How to best translate research results to the small cultivator of land

Material Information

How to best translate research results to the small cultivator of land
Added title page title:
Mejor forma de transferir resultados de investigación al pequeño agricultor
Walker, J. L.
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C.
Agency for International Development, Office of Agriculture,
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
7, 8 leaves ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Agriculture -- Technology transfer.
Agricultural extension work.
Farmers -- Effect of technological innovations on.


General Note:
At head of English t.p.: Agency for International Development, Office of Agriculture, Soil and Water Management Workshop in Support of Development of Lesser Developed Countries, State Department, Washington, D.C., 18 to 21 February, 1975.
General Note:
Invited paper (20 minutes, illustrated).

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Resource Identifier:
153310443 ( OCLC )

Full Text
Agency for International Development Office of Agriculture
Soil and Water Management Workshop in
Support of Development of Lesser Developed Countries State Department, Washington, D.C.
18 to 21 February, 1975
Invited Paper (20 minutes, illustrated):
"How to Best Translate Research Results to the Small Cultivator of Land"
Dr. J.L. Walker
Regional Soil Scientist (NCSU/ROCAP/AID)
According to Albert Gallatin, this was the plight of the small farmer in the United States in the 1790's:
"Wie have no means of bringing the produce of our lands to sale either in grain or meal.. We are therefore distillers through necessity, not choice, that we may comprehend the
greatest value in the smallest size and weight."
Out plight as researchers is to know how to distill the meaningful information from thousands of sets of experimental data and to assume an active role in helping get that information into the hands and heads of planners, policymakers and, mbst importantly, illiterate small farmers in a form which will be used.
The Paddocks have said "We Don't Know How" and cite examples of numerous uncoordinated, duplicated, long term costly efforts by many organizations which failed to reach the campesinos.
It is easy to be critical. But we must not stop there. If we
researchers and our supporters in AID have been mistaken then we must pursue the constructive course of answering the questions: "Why?";. and "How Can We?"
The productivity of all farmers, as Fitts has pointed out, is constrained by four major interacting factors: Soil, Climate, Crop,
and Management.
Considering the constraints, a remarkable amount of diversity has already been attained by the small farmer with his survival technology

Numerous intercropping systems within optional series of rotations are in use. Because these small farmer survival technologies are viable under the existing constraint system, it is difficult to convince these farmers to use what we call modern technologies. "Modern technologies" in the developing countries are those thought out at the planning and policy level and executed primarily by technicians who came from urban areas and who have been trained in temperate region agricultural practices.
Modern temperate region technologies are the anthesis of being
either labour intensive or conducive to minimizing unit costs of production for the small farmer.
I believe that we have failed to reach the small farmer because we have tried to sell him unmodified or poorly modified modern temperate region technologies which we assume he needs but for which he has little demand in the form in which they are presented for two reasons:
1) he finds them very difficult to use; and 2) they are risk increasing to apply within the. scope of his survival
package of technology.
The error lies in thinking from up here to down there without knowing who "they" are. This might be likened to planning a vast loging operation on a conglomerate level involving lumber and paper mills, a housing industry and builders supply chains without knowing the composition of the forest resources available or the different qualities of the tree species encountered within the forests.
We must first comprehend what the small farmer needs to break

through his development barrier and then formulate programs designed to best help himmodify his environment so that he may become an active participant in his countries' development.,
Then, some order can begin to emerge which will lead to close
coordination of the efforts of the many national, regional and international organizations which are trying to help the small farmers of Central America break down their traditional agricultural development barriers.
In the field of Soil Fertility Evaluation and Improvement, thanks to AIDs support of this North Carolina State University Project, we have progressed in helping national and international organizations in their programs to reach the small farmers. Among the most interesting developments have been those in Guatemala in. cooperation with the Ministries of Agriculture and Education.
After providing the technical assistance which allowed the
government to modernize its laboratory, greenhouse facilities and methods, all went well so long as literate farmers were the main ones bringing their soil samples to be analyzed. However, due to two large scale soil sampling drives in the most densely populated rural areas of the country in 1969, the laboratory was flooded with samples from small farmers fields. These farmers wanted to know how, when and how much to fertilize their milpas. Milpas are intercrop systems containing corn plus as many as four concomitant crops with plan-t densities as high as 90,000 plants per hectare. They also asked how other traditional crop systems should be fertilized. But all the fertilizer response data that were available were for single crops planted and fertilized on experiment stations, using the best

available modern technology. The traditional experiment station crop production technology was not-'that of the traditional small farmer survival technology being practiced year after year just on the other side of the fence around the experiment station.
Some answers had to be found. *And fast. In 1971, one Guatemalan agronomist and his NCSU advisor were allowed to conduct plant nutrient response trials on small farmers fields. But two people don't generate much data. The Peace Corps was asked to help. They came through with 19 volunteers who received special agronomic training and were then assigned to the Guatemalan Soil Fertility Progrrm in several rural areas to assist in the fertilizer response trials on small farmers fields. While this was happening, *the NCSU technician and his Guatemalan counterpart devised rapid and flexible field trial techniques compatible with existing small farmer technologies.
The results of the first cycle of experiments, in which the small farmer provided the land and participated with his family and neighbors in all phases of the field trials, were such a success that the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture decided to assign additional Guatemalan technicians, replacing departing Peace Corps Volunteers at several rural locations. By 1974, seven Guatemalan agronomists were working full time with 11 Peace Corps volunteers evaluating the response of ten food crops to fertilization on small farmers fields throughout major agricultural areas of Guatemala.In 1973 and 1974, the experimental results were summarized and recommendation sheets for the major food crops were prepared. These were distributed to the Ministry of Agriculture planning division and to extension agents.

In 1974, using newly developed non-computer rapid data
reduction methods, NCSU technicians and their Guatemalan colleagues summarized several thousands of sets of fertilizer trial data from Northern Central America for major food crops. Maps were then prepared for planners and policymakers showing where trials had been carried out and whether the results were economically efficient or not.
But most of this information was not reaching the small farmer. Eighty percent of the rural population can neither read nor write. And, there are at least four distinctly different groups of small farmers, whose major similarity is their state of poverty.
Another breakthrough is needed to get the information to the
illiterate small farmer in a timely and usable fashion. A new program, which takes resarch information and converts it to a form understandabla by the small farmers has been initiated.
In 1974, AID/LA in cooperation with the Educational Division of
USAID Guatemala decided to contract the Academy for Educational Development to assist the Basic Village Education Project, administered by the Ministry of Education in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture. The Basic Village Education Project is an experiment in non-formal adult education to determine the effectiveness and cost of combinations of communications media in development programs. The information source is largely agricultural with expansion planned to include home economics, nutrition and public health. Soil fertility and fertilizer use information were initially, and continue to be, a major source of technical material for the Basic Village Education Project. There are three major reasons for this:

1) Soil test summaries covering thousands of samples from the
rural areas of Guatemala analyzed by the National Soil Fertility Program Laboratory showed that deficient plant nutrient status is a major cause of low yields;
2) Results of fertilizer response trials established on small
farmers fields are well correlated with response predictions based on the interpretation of the laboratory analytical data for soil samples collected from those fields prior to planting; and,
3) The new rapid data reduction techniques, introduced by the
International Soil Fertility Project for the analyses of both laboratory and field trial data, permit the determination of the minimum amounts of plant nutrients required to attain yield plateaus for various food crop production technologies at different soil fertility levels.
The experimental communications area comprises selected communities receiving educational messages from a limited range radio transmitter. Within this area, communities are selected which receive only the radio messages; a second group receives assistance from a monitor who leads farmers forums, which are later broadcast, and uses various audio and visual aids; the third group of communities receives technical assistance from an agronomist in addition to the monitor and radio broadcasts. Volunteer community leaders are also sought in the latter two groups to assist in the educational program. Control communities receiving no inputs are also defined.
To date the farmers in the communities receiving information and assistance from radio plus monitor plus agronomist, show the greatest improvement in knowledge and acceptance of better agricultural practices.

We must remember that this is an experimental program and these are preliminary data from one year from one area only.
These two examples of innovative cooperative adaptation of modern technology in the fields of Soil Fertility and Communications, which developed from an understanding of the community and the rural poor family from the small farmers point-of-view and were then followed by the adaptation of new technology to the existing small farmers survival package show that We Can Know How, if we use empathy plus ego sublimation and frankly re-think -- think big by thinking small.

ncia para
Age el Desarrollo Internacional
Oficina de Agricultura
Seminario Sobre el Manejo del Suelo y Agua en Pro
del Fomento de Pa'ses Menos Desarrollados Department de Estado, Washington, D.C..
18 al 21 de 1975 Disertacion Invitada (20 minutes; ilustrada):
"La Mejor Forma de Transferir Resultados de Investigation al Pequefio Agricultor"
Dr. J.L.. Walker
CientIfico Regional en Suelos (NCSU/ROCAP/AID)
De acuerdo con Albert Gallatin, este era el apuro del pequefio agricultor en los Estados Unidos durante los afios 1790:
"No tenemos ninguna forma de traer el.producto de nuestras
tierras a la venta ni en grano ni en marina. Por eso somos
destiladores clandestinos por necesidad, no por elecci6n, para poder obt.ener elmayor valor con el m2'nimo tama.fio y
Nuestro apuro como investigators es saber como destilar la informaci6n mas significant de miles de juegos de datos experimentales y asumir un rol active al ayudar a que e sa informacio-n league a las manos y cerebros de planificadores, legislators y, lo mas important, de pequefios agricultores analfabetos,,- e n una forma que pueda ser utilizada.
Los Paddock han dicho "No sabemos como" y citan ejemplos de numerosos y costosos esfuerzos descoordinados, duplicados y.a largo plazo, hechos por muchas organizations que han fracasado en llegar a los campesinos.
Es muy facil critical. Pero no debemos parar ahf. Si nosotros
los investigators y nuestros partidiarios en AID'hemos estado equiVOcados, entonces debemos seguir'un curso construction para responder las preguntas "Porqug?" y "Como pode'mos?"

La productividad de todos los agricultores, como ha sefialado Fitts, esta' restringida por, cuatro'factores interaqtuantes prIncIpales: Suelo, Clima, Cultivo(y Manejo).
Considerando las restrictions, una notable y cuantiosa diversificacio'n en su explotacio'n agr3:cola ya ha sido lograda por el pequefio agricultor con su paquete tecnolo'gico de sobreviviencia.
Numerosos sistemas de cultivos intercalados dentro de series opcionales de rotacio'n estan en uso. Debido a que estas tecnolog'as de sobrevivenciapara pequefios agricultores son viable bajo los sistemas restric-. tivos existences, es diflcil C-onvencer a estos agricultores a usar lo Rue llamamos tecnolog'as moderns. "Tecnolog'as moderns' en los passes en desarrollo son aquellas pensadas a nivel de planificacio'n y legislacio-n y ejecutadas principalmente por tecnicos Rue vienen de areas urbanas y Rue han sido entrenados en practices agricolas de regions templadas.
Las technologies moderns de las regions templadas.son la antithesis de ser, ya sea de trabajo intensive o conducivas a minimizer los costs unitarios de production para el pequefio agriculture.
Yo creo Rue hemos fallado en llegar al pequefio agriculture torque
hemos tratado e venderle tecnolog'as moderns de regi'ones'templadas no modificadas o pobremente modificadas, las cuales asumimos el necesita pero para las cuales el tiene poca.demanda en la forma en Rue se le pre-. sentan, por dos razones:
1) el las encuentra muy diff'ciles de usar; y 2) con ellas el riesgo sube al aplicarlas dentro del alcance de su
paquete tecnolO'gico de sobreviviencia.

El error esta' en pensar desde aqu' ar iba hacia all' abajo sin saber quienes son ".ellos". Esto se podria comparar a la planificacio'n de una, vasta operation de corte y transported de trozas en un nivel conglomerado involucrandd aserraderos y f'bricasde papel, una industrial constructora de casas de habitacio'n ycadenas proveedoras de equipo de construction, sin sabe r la composicio'n de*los recursos forestalls exis,tentes o las different cualidades de las species de a'rboles encontradas dentro delos mosques.
Debemos primer comprender lo.que el pequefio agriculture necesita para romper su barrera de desarrollo y entonces formula programs disefiados a ayudarlo mejor a modificar su medio ambientee)para que el pueda convertirseen un participate active en el desarrollo de su pals.
Entonces, alg'n 6rden puede principiar a. merger que lleVara a
una coordinzcio'n estrecha entre los esfuerzos de muchas organizations nacionales, regionals e internacionales que esta'n tratando de ayudar a los- pequefios agricultores de Centroamerica a suprimir sus barriers de desarrollo agrTcolas tradicionales.
En el. campo de Evaluacio'n y Mejoramiento de Fertilidad'del Suelo,, gracias a la ayuda de AID a este proyecto de la, Universidad del Estado de Carolina del Norte (UECN), hemos progresado en ayudar a organizaciones nacionales e internacionales en sus programs para llegar al pequefio-agricultor. Entre los mas interesantes, han estado los de Guatemala
aci'n con los Ministerios de-Agricultura Educaci6n.-

Despues de proveer asistencia t6cnica, la cual permitio' al g bierno laboratory, invernaderos y me'todos, todo sali' bien siempre y cuando agric.ultores alfabetos eran los. que tralan la mayori-a de muestras de suelos a ser analizadas. Sin embargo, debido a dos-gran.des campaiias s'obre muestreo de suelo en las areas rurales mas densamente pobladas del pals en 1969, el laboratory fue inundado con muestras de campos de pequefios agricultores. Estos agricultores querlan saber cuando, c6mo y cua'nto de fertilizante. usar en sus milpas. Milpas son sistemas intercalados de cultivo conteniendo malz mas hasta cuatro cultivos concomitants con una densidad total de plants arriba de 90,000 por hecta'rea. Tambien*preguntaron c6mo podrian ser fertilizados otros sistemas tradicionales de cultivo. Pero todos los datos de respuesta, de fertilizantes que se teni'an eran para monocultivos plantados y fertili-. zados en estaciones experimentales, usando la me or tecnolog'a modern disponible. La traditional tecnolOg'a de production de cultivos de la estaci'n experimental no fue la traditional tecnolog-a de sobrevivencia del pequefio agriculture, practicada. por ano tras.afio directamente al otro lado del cerco alrededor de la.estacio'n experimental.
Algunas respuestas eran necesarias. Y ra-pido. En 1971, un agronomo guatemalteco y su colega de la UECN fueron permitidos a conducir expdrimentos de respuesta a nutrimeAtos vegetables en campos de pequefios agricultores. Pero dos personas no general muchos datos. Se-pidi6 ayuda al Cuerpo de Paz. Ellos mandarin a 19 voluntaries que recibieron entrenamiento agron6mico especial y fueron entonces asignados al Programa.guatemalteco de Fertilidad de Suelos en varies areas rurales para

asistir en los experiments de respuesta de fertilizantes en terrenos
de pequefios agridultores. Mientras que esto pa6aba, el'tgcnico de Is.
UECN y su contraparte guatemaltedo proyeetaron t9cnicas r9pidas y flexibles de ensayos de Campo compatibles con las tecnologfas existences del'
pequefio agriculture.
Vbs resultados del primer ciclo de experir..entos, en los cuales el
pequefio agriculture prove' Xa tierra y participo' con su familiar y vecinos en.todas las fases de.los ensayos de Campo, fueron tan ekitosos que el Ministeri6 de Agricultura de Guatemala decidi6 asignar t9cnicos guatemaltecos adicionales en varies loca'lidades ruralest re7emplazando a
losvoluntariosdel Cuerpo db Paz que partfan. Para 1974, siete agr'0,nomos guatemaltecos estaban trabajando tempo com leto con 11 voluntaries
del Cuerpo de Paz evaluando la respuesta de die cu'ltivosbgsicos afertilizaci6n en Campos de pequefios agricultores dentro de-las mas importantes greas agif.colas de Guatemala. En 1973 y 1974, los resultados experi-1,
mentales fueron sumarizados y hojas de recomendaci6n para los cultivos
_; eparadas. Estas fueron distribui'das a la b9sicos principles fueronp
division de planificaci6n y agenteig de extension del'Minist.erio de AgriVI cultural
En '1974,,usando migtodos ra'pidos de re'ducci6n de datos, sin uso de
computadoras, desarrollados recientemente, t9cnicos de la UECN y sus colegas guatemaltecos sumarizaron various miles de juegos de datos de
ensayos de respuesta a fertilizantes pars, los principles grants basics
del norte de Centroamerica. Mapas fueron entonces preparados para los
planificadores y legisladores demostranAo donde se habfan llevado a Cabo

ensayos y si los resultados eran economicamente eficientes o no.
Pero mucha de esta information no llega al pequefio agriculture.
Ochenta por ciento de la poblacio'n rural no puede ni lee.r ni escribir. Y hay por lo menos cuatro grtpos distintos de pequefios agricultores, cuya mayor similitud es su estado de pobreza.
Otro' advance es necesario para hacer llegar la informaci'n al peque-o agriculture analfabeto de una mantra ra'pida y utilizable. Ha sido iniciado un nuevo program que toma information de investigation y la converted en una forma comprensible para el-pequeflo agriculture.
En 1974, AID/LA-en co-operacio'n con la Divisi'n de Educacion de USAID Guatemala, decidio' contratar la Academia de Desarrollo Educativo para asistir el Proyecto de Educaci6n Basica Rural, administrator por el Ministerio de Educacio'n en doordinacio'n con el Ministerio de Agricultura. El Proyecto de Educacio'n Basica Rural es un experiment en educaci6n adult no formal para determiner la efectividad y costo de combinations de medics de comunicacio'n en programs de desarrollo. La fuente de informacio'n'es mayormente agr'col'a con expansion planificada para inclu'r econom'a dom4stica, nutricio'n y salud p'blica. Informacio'n sobre fertilidad del suelo y uso de fertilizantes fue inicialmente,*y continua siendo, la mayor fuente de material te'cnico para el Proyecto de Educaio a ural. Hay tres razones principles para esto:
c 'n B'sica R1) Sumarios de ensayos de suelos cubriendo miles de muestras de areas rurales de Guatemala analizadas por el Laboratorio del Programa National de Fertilidad del Suelo demuestran que el estado deficient de los nutrients vegetables es la'principal causa de los bajos rendimientos;

2) Los resultados de los ensayos sobre respuesta a fertilizantes establecidos 6n campo's de pequefios agricultores est"n bien correlaciona. dos.con predicciones de respuesta basados en la interpretation de los datos analiticos del laboratory p.ara muestras de suelo recoledtadas en esos campos antes de sembrar los ensayos; y
3) Las nuevas t6chicas de reducci6n de datos introducidas
por el Proyecto Internacional de Fertilidad del Suelo pars, los ana'lisial de datos tanto del* laboratory como de los ensayos de campo, permiten is determinaci6n de las cantidades mfnimas de nutrients que los cultll vos necesitan para alcanzar.rendimientos plateau usando different tecnologfas de producci6n de aultivos b9sicos a different niveles de
-fertilidad del suelo.
El firea de communications experimentales comprende comunidades
que reciben mensajes educations de un transmisor de radio directional de balance limitado. Dentro de esta-grea, comunidades son seleccionadas que reciben solamente mensajes radials; un segundo grupo recipe asistencia cfe un monitor que dirije foros.agrfcolas .que son mas tarde transmitidos, y utilize varies ayudas audiovisuals; ql mercer
9 rupo de comunidades recipe asistencia te'cnica de un agro'nomo.adema's del,,. monitor y mensajes radialss. L'deres voluntaries de la comunidad son tambign buscados en los dos filtimos groups pars, asistir en el programs education. Comunidades de control que'no reciben.comunicaciones son. tambign definidas. Ao
A la fecha los agricultores en comunidade-s que reciben informaci6n y asistencia del radio mas el monitor mas el agro'nomog demuestran la mayor mejora en conocimi6ntos y aceptacio'n de mejores pr9cticas agrfcolas.

Debemos recorder que este es un program experimental estos son datos elimifiares pars. un afio y 4e un 'rea solamente.
Estos dos ejemplos de adaptaci'*n cooperative inovada de tecnologfa,...,'
modern en los campos d.e Fertilidad del Suelo y Comunicaciones, 'que se.,
desarrollaron sobre un entendimiento de la comunidad y-de la familiar.
o bre-rural desde el punto-de vista'del pequefio agriculture y que
fueron entonces seguidos por la adaptaci'*n de nuevas tecnolog'as al
paquete de sobreviviencia actual del pequefio agriculture, demuestran que ..NOSOTROS PODENOS SABER COM09 si usamos empatfa mas sublimaci6n del ego,
francamente repensamos en pienseen grande al pensar en p-equeiioo