annual crops.

The founders say the transition was painful for them and
that the government provided no assistance and showed little
appreciation for the sacrifices they made. The forests and
banana plantations had to be cleared at great expense, for
example, and in some cases lands had to be levelled. The local
Centro Agricola, an arm of the Camara de Agricultura of the
litoral zone and charged with multiple activities to promote
agricultural interests at the canton level, was thought by the
founders to be too diffuse in its focus and not sufficiently
interested in annual crops, and to be generally ineffective in
its role since it was run by persons whose primary interests were
political. And so APROCICO was founded to fill a void. The new
institution would work on behalf of its members to secure

favorable policies from the government, better prices for
agricultural products, lower costs for supplies, better credit
terms, and adequate storage facilities. And, I would add, the
need farmers felt to organize may have been intensified by the
government's increasing focus on oil, which was at the time
replacing agriculture as the major source of foreign exchange.

APROCICO membership has grown over the years, but the
growth has not been smooth. Table 3 shows when the current
ninety-nine members entered the association(no records available
for years prior to 1982). The column on the right, therefore,
represents stable membership in the given years and would not
include individuals who might have drifted into and out of the
association between its founding and the present(but it is my
sense that such drifters have been few).

The years 1982 and 1984 were years of significant real
growth. There was a campaign by the leadership to increase the
association's membership in 1982 as a way of influencing the
market price of local grains. I have no explanation for the
growth in 1984. A freeze on the admission of new members has
been in effect for several months, although an exception was made
in July of 1986 to admit the commander of a special forces unit
of the Ecuadorian army based just outside Quevedo.

The association has grown in other ways as well. A
full-time secretary was hired in late 1981, an accountant in
1982, and another secretary in 1985. A man charged with public
relations and with recording the minutes of board meetings was
hired in January of 1986. The association began to pay its
manager in 1984; the position had theretofore been unremunerated
and filled by a member. In that same year, APROCICO began to
sell agrochemicals, available today to both members and
non-members, though non-members must pay more. This activity
seems to have generated most of the association's funds over the
past three years. And in July of 1985, APROCICO moved out of a

APROCICO Membership Growth*

Real Growth

Begin January to 1982


Stable Membership

No records prior to 1982
21 (41%)

3 (4%)

17 (23%)

6 (7%)
1 (1%)

99 (as of July, 1986)

* All figures in this table represent current (July, 1986) membership of
APROCICO, In parentheses are percentage increases in membership,


rented locale in downtown Quevedo and into a new building on the
western edge of town.

Structure and Function

Members of APROCICO pay an initial admissions fee and
subsequent yearly fees. I was given a figure of 1,100
sucres(about $6.50 U.S. in June of 1986) for the admissions
fee--an absurdly low figure--but was told that a decision had
been reached by the leadership several months before to raise the
fee but that no action had yet been taken. Yearly fees are based
on surface area planted to annual crops and are assessed at the
rate of 7,200 sucres(about $42.00 U.S. in June of 1986) for
thirty-five hectares or. less, and 100 sucres per hectare for
farms with more than 35 hectares. But this rate also, I was
told, would soon be revised upward. Mr. Jose Oromi says in his
report of May 7-June 6 that aver half of the members are in
arrears on the payment of these annual fees. Oromi listed in his
final report the fixing of the annual fee at 30,000 sucres for
all members as one of his achievements. Perhaps this is the
revised figure. And a flat fee would eliminate cheating: one
member told me that he under-reported the area planted in annual
crops to keep the fees down. I suspect that the practice has
been widespread.

To become a member of APROCICO, one must submit a written
application(solicitud) to its board of directors. (It is my
sense that members of the board have traditionally encouraged
selected individuals to apply). Three members of the board who
know the applicant must serve as sponsors and sign the
application form. The application is then discussed at a weekly
board meeting and approved or rejected.

APROCICO is an "association," an organizational form

recognized by the laws of Ecuador. Accordingly, much of its
formal structure and operating procedures are governed by law.
The leadership, or junta directive, consists of a president, a
manager, six members of a board of directors, each with a
substitute (suplente), and five counselors(auditores). The board
is served by a secretary and a treasurer, both members of the
association. Two secretaries, an accountant, and a public
relations man(charged also with keeping the minutes of board
meetings) serve management. The leadership, with the exception
of the manager, who is now a paid official(and a powerful one) is
composed entirely of members.

The leadership convenes weekly--on Thursday evenings, when
I was in Quevedo. The entire membership is convened by the
leadership only once per year, for the election of officers; by
law there must be at least one such plenary gathering, or
asamblea general, each year. Some portion of the membership
typically gathers at association headquarters of the evening for
the occasional sales presentation by an agrochemical or machinery
vendor. And members are always to be found at headquarters of
the evening talking, watching television, and playing cards or
pool. Those members are usually part of the faction in power at
the time, or at least sympathetic to it.

The president, board members, and counselors are elected
yearly(usually in July) by popular vote during a general assembly
of the membership. The office of manager is non-elective. For
the elections to take place, a quorum(50% + 1) of the membership
must be present. If it is not, the elections are held a week
later regardless of the number of members present. There has
never been a quorum on the first call, I was told. But a quorum
was close on July 23 of 1986, when fifty of the required number
of fifty-one members showed-a large attendance for elections and
a mark of the high political interest that year. Since only one
person was needed for the elections to take place, a couple of
members left the meeting to search for an absent member who lived

nearby. Before they could return, however, several others grew
impatient(and annoyed) and left. So the elections were not held
until the following week, on July 30, when fifty-four members
were present and voted.

Election procedures are informal: there is no written
slate of candidates prior to the elections, although it is
reliably rumored who the top contenders for president will be.
The contenders are nominated from the floor of the general
assembly and one of them is subsequently elected by secret
ballot. But it has happened, as in the administrative year
1985-1986, that the president was selected by a general
acclamation of those assembled. Board members are selected by
the ternary system (ternas). For each position, three candidates
are nominated from the floor and one is elected by popular vote.

Political participation as measured by number of votes
cast at the annual elections has been generally modest and
variable over the years. Table 4 gives total votes cast as a
percentage of association membership at election time for the
indicated administrative years.

According to several APROCICO members, interest in the
1986-1987 elections was unusually high. There were two
presidential contenders, with the winner receiving thirty-eight
votes(representing 38% of the membership). This interest is
probably a reflection of the considerable disenchantment among
members with the faction in power at the time. Member
participation in other than political events seems to be low as
well. I counted only twenty-five members at a major APROCICO
ceremony in September of 1986 to celebrate the completion of the
second and third floors of the headquarters building and the
installation of new officers for 1986-1987. A founding member
told me that this level of participation is typical, that the
same twenty-five or so attend everything, and that such poor
attendance indicates a problem with the association. And others

Membership participation in APROCICO presidential Elections

Administrative Year*



Votes Cast


49(by acclaim

Votes Cast/Nembership

nation) 50%

* Information insufficient to calculate percentages for years prior to


during my stay in Quevedo commented on the low level of member

Power and Conflict Within and the Limits of Growth

According to one informed source, about twenty persons
control APROCICO; the remaining members are at the margins of
power. My observations support this. Among the controlling
group are the eleven founders, where the real power lies. Both
the manager and the current president are founders, as have been
all former presidents. One of the founders has been president
for six(non-consecutive) of the nearly ten years of the
association's existence. But according to the same source, the
old guard, which jealously guards its power, has an ill-defined
opposition which is slowly gaining influence. And it is also
true, as I well observed, that the controlling group is ridden
with faction. The marked factional conflict that characterizes
the APROCICO membership emerged clearly in the elections of last
July, when it reached acute levels.

Opposition to the incumbent president, who had held the
office six times, was substantial. The opposition came from both
within and without the controlling group. It was widely rumored
that APROCICO had no leadership, and one prominent member
remarked that it was because of dislike for the president that
forty percent of the membership did not participate in the
association and never visited its headquarters. The president
and his faction, including the manager, were described
pejoratively to me by several members as prepotentes("arrogant,"
"overbearing") and dictatorial. They were accused of using the
association to favor their cronies at the expense of the wider
membership. A visit to the United States by fourteen members and
financed by the Rural Technnology Transfer System(R.T.T.S.)
project was cited as a case in point. It was charged that the

trip was an award for allegiance--and there may have been some
truth to the charge, for eight of the fourteen selected by
APROCICO officials in power at the time occupied formal office,
and at least four others were from the controlling group. And
all but one of the fourteen had entered the association prior to

The losing contender for the presidency was not from the
controlling group and there was substantial opposition to him
from both within and without the group. A former manager of the
association, he had already indicated that he would make
substantial changes if elected, including the dismissal of its
present manager, a founder and close ally of the incumbent
president. The winner of the office, who had held it once before,
was the only member of the controlling group, perhaps of the
entire association, who came even close to being acceptable to
all factions at. the time. But the former faction still retains
some power in the person of the manager. So the new president
and his board are now faced with the daunting task of balancing
the demands of the several factions and keeping the peace in a
very divided association.

An examination of the names of members(see Table 5)
occupying formal office over the past three years suggests a
personnel discontinuity in the elections of July, 1986. Again,
this would support the above conclusion that there was widespread
disenchantment with the faction in power at the time.

Considering a total of thirteen positions each year(the
presidency, six directorships and six substitute directorships),
Table 5 shows a personnel continuity in six of the positions over
the two-year period 1984 to 1986, while the continuity for the
period 1985 to 1987 is only three.5 One person--a founder--is
continuous over the three-year period. Further, all but one of
the individuals in the table became members of APROCICO before

Continuity of the APROCICO Elective Directorship*

Administrative Year; 0













.* The "manager" (gerente) is an influential part of the directorship, but his
position is non-electivel the manager serves at the pleasure of the president,
In any case, the office.would be a constant in the table since the same man
has filled it over the interval of time under consideration,

I Insufficient data for years prior to 1984,

Table 5

Eleven persons elected to the thirteen leadership
positions for the administrative year 1984-1985 had become
members prior to 1982. This represented ninety-two percent
(-11/12--there were only five substitutes that year instead of
the usual six) of the elected leadership. But at the time of
those elections, only fifty-one of the then seventy-eight
members, or sixty-five percent of the membership, had entered the
association before 1982. In 1985-1986, when fifty-one(52% of the
membership) of ninety-eight members had entered before 1982,
eleven of the thirteen elected officers(or 85% of them) were from
the pre-1982 group. But in 1986-1987, when fifty-one(52%) of
ninety-nine members had entered before 1982, only seven of the
thirteen(54%) elected officers were from that group. In the
administrative year 1986-1987, that is, the percentage of elected
officers becoming members before 1982 is no greater(54% versus
52%) than the percentage of members entering before that year.
The numbers here thus further suggest that the results of the
1986 elections may signal a modest break with the past and the
beginnings of a broadening of the power base within the

It should come as no surprise that there is considerable
conflict within APROCICO, which is, after all, a microcosm of
Quevedo society. .There is much antagonism and destructive
backbiting among members. One member, in discussing with me the
threat of land invasions that another member was then
confronting, suggested that members of the association were
probably encouraging the invasions. Several members recognize
this conflict as a problem for the association. I often heard
members complain of egotism and a lack of unity among their
colleagues and of the absence of a spirit of companionship
(companerismo). In a July(1986) seminar- workshop on
organizational development conducted for APROCICO(through the
R.T.T.S. Project) by the Instituto Centroamericano de
Administration de Empresas(INCAE), the forty attending members

collectively recognized individualism and a lack of integration
among members as major weaknesses of the association.

It is this conflict, or the threat of it, coupled with a
fear of loosing control, that has led the controlling group to
admit new members only after careful consideration. It is also
for this reason that they show a marked reluctance to expand the
membership beyond the present ninety-nine. I often heard the
fear expressed that undesirable elements would introduce
"politics"(la political) to the organization and destroy it.
Another producer association with seat in Quevedo was created in
1986 under the influence of a large farmer and politician. Most
of its members are from the San Carlos area. When I asked an
informed APROCICO member why the man was not a member, I was told
that APROCICO was not for him, that he was "too political."
Although it was not clear who had rejected whom, the man's
non-membership was not counted a loss by the particular APROCICO

I would argue that the membership has reached its present
numbers for reasons mainly of political economy--to control the
purchase of supplies and the disposition of product. If the
controlling group feels that this can be achieved with the
present membership, they will be most reluctant to run the risks
that expansion would surely entail.

APROCICO and the Wider Society

Turning now from a concern with power and control within
APROCICO, I find it reasonable to ask how many large farmers in
Quevedo belong to the association and what leverage it has on the
greater society, especially on the government. As one member
told me, APROCICO did not come to be nationally known and
recognized until 1984 or 1985; it was nothing before that time.

Members vs. Non-Members: Relative Numbers and Share of Production

My talks with members suggested that a significant
population of area farmers like them with regard to farm size and
productivity were not included in the association membership.
But how many?

I obtained from the MAG office in Quevedo lists of soybean
producers for the summer season of 1986 in the APROCICO area of
incidence.6 The MAG survey included 220 soybean production
units(t use "production units" rather than "farmers" since a few
farmers have more than one farm included in the survey), having a
total of 15,566 hectares in soybeans. Forty-nine(-49/220, or 22%
of the total number of production units) of the units had 100
hectares or more in soybeans, representing 10,128 hectares, or
65% of the total area in soybeans. Of the forty-nine,
twenty-nine(6,708 has) of them belonged to APROCICO members.
These twenty-nine units, therefore, represent 59%(-29/49) of the

units in the 100-hectare-or-greater size class, and 13%(-29/220)
of the total number of production units. But the twenty-nine
APROCICO units represent 66%(=6,708/10,128) of the area in
soybeans for the size class and 43%(-6,708/15,566) of the total
area planted to soybeans.

Let us now perform the same calculations, but considering
all production units with sixty hectares or more in
soybeans(according to one APROCICO member, it is not economic to
produce anything on less than fifty hectares). There were
eighty-two(-82/220, or 37% of the total number) such units,
representing 12,556 hectares, or 81% of the total area planted to
soybeans. Of the eighty-two, thirty-seven(-7,262 hectares) of
them belonged to APROCICO members. These thirty-seven units
represent 45%(-37/82) of the units in the sixty-hectare-or-
greater size class and 17% of the total number of production
units. But the thirty-seven APROCICO units represent
58%(-7,262/12,556) of the area in soybeans for the size class and
47%(-7,262/15,566) of the total area planted to soybeans.

One conclusion which I would draw from these statistics is
that the APROCICO membership includes from 45%(using the
sixty-hectare-or-more figure) to 60%(using the
100-hectare-or-more figure) of the "large" farmers in the area.
Another conclusion is that APROCICO farmers produce about half of
all the soybeans produced in Ecuador.7

The production of dent maize by APROCICO members is less
impressive. One large member farmer estimates that about eighty
percent of the dent maize produced in Ecuador-comes from small
farms. Although I have no estimates on national rice production,
I doubt that APROCICO farmers figure prominently in the
production of that crop. ,Anyway, the current market prospects
for both dent maize and rice are not good, they say, and they are
moving away from.both crops. And sorghum they quit producing a
couple of years ago.

Attitudes toward Public-Sector and other Institutions

The attitude toward the public sector of most of the
APROCICO farmers I talked with borders on contempt. Members see
themselves as elites and have a keen sense of self-importance,
attitudes that they extend to the association. The public
sector, through its intervention in the political economy of
agriculture, is a potential when-not an actual threat to their
position. Members often remarked on the always pernicious
effects for agriculture of such intervention and felt that
government should remove itself(except, of course, for keeping
support prices high and foreign imports out) from the
agricultural sphere and leave all to the private sector, which
knows how to get things done.

Several members, especially the faction in power before
the 1986 elections, were highly critical of INIAP, which they
felt had not served them well. They pride themselves on being a
demanding group and feel that INIAP's research agenda has not
responded to their needs. Researchers at INIAP's Pichilingue
station were equally critical of APROCICO, which they described
as a body of wealthy men forever bickering among themselves and
incapable of being satisfied by anybody. APROCICO members do not
appreciate the financial constraints under which INIAP must work
and are ungrateful for the new varieties with which INIAP has
provided them and with which they have grown wealthy. And they
fail utterly to understand the agricultural research process, yet
arrogantly profess to be experts on it.

It is probably the Ministry of Agriculture and
Livestock(MAG) that APROCICO members most equate with the public
sector. MAG is the government. Although generally skeptical of
NAG, members feel about it according as its policies favor or
disfavor them. But the sentiments seem always directed at MAG in
Quito, not at the local MAG office in Quevedo, which is not seen

as an arm of MAG in the same way that the nearby Pichilingue
station is seen as an arm of INIAP. Indeed, the local MAG office
seems not to figure at all in considerations of APROCICO members.
It carries neither positive nor negative affect in their minds.
(One MAG technician and local farmer is a member of APROCICO).
Perhaps this is not surprising, for it is the policy of MAG to
direct its extension efforts, such as they are, to farmers with
less than fifty hectares.

There is a negative affective bias, on the other hand, at
least among the founding leadership of APROCICO, toward the
Centro Agricola in Canton Quevedo. The Centro is seen as
effectively nonfunctional and as having little to offer APROCICO.
Indeed, it was because of this perception that APROCICO was
founded in 1977, so much of the negative bias may derive from
that time, when there was tension between the founders and the
leadership(still in office today) of the Centro.

In the seminar-workshop conducted by INCAE on
institutional development for APROCICO in late July of 1986, the
forty APROCICO participants were divided into seven small working
groups in order to complete exercises. One such exercise
involved the identification of allies, potential allies, and
antagonists(of APROCICO) in several institutional categories such
as government, political parties, communications media, and so
on. Five of the seven groups identified the Ministry of Commerce
and Industry as an antagonist. It was felt by many APROCICO
members that the Febres-Cordero government favored commerce and
industry at the expense of agriculture, especially after the
government's awkward efforts to institute the new commodities
exchange(more on this below) in Guayaquil four months earlier.
Also, it is probably significant that the family of the then
Minister of Commerce and Industry owns a major interest in the
firm alleged to buy half of the soybeans produced in Ecuador.

Three groups cited the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Reforma

Agraria y Colonizacion(IERAC, Ecuadorian Institute of Agrarian
Reform and Colonization) as an antagonist. This is not
surprising, for IERAC is seen by many APROCICO farmers as the
child of leftist politics; and the Institute has in the past
challenged the legality of some of their land-tenure claims as
well as on occasion sanctioned invasions of their lands by small

One group named the local Centro de Mecanizacion
(Mechanization Center) as an antagonist. This speaks to a
general dearth of heavy agricultural machinery(especially
harvesters) in the area, a problem widely recognized by local
farmers. These mechanization centers are maintained by MAG, but
they do not have enough equipment to meet demand and much of what
they have is inoperable when needed.

And one group cited the Ministry of Finance as an
antagonist. When the government was forced to buy much of the
1986 grain harvest at the support price through the commodities
exchange and then did not have the liquidity to pay for it
because of a sudden drop in oil prices, farmers were left holding
paper certificates which could not be redeemed. Some of them
blamed the Ministry of Finance for this predicament.

It may seem odd that the Ministry of Agriculture was not
cited as an antagonist by any of the APROCICO groups(it was so
cited by groups from the June 30 Association of Maize Producers
front El Empalme, who also participated in the workshop), for
there had been a nasty confrontation between the APROCICO
leadership and the minister about four months earlier, and there
was much ill-feeling among members toward the ministry. That MAG
was not cited may be attributable to the close relationship with
it enjoyed by three or four members, one of whom, a close
personal friend of the minister, attended the workshop. To
criticize.the ministry, therefore, would have been to risk
personal reprisals, which some members had already suffered as a

result of the earlier confrontation.

More should be said about this confrontation between
APROCICO and the ministry and about the events leading to it, for
they offer a window on the exercise of power and on the leverage
of APROCICO with the government.

Crisis and Confrontation

In March and April of 1986, in time for the winter grain
harvests on the coast, the government instituted a new marketing
scheme. The scheme was an effort-to rationalize the agricultural
marketing(and indirectly production) system by bringing together
a few broker buyers and sellers on a commodities exchange(the
Bolsa) based in Guayaquil and forcing a large fraction of the
national product to be negotiated by them. The government would
set floor and ceiling prices between which the market-clearing
price would be determined by the forces of supply and demand as
exercised by the brokers. The government also would exercise a
brokerage function on the exchange through the Empresa Nacional
de Almacenamiento y Comercializacion(ENAC, National Storage and
Marketing Company). Through ENAC the government could influence
the clearing price.

Efforts to make the new scheme operational had untoward
consequences which seem to have been unforseen by the government.
First, the large grain buyers boycotted the exchange, thus making
the government-set floor price the clearing price. Local
farmers complained bitterly of this low price(which was still
well above the international market price), noting that it was
the same as that of the previous year, whereas inflation and
currency devaluation had in the meantime driven production costs
upward. APROCICO members were angrily muttering that the
government favored the industrial sector at the expense of the

agricultural, or that the government's real concern was to keep
food prices down in the cities.

Second, when the government was forced to buy the grains
from a bumper harvest, it had nowhere to put them, for the new
scheme involved the closing down of the ENAC granaries(some of
which still contained grains from the previous harvest anyway).
So producers were left holding their grains and forced to accept
long and costly waits at the few available storage facilities.
Smaller farmers were dealt a severe blow, for they were unable to
hold their grains and were forced to sell them at low prices to
middlemen, who profited handsomely. Ironically, the new scheme
was favoring middlemen, the very group it was to eliminate, as
never before. Before the middle of May, farmers in the coastal
area, including members of APROCICO and small farmers in Balzar
and El Empalme, where there is some effective organization, were
seething with anger. A general strike threatened.

The resulting crisis led to a confrontation between
APROCICO, which now represented all farmers in the area, and the
Ministry of Agriculture--a confrontation that degenerated into a
personal battle between the president of the association and the
Minister. The confrontation was nasty, with alleged name-calling
and unavailing attempts to bribe followed by threats of physical
violence. APROCICO members acidly maligned the Ministry and the
Minister for weeks afterward.

Subsequent efforts by the government to end the
crisis(parliamentary and municipal elections were nearing) were
only partially effective. The ENAC granaries were opened and
several private facilities were contracted to function within the
ENAC network. APROCICO was made an agent of the exchange, with
authority to distribute storage coupons directing farmers to
deliver their grains to a specified storage center on a given
day, and authority to redeem certificates of grain deposit issued
to farmers by the centers. APROCICO thus .spared farmers,

non-members as well as members, bureaucratic hassles and costly
delays. But the arrangement was soon flawed by a government
liquidity crisis caused by a suden drop in oil prices. APROCICO
received from the government money to redeem only a fraction of
the certificates for which it had distributed coupons, thus
leaving many farmers unpaid for their grains and unable in some
cases to plant next season's crops. And again, small farmers in
the area were especially affected.

The confrontation between APROCICO and MAG did set in
motion a series of negotiations(and here I follow the April 8-
June 16 report of Jose Oromi) between the two institutions.
Representing APROCICO were its then president, its current
one(then a board member), and several members. Representing MAG
were three officials of the commodities exchange, one of them
president of its board of directors and another a personal friend
of the minister.9 But, typically enough, all three are also
members of APROCICO, one of them a former president. Members of
the association, therefore, represented both it and the
government in an adversarial-encounter. (Thus do the private and
public sectors now merge in Ecuador.) This arrangement is just
one more indication of the divisive strains existing within the
association--and, of course, it also speaks to the small world of
power and politics in Ecuador.

Out of these negotiations emerged the partial solution to
the crisis already described. Although the low support price was
among the points on the negotiating agenda, it is not clear
whether its elevation was part of the solution. One would infer
from Oromi's reports that it was, but there is no direct
statement to that effect. APROCICO was thus able to exercise
some leverage on the government; to be sure, its momentary
alliance with farmers in El Empalme and Balzar, who recognized
APROCICO's leadership in the struggle, and the imminent threat of
a general strike(not to mention the impending parliamentary and
municipal elections) helped.10

Local Prominence

On the local scene, APROCICO commands considerable
attention; even its name has the ring of prestige to officials
and merchants in Quevedo. Its perceived wealth is clearly one
reason. The association has perhaps the finest building in
town. There are three floors, with a gathering lounge, colored
television, and offices fitted with fine teak furniture on the
first floor; an entomology laboratory, auditorium, and more
offices on the second floor; and a large recreation hall with
pool table and bar on the third floor. There is a small
agrochemical warehouse behind the building.

In 1985, the association presented the local unit of the
national transit police with a new four-wheel-drive Trooper. And
I counted over $1,000 U.S. in. scotch whiskey as it was carted
into the building in preparation for a festivity to celebrate the
completion of the two upper floors and the installation of new
officers for the 1986-1987 administrative year. The festivity
included a dance followed by a lavishly catered dinner.

But as the case with individual members, it is most
difficult to square this conspicuous consumption with reports
that the association is heavily indebted and will be in trouble
if it does not generate greater income soon. Jose Oromi dwells
much on this impending crisis in his final report, where he
suggests several possible solutions. These include the increased
sale of agrochemicals, involving perhaps the acquisition of the
MAG agrochemical warehouse in Quevedo; the importation and sale
of agricultural machinery and parts; and an expanded brokerage
role on the new commodities change, where money could be made
from brokerage fees.

Relations with Small Farmers

What is the attitude of APROCICO and its members toward
small farmers? APROCICO makes much of the service it rendered
small farmers, especially those-of El Empalme and Balzar, during
the recent marketing crisis, when the association purported to
act on behalf of all farmers in a confrontation with the
government. When APROCICO was made an agent of the commodities
exchange, with authority to issue grain storage coupons and
redeem storage certificates, several small farmers as well as
large ones did avail themselves of those services. And the
APROCICO leadership has discussed joining with maize farmers in
El Empalme(through the association there) to collectively
purchase agrochemicals. I was told that.APROCICO had already
sold agrochemicals from its storeroom in Quevedo to small
farmers(certainly to non-members) in the area, at prices above
those paid by members but still less than those charged by local
merchants(I unsuccessfully sought information from APROCICO
management on the volume of sales of these products to members
and non-members).

Allying with small farmers in El Empalme and Balzar in
times of crisis, of course, should not be taken to mean that
APROCICO is willing to provide broad-spectrum services to them on
a routine or sustained basis. At the moment of the marketing
crisis, the alliance gave the leadership of APROCICO leverage in
its battle with the Ministry. And even that momentary alliance
was criticized by several members, who complained that the
association'should not be providing benefits(in the way of
issuing storage coupons and redeeming storage certificates for
the commodities exchange) to non-members--despite the fact that
such assistance kept grains out of the hands of middlemen, thus
ultimately securing the market for APROCICO farmers as well.

As for the sale of agrochemicals to small farmers, those I

talked with in Quevedo did not purchase chemicals from APROCICO;
indeed, one of them told me he had heard that the association
sold agrochemicals, but only to members. The others knew even
less. I would thus conclude that significant numbers of small
farmers in Canton Quevedo--or elsewhere--have not purchased
chemicals from APROCICO. More on this in the chapter on small
farmers in Quevedo.

To the extent that APROCICO has worked with small farmers
at all, it has done so through the June 30 Association of Maize
Producers in El Empalme; there has been little communication
between APROCICO and the Centro Agricola in Balzar, around which
small farmers there seem to coalesce. And the issue of farm size
in El Empalme aside(a key leader of the maize association has a
160-hectare farm and a ranch), APROCICO has done little of
substance for farmers there beyond redeeming a few grain storage
certificates during the recent marketing crisis. I deal with
this topic in greater detail in the chapter on El Empalme I

There is even less to point to as regards collaboration
between APROCICO and small farmers in Canton Quevedo, where the
two classes of farmers live side by side. The small farmer that
the APROCICO member knows best is his neighbor, whom he does not
always hold in high regard.. One influential member described
small farmers in the area as illiterate and irrational, and
offered to introduce me to his neighbor to make the point. He
said that he could not understand their Spanish and was sure that
I could not. And in response to my reminder that the project was
established to work through APROCICO with those farmers as well,
he stated categorically that APROCICO resources should not be
used to work with such people, that he had no time to play
extension agent to them, and that it was the government's job to
work with small farmers. And the government might begin by
teaching them to read and write, he added. The president of
APROCICO at the time(June, 1986), who bitterly challenged my

visits to small farms in Quevedo, said that the project would not
work with farmers "that had only a few coffee and cacao trees."
He was referring precisely to the kind of farmer found everywhere
in the canton, scattered among the large farms. He holds the
idea that those individuals are not "true" farmers.

Interaction between APROCICO farmers and their small-
farmer neighbors assumes several forms. Small farmers
occasionally provide casual labor to the haciendas, and a few
large farmers rent machinery to small farmers nearby, or sell
them seeds. At least one APROCICO member says he helps a
small-farmer neighbor obtain agrochemicals through APROCICO at
reduced prices. And several APROCICO members say they give
advice to their small-farmer neighbors--on the use of
insecticides, for example. Those neighbors, they say, copy their
agricultural practices.

The belief that small farmers copy the practices of
neighboring large ones led several APROCICO members to tell me
that the way to work with small farmers is to invite them to
APROCICO farms to see new technologies, which they will then
adopt. There was no need, that is, for me to visit small farms
and talk with small farmers(thereby using time and resources that
APROCICO farmers felt belonged to APROCICO, the "owner" of the
project). The project should first address the needs of APROCICO
members, from whom technology would then flow outward to small
farms. The project should therefore make haste to serve APROCICO

To say that small farmers copy large ones, at least for
some things, is to state the obvious; but to use that trivial
observation as the basis for a technology design and transfer
effort is ludicrous. My suggestions that the project needed to
know about small-farmer conditions in order to tailor technology
to them were neither understood nor well received by APROCICO.

The small farmers I talked with in Quevedo saw APROCICO as
an instrument of large, wealthy farmers and thus something very
distant from them. The occasional mention of a favor from a
large-farmer neighbor notwithstanding, small farmers generally
see large ones as land-hungry and indifferent to their welfare.
I was frequently told that nobody had an interest in small
farmers--an indictment of both large farmers and the government.

r would argue that an uneasy truce characterizes relations
between small and large farmers in Quevedo. This seems to have
historical origins. Many small farmers invaded the lands they
work, in some cases lands that once belonged to hacendados now
their neighbors. The hacendados have not forgotten this, and
some fear further invasions, especially if Ecuadorian politics
continue their leftward drift. A few APROCICO members cited this
drift as reason to accommodate small-farmer needs now in an
effort to foreclose future conflict.

Whereas in Quevedo small farmers sounded the themes of
both neglect and tension between them and large farmers, in El
Empalme, where a marked farm-size contrast as found in Quevedo is
absent, farmers sounded only the theme of neglect. My colleagues
and I visited one farmer in El Empalme who told us that nobody
was interested in small farmers and that ours was the first such
visit he had ever received. He then invited us to a sumptuous
meal. Another farmer invited us to dinner preceded by
aperitifs-champagne made in Guayaquil.

I spent much less time in Balzar, but farmers there would
seem to be much like those in El Empalme with regard to
circumstance and attitude.

APROCICO Members: A Profile

Political Orientation

The members of APROCICO, not surprisingly, are politically
conservative. As one member told me, ninety percent of them are
of the extreme right. They strongly endorsed the present
government of Febres-Cordero in the 1984 presidential elections,
for example. And when that government instituted the new
marketing scheme without consulting them, a scheme that clearly
conflicted with their interests, they felt betrayed. The
leadership of APROCICO snubbed Febres-Cordero when he visited
Quevedo in.May, in the middle of the marketing crisis and on the
eve of the June parliamentary and municipal elections.

Members were further stunned by those election results,
which signalled a marked shift to the left. About seventy
percent of the voters casting valid votes rejected the
government's plebiscite, which would have enabled political
candidates to run for office independent of political parties.
This was clearly a vote of no confidence in the government. And
the political opposition, composed of a coalition of parties from
the left and center left, won forty-four(62%) of the seventy-one
contested deputy seats.11 APROCICO farmers saw the election
results as a portent of things to come, especially of the
presidential election in 1988, which could return a leftist
government to power. And this could mean the end of a period of
relative peace and prosperity for them, and even a return to the

turbulent times of land reform and land invasions. An informal
conversation among members one evening in the lounge of the
association's headquarters revealed their concerns. Their talk
turned to what actions they might take now to prepare for darker
days, and the actions they discussed were bounded by two
extremes. On the one hand, they could begin soon to arm and
organize themselves to defend their lands against invasions; on
the other, they could sell their properties before the bleak
reality materialized.

Economic Position

APROCICO farmers are clearly among the economic elite of
the region and the association's local influence is considerable.
Reliable measures of individual-member wealth are hard to come
by. In the association's membership register, the hectarage that
each member reports as planted to annual crops is recorded. The
ninety-nine members report a total of 13,510 hectares. These
figures range from 10 hectares to 1,080 hectares, with an average
of 136 hectares. Sixty-five members fall below the average,
while five members, reporting a total of 3,330 hectares, account
for twenty-five percent of the total area reported. But these
figures alone are not reliable indicators of wealth.

First, they represent only land reported to be in annual
crops and not total land held, or even in agricultural
production.12 And the area can vary from one season to the next,
depending on market conditions. Second, some farmers report the
figure low in order to reduce the annual fees paid to APROCICO,
which are based on area planted to annual crops. And third,
several members have off-farm income. One has a noodle factory
in Guayaquil, another a salt plant there; and one member is a
money lender, while another is planning to enter shrimp farming
on the coast, an activity that requires a substantial capital


Indications are that the production of annual crops has
been quite lucrative for some of the members, though again I have
little firm data to make the case. One member said that he had
been clearing(i.e., net income) $50,000 U.S. per year on 150
hectares planting rice and soybeans(about half of the area to
each crop in the winter rainy season, the entire area to soybeans
in the summer). And another member, visually surveying fellow
members seated in the recreation hall of the APROCICO building
for a workshop, oddly remarked that they were all millionaires.

But this seeming prosperity belies reports that several of
the members are heavily indebted and in serious financial
trouble. They fear that the new economic measures may cause them
to loose their farms, I was told. Again, reliable information is
hard to come by, but one often hears this glum vein /of talk among
members today.

L would speculate that the membership of APROCICO is
rather heterogeneous with regard to personal wealth. And this
heterogeneity is the source of much tension within the
association in a setting where everything turns on wealth.


Whereas former chapters deal with the institution of
APROCICO and its members, this one is concerned with production
-patterns and trends on APROCICO farms.

Location and Structure

All but, say, five of the ninety-nine APROCICO farms are
located in Canton Quevedo. They fall within an imaginary
quadrilateral with vertices at Patricia Pilar in the north,
Mocache in the south, El Empalme in the west, and a point on the
Quevedo-Cotopaxi. frontier east-northeast of El Empalme. The
quadrilateral bounds an estimated area of between 800 and 1,000
square kilometers.

The APROCICO farm owner, or hacendado, rarely resides on
his farm, or hacienda(I know of only two cases), but lives
instead in Quevedo, or perhaps in Guayaquil, and may maintain a
residence in both. The hacienda is run by a salaried
administrator. In at least two cases, the administrator is an
ingeniero agronomo, meaning that he has a university degree in
agriculture. According to one large farmer, a hacienda regularly
producing annual crops on 100 hectares typically has an
administrator and his assistant, a couple or three equipment
operators(for tractors and harvesters), six or so permanent

laborers, and casual laborers as demanded by the particular
crops. A hacienda of 300 hectares often has a mechanic shop.

Production Patterns and Trends: Nine Illustrative Cases

Perhaps the best way to illustrate production trends in
these changing times is to look at the actual resource-
allocation decisions of several APROCICO farmers. I have
therefore selected from my field notes nine cases that I judge to
best represent those decisions as well as issues and problems
that APROCICO farmers face. I asked these nine farmers to talk
about the crops they planted in the winter season of 1986, then
about those planted in the summer of that year; and I asked them
to tell me about their production plans for the winter of 1987,
then for the summer of that year. This temporal sequencing of
activities and decisions served as a scaffolding to which issues
and problems could be appended as they emerged in the interviews.
I will now present each case with comments appropriate to it.

Case Number One

The first farmer plants annual crops on 400 hectares. He
planted 300 hectares in rice, INIAP variety 415, over the period
December of 1985 to mid-February of 1986. The planting was
staggered to avoid the risks of a narrow harvesting window. At
the end of February, he planted 100 hectares of soybeans, INIAP
variety 302. The soybeans were not sown earlier in the rainy
season because of the risk that they would mature before the
rains ceased and thus rot. He then sowed the entire 400 hectares
to soybeans, INIAP variety 302, over the period May, June, and
July. He would have sown INIAP's new 303 variety, just released,
but seeds were not available in sufficient quantity.

In the winter of 1987, he plans to sow only 100 hectares
of rice--200 hectares less than he sowed the year before. The
market price for rice fell with the 1986 harvest, so like other
farmers he will sow less of it. In addition to rice, he plans to
sow 300 hectares of soybeansINIAP 303) toward the end of
February--200 hectares more than he sowed in the previous winter
cycle. And he will again plant the entire 400 hectares to
soybeans in the summer of 1987.

This farmer raised cotton commercially several years ago
and recently sowed ten hectares of it as an experiment. He also
has 150 hectares in African oil palm. Until three years ago, he
grew INIAP 526 maize, an open-pollinated variety(which he
describes as "our variety"--an Ecuadorian variety, that is,
rather than an imported hybrid), but it became increasingly
vulnerable to pests and thus costly to produce. The market price
no longer compensated the production risks.

Soybeans are today the only annual crop that pays, he
says, and he fears that a glut in the market will soon drive
their price down and leave farmers with no annual-crop

Case Number Two

Farmer Number Two planted eighty hectares in rice, INIAP
variety 415, in early January of 1986. In early May he planted
four hectares to soybeans, INIAP variety 302; and then fifty
hectares more to soybeans the third week in June--thirty-five of
them to INIAP variety 39, fifteen to INIAP variety 302. In the
winter season of 1987, he plans to sow the same fifty hectares in
soybeans, variety 39. He will not plant rice again, he says; the
transport and storage costs are high and the crop no longer pays.
And he will likely plant soybeans again in the summer of 1987.

This farmer stopped producing maize two years ago, when he
was sowing INIAP variety 504. He cited damaging winds, pests,
and poor market price as reasons. A member of a newly-formed
livestock association in Quevedo, he owns a ranch with 100 head
of cattle in addition to his hacienda and wants to enter the beef
and dairy markets if they can be developed. His goal is to
abandon annual crops altogether and manage a herd of 2,000 head
of cattle, which he feels would be a sounder economic proposition
than annual crops, the future of which he sees as bleak.

Case Number Three

This farmer's hacienda measures 272 hectares, cleared over
the period 1978 to 1982. All was in banana before. In the
winter cycle of 1986, he planted fifty hectares of variety 526
maize in early December(of 1985). At the same time, he planted
170 hectares to INIAP 415 rice and ten hectares to soybeans for
seed, INIAP varieties 302, 303, and 39. But he lost the soybeans
to rot when they matured before the end of the rains. Few
farmers plant soybeans so early for that reason. Also, he vows
never to plant maize again because of the low market price.

He planted soybeans on 220 hectares during late May and
early June, staggering the planting period to lengthen the
harvest interval to one month. Ten hectares were sown in INIAP
variety 302, 210 hectares in variety 39.

He plans to sow only 100 hectares in rice(INIAP 415) in
December of 1986 instead of the 170 hectares of a year earlier
because the market price for rice has dropped and he has no way
to store the grain. He will also plant soybeans on 120 hectares
of high ground--100 hectares in variety 303 and 20 in variety
302. And he plans to sow 220 hectares of soybeans once more in
the summer of 1987, again using varieties 302 and 39. He prefers

variety 303 for the winter rainy season and 302 for the summer
dry season since it is more resistant to draught.

Of experimental bent, this man planted a small area to
vegetables-onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers--in January of
1986 but lost them all to the water. He also planted four low,
sandy hectares to watermelon in early June and was watering them
with a tractor-drawn tank when I was there. They looked good.

Two hundred fruit trees ring his property and he recently
planted the rises(lomas), comprising about forty hectares, to
pachecos, a fast-growing tree that can-be harvested for wood in
about eight years. This farmer also owns a ranch nearby.

Case Number Four

Farmer Number Four planted forty-two hectares of low
ground to variety 415 rice in early January of 1986. At the end
of February, he planted eighty-five hectares to soybeans, variety
302. And over the first three weeks in July he planted soybeans
again, on the 127 hectares where the winter rice and soybeans had
just been grown. He would have preferred to sow the entire area
in variety 39 but could obtain seed for only forty'hectares and
thus had to sow the remaining eighty-seven in variety 302.

He plans to sow rice again in January of 1987 on the
forty-two low hectares. He has little choice if the land is to
be used, for it is fit only for rice at the beginning of the
rainy season. Cases like this are numerous in the Vergel area,
where much rice is produced because of the abundant moisture.
Beyond rice, this farmer's plans for 1987 are uncertain. He may
sow eighty-five hectares to maize in the winter season of 1987,
mainly to kill a weed known locally as cauchillo(or more often
lechosa). The weed is a nuisance, especially in soybeans, and he

maintains that maize eliminates it. He also anticipates a market
for dent maize since many farmers have quit producing it. But he
may plant bananas in the winter of 1987 rather than maize if the
Ecuadorian government approves an agreement pending with a group
of Israelis who will provide capital as well as buy the fruit.
And he will sow from 66 to 127 hectares of soybeans again in the
summer of 1987--how much depending on whether he plants bananas.

Case Number Five

This farmer planted two hectares of a Peruvian rice
variety about December 20, 1985(and four more hectares of it on
another of his haciendas, which I did not visit). At the same
time, he also planted forty-five hectares of hybrid maize,
Pioneer variety X-304C. He has grown maize in both summer and
winter since 1981, but will not grow it again; winds, pests, and
low market price make it a risky crop. If he grows any annual
crop, it will be soybeans. In the third quarter of May, he
planted forty hectares to variety 39 soybeans.

In December or January(1987), depending on the rains, he
plans to sow INIAP's new soybean variety 303 on twenty hectares.
Unlike the 302 variety, which lodges and thus must be harvested
quickly if it matures before the end of the rains, the new
variety is not prone to lodging. He also plans to sow fifteen to
twenty hectares of coffee in the winter of 1987 and was
installing an irrigation system for it when I visited his farm.
An older man, he is tired of tussling with the endless rounds of
harvest followed by planting, and thinks coffee will require less
of his time and attention.

Case Number Six

Farmer Number Six quit growing maize two years ago. In
late December(1985) and early January, he planted ninety hectares
of rice, and in early January seventy hectares of variety 302
soybeans. In early June he planted 160 hectares to variety 302
soybeans again.

Because of market prices, he plans in the future to sow
less rice and more soybeans. He will accordingly plant something
less than ninety hectares of rice in the winter of 1987, and
something more than seventy hectares of soybeans. And he will
sow 160 hectares of soybeans again in the summer of 1987.

Like several others, this farmer wants to plant sixty
hectares of bananas on another hacienda.

Case Number Seven

This farmer has been for several years a maize-seed
multiplier for EmSemilla and has grown only maize, as in the
winter of 1986. He has never grown rice, which he considers
risky because it requires considerable labor, scarce in the area,
and timely access to a mechanized harvester. I visited his
hacienda in the summer of 1986 and saw fifty hectares in INIAP
527 maize(sometimes called "Manabi maize"), an early-maturing
variety for dry areas. He said that this may be the last time he
would plant maize because of the low market price. He had also
planted ten hectares of variety 39 soybeans in June and July as
an experiment; he had never planted soybeans before. If he was
satisfied with the results, he would consider planting soybeans
on a larger scale in the future.

He was uncertain about his crop mix for the forthcoming
winter season(1987), but said he would probably plant forty
percent of his area to maize and sixty percent to soybeans. He
also wants to move into ranching soon and raise 500 head of
cattle, which he would feed from eighteen hectares of forrage
grass. He once raised cattle and would be comfortable with this
line of production, he said.

Case Number Eight

This farmer may be the most disillusioned of the nine here
described with regard to annual crops. He planted seventy
hectares of variety 302 soybeans in March of 1985(not 1986) and
another.seventy of the same variety in June of that year. In the
summer of 1986, he planted only forty hectares of soybeans and
plans to abandon the production of annual crops altogether. His
decision is a firm one, for in January of 1986 he planted 130
hectares to African oil palm,-

Case Number Nine

Farmer Number Nine planted forty-five hectares of INIAP
variety 405 rice with the first rains in mid-December of 1985.
But he lost most of the crop because no machine was available to
him to harvest it. In early July of 1986, he planted thirty-five
hectares to variety 302 soybeans, and in early August ten more
hectares to soybeans, INIAP's new variety 303. August is late to
plant soybeans because of the proximity of the winter rains, but
the 303 variety is early maturing and the risk is reduced, he

In the-winter of 1987, he will again plant forty-five

hectares to rice--the same forty-five hectares in rice the year
before. This is low ground and thus fit only for rice in the
winter rainy season. And he may also plant soybeans in late
winter, and plant them again the following summer.

Discussion and Analysis

It is clear from the cases that the APROCICO farm is a
business par excellence. What APROCICO farmers produce is a
function of market demand and price. They have accordingly moved
with agility into and out of maize, sorghum, rice, and soybeans
over the years. Sorghum production reached its peak about two
years ago; little is produced today. And all but a handful of
farmers have abandoned the production of.dent maize because of
its low market price and the high cost of pest control. This
trend began about three years ago. The cases also suggest the
beginning of a movement away from the production of rice because
of its low market price. The-only annual crop of interest to
APROCICO farmers today is soybeans, and the interest is keen
indeed, leading them to drive their lands hard to take advantage
of demand and good prices.

This dramatic shift to soybeans may have untoward
consequences. Whereas farmers formerly alternated winter rice
and maize with summer maize and soybeans, today they increasingly
alternate soybeans with soybeans on much of their land. And this
failure to rotate crops has consequences for soil management and
pest control.

There is also a trend toward product diversification
among APROCICO farmers. With the exception of one farmer growing
tobacco, and one growing sunflowers and another cotton on a trial
basis, the diversification is toward perennial crops and cattle.
Among the perennials are coffee, cacao, African palm, and

bananas.13 One could thus generalize and say that APROCICO
farmers are moving rapidly toward the production of either
soybeans alone, or soybeans in combination with one or more of
the above alternatives. And while lands in soybean can be
shifted quickly into something else, those in perennial crops
such as banana connot. The decision to shift lands into
perennial crops, therefore, signals a long-term commitment and
can require a substantial initial investment.

A group of APROCICO farmers, thirty-four and growing in
June of 1986, were at the time negotiating with a group of
Israelis, who offered to furnish the investment capital and to
buy the bananas. The final agreement was awaiting approval by
the Ecuadorian government when I left in October.

The nine cases also show the dependence of APROCICO
farmers on INIAP crop varieties. The often acidulous criticism
of INIAP by some APROCICO members is somewhat paradoxical in
light of this dependence. There was much interest among APROCICO
farmers in the new 303 soybean variety released by INIAP during
my presence in Quevedo. Seed supply was insufficient to meet
farmer demand.

Although not reflected in the nine cases above, the matter
of seed quality is an issue among local farmers, both large ones
and small ones. I heard frequent complaints of the poor quality
of certified seed sold by EmSemilla. One farmer experienced only
a sixty percent germination rate of variety 302 soybean seed and
was forced to replant. The frequency of complaints about
certified seed would suggest this to be an issue worthy of
further inquiry.14

The shortage of agricultural machinery is a greater
problem than the above cases suggest. Although almost all
APROCICO farmers seem to have canguros("tractors"), harvesters
are in short supply. MAG operates machinery-rental centers, but

I was told that there were only four functioning MAG harvesters
(with four more inoperable) in all of Canton Quevedo in August of
1986. And one APROCICO member estimated that only thirty-five
percent of APROCICO farmers owned harvesters. Since area
farmers all demand machinery at about the same time, the
shortage is dire indeed. Several APROCICO farmers rent their
equipment out to help it pay during slack periods in their own
production schedules. But others do not because they have no
slack, or do not need the rental income, or else fear the
contamination of equipment by pests. I talked with several
farmers reluctant to produce rice, which must be harvested soon
once mature, because of the risk they would not have timely
access to a mechanical harvester. The labor demands of rice are
heavy for weeding, but harvesting by hand is very labor

Manual labor is not a viable substitute for machinery
because it too is scarce. The rural population is also engaged
in agriculture and must meet its own production schedules, which
usually leave it little time to work for others. Also, the
demand for labor on the large estates is seasonal(in part because
at least some machinery is available), so the labor slack in the
area-the unemployed and underemployed in the town of Quevedo,
for example--is insufficient to meet demand during peak periods.
And migrant labor, once abundant in the area, is scarce today.

But it is equally true that agricultural wages are low,
despite the frequent complaints by APROCICO farmers of the high
cost(and recalcitrance) of labor. The daily wage during my stay
in Quevedo was 400 sucres per day(-$2.50 U.S.), and the working
hours(which workers tenaciously adhere to, complained hacendados)
were from 7:00 to 11:00 in the morning, then from noon to 3:00 in
the afternoon. Several APROCICO farmers I talked with said they
hired only the minimum number of permanent workers and relied
instead on casual labor(which, again, they can do because they
have machinery). They cited the labor laws, which entail greater

employer financial outlays for permanent workers, as one reason
for this and said that such laws actually work to the detriment
of the desposeidos("dispossessed").

I inquired of several farmers about labor requirements.
On one APROCICO hacienda of 120 hectares which I visited in July
of 1986, the hacendado had grown mostly maize for years but had
only about fifty hectares in it at the time--perhaps the last
maize he would ever sow, he said. He had nine men working on the
property year round. For 100 hectares of maize, he said, you
need at least fifteen men working full time for the first
forty-five days, but only about six men thereafter. This man had
no harvester and would harvest the fifty hectares I saw by hand,
using fifteen men. He said he would never produce rice because
he had no harvester and would not run the risk of trying to
substitute labor.

Another APROCICO farmer, after commenting on the scarcity
of labor in the area, noted that annual-crop production needs
casual rather than permanent labor. Labor needed for other than
harvesting can be supplied by small-farmer neighbors living
nearby, he said. But this is not sufficient, he continues, to
harvest soybeans, so labor must be brought in. Although machines
play the major part in harvesting soybeans as well, the harvest
as properly done is supplemented by hand labor. The plants are
first pulled up by hand and placed in piles, which are then,
hand-loaded into mobile threshers. If the thresher has a
"pick-up" feature, hand-loading is unnecessary. And it is
possible to harvest the plants directly by machine without
pulling them up, but about twenty percent of the crop is lost
this way and direct harvesting is not practiced except in
emergencies-when the grains mature before the rains cease, for
example, and must be harvested quickly. (Maize and rice, by
contrast, are harvested directly by machine.) According to one
farmer, about thirty persons are needed to pull up ten hectares
of soybeans in three days. Labor needs are reduced somewhat by


the practice of stagger planting--indeed, the labor bottleneck is
one reason for the practice.

Pests and their Management on APROCICO Farms

The information that I gathered on this topic is uneven
and incomplete. The chief reason is that I had to conduct the
inquiries alone, or sometimes with my student assistants, but
always in the absence of an entomologist or other pest-control
expert. In interviewing farmers, for example, I often did not
have enough technical knowledge to know in what direction to
steer the interview, or when to pursue some revealed detail to
greater depth. And I was unable to even tentatively identify
pests based on farmer descriptions, and therefore to gather
subsequent information that would confirm or deny that
identification-and if confirm it, to then gather information in
an evermore directed fashion. In a word, I did not know many of
the critical variables in pest control, and could thus not always
put the right questions.

I had planned to remedy this deficiency somewhat by
collaborating with the project entomologist, Dr. Philip Stansly,
once he arrived in Quevedo. I already had much information that
would be usful to him, and together we would close the gaps. But
we were together no more than a month before I had to leave the
country. And having just arrived in Ecuador, Stansly was much
occupied during this time with the mundane business of getting
settled for a two-year assignment in Quevedo.

I necessarily use the folk terms of APROCICO farmers in
referring to many of the pests. Although I collected some
information on the chemicals used to combat them, I do not feel

that I can make it convey anything useful and thus elect to omit
most of it from the presentation.

Twelve Illustrative Cases

I will present my information, such as it is, in a series
of twelve cases, each based on an interview with an APROCICO
farmer. My concern in the cases is to present the farmer's
point of view and to capture something of the way he reasons
about pest control. A case may include not only the farmer's own
pest-control practices, but any general comments he made about
pest control as well as comments on the practices of other
farmers. I approach the topic of pest control broadly and
include such as land-preparation practices where I have the
information. And pests include weeds as well as insects,
funguses(hongos), and viruses. I follow the case presentations
with a section of discussion and analysis and I conclude with a
separate section on biological control and APROCICO farmers'
experiences with it.

Case Number One

Farmer Number One comments generally on the heavy use
of agrochemicals in the area; for this reason, he says, there are
fewer snakes now than there were when forests and large
plantations of banana, coffee, and cacao blanketed the zone.
Larger farmers still resort to aerial spraying for insect pests,
but they are now using tractors more since the costs of aerial
spraying are increasing.

He says that Gramoxone(a paraquat), a powerful defoliant
used widely in the area as a pre-emergence and post-emergence

herbicide, is also applied by at least fifty percent of APROCICO
farmers, himself among them, to soybeans in the early stages of
maturation in order to hasten the process and ready the crop for
harvest sooner.

He fumigates fifty hectares of soybeans by air but again
observes that the use of an airplane is costly. (According to
another farmer, aerial spraying is not economic on lands of less
than 100 hectares.) Since the perimeter of his hacienda is
ringed by a narrow band of forest, he insists that aerial
spraying poses no health hazard to the small farmers residing
around him. A tractor can be used to fumigate without wheel
damage to the plants when they are small and the leaves have not
formed a continuous canopy over the field. But when a canopy has
formed, aerial spraying. is preferable. He notes, however, that
there are tractors with narrow wheels that can enter a field at
the canopy.stage with minimal wheel damage to the plants.

After about ninety days, when the leaves begin to dry and
the beans begin to mature, there is no need to fumigate since
pests can no longer damage the plant--and are even desirable
since they thin out the leaves and thus facilitate the harvest.

Only a few APROCICO farmers use biological control, he
says, since it is very expensive. Perhaps it would be more
economical if more farmers used it. He uses it,.but in
combination with chemical pesticides. He had used Trichogramma,
a tiny wasp produced by BIOESA, a private firm and the only
purveyor of biological controls in the area, in the fifty
hectares of soybeans nearing harvest that I visited in early July
of 1986. He had released Trichogramma three times and sprayed
twice. You have to use both, he emphasized. He was satisfied
with the results and planned to use biological control again in
the next season's soybeans. He thinks it would be cheaper,
however, if APROCICO had its own laboratory to produce the wasps.
Of the soybean pests, he says that Trichogramma controls both the

sanduchero and the langosta, but not the mariquita.18

This farmer conducts periodic evaluations of his crops
using a technician(perito) who spent three months training with
BIOESA. The technician samples small areas of the plantation
counting bugs and infected plants. The results of the sampling
are then used to decide what course of action to take. If only a
small area of the plantation is infested, then only that area is
treated so the infestation will not spread. But most APROCICO
farmers, he says, panic and spray the entire plantation when they
observe an infestation in a small area.

Case Number Two

This farmer sends soil samples every year to INIAP for
analysis and applies fertilizers accordingly. He uses a
pre-emergence herbicide on soybeans in both summer and winter.
There is no major subsequent weed problem in summer soybeans; the
few weeds there are can be extracted by hand. The winter soybean
crop usually requires only a single weeding, for after thirty
days or so the plant foliage forms a canopy that covers the
ground and shades out any weeds. There are few post-emergence
herbicides for soybeans, he says; most of them destroy the
soybean leaves as well. So you have to direct the chemicals
carefully at the weed. Blazer is one herbicide specific to
soybeans, but it is very expensive.

He uses a pre-emergence herbicide also on rice, and then
perhaps another herbicide application letter in the growing
season. But sometimes he controls the weeds by machete'instead.

Insect pests are worse in the winter than in the
summer-and winds and weeds as well. February and March are
especially bad months. He did not sow maize last year(1985)

because of Diatraea(sometimes called barrendador); insecticides
do not control Diatraea, even if you apply them constantly. The
last time he planted maize he used Trichogramma, which probably
checked his losses from Diatraea, but a leaf disease unknown in
the area attacked the crop and caused him heavy losses.

Both Diatraea and the gusano ejercito("army wotm") are
serious insect pests in rice, he says, but he has had few
problems with either since he began using Trichogramma on a
regular basis a year and a half ago. Trichogramma controls both
of these insects. Indeed, he has not used any insecticides on
either rice or soybeans for a year and a half.

The mariquita, on which Trichogramma has no effect, is the
most difficult pest to control in soybeans, he says.
Insecticides must be used to control the mariquita. But
Trichogramma does control the sanduchero, another soybean pest,
as well as a green worm(he does not know the name) which attacks
the plant.

This farmer is a believer in biological control and has
been a satisfied client of BIOESA for a year and a half. He did
seven releases of Trichogramma in his 1986 winter rice crop.
Technicians from BIOESA periodically inspected the plantation
carefully, and he did so as well, using a magnifying glass and
alerting them to threatening situations. He used Trichogramma in
winter soybeans last year(1985) but did not have to use it in the
following summer crop since there were no insect infestations.
He speculates that the Trichogramma population is building on his
property, or perhaps the absence of pest problems last summer was
due to cooler temperatures.

He was using Trichogramma in summer soybeans when I
visited his hacienda in July of 1986. He says that two men can
release the insects on twenty hectares in about two hours. The
wasps cost thirty-five sucres the square inch. He used them on

eighty hectares of rice in the winter of 1985 at a total cost of
430,000 sucres(roughly $3,000 U.S. at the time). He considers
biological control to be easily managed and ultimately cheaper
than the exclusive dependence on chemical pesticides.

BIOESA is new in the area, he observes. Many farmers do
not use the wasp because they do not understand how it works.
They expect it to attack the insect larva, which they can see,
rather than parasitize the egg, which they cannot see. And they
do not realize that they must monitor their plantations carefully
and thus release the wasp at a time when it can parasitize the
eggs. Instead, they release it when they want, it is not
effective, and they become disillusioned. Most farmers in the
area do not live near their haciendas and thus do not monitor
their plantings carefully. The key to effective use of
biological control is careful monitoring, he says, for pests can
descend on a crop literally overnight.

Case Number Three

This farmer makes few comments about weeds, only that they
are more of a problem in rice than in other crops and that
lechosa (sometimes called cauchillo) is a problem in the area,
especially in soybeans.

The crop most subject to pest infestations, he says, is
maize. And the most troublesome maize pest is the cogollero,
although mancha de asfalto is also a serious problem.

Rice pests include crickets, the gusano alambre, the
terrero, and the falso medidor; and there is a serious rice
disease called Piricularia. Crickets have given him the most
problems in rice, he says. He controls crickets, the gusano
alambre, and the terrero by chemically disinfecting the soil; and

the also medidor by the spray application of chemicals, often
mixed with foliar fertilizers.

Of soybean pests, Eliotis has been the most troublesome
for him and the most difficult to control. And the sanduchero
has also been a problem as well as the mariquita and the minador
de la hoja.

I asked this farmer, who has never done a careful economic
comparison of the means of pesticide application, to reason
through for me the advantages and disadvantages of spray
application by tractor versus that by airplane. If rice is still
short, he said, a tractor can be used, but when it is tall an
airplane is necessary. And so it is with soybeans, where tractor
wheels damage the plants once their leaves tiller out to form a
continuous canopy over the field. Also, fumigation by tractor
involves the risk of intoxicating the operators--both the driver
and the operator of the spray rig. This risk increases with the
area to be sprayed. (He does not mention the hazards of aerial
spraying for small farmers on the periphery of a hacienda.) But
aerial spraying is more costly than tractor spraying, he says;
the chemically active ingredient must be more concentrated in
aerial spraying, for example, because it volatilizes in the fall.
(Flying close to the ground reduces this problem, of course, but
poses risks unacceptable to some pilots.)

A critical issue is whether lower costs from using a
tractor as opposed to a plane are more than offset by the losses
in revenue from destroyed plants. If they are, then aerial
spraying would be the most economical.

This farmer does not have much confidence in biological
control, which he has used in soybeans with only modest results.
Trichogramma controls neither Eliotis nor the sanduchero, he
says, but does control somewhat the falso medidor and the
mariquita. The costs of biological control are high; you have to

employ a lot of people to release Trichogramma over a large area.
Further, the releases must be precisely timed. And if your
neighbor does not use the wasps but relies entirely on chemicals
instead, then your wasps may be killed by his chemicals and your
efforts are in vain.

Farmer Number Three approaches pest control in a highly
systematic fashion. He sets aside Tuesdays and Thursdays every
week for crop evaluation, which is performed by a technician who
comes from Guayaquil. The technician samples a two-meter-square
area from different parts of the plantation. If the percentages
of damaged plants(in the case of soybeans) is greater than
thirty, or perhaps forty, then a decision to fumigate is taken.
Other APROCICO farmers, he says, do not monitor their plantations
systematically, but rather take action whenever their
administrators say it is called for.

Case Number Four

This farmer says that the soil should first be treated for
insect pests regardless of the crop. This can be done before
sowing or at the time of sowing, though the latter is preferable
since it reduces costs.

Lechosa is a troublesome weed in the area, especially in
soybeans, but it can be eliminated by planting maize, which he
will do in the winter of 1987. This farmer also comments on the
widespread use of the defoliant Gramoxone to hasten the
maturation of soybeans. The cycle can be shortened by about
twenty days, he says, and ninety percent of APROCICO farmers use
Gramoxone for that purpose. He says that the chemical is toxic
and poses a health hazard for human consumption, and he laments a
lack of control on its use by the State. And like other farmers,
he is reluctant to rent his machinery out because of the risks it

will be returned to him contaminated with weed and other pests.

Pests are a greater problem in winter than in summer
because of the humidity, he says, and maize is the crop most
vulnerable to pests. But he does not see Diatraea as the major
problem, but rather mancha de asfalto-which, he says, was not a
problem in the area until the introduction of Pioneer hybrid
maize. Local varieties are more resistant. The gusano ejercito
is also a problem in maize, and to some extent in soybeans, but
less so in rice. The problem is greater when the land is poorly

This farmer sees no major pest problem in soybeans. He
uses few chemical pest controls on this crop and cannot
understand why other APROCICO farmers use so many insecticides
and in such quantities. "You can kill soybean pests with
Coca-Cola," he says humorously. He does not resort to
insecticides until he observes some substantial crop damage, he

Rice pests include Piricularia and the chupador, but he
sees no major pest problems with rice.

As for small farms and their pest problems, he says that
they have none; pest problems are encountered only on the
extensive planted areas of large farms.

Farmer Number Four used biological control on maize two
years ago, and with good results. But he quit using it after an
altercation with BIOESA. He had a contract with the firm for
five releases of the wasp, but when he observed that there were
no pest problems(i.e., no Diatraea) after three, he wanted to
alter the contract and dispense with the remaining two. The firm
eventually let him, but only after a row. He has not used
biological control since.

Case Number Five

The real pest problem lies with maize, says Farmer Number
Five, and Diatraea is the most serious maize pest. Mancha de
asfalto, a fungus that attacks yellow maize, is also a serious
problem, but less so in the dryer areas to the west of Quevedo.
Mancha de asfalto is a new maize disease in Ecuador, he says.

Of soybean pests, he considers the most troublesome to be
the mariquita and the sanduchero. He comments on rice only to
say that Diatraea attacks it as well as maize.

If this farmer were mounting a pest-control program in the
area, he says he would be most concerned with Diatraea--on large
and small farms. Other pests, in the order in which he thinks
they merit corrective attention, are the cogollero and the gusano
ejercito. And of the fungal diseases, he would begin with mancha
de asfalto.

January and February are the months when pests are the
worst, he says; they are less of a problem in the summer dry
season. And he notes that there are haciendas that use few
chemical insecticides.

This farmer used Trichogramma on winter maize more than
two years ago, but it gave him poor results--probably because it
was not used correctly, he surmises. He observes that the wasps
must be released in a timely manner so they can attack the eggs
when they are fresh--and the wasps attack the eggs, not the
larvae, he emphasizes. He thinks the wasps were not effective on
his hacienda because the pest was already in the larval stage
when they were released. But he is positive about biological
control and says that he would use it today against Diatraea if
he were growing maize, and probably against pests in other crops
as well.

Case Number Six

This farmer also comments on the numerous pests that
attack maize-the most pest-prone of the annual crops, he says.
The most serious pest is Diatraea, which cannot be controlled by
chemicals. The cogollero is also serious, but it can be
chemically controlled, as can be also the gusano ejercito.

The most damaging soybean pest is the mariquita, which
attacks the plant early in the cropping cycle. And next is the
sanduchero. The falso medidor and the gusano ejercito also
attack soybeans.

Farmer Number Six reasoned through the advantages and
disadvantages of applying chemicals versus using biological
control. Aerial fumigation is desirable to control the
cogollero(in maize) when the plants are high because a worker
must hold the nozzle above his head to spray and thus risk
intoxication. But this is also an argument for using
Trichogramma. Farmers with areas too small for aerial spraying
could especially benefit from biological control, he thinks.
Also, airplanes are now scarce and not always available when
needed. Trichogramma, by contrast, can be used at any time.

Trichogramma does not control the gusano ejercito, but
does control Diatraea, the cogollero, the sanduchero, and the
also medidor. The wasp is more effective on soybeans than on
maize-at least fewer releases are required, he says. Maize has
so many pests, and you always have to supplement the wasp with
chemical insecticides.

He began using Trichogramma in 1983, first on soybeans and
then on maize, but has used it only sporadically since. APROCICO
farmers knew nothing about biological control in 1983. He
anticipated having to do six releases in his 1986 summer

soybeans. In some years, however, he has released the wasps only
three times. The number of releases required depends on pest
incidence, which varies from one year to the next.

You must monitor your crops closely at all times to use
biological control effectively, he says, and many farmers in the
area are still skeptical of it. Frequent complaints
notwithstanding, biological control is probably no more expensive
than aerial spraying, he concludes.

Case Number Seven

Farmer Number Seven, who was sowing ten hectares of
soybeans when I visited his hacienda, spoke of his land-
preparation practices. He first pulls a clod-breaker (romplot)
across the field with a tractor to stir the soil, to break the
clods, and to incorporate the vegetative remains from the last
harvest. (Several farmers burn the rice stubble before preparing
the field for the next cycle.) Then he draws a rake
(rastra) across the field to level the land and further pulverize
the soil. And then he sows. He uses no pre-emergence

Problem-causing weeds include the caminadora, lechosa,
coquito, paja de burro, and chochilla. These pests can be
transmitted in seeds as well as by unwashed machinery that has
been lent or rented. He stresses the importance of carefully
washing machinery when moving it between farms and notes that the
caminadora in particular is transmitted by unwashed machinery.

En route to this farmer's hacienda, I passed endless
fields of soybean, much of it no more than a month old and thus
more vulnerable to pests. In some of the fields I saw large
swarms of black birds. This bird is the tilinge, sometimes

called el negro, my host later told me, and it feeds almost
entirely on the langosta, a soybean insect pest.

Among the troublesome rice pests, he cited the gusano
ejercito and the chinche. Problem soybean pests include the
falso medidor, Epinoptia(the mariquita, probably), and the
tortuga; the sanduchero-had not been a problem for him. If he
were mounting a pest-control program in the area, he said he
would give attention to the falso medidor in soybeans; to Diatrea
and the gusano ejercito(in that order) in maize; and to the
gusano ejercito in rice. To recognize Diatraea, he adds, you
have to-monitor plantings very closely, and even then to know how
to recognize the tiny eggs. Chemical control of Diatraea is
difficult, Trichogramma is more effective.

He describes his way of dealing with pests as preventive
control. When he sees the slightest sign of a pest presence, he
treats the entire plantation, but using only one fourth of the
vendor-recommended chemical dosage.

This farmer is critical of other members of APROCICO, who
look only at yields, he says, and are indifferent to the welfare
of the social or the natural environment. He cites a fellow
farmer nearby who now produces only soybeans, with no crop
rotation (Farmer Number Seven rotates soybeans with rice). But
after several soybean cycles, his yields are now declining and he
is finding it evermore difficult--and expensive--to control
pests. Farmer Number Seven looks toward a nearby line of forest
and tells me that that is the natural state, which was broken
with the beginning of the annual-crop era. One must seek to
understand the ecological relations of the forest and respect
them, he concluded.

This farmer used Trichogramma several years ago to control
Diatraea in maize. It gave him reasonably good results; it did
not eliminate the problem but did reduce its incidence-and he

released the wasps only once. When I asked him why he did not
plan to use the wasp in the soybeans he just planted, he said
that the practice of most area farmers is to stock up on
supplies, including pesticides, before they plant; they know from
experience the major pests to be prepared for and are thus ready
to combat them immediately they strike. But you cannot stock up
on Trichogramma this way, he observed. And BIOESA does not have
the resources to reach far into the countryside and is thus not
working with many farmers. So Trichogramma may not be available
on short notice if you need it.

Case Number Eight

According to farmer Number Eight, the serious pest problem
in the area lies with maize; soybeans are more tolerant and
farmers can withstand a greater degree of infestation before
having to take action. He quit producing maize three years ago
because of Diatraea and mancha de asfalto. The INIAP variety 526
is very susceptible to pests, he adds.

The most difficult soybean pest to control is the gusano
minador, which attacks anytime between twenty and ninety days
into the growth cycle. It can be controlled chemically, though
pesticides have not given good results in his case. The
mariquita is also a problem in soybeans, but it can be controlled
with pesticides.

Rice pests are also easily controlled with chemicals. He
always uses a lower dosage than what the technicians and vendors
recommend, he says. Fungii pose a greater threat to rice than

He used Trichogramma for the first time only recently in
soybeans. He released the wasps only once--biological control is

very expensive, he says--and did not supplement them with
insecticides. And he has had no pest problems since in soybeans.
He thinks there are natural enemies of pests on his property and
that he would likely have had no problem even had he not released
the wasps. He does not plan to use them again.

Case Number Nine

Farmer Number Nine emphasizes the importance of correct
land preparation for pest control and good harvests and cites a
lack of machinery in the area as a major impediment. He also
speaks of the richness of the soil and notes that he has not used
a complete fertilizer(abono complete), which is. very expensive,
since he cleared the land twelve years ago. But he would need to
apply one in the summer of 1986, he hastened to add. He does
apply urea to maize, however, the only crop he has sown for
several years. And he also applies herbicides, sometimes twice
in the winter if the rains are heavy.

The most troublesome maize pest, he says, is Diatraea.
The gusano ejercito is also a threat when the plants are tall.
"You can hear the insects(gusano ejercito) working during
infestations," he told me one day as we gazed upon endless ranks
of deep green glistening in the silence of a sunny afternoon.
Another maize pest, quite common in the area, is Eliotis; like
the fungal disease mancha de asfalto, it strikes as the ear is
forming. Unlike other farmers, this man says that both maize and
soybean pests are worse in the summer than in the winter because
in the summer there is less humidity to attract solar rays.

He normally treats maize six times for pests in the course
of a season. Chemicals alone are sprayed five times, and sand
saturated with chemicals is applied once to the meristem; the
evening damp carries the chemicals from the sand into the plant.

He uses four distinctive chemicals in a single season and varies
the set of four between seasons. He has thus used twenty
different chemical products to date, he says. This rotation of
chemicals forecloses pest resistance. Fumigation is by hand: a
man with a machete cuts a narrow swath through the maize and
sprays six rows deep on either side.

This farmer has not used biological control. An INIAP
technician once visited his property and found only two samples
of Diatraea eggs and told him there was no need to release

Case Number Ten

This farmer was experiencing a major weed problem in
summer soybeans when'I visited his hacienda in August of 1986.
The weed was lechosa,. which grows faster than soybeans. He had
no problems with it the year before and says it is new to the
area. The weed destroyed the soybeans he had sown a month
earlier and he had to resow. Lechosa soon appeared again, before
the soybeans had emerged from the ground. He eliminated it with
the herbicide Killer. Now, the weed has returned once more and
is outgrowing the soybeans. But he cannot apply herbicides
without killing the soybeans. His only resource is to deracinate
the weed. At a loss to explain the presence of this pest, he
casts about awkwardly in search of causes. Perhaps the problem
lies in the soil, he muses, which should be analyzed yearly(his
is not). And it is a great mistake not to wash machines after
they have been on another farm.

When he planted summer soybeans, he fumigated the area
with an aqueous mixture of herbicides and insectides twenty-four
hours after he seeded. Thirty days later, when there was
evidence of an infestation, he fumigated again with an

insecticide mixed with a foliar fertilizer. This farmer takes no
chances: he sprays the entire plantation at the first sign of a
pest. The mariquita and the sanduchero are the main soybean
pests, he says.19

As for rice pests, he has had trouble with the gato negro
and the langosta. And as with soybeans, twenty-four hours after
seeding he applied an aqueous mixture of herbicides and
insecticides to the field. And he applied an herbicide again
thirty days later, and also an insecticide at about that time to
combat the langosta.

This farmer had used Trichogramma only once, on summer
soybeans several years ago. It gave good results--at least he
had no problems with the mariquita that year. He makes an
amusing remark-that the wasps died from eating so many insects.
When I asked him why he had not used the wasps since, he
stammered awkwardly: "I continue to use insecticides because this
is what everybody here does.- You get accustomed to it."

Case Number Eleven

Frequent rises(lomas) break the flatness of this farmer's
land and render parts of it unworkable with machinery. On the
rises he produces maize using hand labor. Debris from the
previous harvest is first cut and burned. The burn helps to
destroy insects that attack maize, he says.

Maize is the most pest prone of the annual crops, he says,
and requires heavy expenditures on pest control. Diatraea is the
most serious maize pest, followed by the gusano ejercito. There
is no way to combat Diatraea. Unlike the cogollero, another
maize pest, you cannot see Diatraea except with a magnifying
glass, and even then you must know what to look for. Mancha de

asfalto, a fungal infection, is also a problem, but became so
only after the introduction of Pioneer hybrid maize; national
varieties are more resistant.

To control maize pests, he fumigates at the time of
planting and again when the plants first appear. In his 1986
winter maize, he sprayed three times. He says that pest control
in winter maize is easier when you sow early--about December
15--so the plants will be well along and thus more resistant by
February, a month of heavy rains and many pests.

Among the rice pests, he cites a small worm(he does not
know its name) that attacks the leaf; a grain-sucking insect; the
novia del arroz; Piricularia; and the mariquita. The mariquita
attacks rice only to a point and is not serious. Generally, he
has not had many problems with rice pests. He fumigated only
twice in 1986, but says that the number of fumigations depends on
the incidence of pests, which varies from year to year.

He had had more pest problems in 1986 than in 1985 in
summer soybeans. But he says this is because he did not control
weeds as well. He sprayed three times in 1986--against the
mariquita, the gusano ejercito, and earthworms that attack the
plant stem.

He has never used biological control but says he has
natural controls on his lands. There are many black birds
(pajaros negros) that feed on visible insects such as the
cogollero, the mariquita and others. Many birds means many
pests, he observes. He has been told that Trichogramma is
effective, but he has not used it because the technique is highly
technical: if it is not done right, you loose money. And there
is no security in using the wasps: they are short lived and
sometimes they do not work. And if you are surrounded by farmers
who use chemical insecticides, the wasps can die before they
parasitize the eggs.

S Case Number Twelve

The worst of all pests, says Farmer Number Twelve, is
Diatraea, which attacks mostly maize. Controlling pests in maize
can be difficult. When the plant reaches a certain height,
workers do not like to enter the rows to spray, lifting the
nozzle above their heads in the heat and inhaling the toxic
vapors, with insects biting their faces all the while. It is
hard to get workers to do this. So farmers resort to the
airplane, but there is also a problem there: it is hard to find
pilots willing to fly low enough to give maize a good
spraying--passing high over the field is less effective.

With soybeans, you have to worry most about the mariquita,
he says. To control soybean pests, he first treats the ground
with a soil disinfectant.

He used Trichogramma in 1983 in an effort to control maize
pests when the plants were tall. BIOESA did two releases to
control Diatraea; no chemicals were used during the cycle. The
first release gave no results because the wasps died, he said.
And the second eliminated no more than thirty percent of the
pests--a modest result indeed, he complained. He has not used
biological control since and has no plans to use it on soybeans
or any other crop.

Discussion and Analysis

The above cases point up several patterns and problems.
As for weed pests, those seem to be associated more with rice
than with other crops. It is understood that they must be
controlled, with herbicides or sometimes with a machete, but they
were not cited by farmers as a major problem. No one weed was

associated with rice as it was with soybeans, for example, where
lechosa(or cauchillo) is definitely a problem and can markedly
reduce yields. Lechosa seems to be new to the area, at least as
a soybean pest. But one should remember that soybeans have never
been planted on the scale that they are today. One farmer says
that rotating soybeans with maize eliminates the weed. Today,
however, there are no maize-soybean rotations.

The consensus is that maize is the most pest-prone of the
annual crops, and almost nobody plants it today. There is
widespread agreement that Diatraea is the most serious maize pest
and one that has been a major influence in driving farmers out of
maize production. The gusano ejercito and the cogollero seem to
vie for second place, followed by mancha de asfalto.

Rice pests did not seem to preoccupy anybody greatly;
there was a feeling that they could be dealt with. Farmers
sometimes could give only descriptions of rice pests rather than
established names. Piricularia, novia del arroz,, and the gusano
ejercito were the pests often mentioned. And Diatraea was also
mentioned as a rice pest. This is of interest, for Diatraea is
now attacking rice in major rice-growing areas of adjacent Guayas

Of the soybean pests, the mariquita and the sanduchero
were those most often mentioned, especially the mariquita. Also
mentioned were the gusano ejercito and the minador de la hoja.
This concern with soybean pests parallels the present favorable
market for soybeans. But as with rice, most farmers felt that
soybean pests posed no insurmountable problems.

The movement of agricultural machinery from one farm to
another was cited by several farmers as a mechanism of pest
transmission. There may be an important relation here between
the scarcity of machinery and pest incidence. According to one
farmer, a scarcity of machinery results in improper land

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