Title Page
 Annex A - Project description...

Group Title: CDIE working paper ; no. 112
Title: Honduras Agricultural Research Project (635-0203)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073331/00001
 Material Information
Title: Honduras Agricultural Research Project (635-0203)
Series Title: CDIE working paper
Alternate Title: Case studies of A.I.D. Farming Systems Research & Extension (FSRE) Projects, Case Study no. 11
Physical Description: 20 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Byrnes, Kerry J., 1945-
Publisher: Center for Development Information and Evaluation, Agency for International Development
Place of Publication: Washington DC
Publication Date: 1985?
Subject: Agricultural extension work -- Honduras   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Technology transfer -- Honduras   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Honduras
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaf 18).
Statement of Responsibility: Kerry J. Byrnes.
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073331
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 80743480

Table of Contents
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    Annex A - Project description sheet
        Page 19
        Page 20
Full Text

.Y... ....LE :::,_"". '



Case Studies of
A.I.D. Farming Systems Research & Extension (FSR/E) Projects

Case Study No. 11

Honduras Agricultural Research Project (635-0203)1


Kerry J. Byrnes2

Center for Development Information and Evaluation
Agency for International Development
Washington, DC 20523

This CDIE Working Paper is one of the case studies prepared
for a cross-cutting analysis of A.I.D. FSR/E projects, A Review of
A.I.D. Experience with Farming Systems Research and Extension
Projects (A.I.D. Evaluation Special Study, forthcoming). The 12
FSR/E projects reviewed in this series are:

Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement (633-0221)
Gambia Mixed Farming and Resource Management (635-0203)
Lesotho Farming Systems Research (632-0065)
Malawi Agricultural Research (612-0202)
Senegal Agricultural Research and Planning (685-0223)
Tanzania Farming Systems Research (621-0156)
Zambia Agricultural Development Research & Extension (611-0201)
Nepal Agricultural Research and Production (367-0149)
Philippines Farming Systems Development-Eastern Visayas (492-0356)
Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutritional Improvement (520-0232)
Honduras Agricultural Research (522-0139)
ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems (596-0083)

Information on how to order any of the CDIE Working Papers this
series is provided on the last page of this report.

2Senior Social Science Analyst, Program and Policy Evaluation
Division, CDIE. This case study, prepared under a CDIE contract
with Labat-Anderson Incorporated, is based on a review of project
evaluation documentation. Interpretation of the data reported is
that of the author and should not be attributed to A.I.D. or Labat-
Anderson Incorporated.

Honduras Agricultural Research Project (522-0139)

The Agricultural Research Project (522-0139), hereafter the
Project, was initially authorized, as a four-year project, in
August 1978, for $1,914,000. The Project Grant Agreement was
signed with the Government of Honduras (GOH) in September 1978.
The Project's goal was "to increase the incomes and employment
opportunities of small traditional and agrarian reform farm
families" (PP, p. 6). The Project's purpose was "to assist the
Government of Honduras expand its agricultural research service
and make it more responsive to the technological needs of small
traditional and agrarian reform farmers" (PP, p. 6).

Honduras' agricultural research service was known at that
time as the National Agricultural Research Program (Programa
Nacional de Investigaciones Agricolas or PNIA). PNIA was located
in the Ministry of Natural Resources (Ministerio de Recursos
Naturales or MRN). In 1983, PNIA was renamed the Department of
Agricultural Research (Departamento de Investigaciones Agricolas
or DIA).

In October 1982, USAID/Honduras signed a technical assist-
ance (TA) contract with the Consortium for International Develop-
ment (CID), with New Mexico State University (NMSU) as lead
university. At this point, the Project began to be referred to
as the Honduras Agricultural Research Project (HARP). Depending
on the time frame and context, this case study will use either
the Project or HARP.

The Project was evaluated three times. The first evaluation
(A.I.D., 1980), scheduled for November 1979, was not conducted
until February 1980, 19 months after the Project began and
approximately midway through the anticipated LOP. The second
evaluation (Beausoleil, et al., 1981), an annual progress
evaluation, was conducted 14 months later in April 1981. The
third evaluation (Hansen, et al., 1984) was conducted in January
1984, almost three years after the second evaluation, one year
after HARP's Contract TA team arrived in Honduras, and six months
before the PACD of July 1984. The possibility of a six-month
extension of HARP was being considered at the time of the third

This case study draws extensively on the evaluation report
prepared by the third evaluation (Hansen, et al., 1984). Galt,
et al. (1982) provides an excellent description of the history of
the restructuring of PNIA and the organizing of FSR, all of which
was occurring just prior to or at the same time as the start up
of the Project.

Concept What was the basic technical idea underlying the

The Project represented "the introduction of a very new
concept, multidisciplinary farm-level research, into the existing
Honduran research and extension institutions" (A.I.D., 1980).
However, the seeds of FSR/E were planted in 1977, almost two
years before the Project was initiated (Galt, et al., 1982).
Until that time, PNIA had been largely oriented toward on-station
and single commodity research, although a CATIE-sponsored
regional project was already developing an on-farm research
program in Honduras.

In 1977, a young Honduran, who had earned his doctorate in
plant pathology at Cornell University and had conducted his dis-
sertation research at CIMMYT in Mexico, returned to Honduras to
work in PNIA. Drawing on experience he had gained while working
as a member of a multidisciplinary research team at CIMMYT, plus
his knowledge of the on-farm research program being developed by
ICTA in Guatemala and by CATIE in Honduras, this Honduran con-
vinced the MRN and several colleagues to help him establish an
interdisciplinary Central Unit for Technical Support (Unidad
Nacional de Apoyo Te'cnico or UNAT) within PNIA.

UNAT's purpose was to foster the establishment of a multi-
disciplinary, on-farm approach to agricultural research in order
to provide a better understanding of farmer problems and a more
effective utilization of on-station research capabilities to help
solve those problems. However, some PNIA staff in the Basics
Grains Program, already using an earlier, CIMMYT-originated on-
farm approach that emphasized developing technological packages
for significant and dramatic yield increases, were opposed to the
new approach. "Most of the proponents of the new approach were
trained at CIMMYT where they had learned that the CIMMYT on-farm
approach which was being used in Horiuras was no longer recom-
mended by CIMMYT" (Beausoleil, et al., 1981:4).

In January 1978, PNIA and the International Agricultural
Development Service (IADS), published a report on agricultural
research in Honduras. The report identified four basic factors
or elements of strategy to strengthen PNIA and increase PNIA's
impact on farmers' yields and national production. These four
factors were: (1) a farmer-focused, integrated multidisciplinary
approach to research and technology transfer; (2) a strong
national experiment station network; (3) manpower development;
and (4) closer links with domestic and external institutions.
This report became a factor in influencing USAID/Honduras to
design the Agricultural Research Project (the Project). Indeed,
this 125 page report was included as Annex M of the PP (A.I.D.,

In designing the Project, USAID/Honduras sought to strength-
en and expand PNIA's farm-based research initiative. The Project
was authorized in August, 1978, and the Project Grant Agreement
with the GOH was signed in October 1978, providing grant funds
totaling $1,914,000 for TA, training, and logistical support.
The Project sought to establish multidisciplinary, on-farm
research teams in all seven regions of Honduras. Project funds
were to be used for long- and short-term TA, participant and in-
service training, and logistical support (vehicles and equip-
ment). GOH funds were to support counterpart personnel.

But there was resistance within the GOH to the Project
bringing in the large TA team of expatriate advisors that had
been envisioned in the PP. The Project's design had envisioned
at least three long-term (36 wm) TA specialists. The Hondurans
preferred that the Project's grant money be used to assist in
covering the project's operating expenses. The GOH eventually
agreed to an arrangement whereby two TA specialists who had
participated in ICTA's on-farm program in Guatemala would be made
available to assist PNIA in implementing the Project. One of
thbse individuals, the PNIA Advisor, was provided by the
Rockefeller Foundation; the other, the PNIA Technical Advisor,
was hired by USAID/Honduras on a Personal Services Contract.

During the Project's early months, PNIA prepared several
important documents. The Documento BAsico (1979) detailed the
organizational structure of PNIA, while the Guia Metodol6qica
(1979) described on-farm research methods from the diagnostic
stage through farm testing and validation stages. Also, UNAT
began to train the on-farm research teams.

In February 1980, the first evaluation found that the Proj-
ect was developing normally but suffering from organizational and
budgetary problems (Laird, et al., 1980). The problems included
difficulties in coordinating a national research program admin-
istered through decentralized regional directorates that control
most of the research budget; loss of highly qualified national
researchers and rapid turnover in research personnel because of
low salaries and delays in reimbursing expenses; frictions
between Honduran and expatriate TA personnel; and planning
deficiencies caused by personnel turnover and fiscal uncertainty.

Further, with an across-the-board budget cut in the SRN, the
funds available to meet PNIA's operating expenses had been dras-
tically reduced. By the time of the second evaluation in April
1981, there was "little indication of government support for the
research program" (Beausoleil, 1981:5). In the face of these
problems, one TA specialist had already left, one was preparing
to leave, and none were being replaced. The two advisors cited
administrative problems, poor management of their work, and
personal conflicts with Honduran counterparts as the reasons for
their early termination (Hansen, et al., 1984:12)

Reviewing the situation, the second evaluation made several
recommendations that were based on the assumption that the GOH
was committed to allocating enough resources to the MRN/PNIA to
increase the number of direct hire contracted professional posi-
tions to at least 70. The government's commitment to effective
agricultural research would also be demonstrated by the develop-
ment and approval of a longer term plan of action for PNIA and by
signing personnel contracts. The evaluation point out that
decisions on the recommendations had to be made quickly if the
momentum of the research in progress were to be maintained. The
key recommendations made were:

Project funds should be used to provide logistical
support to on-farm researchers, with these funds
complementing, not replacing, GOH commitment of funds
to PNIA.

Project funds should be used to contract long-term TA
personnel for UNAT, with at least six disciplines being
represented, including plant pathology, entomology,
agricultural economics, biometrics, soil management,
and weed control. The positions should be filled by
Hondurans but expatriates should be hired if Hondurans
were not available. The salaries of Honduran and
expatriates should be comparable based on training and
experience. UNAT personnel should prepare an in-
service training program, and Project funds should be
used to cover the entire cost of the training program.

MRN should require PNIA to prepare better plans by the
end of August 1981, and long-term TA personnel should
be brought in to design a planning system and help
prepare long-, medium-, and short-term plans.

The second recommendation provided the basis for the TA
contract for the Honduran Agricultural Research Project (HARP)
phase of the Project. The salary guidelines had been provided
because of PNIA's reluctance to contract expatriate advisors.
This reluctance, the evaluation noted, was due to a sense of
jealousy over the disparity in salaries between expatriates and
nationals. Compared with expatriates, Honduran government
employees and contractors were being paid little and sporadi-
cally. The evaluation noted: "Until conditions were such that a
reasonable number of well-qualified Honduran research profes-
sionals felt secure in their own long-term commitments to the
research program, ...research planning and results would be
largely ineffective" (Hansen, et al., 1984:12).

Thus, the second evaluation noted its concern for the degree
of commitment by the GOH to the MRN and the PNIA. As the third
evaluation summarized the issue,

Ccnmitment translates into adequate and stable funding.

That funding improves professional salaries, permits long-
term planning, lowers the turnover of personnel and
facilitates the interaction of Honduran and expatriate
advisors. The [second] evaluation team did not find the
commitment (Hansen, et al., 1984:12).

Commitment to the Project's on-farm research program suf-
fered a further set back in 1981. Following the change of the
government and the cut in PNIA's budget, the young Honduran who
had been instrumental in initiating the program resigned his
position in PNIA in order to accept a job offer from the Escuela
Agricola Panamericana (Zamorano). Further, by late 1981 or early
1982, the two TA persons (the PNIA Advisor and the PNIA Technical
Advisor) had departed. These events led USAID/Honduras to insist
that the Project needed to bring in a TA team. While the Project
grant funds could not be used to cover operating costs, the
Mission proposed that PL 480 local currency could be used to help
cover Project operating costs. The GOH finally agreed that the
Project could bring in a TA team.

In March 1982, almost a year after the Project's second
evaluation in April 1981, USAID/Honduras issued a Request for
Technical Proposals (RFTP) for the Honduran Agricultural Research
Project (HARP). In October 1982, USAID/Honduras and the Consor-
tium for International Development (CID), with New Mexico State
University (NMSU) as lead university, signed a TA contract
(hereafter Contract) to continue the original Project under the
title of Honduran Agricultural Research Project (HARP). USAID
financial support for the Contract consisted of a total of
$1,085,099 of grant funds remaining from the original Project
budget. While the Request for Technical Proposals envisioned
HARP as a two year project, the final Contract was for eighteen
months (January 1983-July 1984).

Design How was this basic technical idea translated into a

The Project's third evaluation (first evaluation of HARP),
conducted in January 1984, noted that HARP had been designed and
implemented in "a series of ill-coordinated stages."

The first stage was the 1981 evaluation.... The second
stage was the USAID Request for Technical Assistance (RFTP)
and the CID/NMSU response. The third stage was a change in
scope initiated by [PNIA]. The fourth stage was the
Contract itself. The fifth stage was a USAID-initiated
change in scope after the CID/NMSU team arrived in Honduras,
and the sixth stage was a subsequent series of DIA-initiated
changes in scope of work (Hansen, et al., 1984:13).

The RFTP saw the Contract as a continuation of the Project
and a response to the needs identified in the second evaluation
in 1981. The RFTP called for four long-term TA persons (two
years each): weed control specialist, agricultural economist,
entomologist, and soil fertility specialist. The long-term
advisors were to be part of the UNAT. Further, the individual
meCmers of UNAT, including Hondurans, were to be placed in
specific regions where their skills were most needed, but all
members of UNAT would meet regularly as a unit to deal with
national-level problems, plan for the training needs of PNIA
personnel, and advise the PNIA Director on program requirements.

A significant change occurred between the 1981 evaluation
and the 1982 RFTP. While the evaluation had expressed a
preference that Project funds be used to hire (contract) highly-
qualified Hondurans for UNAT, the RFTP did not specifically
request Honduran professionals. Further, given the usual RFTP
distribution and response channels, the RFTP was

essentially stating that these four key professionals were
to be expatriates. Four expatriate professionals as a
Contract team with its Chief of Party, supporting funds and
short term advisors, will, in most cases, form an independ-
ent unit. That unit negotiates with other units but is not
easily incorporated or digested unless the other unit is
well-organized and very dynamic. UNAT itself was no longer
a functioning unit and needed organization and staffing, so
UNAT was not going to digest the Contract team. The most
probable structural outcome would be that the Contract team
would be the core and effective leadership of UNAT, and
Honduran professionals in UNAT would come to be counterparts
or secondary (Hansen, et al., 1984:13).

However, the RFTP did not recognize this likely outcome but
implied that the TA team was to form part of UNAT as a larger
(Honduran and expatriate) multidisciplinary unit. Also, there
was a question of whether PNIA could easily manage the TA team,
since PNIA itself was suffering from a lack of funding, planning,
and staffing continuity. While PNIA leadership had earlier
objected to expatriate TA advisors, the RFTP proposed a large,
independent, expatriate unit within PNIA. Such a unit, however,
would likely become a continuing source of structural conflict.

The third evaluation also pointed our another shortcoming in
the RFTP, namely, that HARP would have a short life (two years).
The 1981 evaluation had emphasized the need for long-term plan-
ning and long-term stability and training for PNIA's Honduran
personnel. Rather than addressing these long-term issues, the
RFTP called for unused Project funds to be used in short-term
response to the TA need specified in the Project's :hird evalua-
tion. However, as the third evaluation noted, two years is too
short a time for effective TA, especially when the :;AT is

supposed to be planning and advising about farming systems
research, an evolving approach to smallholder research and
extension. When technical advisors have clear, discrete,
technically-specific tasks to perform, they may be able to
accomplish this in a short time. More time is needed when
these advisors are involved in institution-building and
multidisciplinary team activities which involve group
planning and leadership" (Hansen, et al., 1984:14).

While the contracting of CID/NMSU proceeded smoothly, an
important change occurred before the TA contract was signed; this
change was not reflected in the Contract. Instead of having the
TA team operate at a national level as advisors and trainers,
PNIA requested that the team restrict its activities to the Yoro
Valley in Region 3. The third evaluation could not confirm the
reason for this change but speculated that while the perceived
importance of developing the Yoro Valley may have been primary,
the TA team's expatriate nature may also have been important.

Another important change occurred in the Contract which,
rather than being for two years, was reduced to 18 months due to
insufficient USAID/Honduras funding. Commenting on this change,
the third evaluation noted: "If two years is too short, 18
months is a ridiculously short time for such assistance" (Hansen,
et al., 1984:15). Further, the evaluation noted this change
should have been recognized as an early indication of the funding
difficulties that HARP would continue to encounter.

Implementation How was the project managed by the host-country
implementing agency, the TA team, and USAID?

Upon the TA team's arrival in Honduras in January 1983, the
team found that USAID had made another change in HARP's design.
The team was now to devote ten percent of its time to technical
support and teaching at the Centro Universitario Regional del
Litoral Atlantico (CURLA) in La Ceiba (Region 4). The third
evaluation noted that there was no indication that this change
had been discussed with or agreed to by PNIA.

This change was significant in two ways. One, the hierar-
chical position of HARP was totally confused. If HARP was a
joint USAID-MRN endeavor, then how could HARP be assigned by
USAID to work outside of MRN? CURLA falls under another
Ministry. How could USAID unilaterally change the mandate
of UNAT (or a major component of it)? The second
point concerns time and energy. A too-short contract was
intentionally cut even more by assigning 10 percent of staff
time to other responsibilities. Who was safeguarding
[PNIA] and HARP priorities?

During the initial months of 1983, the TA team was involved

in orienting itself. HARP's Honduran staff, now defined as
counterparts to the TA team, were being hired and were relocating
to San Pedro Sula in Region 3. PNIA's director resigned to
become the counterpart agricultural economist. He also served as
HARP's Assistant Chief of Party and head of the Honduran team.

HARP's scope of work was again changed during this same
period, from a regional focus back to the original national
focus, whereby HARP personnel would provide technical support to
existing multidisciplinary teams in Olancho, Danli, Choluteca,
and La Ceiba, as well as working in the Yoro Valley and at CURLA.
However, the scope was subsequently again restricted, this time
to focusing on two northern regions (3 and 4). By the time of
the third evaluation, the scope of work had again been amended to
include some responsibility for a national training program.

By this point, the third evaluation noted, the Contract had
suffered so many changes of direction that the Hondurans had
become confused about the goals and status of HARP. Indeed, the
evaluation reported that the evaluation team's members had been
asked by DIA (formerly PNIA) and MRN officials to explain to them
how HARP related to the DIA. "Any clear mandate and status were
lost in the shuffling of HARP from part of UNAT, national level,
to regional and CURLA responsibilities, and back and forth again"
(Hansen, et al., 1984:16).

The second evaluation in 1981 had recognized that PNIA's
evolving smallholder-oriented agricultural research program
needed to be supported by long-term, institution-building and
critical commitments by the GOH. However, as the third
evaluation pointed out:

That recognition was lost by the time the RFTP was written.
The stress on GOH commitment was absent, as was the stress
on Honduran professional leadership. The real thrust
of the Project was to institutionalize better methods of
agricultural research. To institutionalize methods means to
make them part of the normal, ongoing routine. Part of that
process of institutionalizing UNAT, making that specialized
technical support and training unit part of the regular DIA
bureaucracy so that it continued as part of MRN after Proj-
ect assistance ended. Honduran technical leadership and GOH
funding commitments are essential for institutionalization
to succeed (Hansen, et al., 1984:17).

But HARP had deviated from the objective and direction of
institutionalizing a better method of agricultural research. The
Contract provided short term (18 months) expatriate TA and tech-
nical leadership to Honduran counterparts but the connection
between UNAT and the TA team had been lost. As the third
evaluation noted:

None of the HARP professionals occupy regular DIA line posi-
tions. There are no institutionalized positions so no one
is really counterparting anyone. Counterparting refers to
the situation where one person has a regular position and is
advised by someone. In HARP no one has a regular position;
all are paid, directly or indirectly, by USAID, and none
have established DIA jobs.

UNAT does not really exist except on paper, so there is no
obvious bureaucratic home for HARP. Although HARP works and
is housed in region 3...it does not answer to the authority
of the MRN Regional Director. Although HARP is apparently
an MRN group it works semi-autonomously, publishes reports
that do not credit MRN or DIA as a sponsor, [and] deals with
non-MRN institutions such as CURLA (Hansen, et al.,

The third evaluation also brought to light that, as far as
the MRN Regional Director was concerned, HARP had been initiated
in the region with no advance notice and no additional hn3aetary
provisions for counterparts and office space. Further, while the
Regional Director is responsible for implementing activities in
the region, a considerable amount of HARP's activities had been
coordinated at the national level without prior consultation with
the Regional Director.

HARP's rolling redesign and implementation resulted in
negative consequences in four areas.

1. Drafting and Approval of Work Plans

On the issue of drafting and approval of work plans, the
third evaluation concluded that HARP had made a mistake.

HARP team members originally tried to prepare a work plan
for the life of the Contract..., but the plan was not
accepted. Pressed by time because the team wanted to get
trials in the ground, the team decided to submit more
limited work plans that only covered the first (primera)
cropping season of 1983. The primera plan was accepted, and
work began. The new work plan only covered the second
(postera) cropping season, and now the team is finishing the
preparation of a work plan to carry them through the
expected end of Contract in 1984.

The HARP team's desire to get to work is understandable and
commendable. They were pressed for time since the
Contract was too short, the comprehensive work plan had been
rejected, and the time to plant...was approaching, so they
compromised by preparing a work plan limited to the primera
season. That was a mistake (Hansen, et al., 1984:19).

In the view of the third evaluation, the HARP team should

have waited until all had agreed on a comprehensive plan. USAID,
DIA, and CID/NMSU should have insisted that HARP's participants
reach an agreement about the project's objectives during the
Contract's 18 months. "Accepting piecemeal plans (season by
season) postponed indefinitely the need for sponsors and team to
reach some agreement on the purpose and utility of this Contract"
(Hansen, et al., 1984:19). Further, the evaluation reaffirmed
the institution-building nature of the Project. Indeed,

one of the major faults of DIA was in planning. Planning
problems are apparent in the several DIA-initiated shifts of
direction for the Contract and in the failure to coordinate
better with the MRN Regional Director before the HARP team
arrived.... The Contract cooperated in a planning failure
when short-term wqrk plans were prepared and used as the
basis for beginning field work. Questions of purpose,
leadership and lines of authority should have been settled
then. The issue of whether or not HARP was UNAT needed to
be determined since this affected allocation of time to
research, technical support, training and planning (Hansen,
et al., 1984:19).

2. Formation of an Integrated Team of Hondurans and Expatriates

The Contracc's ill-coordinated design and implementation,
including the failure to agree on an 18-month work plan, delayed
the formation of an integrated team of Hondurans and expatriates.
Further, the situation "left too much room for individual inter-
pretations and disagreements, particularly concerning HARP's role
in modifying customary patterns of research" (Hansen, et al.,

USAID/Honduras provided the funds for all HARP personnel.
However, while the funds for the TA team members flowed rather
quickly from USAID/Honduras to NMSU to the TA team members, the
funds for the Honduran personnel flowed rather slowly from
USAID/Honduras to the Finance Ministry to the MRN to the DIA to
the Honduran personnel. While the TA team personnel had no
problems in receiving their pay, the Honduran personnel faced
consistent delays of several months in receiving their pay and
had never received any reimbursement for travel expenses. While
USAID/Honduras assured the third evaluation team that sufficient
funds had been transferred to GOH, HARP's Honduran personnel were
informed in late January 1984 that there was no more money for
their salaries. On this issue, the evaluation stated:

These financial concerns preoccupy the Hondurans in HARP,
require a lot of administrative attention by the Hondurans
and by the Chief of Party, and inhibit or preclude the
Hondurans' willingness to incur travel costs. Not only does
this differential willingness to travel separate the team
but the differential treatment given to Hondurans and non-
Hondurans creates and accentuates a division along
nationalistic lines. This is an old problem..., and it
reflects a continuing lack of commitment to DIA by GOH.
The Contract cannot support a team that is separated between
expatriates who receive salaries and Hondurans who do not.
This is diametrically opposed to the major purpose and
thrust of the Project that gave rise to this Contract
(Hansen, et al., 1984:20).

3. Leadership Responsibility for Developina FSR Methodology and
Modifying the Accepted Methods

The third evaluation noted Honduras' pioneer role in estab-
lishing and developing a research methodology that is now being
called farming systems research (FSR). Indeed, the original
Proje-:t's intent had been

to support Honduras' pioneering efforts in developing this
more effective research methodology, and anyone who worked
in DIA (then PNIA) before 1977 may attest to the changes
that...occurred since then. This Contract was to continue
the evolution of a more effective set of methods by provid-
ing technical support to existing regional teams, by upgrad-
ing the technical levels of DIA staff through in-service
training, and by participating in planning (Hansen, et al.,

As the evaluation noted, Honduras had been a pioneer in the
1970s in evolving an indigenous FSR model: on-farm (not just on-
station), multidisciplinary research on basic grains using farmer
surveys (sondeos) as guidelines. But HARP's efforts to advance
the pioneering work in FSR was constrained by practical institu-
tional issues. Specifically, there were questions and disagree-
ments over (1) the degree of leadership that the TA team was to
exercise and (2) whether and how much the existing DIA method-
ology needed to be revised.

Discussing these issues, the evaluation referred to the
existing Honduran methodology as Pioneering FSR (PFSR) in order
to distinguish it from the FSR methodology described in current
literature. The evaluation described PFSR as "a sequence of
trials" as follows:

It starts with many treatments, complex design, on station
and controlled entirely by researchers. As more knowledge
is accumulated, the better treatments are moved off station
and tested under conditions more similar to those under
which the ultimate clients (Honduran farmers) will be
facing. The number of treatments is fewer; designs are
simpler; farmer management is increased and DIA control
decreased; and the treatments are exposed to a broader range
of environmental variables (Hansen, et al., 1984:48).

However, the third evaluation noted that the TA team's work plans
and quarterly reports amply documented the team's belief that
there were serious weaknesses in PFSR which HARP reports referred
to as on-farm research or OFR, and that OFR should be replaced by
FSR. Indeed, at the time, even the MRN had recommended that
another approach, the Enlace Tecnologico (Technological Coordina-
tion) program from Olancho, be adopted through the country.

As the evaluation also noted, the TA team believed that the
DIA and USAID/Honduras had contracted CID/NMSU to provide tech-
nical leadership as well as support and that the TA team agricul-
tural economist (rather than the team as a whole) was primarily
responsible for providing that leadership. However, based on the
prior actions of DIA, the evaluation concluded that there was "a
strong resistance on the part of Hondurans in DIA, including at
least the majority of those employed by HARP, to CID/NMSU
assuming the leadership in implementing FSR and modifying PFSR"
(Hansen, et al., 1984:22).

Analyzing this situation, the evaluation concluded that the
DIA, CID/NMSU, and USAID/Honduras had failed from the beginning
to clarify the mandate and design of HARP, and that this failure
had led to continued confusion in the operation of the Contract.

The Contract does not specify any leadership in defining or
instituting FSR; it requests support and guidance from
CID/NMSU professionals as part of a larger UNAT. Although
in fact HARP is UNAT, and CID/NMSU leads HARP, another fact
is that DIA has consistently attempted to maintain and
assert Honduran leadership (Hansen, et al., 1984:22).

The evaluation concluded that DIA-initiated changes in HARP's
scope of work may have been "designed to thwart what DIA leader-
ship saw as undesirable CID/NMSU leadership" (Hansen, et al.,

Disagreements over methodology were evident in the relation-
ship between the TA team's agricultural economist (who had been
responsible for initiating FSR) and the Honduran economist who
headed HARP's Honduran team and had previously been the National
Director of DIA (PNIA). The evaluation noted that the disagree-
ments over PFSR and FSR had been primarily responsible for
USAID/Honduras' decision not to renew the Honduran economist's
contract when it expired at the end of December 1983. Dissatis-
faction over the PFSR-FSR issue apparently also led CID/NMSU's
agricultural economist 1:o depart Honduras at approximately the
same time. While personality conflicts may have been involved,
the evaluation reported "that the disagreement and opposition of
Honduran and CID/NMSU team members" continued even after the two
original economists had departed (Hansen, et al., 1984:23).

4. Contract Administration

The third evaluation found that the TA team's Chief of Party
(COP), an entomologist, estimated that 75 percent of his time had
been spent on administration, while approximately 50 percent of
the agricultural economist's time had been similarly occupied.
Obviously, administration of the Contract had been made more
difficult and time-consuming by the repeated changes in Contract
design and scope of work, by the continuing disagreements over
research methodology, and by the continuing problems of salaries
and reimbursements for HARP's Honduran employees.

The scope of this problem, and its existence in this Project
as in other USAID/Mission projects, prompted the third evaluation
to make the following observation:

It is surprising that USAID contracts do not recognize the
essential importa.Ie of administration and automatically
provide for administrative assistance or specifically set
out terms of reference for the COP. This Contract, like
many others, only requests technical people for technical
work as if COP responsibilities were inconsequential. In
many instances this results in a COP assuming that the
technical work is what counts and trying to minimize
administrative tasks. In other instances this results in a
technically qualified COP who does not really have the
necessary administrative skills or experience (Hansen, et

Evaluation How was' the project's performance measured or

The third evaluation of HARP leaves the reader with the
impression that the project had been less than successful in
developing FSR. Indeed, the evaluation team noted:

Since the MRN had substantial difficulties in assembling a

counterpart team, communications and hierarchies were not
well-established between HARP and MRN. and the FSR effort
was curtailed. The CID/NMSU economist became more involved
in administrative matters and in CURLA related work, sub-
stantially reducing the time allocated to field work. It is
unfortunate that the disagreements over FSR led to that time
going into CURLA and HARP administration rather than into
identification and evaluation of promising technologies
(Hansen, et al., 1984:30).

A review of two of the project outputs (agricultural economics
research and dissemination) provides a better understanding of
why HARP did not made greater progress in FSR/E.

1. Agricultural Economics

Agricultural economics, as the evaluation noted, is "one of
the most important components of technology design" (Hansen, et
al., 1984:30). PNIA (DIA) had requested TA in this field in
order to train field technicians in the economic assessment of
their on-farm results. In reviewing HARP quarterly reports for
the preceding year, the third evaluation found that most of the
expatriate agricultural economist's time had been allocated to
generating a farm registry sheet, implementing a microcomputer
system and microcomputer training at CURLA, and attending to
administrative duties. Little or no time had been allocated tc
economic analysis of existing data, partial budgeting of alter-
native technologies to identify the best potential recommenda-
tions, or training of DIA staff in the collection and analysis of
economic data from agronomic trials. Assessing the work that the
TA agricultural economist had actually completed relative to the
Contract's scope of work for the agricultural economist, the
evaluation concluded:

The Contract ends in a few months. .Presently, most
of the items listed in the Contract scope of work have not
been properly addressed. Unless the economic analysis of
field trials is used for training and is integrated with
Sondeo data for comprehensive analysis, the scope of work
will remain unfulfilled (Hansen, et al., 1984:31).

Further, as the evaluation noted, aside from the participation of
HARP's agricultural economists, there had been "little socio-
economic input into UNAT" (Hansen, et al., 1984:50).

2. Dissemination

The third evaluation noted that HARP personnel had a respon-
sibility to assist in disseminating PNIA (DIA) research results
to agricultural extension (DEA) agents. HARP's technical work
plan identified this as steps or phases (7) and (8), as follows:

7. Extension of appropriate techniques and technology
through the target area; and

8. Diffusion of technology which has been demonstrated to
farmers to be appropriate and acceptable to the
recommendation domain within the target area.

The evaluation found that these two phases had been deleted from
the HARP work plan because of the short duration of the Contract.
Although the HARP team recommended that phases (7) and (8) be
carried out by permanent MRN research and extension staff working
in the target area, the evaluation noted that this recommendation
lost sight of

the constant dissemination of research results and tech-
niques in all FSR experiments through informal discussions,
farmer participation, neighbor observation and the "ripple
effect". This may be the most effective means of dissemina-
tion of well-executed on-farm research and is a major argu-
ment for increasing farmer active participation in on-farm
research (Hansen, et al., 1984:41).

The third evaluation, as also the two preceding evaluations,
had been a process evaluation. As such, these evaluations had
provided useful information for assessing the conceptualization,
design, and implementation of the HARP; however, being conducted
during the course of a project, these evaluations did not provide
any systematic information on the extent to which the project had
been successful in developing improved technology or transferring
this technology to the project's clientele group.

In retrospect, HARP (the Project) contributed an important
step in the development and strengthening of Hondura's capability
to carry out FSR/E. While consensus as to the methodology for
conducting on-farm research in Honduras had not yet been reached
by the second or third evaluations, the experience gained during
HARP had contributed to the evolution of a better appreciation of
the requirements for effective on-farm research. The second
evaluation noted in this regard that:

The on-farm research capability of PNIA that is developing
is not exactly that which was envisioned in the Project
design. The intent of the Project was to train multidis-
ciplinary teams to conduct on-farm research. Experience has
shown that what is needed are not teams but individuals
trained to do on-farm research. Supporting these individ-
uals, a multidisciplinary team is needed to provide assist-
ance in the diagnostic, testing, or analytic stages of on-
farm research. The technical support unit (UNAT) is in fact
the multidisciplinary team which responds to the specific
needs of individuals doing on-farm research (Beausoleil, et
al., 1981:25).

If the second evaluation was encouraged by the Project's
concept of the requirements for effective on-farm research, the
third evaluation was not impressed by how effectively HARP had
been implemented. In this regard, the third evaluation noted:

The failure by USAID and GOH to coordinate and clarify the
scope and direction of work by HARP has been evident....
The sponsors have not taken the time to plan and coordinate
together. Regular meetings have not been held in which
appropriate USAID, DIA, other MRN and HARP personnel could
effect this coordination and clear up some of the confusion.
The insignificance of this Contract to USAID was also
demonstrated by the lack of [USAID] participation in the
evaluation, including the absence of the Project Officer
from the meetings...at which the preliminary report of the
evaluation team was presented (Hansen, et al., 1984:43).

Institutionalization How did the project provide for the
implementing agency to develop a sustainable capability to
continue to perform the types of activities supported by the

The seeds of institutionalizing FSR/E in Honduras were
planted by a number of Hondurans in collaboration with several
projects, including HARP, the earlier work of CATIE, the enlacee
tecnol6gico" program in Olancho, and the farming systems research
program under the University of Kentucky, International Sorghum
and Millet (INTSORMIL) project. One indicator of the extent of
institutionalization of FSR/E in Honduras was the increase from
approximately 12 percent in 1976 to over 52 percent in 1981 in
the proportion of trials conducted on farm (Beausoleil, et al.,

For PNIA (DIA) to conduct on-farm trials in all seven
regions, at least 28 people needed to be trained and hired. As
noted in the second evaluation, the Project Agreement had called
for an increased in PNIA's staff by 28 technicians over the LOP.
By the time of second evaluation, PNIA had already increased its
staff by 33 technicians but only four of these persons were
permanent employees. The other 29 were on contract and their
status was uncertain from year to year.

After the second evaluation, did the process of institu-
tionalizing FSR/E continue to develop in the MRN/DIA? The third
evaluation team reported that it was "not convinced" that the GOH
and USAID/Honduras had made serious commitments to the HARP
Contract or that the GOH had made a serious commitment to DIA or
the Project in general (Hansen, et al., 1984:43).

Specifically, the GOH "never...made nor carried through"
with a financial commitment to the Project (Hansen, et al.,
1984:43). The evaluation noted the delayed and sporadic salary
payments, travel reimbursements, etc. Also, with a pending PACD
of June 1984, USAID/Honduras was still uncertain in January 1984
about whether the Project would be extended for six months.

The third evaluation noted the Project and Contract had been
designed to build and strengthen Honduran agricultural research
institutions. However, the evaluation noted:

This effort is doomed without GOH commitment, DIA leader-
ship, and the participation and leadership of Honduran
scientists. The most important financial issue is
Honduran salaries. Continued uncertainty over
salaries and over tenure...tends to minimize if not
eliminate Honduran participation and leadership in HARP.
More important is the continued constraint to Honduran
research careers and longer term planning, ...and the
continued frustration of Project institution-building
efforts (Hansen, et al., 1984:43, 45).


1978 Project Paper for Agricultural Research Project (522-
0139). (PD-AAB-952-B1)

1980 Project Evaluation Summary (PES) of the First
Evaluation of the Agricultural Research Project (522-
0139). (PD-AAJ-774) For complete evaluation, see
Laird, et al., 1980.

Beausoleil, Joseph, Gordon Appleby, Fernando Fernandez, Daniel
Gait, Robert Hudgens, and Michael Weber
1981 Second Evaluation of USAID/Honduras Agricultural
Research Project (52200139). (PD-AAJ-313).

Galt, Daniel, Alvaro Diaz, Mario Contreras, Frank Peairs, Joshua
Posner, and Franklin Rosales
1982 Farming Systems Research (FSR) in Honduras, 1977-81: A
Case Study, Working Paper No. 1, Department of
Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University, East
Lansing, Michigan 48824-1039. (PN-AAM-827)

Hansen, Art, Mason E. Marvel, Vernon B. Cardwell, and Gustavo
1984 Third Evaluation of Honduras Agricultural Research
Project (52200139). (PD-AAR-620).

Laird, Reggie, Franklin Martin, Astolfo Fumagalli, Manuel Ruiz,
and Robert K. Waugh
1980 La Evaluaci6n del PNIA Febrero 1980.

Annex A. Project Description Sheet.

This Project Description Sheet lists the core, operational,
and generic constraints identified in this project, per the
following codes: core (C), operational (0), and generic (G). A
positive (+) sign after a constraint indicates that the project
was effectively coping with the identified constraint.3

Core Constraints (C)

C.1 Farmer Orientation
C.2 Farmer Participation
C.3 Locational Specificity of Technical and Human Factors
C.4 Problem-Solving Approach
C.5 Systems Orientation
C.6 Interdisciplinary Approach
C.7 Complementarity with Commodity and Discipline Research
C.8 Technology Testing in On-Farm Trials
C.9 Feedback to Shape:
a. Agricultural Research Priorities
b. Agricultural Policies

Operational Constraints (0)

0.1 Stakeholder Understanding of FSR/E
0.2 Agricultural Research Policy/Strategy Defining Role of FSR/E
0.3 Long-Term Commitment of Resources
0.4 Existing Research Capability and Shelf Technology
0.5 Consensus on FSR/E Methodology
0.6 Capability to Process Farming Systems Data
0.7 Consensus on Criteria for Evaluating FSR/E
0.8 Links with Extension
0.9 Links with Agri-Support Services
0.10 Links with Farmer Organizations

Generic Constraints (G)

G.1 Project Management Structure
G.2 Government Funding to Meet Recurrent Costs
G.3 Staffing with Trained Manpower
G.4 Management of Training
G.5 Management of Technical Assistance
G.6 Factors Beyond a Project's Control

3An analysis of these constraints in 12 FSR/E projects appears
in A Review of A.I.D. Experience with Farming Systems Research and
Extension Projects, A.I.D. Evaluation Special Study (forthcoming),
available from A.I.D.'s Document and Information Handling Facility
(per instructions on last page of this report).

Honduras/ARP Agricultural Research Project (522-0139)

Initial Authorization: 1978 (for 4 years)

Goal: "to increase the incomes and employment opportunities of
small traditional and agrarian reform farm families"

Purpose: "to help the Government of Honduras expand its
agricultural research service and make it more responsive to the
technological needs of small traditional and agrarian reform
farmers. The approach to be followed -- multidisciplinary farm-
based research -- is already underway on a small scale."

1. Multidisciplinary teams trained and work;,
2. Research stations providing support to multidisciplinary
3. Delivery of research results to farmers and extension
service; feedback to international research community;
4. Long-range research strategy and master regional plan;
public-private sector research coordinating mechanism.

Implementing Agency: National Agricultural Research Program
[Programa Nacional de Investigaciones Agricolas (PNIA)], Ministry
of Natural Resources. PNIA was later renamed the Department of
Agricultural Research [Departamento de Investigacion Agricola

TA Contractor: Consortium for International Development, with
New Mexico State University as lead university.

Evaluations: Three -- The first evaluation (A.I.D., 1980),
scheduled for November 1979, was not conducted until February
1980, 19 months after the Project began and approximately midway
through the anticipated LOP. The second evaluation (Beausoleil,
et al., 1981), an annual progress evaluation, was conducted 14
months later in April 1981. The third evaluation (Hansen, et
al., 1984) was conducted in January 1984, almost three years
after the second evaluation, one year after HARP's Contract TA
team arrived in Honduras, and six months before the PACD of July

Constraints: C.6, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, G.1, G.2, G.3, G.5.

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