Group Title: CIMMYT today - International Maize and Wheat Imprivement Center ; no. 1
Title: Cimmyt economics
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080070/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cimmyt economics economics program
Series Title: Cimmyt today
Physical Description: 15 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Centro Internacional de mejoramiento de maíz y trigo
Place of Publication: Mexico
Publication Date: 1981
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080070
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 65606884
clc - 000151731
issn - 0304-5447 ;

Table of Contents
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Full Text

Scientists who see farmers as their primary clients and begin their research activities with a good understanding of farmer
circumstances are experiencing greater success in their efforts to transfer improved technology to farmers.

This issue of CIMMYT TODA Y explores the efforts of our economists to assist
national collaborators to develop and transfer improved technology for maize, wheat,
barley and triticale in the developing world.

Millions of developing country farmers took
up new higher yielding technologies in the late
1960s and early 1970s. Those farmers who found
things 'right' moved quickly to adopt new recom-
mendations of researchers and extension workers.
At the same time, other millions of farmers did not
change their production practices. These differences

in the reaction of farmers to new technology gave
added meaning to the importance of getting things
'right' in agricultural recommendations.
In their efforts to foster the development and
diffusion of improved agricultural technology,
biological scientists are increasingly complemented
in their work by agricultural economists. At

CIMMYT and at other agricultural research institu-
tions economists have become partners in pro-
duction-oriented research activities. This CIMMYT
TODAY describes the major activities of CIMMYT's
economists in this partnership.


In an earlier day many agricultural researchers,
extension agents, and policy makers regarded the
farmers of developing countries as so bound by
tradition or culture that they would reject new
technology even if it promised material benefits.
That view, of course, no longer prevails. But what
does influence the farmer as he chooses among
alternative technologies?
In 1972 the CIMMYT Economics Program
initiated a series of studies to identify the factors
influencing the adoption of new technologies. The
studies were planned to include both wheat- and
maize-growing regions, irrigated and rainfed areas,
and many kinds of farmers.
In each study area there were at least 100,000
hectares for which a new technology had been

recommended-a combination of improved seed,
cultural practices, and fertilizer. Moreover, in each
region the technology had been available for at
least five years, long enough for farmers to make
decisions regarding adoption.
Adoption studies on maize were undertaken
in El Salvador, Colombia, Kenya, and Mexico.
Wheat studies were done in India, Turkey, and
Tunisia. Adoption decisions were found to be
largely explained by the biological and economic
circumstances of farmers (see box: The Kenyan
Adoption Study). While farmers are sensitive and
responsive to a large number of complex, inter-
related factors, their decisions among alternative
technologies seem to be most influenced by
biological and economic considerations.
These studies convinced CIMMYT economists
that if agroclimatic regions and the circumstances
of farmers within these regions could be systemati-
cally identified and integrated into research, the
chances of developing suitable production tephnol-
ogies could be greatly enhanced. Moreover, exten-
sion programs could be strengthened and govern-
ments could better fit research to national priorities.


A study in Kenya (undertaken by John
Gerhart in 1973-74) focused on the adoption of
hybrid maize varieties and complementary
practices in an area west of the Rift Valley. The
hybrids, incorporating genes from the high-
altitude Andean region of South America,
were selected for adaptation to local conditions
at an experiment station in an area of high
elevation and good rainfall.
The study showed that by 1973 the hybrids
had been generally adopted by large and small
farmers in regions with similar agroclimatic
conditions as the experiment station where they
were bred (see table 1). However, in one region
of lower elevation, which gave these hybrids less
advantage over the local maize, only 35 per cent
of the farmers had tried the improved varieties;
only 16 per cent were still using them.

The study noted that:
"Agroclimatic zone was found to be by far
the most important variable in explaining

adoption within the farmer sample taken as a
whole. Location of the farm in a high rather
than a low rainfall/altitude zone increased the
likelihood of adoption by an otherwise 'average'
farmer from 18 to 87 per cent."
Of perhaps even greater significance, it
became clearthat farmers rarely adopted complete
technological packages. As farmers moved
towards their individual production strategies,
differences in circumstances led to great varia-
bility in input use. Precise recommendations
had limited general applicability. While adoption
rates of complete technological packages ap-
peared low, farmers did tend to select appropriate
elements of the packages and to adopt, in effect,
an intermediate set of practices.

The Kenya Adoption study concluded:
"Small-scale as well as large-scale farmers in
the high potential areas of western Kenya, and
more recently in central Kenya as well, have
adopted hybrid maize technology at rates as fast

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The experience of CIMMYT scientists in Bangladesh and around the world has been that where improved varieties and
recommended technologies offer a clear economic advantage to farmers, they move quickly to adopt them.
r a p
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or faster than American farmers did in the
1930s and 1940s. No evidence has been
found that traditionalism, custom,or conservatism
hindered the adoption of a profitable innovation.

Even in those areas where adoption levels were
low, historical and survey data indicate thatthis
had been a conscious process of non-adoption
rather than 'laggard' traditionalism."

Table 1. Per Cent of Farmers Using Recommended Maize Technology by Zone.

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3

A. Physical Inputs
1. Used Hybrid Seed in 1973 94.8 89.2 15.8
2. Used Some Commercial
Fertilizer 61.5 80.6 4.2
3. Used Insecticide on Stored
Maize 47.9. 74.2 17.0
4. Used Insecticide in Field 6.3 30.1 4.2
5. Used Manure on Maize 25.0 20. 15.8
B. Cultural Practices
6. Planted in Rows 96.9 93.5 32.6
7. Planted a Pure Stand 64.6 61.3 41.1
8. Weeded More Than Once 83.3 51.6 46.3
9. Thinned. Maize 31.3 44.1 84.2
10. Planted Early 31.3 26.9 10.5
I J I II I -- ll llil ll.f *


Many elements are needed in national devel-
opment strategies to raise agricultural production
and improve human well being. Farmers' access to
inputs, to information, to credit, and to effective
product markets are critical issues. As well, re-
search on technologies can make an important
The evidence of the adoption studies led to
the conviction that economists should play an active
role in research on improved technologies and that
they should participate from the very beginning of
such research. Recognizing that it is researchers in
national programs who are responsible for forging
improved technologies and formulating recom-
mendations,-/ CIMMYT economists began working
closely with national program scientists. Through
such work it was hoped that procedures could be
devised which would facilitate efforts to generate
useful recommendations. In time, the procedures
described in this article emerged. They are charac-
terized as area-specific, collaborative, and on-farm,
starting and finishing with farmers.
Area-specific- It is clear that the circum-
stances2/of a nation's farmers are so heterogeneous
that it is impossible to handle the problems of all
farmer simultaneously. This raises the question of
which farmer clients should be given priority by re-
searchers. At the most general level choices among
competing clients can be guided by the goals of na-
tional policy, so that researchers can choose among
farmers grouped by area, crop, or income level. Even
within such groups circumstances often differ so
much from farmer to farmer that no single tech-
nology is suitable for all. Here the concept of the
representative farmer helps clarify issues. Research
can be aimed at the circumstances of the represen-
tative farmer within the group, ensuring that the
resulting recommendations will be roughly suit-
able to large numbers of farmers.
Collaborative- Recognition that biological
and economic factors interact to shape farmer
decisions points to the importance of collaborative
research. The biological scientist brings his percep-
tion of the natural relationships which influence
the crop. The economist adds his sensitivity to the
alternative uses of the farmer's resources and to the
economic constraints which limit changes in current
management practices.
On-farm- Finally, with the representative
farmer and his circumstances at the heart of the
area-specific research, the importance of on-farm
research becomes evident. This research has two
dimensions: one aims at assessing farmers circum-
stances and the second at on-farm experiments.

On-farm research is most effective when it is
closely related to experiment station research and
to more basic research. It provides a vehicle for
improving communication on important problems.
Finally, it is true that there are times when
research aimed at framing recommendations need
not be either area-specific or collaborative or on-
farm. It is, however, often difficult to recognize
such situations initially. CIMMYT's economists
believe it is prudent to include all three elements
in production-oriented research until it is evident
that one or another is not needed.
CIMMYT's Economics Program has concen-
trated much of its recent efforts on developing
and testing procedures for that part of the agricul-
tural research process that relates to assessing the
circumstances of farmers. These procedures, which
have been proven useful and cost-effective, have
been worked out in cooperation with scientists
from national programs. While they focus on the
formulation of near-term recommendations for
improving maize and wheat production, they can
also serve the needs of those concerned with other
crops or with cropping systems.

Identifying Target Regions
The first phase involves the identification of
target farming areas toward which national pro-
duction research activities are directed. Here
researchers relate national priorities to secondary
data to identify high priority areas, concentrating
on regional or area-level agroclimatic and economic
circumstances. A review of existing research
results is also important. After these data have
been reviewed, a multidisciplinary team begins to
lay the foundation for an exploratory survey.

The Exploratory Survey
The exploratory survey seeks information on
farmer circumstances and agricultural practices. It
places researchers in direct contact with farmers in
target areas, enabling them to observe firsthand
the farmers' crops and cultural practices.

I/ National programs forge technologies. CIMMYT
supplies them with improved germplasm, training,
procedures, and information.
2/ As used here, farmer circumstances are all those
factors which affect a farmer's decisions about a crop
technology-his natural environment (e.g., soil type,
rainfall) economic environment (e.g., productmarkets,
land tenure), his goals (e.g., increased income, food
preferences, risk avoidance) and his resources (e.g.,
seasonal cash and labor availability).

This exploratory phase gives a preliminary
assessment of farmer circumstances, production
problems, and potential solutions. It involves re-
searchers in informal interviews with farmers,
merchants, agricultural officers, and local officials;
in brief, with anyone whose experience should
provide a clear impression of the issues. From this
information researchers form tentative recom-
mendation domains which unite groups of farmers
for whom a given recommendation will give
roughly similar results (see box: Defining Recom-
mendation Domains).
An important element of the exploratory
survey is the formulation of hypotheses regarding
why farmers use various practices (see box: Stag-
gering Maize Plantings). For some target farming
areas, researchers can obtain sufficient information
from the exploratory survey to design a relevant
series of on-farm experiments. Such a situation is

most likely to arise in areas where farmers have
similar circumstances and an uncomplicated
cropping pattern. In other cases, a more formal
survey may be needed to verify the tentative
conclusions drawn from the exploratory survey.

The Formal Survey
When more information is needed, the results
of the exploratory survey are used to design a
formal survey in a target area. The key character-
istics of the formal survey are that a uniform set of
data is obtained from a representative sample of
area farmers through a written questionnaire. Thus
researchers are able to quantify information on
farmer circumstances and on the problems affecting
their production efforts.
In general, the formal survey is most useful
when target farming areas present widely varying
cropping patterns. In such cases, the formal survey

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Researchers in Peru's National Maize
Program divided farmers in a highland valley
into four recommendation domains, according
to their maize production characteristics.
Altitude, access to markets, and availability of
irrigation were major factors defining each
recommendation domain. As altitude increased
the vegetative cycle became longer and planting
dates later (to avoid early frost) on irrigated
farms. Associated with these changes, however,
was a decrease in a leaf disease problem of maize,
one of the major factors limiting yield in some
areas. At the lower altitudes there was a small
group of farmers, along a major highway,
who sold green maize and used different practices.




Finally there was a small group of farmers who
did not have irrigation and had to plant later
when rains were more reliable. The management
practices of this group of farmers were less
intensive because of the high risks involved.
Information obtained in the exploratory
survey on practices, such as time of planting,
intensity of input use, selling of green maize,
and disease problems, were related to data
obtained from secondary sources on (a) natural
circumstances (altitude and water availability)
and (b) economic circumstances (nearness to a
market) to delineate four tentative recom-
mendation domains. This division was validated
by a subsequent formal survey.

Main Planting




I 2400-2600 Irrigated Aug-Oct 150 Very high Sold as green
II 2600-3000 Irrigated Sept-Nov 180 High Subsistence
III 3000-3500 Irrigated Oct-Nov 210 Mod. Subsistence
IV 2600-3500 Rainfed Nov-Dec 195 Mod. Subsistence
(300-600 mm) grain

The importance of on-farm surveys and experimentation within a total research system and the payoff from collaborative efforts
between biological and social scientists are key themes underlying the work of CIMMYT economists and national collaborators.



An important element of the exploratory
survey is the formulation and verification of
hypotheses regarding why farmers use various
practices. In a tropical area of Tanzania, existing
farmers' varieties required 115 to 120 days to
mature and were vulnerable to yield reductions
when the rains started late, when there was a
mid-season gap in rainfall, or when the rains
ceased early. To hedge against these potential
production problems, farmers were found to
stagger their plantings of maize, usually making
three plantings in a season. Three hypotheses
were formulated about this practice:
(a) a larger area cannot be planted, as labor
is a limiting factor at planting time;
(b) there is a dry period of three weeks
after the start of the rains, and at least
one of the staggered plantings is likely
to survive this period; or
(c) early plantings provide an early supply
of new food, which is particularly

important when the previous harvest
has been poor.
Information emerging from the surveys
reinforced the efforts of some Tanzanian re-
searchers to develop earlier varieties to better fit
the relatively short 80-day period of reliable
rains in this area. An earlier variety could also be
planted later, thus relieving current labor bottle-
necks for planting and weeding present varieties.
In addition, a shorter-duration variety could
help to provide an earlier supply of new food for
people in the area. Finally, an early variety
could increase the reliability of the maize crop,
thus reducing the need for planting security
crops such as sorghum and cassava, and freeing
additional resources for increasing the area and
management of maize, the preferred food and
primary cash crop. It seems unlikely that all of
these important considerations would have
emerged without the assessment of farmer





permits researchers to test preliminary hypotheses
about farmer practices and rationale in a more
systematic and comprehensive way.

Utilizing Survey Data
Data on farmer circumstances help to orient
experimental work in several ways. Problems and
potential solutions are put in sharp relief. Solutions
can be "pre-screened" for consistency with farmers'
circumstances, for potential benefits, and for
ease of attainment. Representative locations and
conditions can be selected for on-farm experiments
(see box: Designing an On-Farm Research Program
for Serenje Farmers.)
Survey information has also been proven
useful to scientists in experiment station-based
research programs; it has helped them to understand
more clearly the relationship of their crop within a
total farming system. Such information often leads
to changes in research priorities in crop improve-

ment (see boxes: Leaf Stripping in Egypt and
Andean Regional Economics Program).
The total sequence advocated by CIMMYT
economists, including both exploratory and formal
surveys, is relatively uncomplicated and quick (2 to
3 months in any region). It differs from other
survey sequences in its emphasis on production
problems related to a given crop or crop mixture.
Because of its simplicity and focus, it can be
implemented at relatively low cost by workers in
most national production research programs.

Farmers as Clients
The need to bring the farmer and the research
process closer together has profound implications
for the structure and orientation of agricultural
research. Most agricultural research in developing
countries is done in public institutions-in ministries
of agriculture and in universities. Researchers
tend to follow the same guidelines as do their
(Con't page 10)


In 1978 the regional economist in East
Africa used the survey procedures in collabo-
rating with scientists in Zambia. The Serenje
District was selected by Zambia researchers
because of the importance of maize and because
little research had previously been done in the
Serenje is an area of small farmholders,
most of whom live close to subsistence levels.
Maize cultivation serves a dual role of being a
major food and a major source of cash income.
Researchers followed a sequence of in-
formal and formal surveys in order to delineate
recommendation domains and to orient the
next step in the research process-on-farm
Through the survey, questions arose about
the weeding and fertilization practices followed
in the area. In particular, the researchers identified
as an important production cost problem the
relatively high average use of fertilizers and
the low levels of weeding. Ways to improve
weed control, so that the benefits from fertilizer
use were more directed toward grain production,
became a high priority research activity. Trials
were designed to determine fertilizer levels

and time of application strategies that could lead
to more profitable production, given prevailing
farmer weeding practices.
Storage-related grain losses were also iden-
tified through survey data as a significant
problem for many farmers. Several alternatives
were developed as potential ways to reduce grain
storage losses; experiments were designed to
evaluate these alternatives.
The survey sequence also pointed to the
need for an earlier season variety in the area.
Such a variety would provide an early source of
food and would be used in combination with
fuller-season hybrids. Variety trials were planned
to evaluate materials with different maturities
and to determine the effect of planting time on
subsequent yields.
Through the use of these procedures,
Zambian scientists were able to develop a
program of specific on-farm experiments on
representative farmers' fields. They addressed
those production problems which could be
alleviated through near-term research efforts.
Longer-term research activities were also identified
to improve the overall production environment
in the area.


- I II I ---I-

The farmer survey methods advocated by CIMMYT feature interdisciplinary teams made up of biological and social scientists.


In Egypt a formal survey of 160 maize
farmers was carried out in 1976 by economists
from Zagazig University collaborating with
Smaize specialists from the national program.
Results of the first survey of Egyptian
farmers made it clear that the joint effort of
biological scientists and economists had con-
tributed useful insights concerning farmers'
practices. In many maize-growing areas, for
example, farmers followed the practice of
stripping leaves from the growing plants to
provide feed for their cattle. Experiments by
biological scientists at research stations had
indicated that the leaf stripping resulted in
greatly depressed yields, leading to the conclusion
that the practice ought to be curtailed.
After talking to farmers and observing
Actual practices in the fields, however, the
researchers took a fresh look at the issue. The
farmers' time-tested method of stripping leaves
progressively from the bottom of the stalk as the
Plants advanced toward maturity apparently


minimized loss in grain yield, while providing a
supply of green leaves for animal fodder. The
biologists' earlier experiments had been carried
out using treatments that were significantly
different from those of the average maize
farmer. The biologists repeated their experiments
using farmers' stripping methods and found that
the effect on yield was minimal.
"Before the survey," explained a member
of the Zagazig team, "the emphasis had been on
developing a plant for converting photosynthetic
energy into grain. That implied fewer leaves.
However, if farmers value both grain and fodder,
then the preferred maize is either going to be
one that is somewhat leafy along with good
grain yield, or it must yield so well so as to
compensate for the lost fodder."
These guidelines for research had not
emerged from the conventional approach but
came from insights brought by the collaborative
research with its careful attention to the practice
of leaf stripping in the survey sequence.

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Training has grown in im-
portance as CIMMYT
economists have devel-
oped research procedures
through collaboration
with national program
scientists in many parts
of the world.

CIMMYT's regional econo-
mists often participate in na-
tional field days and work-
shops within their regions,
particularly those associated
with collaborative on-farm
research activities.

Countries making a strong commitment to on-farm research
are finding the approach to be a cost-effective means to de-
velop, verify and transfer improved production technology.

professional peers in developed countries where
public sector researchers are often directed by the
concerns of their profession. This approach has
apparently been quite successful in developed
But CIMMYT economists see significant
differences in the respective systems that con-
nect research and production in developed and
developing countries. In the developed countries
there are many entities, exemplified by the agri-
business sector, which integrate research results
into effective technologies. Developing countries
rarely have these mediating entities, and the
bureaucracies and incentive systems of public
institutions often do not encourage researchers to
play this integrative role. A result is that too few
researchers in developing countries see the repre-
sentative farmer as their primary client. It is critical
that some researchers in national research systems
focus on the immediate needs of these farmers,

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In 1976 CIMMYT launched regional eco-
nomics, wheat, and maize programs in the
Andean countries of Latin America (Bolivia,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela). From
the beginning, CIMMYT's Andean region eco-
nomist has concentrated his efforts on the
development and demonstration of on-farm
research procedures through collaborative projects
with national scientists, on training activities
within the region, and on consultation with
collaborators in national programs. Much of the
collaborative survey work has dealt with floury
maize, a dominant crop in the Andean highlands;
on wheat and barley, secondary crops in highland
farming areas; and on tropical maize in the
coastal regions.
Three countries-Ecuador, Peru, and Boli-
via-have made a strong commitment to the on-
farm research procedures advocated by CIMMYT.
In Ecuador, research teams using the
procedures described earlier have conducted
surveys in several target-farming areas. In one
area the importance of the maize-bean associa-
tion led toa national program involving CIMMYT/
CIAT 1/ collaboration. The study revealed the

need for earlier maturing varieties to enable
farmers to plant a second crop. Farmers evidenced
a willingness to accept somewhat lower yields if
days to maturity could be reduced. It is unlikely
that this opportunity for research would have
emerged through the conventional research
procedures. Insights from these efforts contrib-
uted to a reorganization of Ecuador's research
and technology transfer strategy. On-farm re-
search teams were formed and a program of
work was planned which features on-farm re-
search as a part of an ongoing research system.
In Peru, a number of surveys were con-
ducted in three highland maize-growing areas.
From this survey work, recommendation do-
mains were delineated to make distinctions with
respect to farmer practices and production-
limiting factors. This information was then used
by Peruvian scientists to design a set of on-farm
experiments to identify appropriate varieties, to
determine economic levels of fertilizer use, and

1/ CIAT: International Center for Tropical Agriculture,
Cali, Colombia.


emphasizing the role of integrating research results
into useful technologies. On-farm research can
foster this role.


From its beginning, CIMMYT's Economics
Program has been directed towards research on the
farmer which can facilitate the development and
diffusion of improved agricultural technology. The
objectives have remained unchanged as program
activities and relationships with national programs
have evolved.

Regional Programs
The posting of regional economists outside
Mexico began in 1976, when the headquarters staff
was unable to respond to all the calls for consulting -
on economic studies within national maize and ,
wheat production research programs. By 1980, r2,

to identify more optimal production practices
for maize as a monocrop and in association with
other crops. The importance of the maize-potato
rotation, disclosed in one study area led to re-
search in which CIMMYT and CIP./ collabo-
rated with national programs.
In the Cochabamba area of Bolivia, recom-
mendation domains have been delineated by
national scientists in six inter-mountain valleys,
each tending to specialize in wheat, barley, and
oats production. Important distinctions were
identified in terms of the average size of farm-
holdings, distance to major markets (in Cocha-
bamba), importance of the primary crop in the
total farming system (rotations and associations),
rainfall patterns and irrigation availability, soil
types, weed and pest control problems, varieties
in use, availability of traction power, and use of
other inputs such as fertilizers. This information
is now being used to plan a program of on-farm
experimentation to generate more appropriate
technology for extension to farmers in these
CIMMYT's regional economist, along with
other regional staff and training officers from

headquarters, has supported in-country training
programs for on-farm research. This training has
involved researchers as well as extension officers,
and features three or four "calls" each year in
which trainees are convened at key stages in the
crop cycle, usually for five to ten days. For
example, trainees are called together at planting,
flowering, and harvest time for specific training
segments. CIMMYT scientists have participated
in these training courses in Ecuador, Peru, and
The regional economist also plays an
important feedback role for CIMMYT's own
research programs at headquarters and in the
Andean region. Through the sponsorship of
regional workshops, where area scientists are
brought together to discuss common problems,
the concept of technical cooperation between
area countries is given added support. The
regional economist also helps to select trainees
for CIMMYT's in-service production training
courses as well as for the Economics Program
training course.

2/ CIP: International Potato Center, Lima, Peru.

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economists were assigned to four regions: Eastern
Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean,
and the Andean Region of South America.
CIMMYT also has maize or wheat regional staff
assigned to these same general regions.
Regional economists are primarily involved in
four areas of activity:

development and testing of the procedures
described earlier;
consultation to national agricultural institu-
tions about on-farm research;
collaboration in national on-farm research
training of national staff members assigned
on-farm research responsibilities (see box:
Andean Regional Economics Program).

These regional programs are central to
CIMMYT's efforts to support national maize
and wheat production research in developing
countries. As more agronomists are in place in
the regional program network, even more col-

laborative, production-oriented research will be
undertaken with national scientists.

Economics Training
Each year about 150 young agricultural
scientists from more than 50 countries come to
Mexico to participate in one of CIMMYT's crop-
oriented in-service training programs. Training is
offered in a variety of subjects including breeding,
pathology, entomology, crop production, experi-
ment station management, and laboratory sciences.
Most in-service trainees, however, concentrate on
crop production. At CIMMYT these trainees are
exposed to the economic dimensions of agricultural
production. Along with the maize and wheat
training officers, CIMMYT economists seek to
foster an increased sensitivity to the factors af-
fecting farmer decision-making about new technol-
ogies. They work with the trainees in the field as
they talk to farmers, analyze their circumstances,
and understand the reasoning behind their practices.
They help the trainees to analyze the implications
of this information for on-farm experimentation.


The Economics Program's first manual,
From Agronomic Data to Farmer Recom-
mendations, is intended for use by agronomists
as they make farm-level recommendations. In
particular, the manual discusses factors of
economic consequence to the farmer which
need to be taken into consideration in formu-
lating recommendations. The techniques illus-
trated provide researchers with the necessary
guidelines to calculate average net benefits for
treatments or combinations of treatments being
evaluated as potential recommendations. In
particular, the manual identifies those costs
to the farmer often overlooked by researchers
when calculating the probable benefits and
costs associated with new technology.
Since its release in English in 1976 the
manual has been translated into Spanish and
French by CIMMYT, and into Turkish, Arabic,
Indonesian, and Japanese.

CIMMYT's second manual, Planning
Technologies Appropriate to Farmers-Concepts
and Procedures, provides guidelines on how to
organize and conduct a systematic research
process to delineate target areas, describe impor-
tant farmer circumstances, and identify op-
portunities for biological research.
The manual treats concepts and procedures
for a single crop within the farmers' total
farming system. While it features examples in
maize and wheat (sometimes in crop mixtures),
the procedures can be readily applied to other
crops and cropping systems. The emphasis is
on biological technologies, although the proce-
dures can be applied to the development of
mechanical technologies.
Part I of the manual provides an overview
of the concepts of an interdisciplinary research
process to deliver technologies appropriate to
farmers and of the types of information about

Manual I

Manual II

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CIMMYT economists work with national collaborators to de-
velop their economic skills as they analyze the data obtained
from agronomic experiments.

At the end of each training cycle they lead trainees
through an economic analysis of their field exper-
iments, analyzing the results in terms of their
suitability as recommendations for farmers. In
addition, a few critical macro-level economic issues
are treated so the trainees can see their own work
in the context of broader national goals. Attention
is also given to wheat and maize in the world
economy (see box: Economics Manuals).
A training program instituted in 1979 com-
plements further the efforts of national collabo-
rators engaged in on-farm research activities.
Offered twice each year for a 3-month period, this
program is for economists who are involved with
national maize and wheat programs. It focuses on

farmers' circumstances needed for planning this mentation program.
research. Part II describes a set of procedures, While focused on survey research to orient
with examples, for obtaining information from on-farm experimentation, the manual also points
farmers at relatively low cost. Part III then to how the ensuing information can be used to
provides procedures and examples for including orient experiment station research as well as in
this information into the design of an experi- the formulation of agricultural policy.


procedures for assessing farmer circumstances and
on how to use that information to plan on-farm
experiments. The curriculum also includes attention
to analytical tools, to the influence of national
policies on production, and to world wheat and
maize economics.
A major part of the training program involves
field work to design and execute a farmer survey to
provide information for decision-making in agri-
cultural research. A second important activity is
field work to increase the economists' sensitivity to
the agronomic elements of on-farm research (see
box: Conducting Surveys in a Barley-Producing
Area of Mexico).


It is believed at CIMMYT that increasing food
production requires an understanding of the total
operating environment of the farmer, particularly
the small farmer. The small farmer will dominate
the agricultural scene in developing countries for

many years to come. Indeed, more than one-fourth
of the world's people depend for their incomes
and food supply on small-farm production. The
output of these small farms must, and can, be
raised considerably in the years ahead.
Decisions at the national level have often
impeded rather than facilitated the development
and diffusion of improved technologies-often
because the links between policy and the biological
processes in agriculture are little understood.
CIMMYT scientists believe that a clearer under-
standing of these links would lead to an environ-
ment which would promote more effective pro-
duction and increased farm income.
CIMMYT has a number of research efforts
aimed at fostering this understanding. One, financed
through a special grant from United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), is a management
seminar for decision makers. It is recognized that
decisions which influence agriculture are often
made by people who are not familiar with the
industry or not well versed in the practical problems


During 1979 CIMMYT economics trainees,
in conjunction with the CIMMYT wheat training
program, studied the circumstances of barley
producers in a highland valley of Mexico. The
study had the dual purpose of training partici-
pants in survey procedures and of providing
information to the wheat training program for
the design of wheat and barley on-farm experi-
ments. The effort involved an examination of
secondary data, an exploratory survey, and a
formal survey.
Secondary data analysis pinpointed some
of the key natural and economic circumstances
affecting farmers' production decisions. Climatic
risks resulting from uncertain early season rains
and a significant chance of late season frosts
had important implications for decisions on
planting date and choice among varieties with
different maturities. Major features of the
economic environment were the rapid develop-
ment of a market for malting-quality barley
(as opposed to the traditional market for forage)

and the difficulty and expense of hiring labor
because of competing nonfarm opportunities.
This had led to increased area planted in barley
(a less labor intensive crop than the main food
crop, maize) and a trend toward continuous
barley cropping with consequent implications
for weed infestation. Also, the area in the peren-
nial crop, maguey, used for the alcoholic drink,
pulque, was being reduced, posing a long-run
erosion hazard on sloping land.
Analysis showed that tractor ownership
(versus tractor renting) is an important factor in
determining barley production practices. Tractor
owners in general were able to perform tillage
operations in a more timely and intensive
manner than those who rented tractors. Tractor
renters had difficulty obtaining tractors (and
cash to pay for the service) when moisture
conditions were optimal for tillage operations.
Moreover, farmers who planted with a drill
were generally able to plant closer to the optimal
planting date than those who planted by broad-

of farmers. One general aim of the seminar is to
help create a sense of the importance of the
technical factors which characterize agricultural
production. A second general aim is to sharpen the
focus on the importance of farmer circumstances
in relation to decision making. The seminar utilizes
the case method to encourage participants to share
experiences and viewpoints. Cases address themes
related to the orientation of agricultural research,
the production and distribution of improved seed,
the acquisition and distribution of fertilizers, and
the performance of markets for products.
A series of seminars have been given. With
solid evidence of the seminar's utility, the activity
is being transferred to another of the family of
international agricultural research centers.
CIMMYT will seek new ways to stimulate
effective communication among agricultural scien-
tists and policy makers. One initiative, which
will perhaps serve as a model for future develop-
ments, is underway in Algeria. Financed by the
Ford Foundation and with close cooperation from

Algeria's Cereals Research Institute, this project
deals with three related themes. The intent is to
draw together the biological factors which affect
yield, the circumstances that make it difficult for
farmers to alter these biological factors, and
the public decisions which directly affect these
critical circumstances. A clearer understanding of
these links can help biological scientists to make
their work more consistent with national goals and
help policy makers become more knowledgeable of
the potential through biological research.
CIMMYT's aim is to enhance this critical
communication and understanding by developing
useful procedures for generating, analyzing, and
presenting this information to policy makers and
biological scientists.

casting. These differences were deemed large
enough to define tentatively twoseparate recom-
mendation domains (tractor owners and tractor
renters) although there was some evidence that
with increasing numbers of tractors, differences
between the two groups were narrowing.
The study documented the dynamic
changes in farmers' barley production practices.
Two-thirds of the farmers had changed barley
varieties over the last three seasons, as they
sought characteristics of yield, earliness, malting
quality, and ability to hold grain if harvesting
was delayed. Broadleaf weed control using
24, D had spread rapidly even among small
farmers who applied herbicides with backpack
sprayers. Better weed control was closely
followed by adoption of fertilfler, although
fertilizer distribution problems had slowed its
adoption by smaller farmers.
The study identified a number of research
opportunities to address the key problems
facing farmers: climatic risk (compounded by

problems of machinery availability in a timely
manner), high production costs (especially for
seed and fertilizer), weeds, and erosion on
sloping land. In the short term, experiments
were designed to test early maturing varieties
with good malting qualities; to control wild oats
under conditions of more intensive cropping and
higher fertility; and to determine the need for
phosphorus applications. Research avenues with
a longer-term perspective were also noted.
These included research on maize, to develop a
more efficient maize technology that would
encourage a maize-barley rotation, and experi-
ments with reduced tillage and chemical tillage
to seek means of reducing weed control costs
and of conserving soils on sloping land.
Finally, the survey highlighted the need to
carefully select farmers and fields for on-farm
experimentation that would represent the
variation found among farmers in terms of the
rotations and the timing and intensity of tillage
operations that they practice.

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CIMMYT TODAY is published by the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Ma(z y Trigo (International Maize and Wheat Improverment
Center), Apartado Postal 6-641, Mdxico 6, D.F., Mdxico, 1981.

Correct Citation: Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Ma(z y Trigo. CIMMYT Economics 1981.

CIMMYT. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) receives support from government agencies of Australia, Canada,
Denmark, France, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland, The Federal Republic of Germany, The Netherlands, The Philippines, The United Kingdom,
USA, and Zaire; and from the Inter-American Development Bank, The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, United National Develop-
ment Programme, and the World Bank. Responsibility for this publication rests solely with CIMMYT.

ISSN 0304-5447 April, 1981


CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

The CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center holds all rights to the source text and shall be
considered the copyright holder for the text and images of
these publications.

The CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center has made this publication available to the University of
Florida, for purposes of digitization and Internet distribution.

The CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center reserves all rights to this publication. All uses,
excluding those made under "fair use" provisions of U.S.
Code, Title 17, Section 107 are restricted.

Contact the CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat
Improvement Center for additional information and

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