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Group Title: CDIE working paper ; no. 112
Title: ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073358/00001
 Material Information
Title: ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083)
Series Title: CDIE working paper
Alternate Title: Case studies of A.I.D. Farming Systems Research & Extension (FSRE) Projects, Case Study no. 12
Physical Description: 24 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: 1986?
Subject: Agricultural extension work -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Technology transfer -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Costa Rica
El Salvador
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaf 21).
Statement of Responsibility: Kerry J. Byrnes.
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073358
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 80738037

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    Annex A - Project description sheet
        Page 22
        Page 23
    How to order reports in this series
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Full Text



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

Case Study No. 12
ROCAP Snail Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083)'


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
Pro- cts (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.,

Senior 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.

ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems (596-0083)

The Small Farm Production Systems (SFPS) Project was
authorized, as a four year project, in 1979 for $7,403,000. The
SFPS Project was an initiative cf the USAID Regional Office for
Central American Programs (ROCAP). The Project Grant Agreement
with the project's implementing agency, the Tropical Agricultural
Research and Training Center (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica,
was signed in April 1979.

SFPS grew out of the predecessor ROCAP-funded Small-Farmer
Cropping Systems (SFCS) Project (596-0064) also implemented by
CATIE (Hobgood, et al., 1980). A distinct product of the SFCS
Project was the development of the initial steps of a farming
systems research (FSR) methodology. As a regional project, SFPS
provided support for FSR in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Panama, and for a time in Nicaragua.

The SFPS Project was evaluated three times--in 1981 (Mann,
et al., 1981), in 1982 (Warnken, et al., 1982), and in 1985
(Jones, 1985; and Zimet, et al., 1986).

The second evaluation, conducted in September 1982, recom-
mended that the project be extended to allow more time for CATIE
to carry out the animal production and mixed systems phases of
the project. The PP amendment of June 22, 1983, extended the
PACD from September 30, 1983, to June 30, 1985, and increased LOP
funding by $597,000, to bring the total grant to $8,000,000. The
project was later extended to September 30, 1985, to provide
additional time for CATIE to publish the research information
generated by the project.

Concept What was the basic technical idea underlying the

In June 1973, the Government of Costa Rica and the Inter-
american Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IICA) signed an
agreement to establish CATIE at Turrialba, Costa Rica. The agri-
cultural research station at Turrialba was originally established
by IICA in 1942. Between 1960 and 1973, research activities were
carried out by two predecessor organizations to CATIE--CEI from
1960 to 1969, and CTEI from 1970 to 1973.

The purpose of CATIE is to increase agricultural, livestock,
and forestry production and productivity, particularly among the
small farmers of Central America, with the goal of improving the
living standards of small farmers. The objectives of CATIE,
similar to those of the SFPS Project, are:

1. To promote research, in cooperation and coordination
with national institutions, toward development of
applicable, farm-level technologies adaptable to
producers' conditions.

2. To promote training at different levels, in coordina-
tion with national institutions, of technical personnel
in charge of research and technology transfer in these

3. To cooperate with national institutions in creation of
models to accelerate the process of technology transfer
aimed at increasing production and productivity at the
farm level.

CATIE has four major program areas--annual crops, animal produc-
tion, natural renewable resources, and perennial plants. Primary
attention in SFPS was given to annual crops and animal produc-
tion, both at Turrialba and within cooperating countries.

CATIE's first ROCAP-funded project, the Small-Farmer Crop-
ping Systems (SFCS) Project (596-0064), which operated through
fiscal years 1975-79, established the foundation for SFPS. The
SFCS Project sought to help small farmers develop more productive
and balanced cropping systems that would provide better nutrition
and food security for the family and yield a greater surplus for
higher family cash income.

The project strategy was to develop a cadre of agricultural
scientists at CATIE who would work with national agricultural
institutions throughout Central America to conduct collaborative
on-farm cropping systems research with small farmers.

The major deviation from earlier cropping research was to
concentrate on cropping systems rather than specializing in
mono-cropping.... Systems may include mono-cropping, inter-
cropping, rotations and relay cropping of adapted crops on
the same land within a production period. Another notable
change was to shift many projects from research stations to
the farmers' own fields (Mann, et al., 1981:34-35).

Alzc, SFCS sought to develop improved methodology, particularly a
systematic approach for adaptive, problem-oriented research to be
conducted on individual farms.

The design of the SFPS Project was influenced by the find-
ings of a 1980 evaluation of the SFCS Project (Hobgood, et al.,
1980). As summarized by Mann, et al. (1981:35-36), the 1980
evaluation of the SFCS Project found that:

1. The project had played a vital role in helping CATIE
transform itself from a traditional agricultural
research and graduate training institution, focused
primarily on mono-crop research, to one with a demon-
strated capacity for small farm systems research.

2. CATIE's cropping systems (CS) methodology could improve
multi-cropping technology for increasing small-farm

3. The CS methodology had helped to get researchers away
from the experiment station to on-farm settings where
they learned a great deal about small farmers and their
complex problems.

4. The project had enabled CATIE to contribute to a more
integrated approach to SFCS research in the region.

5. CS research had influenced the farming operations of
some of the 75 participating farmers but it was too
early to expect large-scale farmer adoption.

6. The project (with appropriate changes) would be both
replicable and sustainable, and could serve as a
powerful tool in helping small farmers.

The evaluation of the SFCS Project identified the following
"lessons learned" (Mann, et al., 1981:36-37):

1. To maximize potential impact on small farmers, cropping
systems projects should be designed to include the full
research cycle through verification and dissemination.

2. An interdisciplinary focus across all participating
disciplines is critical in the farming systems

3. Researchers must differentiate between doing research
on small farms and doing research with small farmers on
their farmers.

4. The CS methodology can be improved with greater atten-
tion to:

a. Use of more explicit and consistent criteria for
selecting farm households for on-farm trials;

b. More careful articulation of the relationship, if
any, of central station experiments to on-farm

c. More careful analysis of yield and income data
from on-farm experiments and their relationship to
base-line survey day; and

d. Non-agronomic elements, such as input constraints,
market analysis, and household and area labor
availabilities by seasons.

The SFPS Project's goal was to "improve the regional condi-
tions in which the rural poor will have increased outputs and
income from the land they work." The project purpose was to
"develop a continuing Central American capability to conduct and
convey to small farmers crop, animal, and mixed-farming produc-
tion systems research." Pursuant to this goal and purpose, the
PP provided that CATIE and national agricultural research insti-
tutions in Central America and Panama would undertake a program
of research that would:

1. Place priority on the special needs of small farmers;

2. Focus on the whole farm system of the small farmer and
the interrelationships among technology, service insti-
tutions, and economic, social, and cultural factors
affecting small farm agriculture;

3. Make extensive use of field testing on small farmer
plots to adapt basic research to local conditions; and

4. Place special emphasis on developing methodology for
dissemination of research results and recommendations
to other small farms in the vicinity and in other
similar areas of small farmer agriculture in Central
America and Panama.

Design How was this basic technical idea translated into a

The outputs that the SFPS Project was expected to achieve by
project conclusion in 1983 were specified in the project's
Logical Framework, as follows:

1. Methodology for development of crop, animal, and mixed
farming systems recommendations.

2. Crop, animal, and mixed farming system recommendations
for specific areas;

3. Baseline information and research results where small
farms are concentrated;

4. Extrapolation of methodology for transfer of CS

recommendations from one geographic area to another;

5. Recommendations for transfer of production system tech-
packs to small farmers;

6. Training through short courses and graduate training;

7. In-service training through direct participation in
field research; and

8. Institutional capacity to continue technical assistance
for production and transfer of recommendations.

To achieve these outputs, the SFPS Project provided funding
for project staff salaries, field operating expenses, and short-
term and M.S.-level training.

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

At the time of the first evaluation, ROCAP was providing
funding for a total of thirteen professional staff members who
worked full-time on the SFPS Project; seven were located at
Turrialba, while six were stationed as representatives in the six
cooperating countries. Additional professionals working full- or
part-time on the project were funded by other organizations (EEC,

1. Annual Crops

The objectives of the annual crops program were to refine a
cropping systems research methodology that could be adapted to
different kinds of areas within the cooperating countries; to
develop multiple cropping systems in the form of production
alternatives (tech-packs) that could be applied by small farmers
in their overall farming systems; to cooperate with animal
production scientists in developing alternative mixed farming
systems to combine crop and livestock enterprises into more
productive and profitable overall farming systems; and to develop
a methodology for transfer of validated production alternatives
to farms in a given area and for extrapolating these alternatives
into other similar areas.

The project staff developed a seven-step procedure for con-
ducting farming systems research (FSR): (1) area selection; (2)
characterization; (3) design of alternatives; (4) evaluation (on-
farm, researcher-managed trials of chosen tech-packs); (5) vali-
dation (farmer-managed trials); (6) diffusion (transfer or dis-
semination of an improved production alternative to other similar
farms in the area); and (7) continuation (monitoring performance
of a tech-pack over time and making needed adjustments as condi-
tions change).

The first evaluation noted that CATIE researchers primarily
viewed the sixth step (diffusion) as an extension function, and
were initiating plans to start training extension workers by get-
ting them involved in the validation stage. Proposals were also
being considered to add staff to CATIE to concentrate on devel-
oping and testing new, non-traditional diffusion techniques to
reach large numbers of farmers more quickly.

Generally, the project developed production alternatives by
carrying out on-farm research in the fields of farmers in each
country. This was carried out by a country resident employed by
CATIE. He or she worked with personnel of a cooperating country
institution. At times, CATIE hired local technicians to assist
in developing the in-country program, while CATIE staff provided
support in such areas as programming, training, conducting work-
shops, and solving problems which arose.

2. Animal Production

The objectives of the animal production program, which began
with the SFPS Project, were to assist small farmers in improving
productivity of their animal enterprises to provide better nutri-
tion for the farm family and to make a greater contribution to
the family's cash income. Further, the program sought to develop
production systems to make fuller use of available resources.

The project staff developed a six-step methodology for
carrying out animal production research. The six steps were:
(1) area selection; (2) characterize on (development of an area
profile through a diagnostic survey); (3) need identification;
(4) design research settingg up a module covering all phases of
the complete production unit); (5) implementation research (set-
ting up a trial at Turrialba); (6) adaptation and perfection
(setting up a research trial on a farm); and (7) on-farm tests (a
continuation of the production module test with the production
and managerial decisions made by the farmer). At the time of the
first evaluation, station- on farm-based work was underway with
cattle but station-based research was just getting started with
chickens, goats, pigs, and sheep.

3. Mixed Farming Systems

Mixed farming systems researchers seek "to orient their
research efforts and recommendations more in line with the task
small farmers always have faced how to put crop and livestock
enterprises together in a more productive and profitable way"
(Mann, et al., 1981:61). In 1981, CATIE staff had not yet con-
ceptualized research methodology for the mixed farming systems
program. Some researchers felt "that individual crop and live-
stock tech-packs are not sufficiently developed to permit explo-
ration of combinations especially for livestock enterprises for
which less time has been available for development (Mann, et al.,

4., Methodology

The third evaluation noted that the idea of validation and
transfer had been included in the PP but not in the original
Project Agreement (April 1979). That agreement identified the
need to develop an effective method to transfer research results
to producers. However,

CATIE equivocated somewhat here, arguing with ROCAP that
they were a research institution and had neither the
expertise nor the resources to pursue the matter adequately.
But ROCAP pressure mounted, and in 1982 a fifth stage--
Validation and Transfer--was added to the CATIE systems
research methodology, and CATIE hurriedly began to validate
some of the technological alternatives developed earlier
(Jones, 1985:4).

This was formalized in Project Agreement Amendment 3 (May 11,
1982). As generally understood, Validation and Transfer is a
composite step, with validation being the final step in research
and transfer the first step in extension. However, the "joining
of the two as a single action as well as the late addition of V/T
to the project (even considering the extended termination date of
30 June, 3985), added much confusion to a difficult situation"
(Zimet, et al., 1986:4).

Two problems made the situation difficult. First, the close
relationship between research and extension required for FSR/E
was generally lacking at the country level. Second, CATIE's
relationship in the field with national research institutions was
often weak, while that with extension was generally lacking. The
SCATIE-national research institution link was weak due to the lack
of resources on the part of national institutions. Since CATIE
usually worked through the national research institution, the
CATIE-national extension link was strong only when the national
research-extension link was strong.

While data collection was an important element in SFPS, the
third evaluation felt that the project had collected more data
than could be analyzed and used. For example, the characteriza-
tion document required by the Project Agreement, was dated 1984,
several years after the CATIE field technician had departed the
area (Zimet, et al., 1986:24). Another example:

At most project sites the [evaluation] team inquired as to
documents received from CATIE that could be considered use-
ful for feedback into...research.... In no instance were
such documents available (Zimet, et al., 1986:24).

The team concluded that the large amount of data collected had
slowed down analysis, indeed had made analysis "too slow to
perform the important FSR feed-back function" (Zimet, et al.,

Evaluation How was the project's performance measured or

By the time of the first evaluation, crops research at
Turrialba was being done on a cropping systems basis. Further,
the evaluation found that small farmer participation in the on-
farm component of :he SFPS Project had been good.

No work is done at Turrialba on testing and validating
production alternatives (tech-packs). The farming system
trills, tests, and validations of tech-packs are all
conducted with small farmers on their farms in the
cooperating countries (Mann, et al., 1981:44).

On several small farm operations observed by the first evalua-
tion, CATIE-generated technology improvements had been applied
successfully. However, the evaluation reported that: "Inability
to accommodate all farmers who desire to cooperate has been the
primary constraints, rather than the reverse" (Mann, et al.,

The first evaluation (Mann, et al., 1981) organized its
findings in terms of annual crops, animal production, and mixed
farming systems.

1. Annual Crops

Much of CATIZ's cropping systems (CS) research program under
the SFPS Project was reoriented to a systems approach involving
various CS forms (mono-cropping, inter-cropping, relayed crop-
ping, and rotations). The CS methodology, the first evaluation
found, seemed "logically conceived, systematically formulated,
and quite workable with farmers under field conditions" (Mann, et
al., 1981:50). The evaluation also found that CATIE staff seemed
"to have accepted the new approaches in an enthusiastic manner
and conveyed this to country representatives" (Mann, et al.,
1981:41). Further evidence of a reorientation was seen in the
restructuring of educational and training curricula "to embrace
the philosophy and methodology of the systems approach" (Mann, et
al., 1981:41). Most important, the evaluation added, was "the
experience gained in working with farmers on their farms in
applied crops research" (Mann, et al., 1981:41).

The evaluation noted that SFPS staff had found the question
of developing a technology transfer methodology (for diffusion
within an area and extrapolation to other geographic areas) to be
very troublesome. According to the evaluation, CATIE staff

confidence in their innovative ability to conceptualize,
evaluate, and validate the "non-traditional transfer tech-
niques" specified in the Project Paper -- a task which seems
far beyond their realm of experience and highly specialized
technical training in agronomy and related fields. They
feel that the necessary "tooling up" for them to attempt
this assignment without professional help from trained
transference -rsonnel would be a very inefficient use of
their time ana would divert and dilute their efforts in
their primary responsibilities for developing the required
tech-packs...(Mann, et al., 1981:50-51).

But the evaluation noted that the project had already initiated
"a very sound approach for diffusion of information within a
project area" by training area extension workers to help in
collecting data from cooperating farmers and in assisting in the
analysis and interpretation of results. "This probably is by far
the most effective way to train and motivate local extension
workers to understand and help disseminate the new technologies
to other farmers in the area" (Mann, et al., 1981:51).

Also troubling SFPS staff was the project's requirement for
developing tech-packs for mixed farming systems. On this point,
while the project design called for a specific number of tech-
nology packages to be developed, the evaluation noted that

the project's success depends primarily upon successfully
achieving other outputs -- development of methodologies,
institutionalization of the methodologies, and training of
country personnel -- rather than on development of tech-
nology alone (Mann, et al., 1981:8).

There were also administrative problems. SFPS staff found
that the time requirement for submitting annual work plans (in
preliminary form by November 30), was problematic.

First, since harvesting and evaluation of the current year's
crops are not yet completed, data are not available to guide
next year's planning. In addition, December is a difficult
time to get material assembled since many co-workers...
arrange vacations and observe holiday during this period.
Finally, in-country annual plans are not prepared until the
January/February period, making it difficult for CATIE
Country Representatives to coordinate their planning with
that of national institutions (Mann, et al., 1981:52).

2. Animal Production

At the time of the first evaluation, research on animal
production had been underway a relatively short period of time
compared with the history of annual crops research at CATIE. But
the evaluation team reported that it had been "impressed" by the
competence of the animal production staff members and "their
enthusiasm for the systems approach."

3. Mixed Farming Systems

Because this area of research had not yet been conceptu-
alized at the time of the first evaluation, the evaluation team
suggested that the project initiate a pilot "laboratory-like
workshop" in a convenient location with a selected cooperator

Crop and animal technicians would visit the farmer as a
group and conceptualize two or more crop-livestock combi-
nationls] which seem workable to them and to the cooperating
farmer. This may involve combinations of "proven crop and
livestock tech-packs," if available. If not, enterprise
selections and combinations would be made on the basis of
collective best judgements of the entire group and the
farmer surely better than the farmer could do alone. The
resulting mixed system would be treated as an on-going case
study with complete records of performance being kept from
year to year (Mann, et al., 1981:62).

4. Complete Family Farming Systems Research Approach

The first evaluation noted that this activity had received
little consideration by project staff. The PP had outlined this
activity as follows:

Using the experience gained to date, CATIE will expand its
research efforts to incorporate a wider farming systems
approach, i.e., a complex interdependent association of
plants, animals, soils, labor, tools, and other inputs, all
influenced by the ecological and socio-economic environment,
and predominantly dependent upon the farmer's knowledge,
ambitions, and abilities. ...thus, effective technological
alternatives must be designed within the conceptual frame-
work of a small farm, tested on-site and under the farmer's
management, and evaluated in terms of appropriateness to the
farmer's existing system, ease of understanding and adoption
and increased income and employment generation.

Farming systems methodology is a procedure for constructing
area-specific farming systems recommendations. The
prop~;ed project expands this (the project 596-0064) method-
ology to include a complete farming research approach, i.e.,
take into account the physical environment, the socio-
economic conditions, and the design of appropriate alter-
native sub-systems (including crops, animals, and mixed
farming) (cited in Mann, et al., 1981:63).

To address the challenge of this project requirement, the
evaluation team recommended that the SFPS consider initiating a
pilot study to introduce a

complete farming systems approach in 1981 so that it may
evolve concurrently with other phases of the project over
the next three years. This would involve a selection of a
typical farm in a selected area, conveniently located, which
could be used as a "practice farm" for staff orientation and
involvement.... With the cooperation of the selected
farmer, and local professional staff, this might be
continued as an on-going experimental pilot study. Records
would be kept of both production and economic performance as
the system evolved over time (Mann, et al., 1981:64-65).

The evaluation cited, as an example, the methodology that had
been conceived and evolved in Missouri over a period of many
years as the basis of a state-wide extension program.

However, the evaluation observed that the success of some of
the farm operations developed by the project seemed

to depend heavily upon considerably more than application of
the technology introduced. They required intensive assist-
ance by CATIE and/or national institution personnel in
obtaining credit (or directly providing resources), locating
and installing inputs, generating markets, etc. This
emphasizes the fact that improved technology is a necessary,
but far from sufficient, ingredient to transform the income
and condition of the small farmer (Mann, et al. 1981:2-3).

The team noted that improvements in the small farm system will
not likely take place on more than a few farms unless there are
complementary activities to provide small farmers access to input
and output markets, credit and continuing technical assistance.

The second evaluation of SFPS (Warnken, et al., 1982) found
the project to be capably managed, with a potential for signi-
ficant impact on the welfare of small farmers. Participating
national programs were using the farm-based methodology developed
by CATIE. However, development of the mixed systems (crop-
animal) methodology was just getting underway, while alternative
technology transfer methodologies still had not been identified,
developed, or tested. Further, project outreach via national
extension services was very limited. As a result, technologies
already available under the project had not been transmitted
beyond the limited number of farmers cooperating closely in the
implementation of the project's on-farm research.

Overall, SFPS had continued to improve CATIE's capability to
do research in farming systems and to advise and assist national
agencies. While training of national personnel in FSR by CATIE
had exceeded intended project outputs, institutional capability
to support SFPS at the national level continued to suffer due to
personnel turnovers, fluctuating financial resources, and program
content modifications. However, CATIE had come to be recognized
as one of the leading institutions in FSR.

To allow time for the completion of the project's planned
outputs, the second evaluation recommended that the SFPS Project
be extended by two years, and that the project incorporate a
strong extension and communication component to better ensure the
utilization of the project's findings.

The third SFPS evaluation, conducted in September 1985, by
the University of Florida/Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP)
(Zimet, 1985), found that SFPS had been a success in achieving
its purpose (i.e., to develop a continuing Central American
capability to conduct and convey to small farmers crop, animal,
and mixed farming production systems research). Overall, the
evaluation found that project outputs had generally been met or
exceeded, and that the project had contributed, in a major way,
to positively modifying collaborating institutions' approach to
conducting agricultural research and demonstrations.

On the other hand, the evaluation team questioned aspects of
CATIE's FSR methodology, particularly its emphasis on developing
complete technological packages vs improving single components of
production systems. The PES (A.I.D., 1986) noted that CATIE dis-
agreed with the team's conclusions concerning FSR methodology.
These dealt mainly with differences in FSR methodology between
the FSSP and CATIE, and the degree to which CATIE should
coordinate and conduct field research in cooperating countries.

For example, in the case of crops, the evaluation noted the
following pattern in CATIE's on-farm trials. "The trials were
managed by researchers and the inputs were furnished." Further,
"more field management was given by CATIE staff than should be
done at the validation stage" (Zimet, et al., 1986:42). Further,
the evaluation noted that there were instances where CATIE
performed validation when research was not really complete.

It did so in order to confirm with the obligation to vali-
date "tech packs." .. The [evaluation] team believes
that validation should test the acceptability (by the pro-
ducer) cf the technology... This cannot be accomplished if
the field team is involved in the management of the produc-
tion-site or if inputs are supplied to the farmer. Thus, we
believe that CATIE validated the technical efficiency of the
technology...and did not attain the goal of validation
(Zimet, et al., 1986:41)

CATIE acknowledged that too much emphasis and time had been
spent on collecting data and preparing reports that characterized
farming systems in detail. However, CATIE strongly felt that the
evaluation team had been unfair in faulting CATIE's approach to
validation of technology. While CATIE recognized the importance
of the team's definition of validation (testing a technology's
acceptability by a farmer), CATIE saw validation as a further
stage of research than CATIE was trying to accomplish under the
project (A.I.D., 1985). In response to this, the evaluation team
stated the team's belief

that a good part of the [CATIE] effort was misspent because
the validation was generally of the technology not of the
acceptability of the technology. (The result of doing the
former is a reduced frequency of adoption by producers).
What the team (as well as most practitioners) believes to be
the correct definition would have been applied had either
CATIE or ROCAP been better versed in FSR/E techniques. It
is thought that ROCAP should have supported CATIE staff so
that they could have attended and participated in inter-
national FSR/E symposia. Such contact with other practi-
tioners would have helped to increase the awareness of more
recent thinking than that which was used to define valida-
tion under the project amendment (Zimet, et al., 1986:126).

The third evaluation also noted that CATIE nad not addressed

critical issues in the transfer phase of the technology develop-
ment and transfer process. Specifically, CATIE did not address
the issue of leveraging change in key agri-support systems. In
the case of annual crops, "there was no parallel planning of
commercial stocks of -.eeds of new crops and/or varieties. This
led to some delays in the early acceptance of technologies tested
that depended on this input" (Zimet, et al., 1986:42).

Overall, the evaluation concluded that transfer (dissemina-
tion of the new technology), an extension exercise, needs to have
strong links with research and other agri-support entities such
as credit institutions. The evaluation cited two examples from
Comayagua, Honduras that displayed the importance of overcoming
the credit constraint of a new technology.

the maiza program has had little success and a poor
prognosis for wide-spread adoption of the new technology
that was developed. In comparison, the rice program has
been relatively successful and has a good prognosis for
wide-spread adoption. In the case of maize, farmers have
adopted the variety and planting density aspects of the
recommended package. The aspects of fertilizer and other
chemical inputs have not been adopted. Lack of financial
resources to pay for the chemicals was the reason given for
the extremely limited adoption of the entire package. .
In the case of rice, the recommended technology was little
different from that commonly used. The recommendations were
those of timing of insecticide and fertilizer application
and of fertilizer composition. Costs of production associ-
ated with the recommendation are only slightly greater than
those of the common practice (Zimet, et al., 1986:44-45).

This comparison illustrates that transfer will depend on limiting
the costs of the new technology or ensuring that farmers have
access to the capital required to finance the increased costs of
the technology.

The third evaluation also expressed reservations about the
project's emphasis on characterization and extrapolation.

Characterization -- The technique of characterizing the
farmer clientele at project sites in each participating country
"was observed religiously at the outset of each country project"
(Zimet, et al., 1986:59). The evaluation noted that it was not
clear "precisely what were the objectives to be achieved and how
they were to be reached" (Zimet, et al., 1986:59). Additional
observations concerning characterization, "tech packs," and
extrapolation were as follows:

There was limited multidisciplinary involvement of host
country and CATIE personnel during the survey process.

The survey instrument required too much time to
complete (up to four hours per respondent in Panama)
and precluded or limited the farmer from providing his
perspective on his problems.

Survey data were sent to Turrialba for analysis instead
of being analyzed on site as a cooperative effort
between host country and CATIE personnel; further, the
data were not analyzed in their entirety.

The evaluation of prospective farmer participants did
not include a social perspective, which could have
influenced the final research orientation.

"The imposition of extrapolated, preconceived models on
a particular clientele group, particularly without
social science input, following an expensive charac-
terization seems contradictory to the ideas supporting
a characterization" (Zimet, et al., 1986:59).

"Tech Packs" -- The evaluation noted the appealing nature of
the technology package concept and that this concept has been
used for many years, particularly in supervised credit programs.
But such technology packages have not been frequently successful.
Indeed, because of their new management requirements, technology
packages often have been too complicated or different from common
practice to be applied without outside supervision. Or they may
require more capital than the farmer has available os is willing
to use.

The evaluation noted that the project had developed "tech
packs." However, the evaluation found that the more successful
"tech packs" were

those that were only slightly different from common prac-
tice. They were based...on specific changes of specific
components. This supports our view as to the importance of
component research. Not only will the time requirement for
research be cut but also acceptability would be increased
with changes based upon a small number (2-4) [of] component
changes as opposed to a completely new package (Zimet, et
al., 1986:60).

Extrapolation -- SFPS designed and implemented a "very
intensive and sophisticated approach" (Zimet, et al., 1986:57) to
test a corn-sorghum association in Guatemala, El Salvador,
Honduras, and Nicaragua during 1981-84. This activity was
directed at developing one of the project's expected outputs, a
"methodology for extrapolating...cropping systems research from
area to similar area...." Empirical models and natural resource
inventories provided the basis for extrapolation.

However, the third evaluation doubted the usefulness of

extrapolation to the small farmer. The evaluation cited four
reasons why extrapolation is not to be recommended as a step in
FSR/E. Most notably, CATIE's approach to extrapolation (i.e.,
dependent on top-down criteria) was inconsistent with the farming
systems approach and did not consider farmer participation in the
local research and validation process. Further, the extrapola-
tion models used considered only biophysical factors and not
socio-economic conditions that influence the small farmer's
decision making. The evaluation also noted that there was little
reliable agro-climatic information in the region that could
justify the extrapolation concept. Finally, the extrapolation
approach developed by CATIE was very costly. The evaluation team
felt that: "The effort and cost involved in the characterization
of homologous areas and the permanent research required for every
set of commodities can better be used to solve priority problems
in each region" (Zimet, et al., 1986:58).

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

In all countries visited (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,
and Nicaragua) by the first evaluation team, there was a high
level of interest in SFPS. This interest, however, had not yet
been translated into adequate budget and personnel resource
commitments. In Costa Rica, for example, the evaluation noted
that there was "little or no integration" of CATIE' SFPS activi-
ties with potential Costa Rican cooperating institutions. "Until
this happens the impact of the SFPS project in Costa Rica will be
limited" (Mann, et al., 1981:97). In the case of Guatemala, the
evaluation noted that, "if it were not for SFPS project funds
being made available for fuel purchases, the level of farm trials
and tests in the area would be severely curtailed" (Mann, et al.,
1981:104). Further, the evaluation team concluded that: "The
greatest constraint to expanding the work to new areas seems to
be the lack of adequate financial support for ICTA by the
national government" (Mann, et al., 1981:104).

In the area of training, tne first evaluation concurred with
CATIE's recognition of the need for continuous and repetitive
training for personnel of national institutions because of rapid
turnover. Here the evaluation expressed the concern that:

Despite the fact that CATIE has done a good job training...,
...there will not be sufficient numbers of adequately
trained country institution personnel to carry on a viable
program beyond termination of the CATIE/ROCAP project (Mann,
et al., 1981:15).

However, by the time of the third evaluation in 1985, the SFPS
Project had provided training to over 1,500 participants in a
variety of short courses and workshops compared to the design
requirement of 1,000 participants. A total of 19 (as compared
with a design requirement of 11) Central Americans received M.S.
degrees in areas related to FSR/E. "Overall," the evaluation
concluded, "training was the most successful aspect" of the
[SFPS1 program" (Zimet, et al., 1986:45-46).

Further, a picture had begun to emerge of the impact of the
SFPS Project on the institutionalization of FSR/E in the parti-
cipating countries.

Costa Rica -- Shortly before the project's field activities
ceased in June 1985, the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) was being
reorganized with funding assistance of a BID project. A new
organization, Programa de Incremento de la Productividad Agricola
(PIPA) was to establish a close working relationship between
research and extension. FSR methodology was not operational in
the MAG at the time SFPS ended but a number of MAG personnel had
worked with or been trained by SFPS. The third evaluation team
felt that trained personnel were available to implement FSR/E "if
and when they are given the mandate to do so" (Zimet, et al.,
1986:14). However, while these persons were making at a strong
input, at the time of the third evaluation, in the formation of
the organizational plan and methodology of PIPA, the evaluation
noted that "methodological errors inherent to the CATIE program"
were being incorporated into the new research and extension
program (Zimet, et al., 1986:54).

El Salvador -- Crop research and extension are combined
under CENTA, an autonomous entity of the Ministry of Agriculture
(MAG). "Creation of a Department of Production Systems for Small
Farmers within the Crop Research Division of CENTA is one of the
strongest indications of CENTA's commitment to FSR/E" (Zimet, et
al., 1986:15). Further, the third evaluation noted that "CENTA
has accepted the farming systems metthdology.... Under CENTA the
future of farming systems seems bright. No such statement can be
made for animal production" (Zimet, et al., 1986:3).

Guatemala -- Agricultural research is coordinated by the
Agricultural Science and Technology Institute (ICTA). During the
life of SFPS, there was much friction between ICTA and CATIE.
"ICTA's position was that there was no reason to seek crop or
farming systems research assistance from CATIE when they had
their own research methodology" (Zimet, et al., 1986:15). As a
result, CATIE's FSR program was limited to cattle. However,
since FSR/E had already been established in Guatemala by ICTA,
the evaluation felt that the "prognosis for the continuation of
farming systems work in Guatemala is excellent" (Zimet, et al.,

Honduras -- The Natural Resources Secretariat (SRN) func-

tions as the ministry of agriculture. Crop research and exten-
sion are separated from that for livestock. SFPS operated in the
Comayagua Valley. "If resources are forthcoming the farming
systems methodology will probably spread in Honduras as regards
crop production. It is...less likely...that such will occur in
the area of livestock production" (Zimet, et al., 1986:4).

Panama -- The Agricultural Research Institute (IDIAP), an
autonomous institute of the Ministry of Agricultural Development
(MIDA), conducts crop and livestock research. The National Agri-
cultural Extension Service (SENEAGRO), also in MIDA, is respon-
sible for extension. Noting that there was a poor relationship
between IDIAP and SENEAGRO, the third evaluation thought that
FSR/E "can be conducted successfully under the present organiza-
tion of IDIAP. If IDIAP can expand its staff or if the IDIAP-
SENEAGRO relationship were improved the prognosis for farming
systems research in Panama would be excellent" (Zimet, et al.,

CATIE -- CATIE is funded along project lines; thus, there
are many staff members who are not permanent and CATIE may lose,
from one project to the next, personnel who gained experience on
an earlier project. Thus, "our prognosis for continued FSR/E
work at CATIE is pessimistic unless the training and staffing
recommendations we present are followed" (Zimet, et al., 1986:5-

On this latter point, the third evaluation offered the
following elaboration:

CATIE operates on a project-by-project basis. Thus, even
though some personnel that worked under the FSR project are
presently working on other CATIE projects, such as Inte-
grated Pest Management (IPM), they are not applying the FSR
methodology. This is particularly distressing in several
cases where the team believes that the FS approach would
enhance the other projects. Given this situation...,
it is not possible for the team to state that the project
has enhanced the ability of CATIE to carry out FSR on a
continuing basis. it has been able to do so only partially
under the specific case of the SFPS project (Zimet, et al.,

It is interesting to note that the evaluation team found that by
the time the team had started its evaluation, most SFPS personnel
"were already employed elsewhere" (Zimet, et al., 1986:19).

The third evaluation noted several "lessons learned" by SFPS
Project experience. These were:

1. Developing and maintaining effective collaboration
among various departments in an institution requires
considerable time and effort, is influenced heavily by
personalities and leadership skills, and cannot be
taken for granted.

2. Effective farming systems research requires a signi-
ficant degree of collaboration among national research,
national extension agencies, and farmers. This collab-
oration should be evident in the types of training and
research conducted, in the types of publications pro-
duced, and in the continuity of activities.

3. Farming systems research is a concept rather than a
project; once the concept is recognized for its merits,
the problem is to systematically include the concept in
a broader range of research, extension, and development

Yet the third evaluation noted, in its Executive Summary

The concepts of farming systems research have changed over
time. It must be remembered that farming systems
concepts at large and at CATIE are still evolving. The
search for a paradigm has been intense and changes have been
rapid (Zimet, et al., 1986:6).

In this area, the evaluation felt that CATIE staff had become
"isolated from developments in FSR/E" (Zimet, et al., 1986:6).
For example, looking back on the project's work with "tech-packs"
and "modules," the evaluation recommended that CATIE's research
program place greater emphasis on technology components to
provide a basis for making recommendations to farmers on
technology alternatives that farmers could incorporate according
to their needs and capacities.

Yet, despite differences of opinion in regard to method-
ologies used, the third evaluation concluded that CATIE's SFPS
Project had a "positive influence" on initiating "the practice of
working on-farm" in the participating countries. In most cases,

this had not been done previously to any great extent.
Because of the effort that was made by CATIE, the countries
that participated in the CATIE-ROCAP farming systems project
are now better able to run their national farming systems
research and extension projects] (Zimet, et al., 1986:6).

However, looking back on constraints to project implementa-
tion, the third evaluation found that SFPS effectively supported
the national-level field teams. Because of the funding provided
by the project, these teams had

adequate resources at their disposal to conduct experiment
station and on-farm research. Their transport as well as
the production inputs required for the research [were]
supplied by the project. Thus the project did enable CATIE
to conduct a Farming Systems Research Project (Zimet, et
al., 1986:20).

But the evaluation voiced concern that the funding may have been
"too generous because national institutions did not develop means
to continue the research" (Zimet, et al., 1986:20). Indeed, the
third evaluation reported that only about 40% of the SFPS sites
were presently involved in FSR/E. While representatives of
national institutions expressed that they would like to expand
FSR/E to include other geographic areas, "all that was lacking
were funds to do so" (Zimet, et al., 1986:25),.

In the case of CATIE, the third evaluation recommended that

Discontinue farming systems "as a project" but that
farming systems components "be incorporated into other
projects" (Zimet, et al., 1986:6) via training and
utilization of farming systems methodology;

SRetain core research staff competent to supply FSR/E
support to CATIE projects as well as national level
FSR/E projects;

Develop a strategy to provide FSR/E training to CATIE
staff working on other projects; and

Include farming systems in the Center's academic

Other CATIE projects in which the FSR/E approach could be incor-
porated included IPM, watershed management, and fuelwood. "Many
of the specific problems in these areas are farm production or
farm family consumption problems which should be studied from the
point of view of the farm family in order to be resolved" (Zimet,
et al., 1986:25-26).

In conclusion, at the time of the third evaluation, the
evaluation team felt that CATIE had the capability to respond to
national-level requests for information and technical assistance
on FSR.

The future, unfortunately, is uncertain. The team does not
feel confident that this capability will remain with CATIE.
The critical staff could leave upon termination of current
CATIE responsibilities for the SFPS project (Zimet, et al.,

1983 Project Evaluation Summary (PES) of Second Evaluation
of Small Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083).

1986 Project Evaluation Summary (PES) of Third Evaluation of
Small Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083).

Hobgood, Harlan H., Rufo Bazan, Rollo Ehrich, Francisco Escobar,
Twig Johnson, and Marc Lindenberg
1980 Central America: Small-Farmer Cropping Systems, A.I.D
Project Impact Evaluation Report No. 14, Washington,
D.C.: Agency for International Development.

Jones, James C.
1985 Farming Systems Research and Extension in CATIE: 1975-
1985. Notes and Observations. A report prepared for
the Centro Agron6mico Tropical de Investigaci6n y

Mann, Fred L., Donald Esslinger, Albert R. Hagan, and Harry C.
1981 Central America--Evaluation of Projects: Small Farm
Production Systems (SFPS) and Agricultural Research and
Information System (PIADIC) (596-0083 and 596-0048).

Warnken, Philip F., Ervin Bullard, Neil C. Fine, and Robert A.
1982 Evaluation of Small Farm Production Systems Project

Zimet, David, Joseph Conrad, Edwin C. French III, and Federico
1986 Evaluation Report on CATIE Small Farm Production
Systems (596-0083). (PD-AAT-736)

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

-An 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).

ROCAP/SFPS Small Farm Production Systems (596-0083)

Initial Authorization: 1979 (for 4 years)

Goal: To "improve the regional conditions in which the rural poor
will have increased outputs and income from the land they work"

Purpose: To "develop a continuing Central American capability to
conduct and convey to small farmers crop, animal, and mixed-farming
production systems research"

1. Methodology for development of crop, animal, and mixed farming
systems recommendations;
2. Crop, animal, and mixed farming systems recommendations for
specific areas;
3. Baseline information and research results where small farms are
4. Extrapolation of methodology for transfer of cropping systems
recommendations from one geographic area to another;
5. Recommendations for transfer of production systems tech-packs
to small farmers;
6. Formal training through short courses and graduate training;
7. In-service training through direct participation in field
research; and
8. Institutional capacity to continue technical assistance for
production and transfer of recommendations.

Implementing Agency: Tropical Agricultural Research and Training
Center (CATIE).

TA Contractor: Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Center

Evaluations: Three -- in 1981 (Mann, et al., 1981); in 1982
(A.I.D., 1983); and in 1985 (Jones, 1985; and Zimet, et al., 1986).

Constraints: C.2, C.2 (+), C.4, C.5, C.8, C.9, 0.2, 0.2 (+), 0.5,
0.8, 0.9, G.2, G.3.


This CDIE Working Paper is a case study that was 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). A total of 13 case
studies were prepared. These may be ordered from the A.I.D.
Document and Information Handling Facility, 7222 47th Street, Suite
100, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Telephone: (301) 951-9647. Please
request CDIE Working Paper No. 112, followed by the required Case
Study No. and PN number.

Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement Project (633-0221),
CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 1. (PN-ABC-073)

Gambia Mixed Farming and Resource Management Project (635-0203),
CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 2. (PN-ABC-074)

Lesotho Farming Systems Research Project (632-0065), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 3. (PN-ABC-075)

Malawi Agricultural Research Project (612-0202), CDIE Working Paper
No. 112--Case Study No. 4. (PN-ABC-076)

Senegal Agricultural Research and Planning Project (685-0223), CDIE
Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 5. (PN-ABC-077)

Tanzania Farming Systems Research Project (621-0156), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 6. (PN-ABC-078)

Zambia Agricultural Development Research & Extension Project (611-
0201), CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 7. (PN-ABC-079)

Nepal Agricultural Research and Production Project (367-0149), CDIE
Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 8. (PN-ABC-080).

Philippines Farming Systems Development Project-Eastern Visayas
(492-0356), CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 9. (PN-ABC-

Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutritional Improvement Project
(520-0232), CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 10. (PN-ABC-

Honduras Agricultural Research Project (522-0139), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 11. (PN-ABC-083)

ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 12. (PN-ABC-084)

Vignettes of Core, Operational, and Generic Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded Farming Systems Research and Extension Projects, CDIE
Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 13. (PN-ABC-127)

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