Telephone: (904) 392-1965
Cable: CENTROP FSSP
Farming Systems Support Project
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
3028 McCarty Hall
Gainesville, Florida 32611
On Networking # 26
April 18, 1986
SIMIUS OF ESSP
Because of current reductions in funding for AID programs, particularly those funded by the
Science and Technology Bureau, you may wonder about the status of FSSP. Recent communication
with project management indicates that the project must be funded through June 1987 on monies
originally available for 1986. A small amount of funds will be granted in 1987 for the July
through Septenber period, when the first FSSP cooperative agreement is to close. This funding
reduction necessitates sane significant changes in FSSP programing.
The project and USAID/S&T have agreed, in discussions of the FSSP proposed work plan, to
emphasize two training courses in Africa (one in English and one in French), to continue and
complete the training unit development work in support of those courses, to continue support of
the Kansas State University Synposium/FSSP annual meetings, and to continue publication of the
newsletter and FSR/E bibliographies. Additional minor support activities have also been
jointly approved, but any major investments beyond this scope will not be possible.
Core operations have been reduced by placing two core staff on twenty-five percent salary,
and one person on fifty percent salary. Another is taking a job elsewhere this summer. This
reduction in core staff implies an obvious reduction in coordinating and servicing capability
frnm the core. Nevertheless, high potential ranains for the project, through mission and
bilateral contract buy-ins, with increased delivery coning frmn the support entity base. We do
not know how extensive the buy-in process will be. New contracting methods now approved will
facilitate more efficient and effective buy-in operations for missions and the FSSP. The
Advisory Council and the University of Florida are considering the possibility of diversifying
the overall support base of the FSSP beyond U.S.A.I.D. This caption will be discussed
thoroughly over the next few months and then presented to the support entity network for
consideration. A recent canvass of support entity leaders indicates a unanimous desire to
continue participation with the FSSP on the basis of existing Memorandum of Agreements and
previous collaborative arrangements.
Recent contacts with the international agricultural research centers (IARCs) indicate
significant potential collaboration between the FSSP support entity structure and the IARCs.
Mutual interest is in various communication activities (including the newsletter and
documentation program) and in the overall training efforts, with specific emphasis on the
training unit develcpnent and synthesis processes. As noted in the current FSSP newsletter,
the IARCs have re-emphasized the role of research with a farming systems perspective as an
important aspect of their programs and have agreed upon a general statement of intent.
Collaboration with the CRSP program is anticipated and desired to Eurther strengthen the
concept of research with a farming systems perspective within those programs and expand that
perspective to include important linkages with extension. To this end, discussions are
underway with the Bean and Cowpea CRSP relative to sane training.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYER
a. Training Major emphasis is devoted by core staff to training courses in West Africa.
VPI is assisting the FSSP by delivering a three week training course, April 7-25, in The Gambia
for English speaking participants from The Gambia and other West African countries. The course
includes one week devoted to general diagnostic methodologies and two weeks to on-farm trial
design and analysis methodologies. A French adaptation of the course will be offered in Mali,
probably in October or November, primarily for French-speaking participants from Mali,
Mauritania, Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso.
b. Training Materials The FSSP core is nearing distribution of the training Volumes I
(Diagnosis) and II (Design and Analysis of On-farm Research). These Volumes represent more
than eighteen months of work by many individuals from the university community, private firms,
IARCs and national agricultural research programs. The idea behind the volumes is to develop a
hands-on learning unit approach which contains functional guidelines and methodological
information for both trainers and trainees, in loose-leaf form, to which new experiences can be
added. The materials were specifically developed to be easily adapted for tailored situations
and presentations. These situations may be short courses, workshops, or various research
planning sessions. It is expected that the units themselves will serve as a synthesis and
collection point for new information and a means for conveying that information to other
training programs for adaptation and tailoring to the specific needs of those programs.
FSSP, in collaboration with the Population Council and the Ford Foundation, is also moving
toward publication of the eight case studies drawn from around the world on intra-household
dynamics and farming systems research and extension. These case studies will serve as a good
learning laboratory, with their experientially-oriented mechanisms for amplifying the volumes
of training units and the development of training interventions.
Both of these major training activities are important not only because of the material
products which have resulted from then, but also because of the the process that has led to the
development of these materials. Those involved in the entire effort have experienced solid
intercollegial and peer exchange and omnunication which strengthens the network of
practitioners in farming systems. Furthermore, the actual process of training unit and
case-study development is sanething that will be described to assist other programs in the
activity of developing training materials.
SUMMARY AND FUTURE DIRECIOINS
In summary, 1986 and 87 do not promise to be banner years for FSSP from the perspective of
USAID funding. However, this funding aspect, coupled with core staff reductions and resultant
decreased support ability in core, may be a blessing in disguise. As we have so often stated,
the FSSP is the support entity network. Now it is time to find out if this is true. To
address ourselves to this challenge we might ask, in our role as support entities, if
1) we will assist core staff in more support activities;
2) we will assist FSSP management to locate other sources of funds for beyond September,
1987 to assure continuity in collaborative FSR/E support of USAID missions, host
country programs, bilateral contractors, and IARCs.
3) we are willing to commit our support entity to a "tailored consortia" of
regionally-specialized support entities;
The above are just a few of the major issues the FSSP network faces in the near future.
FSSP core and the Advisory Council would certainly appreciate your opinions, suggestions, or
other input. Please relay them directly to Chris Andrew, Susan Poats, Dan Galt, Steve kearl,
Jin Jones, or Ken McDermott of the core, or to Jean kearns, Dale Harpstead, or Ned Raun of the
Advisory Council. We're counting on your advice and suggestions.