Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Project data sheet
 Excecutive summary
 Project setting
 ICTA - Concept and history
 ICTA - Design history
 Project description
 Lessons learned

Title: Guatemala food productivity and nutrition improvement
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080688/00001
 Material Information
Title: Guatemala food productivity and nutrition improvement
Physical Description: 36 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: McDermott, J. K. (James Kenneth), 1922-
Bathrick, David.
United States. Agency for International Development
Publisher: Agency for International Development
Publication Date: 1980
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Guatemala.
Agricultural productivity -- Guatemala.
Food crops -- Quality -- Guatemala.
Nutrition -- Guatemala.
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Guatemala -- Caribbean
General Note: "Project impact evaluation no."
General Note: "September 1980."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080688
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 163576873

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Project data sheet
        Page 6
    Excecutive summary
        Page A-1
        Page A-2
        Page A-3
        Page A-4
    Project setting
        Page A-4a
        Page A-5
    ICTA - Concept and history
        Page A-6
        Page A-7
        Page A-8
        Page A-9
        Page A-10
        Page A-11
        Page A-12
    ICTA - Design history
        Page A-13
        Page A-14
    Project description
        Page A-15
        Page A-16
        Page A-17
        Page A-18
        Page A-19
        Page A-20
        Page A-21
        Page A-22
        Page A-23
        Page A-24
        Page A-25
        Page A-26
        Page A-27
        Page A-28
        Page A-29
        Page A-30
        Page A-31
        Page A-32
        Page A-33
    Lessons learned
        Page A-34
        Page A-35
        Page A-36
Full Text


0(I 113




J. K. McDermott, Team Leader
(Development Support Bureau)

David Bathrick
(Bureau for Program and Policy Coordination)

Agency for International Development

September 1980

The views and interpretations expressed in this report are those of the
authors and should not be attributed to the Agency tor International

y ^?- o-/"



Foreword 2

Acknowledgments 3

Executive Summary 1

Glossary 4

Map 5

Project Data Sheet 6

I. Introduction: The Project 4a

Project Setting 4a

ICTA Concept and History 6

Design History 13

Project Description 15

Impact 20
Seed 21
Fertilizer 25
Other Cultural Practices 26
Farming.Systems 27
Institutional Impact 28
Problems and Perspectives 32

Lessons Learned 34

Annex I Innovative Approach to Technology Innovation

Annex II Development of the Human Resource to Generate
Improved Agricultural Technology

Annex III Small Farmer Acceptance of ICTA Technology

Annex IV Crop Breeding and Improved Seed

- 2-


In October 1979, the Administrator of the Agency for International

Development requested that some 30 projects be evaluated during the

next 12 months in preparation for an Agency-wide ex-post evaluation

system. The projects to be evaluated were chosen to represent the

several sectors of the Agency's program, and the evaluations were to

focus on impact. These impact evaluations are performed for the most

part by Agency personnel and were designed so that they would be

comparable, with the intent of accumulating data and analyses useful to

the Agency and to others in the development community. This study of

the Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutrition Improvement project,

selected from the agricultural research sector, was conducted in May 1980.

Later a report will summarize the findings of all the impact studies in

each sector and relate them to program policy and design requirements.

- 3-


ICTA has earned a reputation as an open, nothing-to-hide agency.

Marc Antonio Martinez, of the Socio-economics Section, was assigned to

the team to facilitate access to both ICTA information and ICTA and other

Agency personnel, as well as the farmers cooperating with ICTA and its

sister agencies. The team took full advantage of this courtesy and spent

considerable time with the regional directors and all levels of staff of

ICTA, DIGESA, and BANDESA; with personnel of the national commodity support

teams; and with ICTA executives; with AID-ICTA contractors; and with 30

some farmers who are cooperating with these agencies. We are grateful to

all of these persons for their collaboration. It was not only effective and

efficient but it was accorded in such a way that all of our experiences were

pleasant. So many persons were involved we don't dare attempt listing names,

except for Marc Antonio, who helped in so many ways beyond his assigned task.

Finally, we are grateful to the Mission for the 1001 things it did to make

the task a pleasant one.








Hectare (Ha)

Manzana (Mz)

Plan Puebla




Banco de Desarrollo Agricola (Agricultural

Development Bank)

Centro International para Majoramiento de Maiz y

Trigo (International Corn and Wheat Improvement

Center, Mexico

Regional Agricultural Development Committee

Direccion General de Servicios Agricola (General

Agricultural Services Bureau)

Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricola

(Agricultural Science and Technology Institute)

InterAmerican Development Bank

2.5 acres

0.7 of a hectare, about 1.7 acres

A CIMMYT project in Puebla, Mexico, that pioneered

in methodologies of working closely with the farmer

in technology innovation.

Guatemala currency unit, equal to one dollar

Rockefeller Foundation

Texas A. and M. University




' Flores



inta Cruz del Ouiche


Rio Hondo,

0 25
0 25 50
0 25 50

50 100 Miaes

100 Kdometers

502473 1-76 (541403)
Lambert Conformal Projection
Standard parallels 9020' and 14040'
Scale 1:2,800,000
Boundary representation is
not n~eesslally aulhorlaIve

0Original Project Sites


- Railroad
-- Road
+. Airport

- 6 -


1. Country: Guatemala

2. Project titles, numbers, and dates:

Predecessor Projects
Rural Development (loan)
Agriculture Development (grant)

Food Productivity and Nutrition



1970 1975
1971 1975

1975 1980

3. Project Fundings:

Predecessor Projects: 018

Food Productivity and Nutrition
U.S. grant funds
Rockefeller Foundation
Inter-American Development

4. ICTA Budget

$ 675,000

$ 675,000



- 1 -


The Instituto de Ciencia y Technologia Agricola (ICTA) has shown

exceptional promise as an organization since its creation in 1973. That

promise is much closer to being realized. ICTA's annual impact on

Guatemalan agriculture appeared to be substantially greater than its

cost, after less than six years of life, and with good prospects to

increase. Unmeasured is the value of an improved methodology of small

farm technology generation and technological breakthroughs, both of

which can be used around the world, and some of which already is.

ICTA is a genuine innovation in national agricultural research

system organization. Designed specifically to develop an intense

interaction with the farmer in the process of technology generation it

addresses one of the most serious problems of LDC's, the de facto

isolation of the research organization from farmers, especially the less


Innovative though it is, ICTA built firmly on agricultural research

traditions and experience and is making its greatest impact through the

most common of technologies, namely improved seed. ICTA traces its

roots to the Puebla Project (now known as Plan Puebla in Mexico). ICTA

took full advantage of international resources both in science and

technology and experience and judgment. ICTA is an indigenous

institution, not imposed by donors. Yet two donors, USAID and

Rockefeller Foundation, played major roles both in developing the

concept and in implementation. USAID was particularly active in the

conceptualization-planning phase and has maintained steadfast support

via the project under review chiefly with contract and technical

assistance personnel.

- 2 -

Even with the excellent conceptualization, making it operational was

not easy. The model ICTA uses today is virtually that conceptualized.

It borrows heavily from the international stock of agricultural

technology and science and especially the germ plasm stock. This is

screened on the experiment station. Then the process moves to farmers'

land, for more testing and also for adaptation and the development of

new technologies. Another on-farm activity, conceptually different, is

the on-farm testing which aims to test with the farmer those

technologies, including new varieties, which the ICTA personnel judge to

be acceptable. Sounds simple, and now it is, but it took ICTA several

years to make it work. This core process is supported by reconnaissance

surveys, farm records, and the interaction with the farmer that occurs

when technology generation and testing takes place on his farm.

Research personnel have come to like the process and to take pride

in the farmer contact. Contract personnel, with considerable experience

in traditional experiment station research and relatively sophisticated,

respect the ICTA system and claim It makes it possible to release

technology, especially varieties, earlier and with more security than

they had experienced earlier.

With donor support ICTA has emphasized graduate training outside the

country and has devised a comprehensive pre-service training program.

Unfortunately, much of this quality manpower is being lost because of

salary schedules.

-3 -

ICTA's greatest impact is in seed, a convenient means of packaging

and delivering technology which is embodied in the seed. The value of

ICTA-bred seed which was put through the ICTA inspection-processing

system in 1979 was 10 million quetzales, 250 percent of ICTA's budget of

4 million.

The calculation underestimates the impact to the extent that seed

can be saved for subsequent years, that some entrepreneurs are selling

second generation ICTA seed and that some first generation ICTA seed

does not go through the ICTA system.

The impact is likely to grow. Production of seed corn is programmed

to triple over the next few years. ICTA kas released three new

varieties each of sorghum and beans since 1979 all with outstanding

characteristics. These two crops hardly figured in the 1979 impact.

ICTA has been developing such other technologies as weeding,

multiple cropping, insect and disease control, spacing, plant

population, and time of planting, although they have not yet had the

impact of seed. ICTA research has enabled both farmers on the Coast and

the Agricultural Bank to save money on fertilizer and has just come up

with other fertilizer efficiency technology that is almost sure to

effect millions in savings in the Highlands.

In spite of the positive tone of this evaluation, ICTA has had and

still has enough problems to make it believable. One serious problem is

rigidity of salaries which can not be adjusted in response either to

individual performance and productivity or to the technical-professional

requirements of technology generation. This results in a high rate of

-4 -

loss of trained personnel and leaves ICTA at a disadvantage in filling

in behind the experienced contract personnel responsible for so much of

the progress. The project did train replacements but retention has been

a disappointment.

ICTA still has awkward linkages with the extension service of the

Ministry of Agriculture (DIGESA). To some extent this is an

institutional inadequacy of both ICTA and DIGESA. However, the process

that involves intense interaction with the farmer in technology

generation is also putting research and extension into a new type of

relationship which ICTA and DIGESA haven't yet fully understood and made


- 4a -


Project Setting

Guatemala's agriculture conforms to the stereotype of an LDC

agriculture. A few large farmers occupy the best land and produce

largely for the export market -- sugar, coffee, cotton, bananas, sesame,

and cattle. Small farmers in general are crowded into the less

favorable areas, are involved in the production of the basic grains,

historically relatively low profit crops, and face the ubiqitous

problems of markets, inputs, technological services, and communication.

Guatemala has some characteristics which are not so common. The large

and medium farm operators tend to be of Latin origin while the smallest

farm operators tend to be of Indian and are concentrated in the

highlands, where the climate is pleasant, and much of the soil is

relatively favorable. However, the land is steep, the growing season is

short, and crops take a much longer time to mature. Corn, for example,

by far the most important crop, must be planted ahead of the rains in

order to beat the frost. The highland farmer is poor, largely because

of the man-land ratio. He is generally a good farmer, industrious and

frugal. One-fifth of the farms in Guatemala have an average size of

less than one acre, and these are concentrated in the Highlands. Over

the centuries the Indian farmer has developed corn varieties so well

adapted to his ecology that agricultural researchers are hard pressed to

come up with markedly superior material.

-5 -

Population pressure causes seasonal migration of the highland Indian

to work in agriculture of the hot lowlands, largely in relatively few

areas of the Pacific coastland. Mountain volcanic soils are deficient

in phosphorous, and the terrain complicates fertilizer supply.

A major assessment of rural Guatemala in the late 1960's indicated

that food production was just barely keeping pace with demand and that

income level and productivity were stagnant. Production was advancing

slightly more rapidly than population growth, mostly from added land and

labor, not increased productivity. Bean production, for example, had

doubled between 1960 and 1970, but acreage was up almost three times.

Corn yields had barely edged ahead during the decade. Rice production

was the exception, with production up five times on about twice the

acreage, as a result of imported technology.

In Guatemala, however, corn is by far the most important food crop,

with more than ten times the production of either rice or beans. While

the export subsector of agriculture contributed $211 million of foreign

exchange in 1972, well above the $21 million agricultural import bill,

the country still had to import corn and beans, two principal food crops.

In 1970 Guatemala issued its 1971-75 development plan which for the

first time allocated significant public funds for rural development and

food production rather than for commercial export production. The plan

also called for some fundamental changes in the structure of public

agencies serving the small-farm, food-producing sector. The Instituto

de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricola (ICTA) emerged in this restructuring

along with entities to handle natural resources, credit, and marketing.

These entities were semi-autonomous, i.e. they were organized outside

the Ministry of Agriculture, each with its own board of directors. The

Minister chaired all boards and thus became the rector of the small-farm

sector. Remaining within the Ministry was the Direccion General de

Servicios Agricolas (DIGESA), which retained the responsibility for

Extension. This restructuring consolidated functions, reducing the

number of small-farm agencies, and provided for some decentralization of

control. ICTA, the last of the semi-autonomous entities to be

organized, was created in May 1973. AID supported this restructuring

initiative energetically with both loans and grants, starting in 1970.

ICTA Concept and History

ICTA is of special importance in this report. It was at once both

the implementing agency and an object of the project under review. AID

has always had a special interest in ICTA and was present at the

creation. This section tells you a bit about it.

- 7 -

ICTA was a genuine innovation in agricultural research system

organization and could turn out to be one of AID's top successes in its

continuing effort to help LDC's build their own institutional

capacities. ICTA was organized around an innovative concept and style

of operation, that has come to be called "Farming Systems Research"

(although ICTA itself makes almost no use of that term.) This operating

style brings the research entity into much closer contact with the

farmer-client than does the traditional LDC research operating style.

The ICTA style accomplishes two things. By helping research personnel

to know and to understand the farmer, it enables them to direct their

research efforts to seeking technology improvements that are relevant to

his system. Since ICTA was assigned the small farm operator as a

client, it directs its efforts toward generating technology relevant to

small farm systems. Secondly, innovations are tested in small farm

systems before being released or recommended for use on small farm. The

style involves on-tarm research, along with experiment station

research. ICTA estimates that 75 percent of its research is done on

farms, including technology generation as well as testing. On-farm

research utilizes conventional methodologies as well as special

methodologies, some of which ICTA had to develop for itself.

There are two distinct types of Farming Systems Research. The ICTA

type seeks to understand the existing system and to generate technology

that is relevant to it. The other type aims to develop a distinctly new

system to replace the existing system.

-8 -

Figure 1 portrays the ICTA concept. It starts with "Agro

Socio-economic Information," an activity designed to help know the

farmer and what he is doing and to understand why he does it. The

understanding of "why" beyond knowing "what" is essential. This

information feeds into ICTA and the "Agricultural Sector," a sort of

misnomer for the set of public agencies that serve the small farmer, and

is used to select problems and decide on the type of work to do.

The innovation process itself includes a heavy dependence on the

International agricultural science and technology resource, as well as

borrowing from other national institutions. This input feeds into

conventional experiment station work. On-farm experimentation, under

control of ICTA personnel, is a major part of the concept. Experiment

station research has been reduced somewhat in importance since this

chart was designed.

The next step involves much less ICTA control and is used after

station and on-farm experimentation have indicated that a new technology

will be useful. On-farm testing is (a) under farm conditions and (b)

involves the farmer as part of the test. It constitutes another part of

the ICTA innovation. This system appears to be fully institutionalized,

i.e. ICTA has worked it into its institutional doctrine and its

personnel accept it as commonplace as do contractor personnel.

Processes in this model are reinforced by reconnaissance surveys,

crop records, acceptability surveys, and the general interaction with

farmers provided by all the various activities in the process.








Eva I iuat ion
by the

I on

acce.l ance


Agr cul turi'

Orgari zed
22 cs c== =i

Pr ivate
Indus try,
(I c.




The ICTA Concept

Figure 1.

- 10 -

In order to implement the concept ICTA has organized itself along

two axes. (See Figure 2) One of these is constituted by the regional

production teams and the other by the national commodity programs. The

production teams (farming systems teams) concentrate in areas in which

they are responsible for all ICTA activities. Seven commodity programs

cover the entire country--corn, beans, wheat, rice, sorghum,

horticulture, and sesame. ICTA started in three of the six regions of

the country. It is now operating in all six, but on a reduced scale in

two. Production and commodity work is supported by units in soils,

socio-economics, and training. All of this work is under the

supervision of the technical director, a post filled first by a

Rockefeller Foundation technician, later by an AID contract technician,

and for several years now by ICTA personnel.

The ICTA system de-emphasizes the experiment station. It has no

central station and its regional stations, called "production centers,"

are neither large nor elaborately equipped. The maintenance of genetic

purity and most of the variety crossing are done on station. Almost

everything else is done on farms. Laboratory facilities are also


The ICTA design called for two delivery systems. Since much of the

new technology can only be delivered in improved seed, the design called

for a seed handling system that would remove it from government agencies

where it had not been successful.






^ ^ __ 3_ -cJ I


wp -j swT m 6.0.11"J*'l^ l^T^r-~rln^8












I~-I~ (IIJIUAI I'I~ ~ *'

Figure 2. The ICTA Organization




KTrmrm-nn l~araiunii m;n3~rmer

oz cT HEAT -
z C, 6, Vn
"' 3 SWINE ra
S) 0 S uA
*, < SESAME ca 0-




-- r -1



- 12 -

The second provision was the transfer of extension from DIGESA to

ICTA at a later date. In anticipation of the transfer, however, DIGESA

personnel were secunded to ICTA in three regions. Fortune frowned on

this association. ICTA was new, its personnel were better paid, it had

good logistic support and new vehicles, and it was the center of

national and international attention. Meanwhile DIGESA personnel were

laboring under Ministry regulations from which ICTA had just been freed,

so recently, in fact, that it had no more technology to offer than the

old Ministry Research Service did.

Whether there is a cause and effect relationship or not, troubles in

that first ICTA-DIGESA association have tended to persist. There have

been continuous efforts to improve relationships, and at the time of

this study there was evidence that linkages are being built, but still

problems persist.

Since the ICTA style and concept were new, personnel needed training

in addition to conventional graduate education. Based on Rockefeller

Foundation experience in both IRRI and CIAT an in-service training

program was devised that extended through a research cycle and provided

actual experience in field operations as well as classroom work. This

program was located in a region headed by an AID contract technician,

and the trainees actually staffed the regional production team. This

training has been effective. However, it cannot turn out the numbers

needed, especially with rapid personnel turnover. This course has been

modified for extension personnel as part of the ICTA effort to build


- 13 -

ICTA also worked with the national agricultural college, which

requires a thesis for the Ingeneiro Agronomo degree. ICTA provided

facilities and supervision for the thesis work of selected students,

helping itself recruit as well as train.

Design History

ICTA is neither an accident, nor the result of an autonomous

evolution. It was carefully and thoroughly designed to address four

specific problems its founders had identified. These were: (1) The

lack of an adequate technology for the small farmer, (2) inadequate

testing of technology being recommended, (3) no evaluation of farmer

acceptance of a recommended technology, and (4) lack of researcher

knowledge of farmer problems and insufficient contact with the extension

agents. These problems were associated with the generalized image of

traditional technology innovation being in the hands of two distinct

entities and involved in two discrete processes--experiment station

research and extension.

Planning for ICTA took two years; involved five work groups and many

people, including Guatemalans, others from Latin America, and personnel

of both AID and the Rockefeller Foundation; and included trips to CIMMYT

in Mexico, the Foundations in New York, and AID in Washington.

Innovative though it was, ICTA took advantage of experiences, tradition,

and existing international resources.

Some of these antecedents can be identified. Experiences of Plan

Puebla in Mexico was particularly important. This was the pioneer

14 -

effort in bringing research into closer contact with both the farmer and

extension. CIMMYT helped launch Plan Puebla in part because its maize

varieties were no better than indigenous varieties in one high altitude

area of its homeland of Mexico, and it wanted to explain its frustration

and to find out what could be done. The project involved researchers

working closely with farmers, studying farming systems, and doing

on-site research. The project was fairly widely copied with

modifications in other countries.

Another antecedent was the old Guatemala Point IV program which

helped establish a research service in the Ministry of Agriculture. The

success of this project was limited by some of the problems identified

above, but it had chalked up some accomplishments, one of which was its

wheat program, in which it collaborated with CIMMYT. Guatemalans out of

this research-education tradition played a major role in the creation of


Two donors, particularly, played key roles. One was AID, which has

a better record of institutional innovation in Latin America than is

commonly recognized. The other was the Rockefeller Foundation, which is

noted for its work in initiating and promoting agricultural research in

LDC's around the world.

Cutting, fitting, and piecing all these inputs into a national

research service that hangs together and serves the farmer has

demonstrated imagination, good judgment (maybe even genius), persistence

and dedication, and probably a considerable amount of good luck.

- 15 -

Project Description

The "Food Productivity and Nutrition Project" was approved in 1975,

for start up in 1976 as a five-year project. Via a series of seven

grant and loan projects, AID had supported Guatemala's five-year plan

including its participation in the creation of ICTA and support to

operations since its initiation in 1973. General sector support

including training at all levels, credit, and marketing and storage of

staples, in addition to the work in technology. Mission estimates that

pre-project support to ICTA amounted to over $950,000 from two earlier

projects. That included almost 10 person-years of technical assistance

in beans, vegetables, and regional research and extension coordination

from four persons.

The project was first conceived to concentrate heavily on high

lysine maize, which contained a genetic quality that significantly

improved the quality of maize protein by increasing the content of the

amino acid, lysine. This maize was under intensive testing by the AID's

Technical Assistance Bureau (TAB), CIMMYT, and others, and at the time

was the subject of much enthusiasm by its proponents. It did show

promise, and both TAB and CIMMYT were eager to subject it to trial in a

country program. Guatemala appeared to be an ideal country for such a

test, and the TAB Offices of Agriculture and Nutrition were involved in

development of the project as early as 1973. In its original form the

project would have created a special unit in ICTA to work on high lysine


16 -

High lysine maize was de-emphasized considerably in the final

project for two reasons. No genetic material was available for the

highlands, and the lowland material was not proved and transferred into

stable varieties. On the other hand, conventional maize is by far

Guatemala's predominant food crop and most important staple food. Yet

little improvement work had been done on it in recent years, and maize

was still being imported. High lysine maize did figure in the final

project. It was to be thoroughly tested and utilized to the extent

justified, but no special ICTA unit was to be created, and conventional

maize was to receive attention. This was a fortunate decision. The

high lysine promise has not materialized anywhere in the world. In the

meantime the integrity of ICTA has been maintained, and there has been

considerable progress in conventional maize technology.

The project aimed to serve two purposes: To increase the production

and nutritive quality of basic food crops in Guatemala and to strengthen

and develop ICTA. Improvement in nutritive quality was to come through

increased production and use of high lysine maize as well as through the

increased production of beans, an important source of quality protein.

A total of some $1,730,000 was obligated for the project, and

estimates are that $1,700,000 will be disbursed. This will bring the

Mission's total contribution to ICTA to about $2,650,000.

Of most importance was the technical assistance input. Technicians

on the ground from the old projects were continued in this one, and most

of them served in line positions. For example, two leaders of the three

- 17 -

original regional production teams were Mission supported contract

personnel. One of them was later transferred into the position of

technical director, where he supervised all technical operations. The

other served as training supervisor as well as production team leader

before becoming leader of the national sorghum program. Both were

replaced as production team leaders by Guatemalans, and all teams in the

newly activated regional programs were staffed by Guatemalans.

The project used a variety of contractors, each of which made a

major contribution. The sorghum breeder and several other technicians

were provided through Texas A. & M. University. Two corn breeders were

contracted from CIMMYT, and a CIAT contract provided two bean breeders.

The plant breeding experts provided access to the world's best stock of

germ plasm as well as other support. The technician promoted to the top

technical position in ICTA was provided by a Puerto Rican consulting


Most AID resources went to support ex-patriate technical assistance,

almost $1.2 million. It is the consensus among ICTA personnel that this

assistance was crucial. It performed several functions. One it

provided manpower to staff ICTA while its own people were being trained

and accumulating the experience necessary to man some of the positions.

Second, it provided ICTA with both technical competence and help in

making its new concept operational, and finally, it facilitated the

development of linkages with the international agricultural research

- 18 -

centers and U.S. centers, which serve as repositories of the world's

stock of commodity technology. Parenthetically, the work in Guatemala

fed back into these world-wide entities to their own benefit.

Most contractors performed well. Texas A. & M., at one time unable

to provide a bean breeder, was criticized. However, by not filling the

post with a breeder of marginal quality, it left open the opportunity to

contract with CIAT in what turned out to be a fortunate liaison. This

project provided some $140,000 for the training of ICTA personnel.

Other donor agencies were important to the project, and the Mission

assumed its share, at least, of the responsibilities in orchestrating

those efforts. The Rockefeller Foundation was heavily involved in the

original design of ICTA, and just as important, its personnel played key

roles in resolving problems in making the concept operational. The

Foundation provided a special consultant to the director general and an

experiment station development specialist, both from its permanent

staff. It provided the chief of the socio-economics section for four

years and the technical director for two years. The success of the AID

project owes much to this group. All these people played key roles.

Collaboration between the Foundation and AID efforts was almost ideal.

Rockefeller was also liberal in its support of personnel training.

The InterAmerican Development Bank handled the seed program, one of

the originally designed delivery systems, via a loan for facilities and a

grant for technical assistance. The Mission had contingency plans to

pick up the seed component until the Bank's plans were firm.

- 19 -

The seed plan was simple. It virtually took the State out of the

seed business. ICTA developed tests and releases new varieties.

Private growers multiply them under ICTA supervision for the first

generation to maintain both genetic purity and freedom from weed

contamination. ICTA provides processing and storage facilities to the

growers for a fee, and seed can be labelled "ICTA Certified". ICTA

never takes ownership. Growers are responsible for merchandising. The

plan may be too simple. No public agency has responsibility or

authority to regulate the seed industry and maintain quality safeguards,

beyond the first cycle after ICTA release. Still the system works and

other components can be added. There is confidence in ICTA seed, so

much, in fact, that unregulated seed is now appearing on the market

under brands and labels associating it with ICTA. This is in contrast

to the previous situation in which seed often had to be burned (because

of insecticide treatments) because it would not sell through the State

system in which farmers had no confidence.

This project has been evaluated annually by AID and once by the

Rockefeller Foundation. Two major problems were identified in those

evaluations, which were consistent in the view that ICTA was innovative

and dynamic and that it held great promise, although yet to be

realized. One problem was the extension liaison, and the other was

administration. Although ICTA was a relatively simple organization and

well managed, it never did succeed in achieving the administrative

requirements needed to take full advantage of the administrative

flexibility promised in its semi-autonomous status. Guatemalan

- 20 -

procedures are more sticky than most, and it has been difficult to

determine if this limitation was due to lack of skill in ICTA management

or was simply a function of the administrative environment. This, in

turn, resulted in a serious loss of personnel because ICTA could not

adequately exploit the salary flexibility potential said to be possible

under its charter.


This paper makes no attempt to isolate the impact of this project,

in part because it would serve little purpose and in part because it

would be a difficult, it not impossible tack. Rather it deals with

several inputs which were blended into a single integrated effort over a

decade. This includes the contributions of AID, CIMMYT, Rockefeller

Foundation, and Guatemala in the ICTA design; the accomplishments of

Guatemala in restructuring the sector, the support of the Mission to

that effort in general, and the pre-project support of ICTA; this

project, a companion implementation by Rockefeller Foundation, and

financial input from the InterAmerican Development Bank; and the very

great effort of ICTA itself. This project would have amounted to

considerably less without the other efforts. On the other hand, the

project did contain many pay-off activities, without which the other

efforts would have been frustrated. Without this disclaimer, the paper

may tend to overstate AID's contribution, at least by implication.

However, it is also clear that AID's contribution is considerably

greater than its direct support to ICTA from this project.

- 21 -

The upshot of all this is that ICTA is the centerpiece, and its own

development as an organization and its performance in serving its

designed function will be treated as impact. This leaves to wiser

analysts the task of making attribution of credit.

This paper also lays little claim to precision because it is not

relevant and so very difficult. If ICTA turns out to be a successful

institutional innovation, the benefits will so far exceed costs that

costs are hardly relevant. If its success is so limited that it takes

precise analysis to determine it, the project will be a failure.

This paper does present as much data as we could find that seems

relevant and some anecdotal evidence, from which inferences can be drawn.


Even though ICTA is a genuine innovation in agricultural technology

generation and works on various technologies, its greatest contribution

has been and will continue to be in a traditional area -- plant breeding

and improved seed, demonstrating once again the high payoff for

agricultural research.

A calculation based on data provided by ICTA indicated that seed

developed by ICTA was worth at least $10 million to Guatemala

agriculture in 1979, compared to the ICTA budget of $4 million. This

calculation pertains only to that part of the ICTA genetic material

which flowed through the ICTA seed system. The data and calculation are

shown on Table 1.

Table 1. ICTA-Supervised Production of ICTA-Developed or Tested
for which adequate, Resultant Increased Production and

Seed, Production Area
Value, 1978*






Price Value
$/cwt**' Increased




























*Not all ICTA developed seed flows through this system, one company produces corn outside the system, and the well
organized accociation of wheat growers handle much of the seed. All data in this table comes from ICTA.
Calculations made by authors.

*Mz=Manzana; which is0,7 of a hectare, about 1.5 acres.

*The Guatemala Quetzal in equal to one dollar.


Prod L














- 23 -

In general this table probably understates the contribution of ICTA

seed. However, in one respect, it may overstate the case. The increase

in yield from improved seed refers to increase over traditional,

unimproved seed. Perhaps not all of ICTA seed used is replacing that

quality of seed.

Even if this calculation were discounted as much as 60 percent, the

ICTA seed alone available for planting in 1978 (when ICTA was barely

five years old) compensated Guatemala for the resources to put into

ICTA. In 1980, only two years later, much more and better material is

available especially in beans and sorghum which hardly show up in

Table 1.

Understatement of the impact stems from these causes:

1. ICTA field trails have helped increase the use of improved seed from

all sources. On the coast, data indicate that 85% of the farmers use

improved seed compared to about 50% in 1975.

2. Much of ICTA genetic material does not pass through the ICTA

system. One large seed corn producer is licensed to produce

independently, and the wheat producers handle seed through their own


3. Farmers save seed and sell to other farmers, and entrepreneurs are

selling second generation ICTA seed on a commercial scale without use of

the ICTA seed system.

4. We can account for the sale of 40,000 pounds of sorghum seed sold in

one area before 1978, enough for 3400 acres. Much of that genetic

material may still be producing.

- 24 -

The future impact of ITCA seed will almost certainly be far greater

than the impact shown in Table 1. The increase will come from these


1. An increase in the number of seed producers and seed produced. ICTA

has a goal of 3,800,000 pounds of seed corn production in 1980 for

planting in 1981 and hopes to produce 6 million pounds per year by 1985,

compared to less than the 1,800,000 pounds in 1978 shown in Table 1.

2. ICTA corn seed quality improves steadily even without the release of

new varieties, because of the CIMMYT recurrent selection breeding system

in use in Guatemala.

3. Breeding advances already made in sorghum and bean varieties

released in late 1980 may constitute authentic "technological

breakthroughs". In sorghum the break through is the Tropical

Adaptability gene which enables the plant to compensate for the shorter

day length of the tropics. In beans the break through is golden Mosaic

tolerance. Both of these developments, if they turn out to be as good

as they now seem, will have impact beyond Guatemala.

- 25 -


ICTA has two major accomplishments in fertilizers, but it is

difficult to quantify them. They do show that improved technology

does not always require more input, but may actually save inputs. In a

Pacific Coast Region, the Regional Credit office required borrowers to

use fertilizer, for which it used about 30% of its funds. After ICTA

showed it simply did not pay, this practice was discontinued increasing,

in effect, its loan portfolio almost one-third. That office made $2.2

million in loans in 1980. Savings to farmers were modest, since they

could recover most costs.

The second accomplishment has not made its impact yet, but

foreshadows an important impact. In the highlands, where fertilizer is

essential and costly, farmers have been using a fertilizer containing

equal parts of phosphorus and nitrogen. In order to provide enough

nitrogen farmers waste phosphorus. One farmer we visited estimated that

by using ICTA technology--spacing, rate of seeding, and nitrogen

fertilizer--he doubled production with half the fertilizer cost. It

seems safe to anticipate that the impact will be substantial as nitrogen

becomes available. Given the high cost of inputs and the small farm

operator's financial condition, efficiencies of this scale and nature

are an important ICTA potential. Savings in social costs are also


26 -

Other Culture Practices

Impacts of ICTA's work on cultural practices--density (plant

population) and time of planting, spacing of plants, methods of

multicropping, and weed and insect control--are almost impossible to

estimate especially given ICTA's short history. Practices vary from

area to area both in substance, in value to the farmer, and in the

farmer acceptance of them and there are no convenient input sales (such

as in seed) to help monitor acceptance. Further, they are often used

with recommended fertilizer practices and improved seed varieties, and

thus it is difficult to assess their impacts, even on the individual

farm. Finally, cultural practices require more skill and sometimes more

labor or a different pattern of labor than do fertilizer and seeds, and

for this reason together with their less dramatic impact can be expected

to spread more slowly than seed and fertilizer technology.

The only measure we could use for cultural practice impact was

ICTA's Acceptance Index (AI), which was not designed for impact

evaluation. The AI measures the ICTA cooperator's acceptance of a new

technology the year after he has tested an ICTA technology with ICTA

advice and counsel. In the next year, ICTA does not provide advice but

does check with cooperators to see what they have accepted. The AI is

the percentage of cooperators still using the technology multiplied by

the percentage of their land they are using it on.

An analysis reported in Annex III indicates that ICTA technology

fares rather well and that more recently the AI's have been going up.

The analysis seems to sustain the expectation that cultural practices

will have a steadily increasing impact.

- 27 -

Farming Systems

ICTA is recognized, virtually around the world, as a leading example

of a Farming Systems Research Institution. It is always cited as a

pioneer institution in the development of farming systems research and

has been an important factor in its growing popularity.

Curiously, we hardly heard the term "farming system" in our visit.

ICTA is not aiming to develop alternatives to current farming or

cropping systems. The ROCAP-CATIE multi-cropping project has one

researcher working in collaboration with ICTA. We did not visit him.

ICTA is recognized as dealing with "Farming Systems" because of its

efforts to know and to understand the farmer and his system of farming

and to test its innovations in that system. In the highlands, for

example, where farmers grow corn with beans and peas, ICTA tests its new

corn varieties with the other crops.

Its work, of course, will tend to modify "systems", but will do so

incrementally, not by quantum jumps. One of their cultural

recommendations is to space corn more closely together in a row and to

plant beans and peas in the row but in hills separate from the corn.

The traditional practice is to plant one meter part in rows one meter

apart, 8 kernels of corn and two or three each of beans and peas. The

farmers developed this system because they had to plant before the rains

so that the corn would mature before frost. Planting at this time they

had to dig down to moisture--a depth of about one foot. With that much

digging they tried to get as much utility from each hole as they could.

28 -

ICTA has challenged this tradition, recommending reducing the total

seed used by 25 percent and spacing that out at 60 centimeters in

one-meter rows and planting the beans and peas separately. We visited

farmers who were following these practices, and to this extent they had

changed their system. The first farmers we visited were very small

operators--who seemed to have more labor than land. Later, however, we

visited a farmer who hired labor. He was following the more even

spacing and told us that his laborers were using the practice on their

own small plots.

Institutional Impact

The Project also aimed to help with the comprehensive development of

ICTA as an institution. In contrast to the immediate product, or

output, the instutional impact can be regarded as an investment, and is

relevant to the long run future. See Annex II for more data and

analysis on the human resource.

We consider an institution in two senses. One sense is "collective

action in control of individual action". In this case individual action

is "controlled" by improvement in the environment in which the

individual acts. Farmers have a supply of technology that is both of

higher quality and more dependable than in pre-ICTA days. Their seed

supply is considerably improved, in part because the seed industry

environment has also been improved. Institution is also used in the

sense of an organization that has been formed and stabilized with its

own doctrine, role definition, program and procedures established and

somewhat protected from the whimsy of incumbents of key positions.

- 29 -

By the criteria commonly used to analyze institutions (in the

organization sense) ICTA is doing quite well.

Leadership was excellent in the beginning. On a one-time basis,

leadership could appear by chance. The perspective is considerably

enhanced by the fact that ICTA has produced from its own ranks quite a

good leadership. Guatemalans have replaced ex-patriates in leadership

positions and appear to have performed well.

ICTA seems in quite good shape to withstand the risks run by any

public agency of having appointed top management who do not understand

the organization.

Structure of ICTA seems to be holding up well. The two dimensional

structure enabled it to protect the best of conventional research and to

incorporate the new function of coming to terms with the farmer. This

structure is reinforced by the practice of involving both dimensions

(the area production teams and the national commodity teams) both in the

evaluation of the past year's work and in planning next year's work.

Doctrine is the area in which ICTA has been exceptionally good.

There is a genuine credo that service to the small farmer is "good."

ICTA respects him and believes that collaboration with him is an

etticient way to work. Contractors voice optimism about this style,

even though it was new to them.

Resources are barely adequate, and this will be more of an

impediment in the future than in the past. While small and new, it

could not have handled more resources than it had. Now that its own

procedures are maturing, ICTA has both an absorptive capacity and a job

to do that significantly exceeds its resources.

- 30 -

Program results from the above. It is modest compared to need and

potential, although absolutely it is good.

ICTA is having impacts on other entities, another mark of

institutional development. We have recounted the story of BANDESA

changing its lending policies. DIGESA has also changed the

responsibility of many of its personnel, from loan supervision for

BANDESA to conventional extension. It may have other changes in store

as conventional extension adjusts to an innovative research entity, as

explained below.

In part because of ICTA's collaboration with the international

agency, it has drawn a considerable interest from the rest of the world,

and bits and pieces of its story have been presented at various

international meetings. Through these channels, ICTA is having an

impact on institutions in other countries. This impact cannot be

measured but it will be significant.

An institution can also be evaluated in terms of its linkages with

the other entities whose performance is essential to its success. In

this area, ICTA presents a mixed picture. It has excellent linkages

with the international agricultural science and technology

establishment, and much of its success stems from the use of those

resources. It has also developed good linkages with the Guatemalan

agricultural college.

31 -

Two types of linkages have given it trouble. One of these is the

enabling linkage--with those entities of government who provide both

authority and resources with which to operate. ICTA is in trouble, in

that it cannot obtain authority to pay salaries high enough to retain

its trained people. The project has done an excellent job of providing

training to ICTA personnel, but the loss rate is too high because of its

approved salary schedule and it low budget.

ICTA's problems in building an adequate program linkage with DIGESA

extension have been described earlier. It recognizes that this linkage

is important and keeps working at it.

We have no explanation for the enabling linkage inadequacies. In

part it may be that ICTA management has not developed the skills needed

to deal with the allocating agencies. It may be, however, that they are

up against a difficult task in the Guatemala environment. It may be

some of both.

There seems to be no structural explanation of the ICTA-DIGESA

linkage problem. In part it may be a lack of skill in both entities.

We have no evidence that ill will is widespread. It may be that ICTA's

style of working so closely with the farmer simply necessitates a type

of Research-Extension relation that is substantially different from the

traditional stereotype and that in the evolution of the ICTA style the

two entities simply haven't worked out these new relationships.

Traditionally, Research has had limited contact with the farmer. One of

Extension's most powerful tools is the result demonstration. The ICTA

on-farm test has all the appearance of a result demonstration. ICTA

invites farmers in to help it evaluate the technology's performance, and

- 32 -

that to all appearances is a Farmer Field Day, another extension

technique. At the interface ot this style ot Research and Extension it

is difficult to tell the difference between the two. Added to this is

the dynamic that exists in the farmer social structure.- A good and

simple to use technology, such as a superior variety is diffused by the

social structure without any help from Extension. This confuses even

the actors and has led some to think that the Research entity could do

all the extension that is needed. It is our judgment that in a

reasonable time it will be worked out. -We can visualize the possibility

that the two entities will be linked together in such a way that their

effectiveness will surpass current expectations.

It is not sate to be complacent about new institutions. The ICTA

perspective seems good. It makes steady progress in achieving the

promise it offered from the beginning. But like liberty, the prica nf

ICTA is eternal vigilance.

Problems and Perspective

This evaluation comes out positive, in some ways positive to the

point of straining credibility. The project has been evaluated every

year, and most evaluations exhibit the same characteristic.

ICTA has had some tough problems. Working out its procedures for

on-farm research and on-farm testing and maintaining the distinction

between the two was not automatic. Conceptualized from the beginning,

these components were not fully operational for several years. Not only

did leaders have to work out the techniques, but the rank and file had

- 33 -

to understand. Early in ICTA's history some of its field personnel made

almost no distinction between field research, on-farm tests, and

demonstration plots, at least in their conversations. This operational

problem seems to be solved.

It must be recognized fully that much of ICTA's success with crop

breeding is due to the presence of competent ex-patriate personnel,

highly qualified and linked directly to the international sources of

expertise. Personnel have been trained to replace them. Two problems

remain, however. One is that no fresh M.S. graduate is a seasoned

technician. He simply needs time in the field to apply his new trade,

learn its arts and develop his intuition to match his science and

technology training. There is no way to predict how quickly the newly

trained ICTA personnel can pick up the functions of the ex-patriates and

to what extent they can match ex-patriate performance. The linkages are

firmly established with CIAT and CIMMYT, with various U.S. institutions,

and through CIAT with IRRI. If these collaborations are maintained,

even with some erosion, ICTA's perspective is good.

Probably more serious is to what extent ICTA will be able to retain

its trained personnel. ICTA has not been able to develop adequate

administrative flexibility. This is probably the most serious threat to

ICTA's future, debilitating, if not fatal. For an institution such as

ICTA, personnel is the major resource. The problem is man made, and man

can correct it. Guatemala's public administration problems are alleged

to be tougher than in most countries, so this problem may be around for

a while.

34 -

Lessons Learned

If this project has not demonstrated the importance of some

guidelines, it has at least indicated some clear cut directions and

suggestions. Here are what we have gathered.

1. Do not risk money and Host Country effort and time on un-tested

technology. This project avoided a serious error in the decision to

reduce emphasis on high lysine maize.

2. The fundamentals of agricultural development, good technology in

general and improved seed in particular, still have a high payoff and

make an investment in R&D one of the best developmental opportunities

available to donors.

3. The wisdom of investing in human and institutional resource

development is clear. ICTA not only is a valuable resource to the

future of Guatemala, its existence and performance enabled the project

with a relatively small investment to have a widespread impact in a

relative short run. Investment must include some analysis and attention

to the institution itself and not simply to the substance of the

project. Recognition of the seed delivery problems of Guatemala, for

example, and provision of the seed unit in ICTA have been important

factors in the impact of the

crop breeding work.

4. A project can address both substantive, technical problems at

the same time it is addressing institutional development problems and

achieve results in a relatively short time. The seed unit was

completely developed within this project, many people were trained, many

I 1

- 35 -

of the original concepts were made operational, new varieties were

developed, institutional doctrine was firmly implanted, and farmers were

using technology from the project.

5. Importance of linkages was clearly established, both in the

positive and the negative sense. Linkages with the international

community were excellent and highly productive--not only as a source of

technology but also as a source of design and concepts. Some domestic

linkages were inadequate, and ICTA has paid for the weakness.

6. Importance of management functions has been demonstrated, but

AID does not give it proper attention in projects. It is not clear what

AID has to offer in this area; it is clear that AID needs to address

such problems as financial support, personnel development, and staff

management, along with technical substantive matters.

7. The value and the potential of the international agricultural

research centers and of U.S. centers of technology expertise was

demonstrated. Also demonstrated was the value of a national capacity to

draw on this technology and to make an important contribution back into

the centers. If the CIAT-ICTA bean varieties with golden mosaic

tolerance turn out to be as good as they now seem, this work will have

impact throughout Latin America, in large part through the CIAT

program. The same is true of the Tropical Adaptability gene in sorghum,

discovered and bred into varieties by an ICTA-Texas A. and M.

collaboration and which Texas A.and M. can use through its worldwide

36 -

network. Both AID as an Agency and each Mission need to evaluate these

international resources and determine means of making more use of them.

There literally is an AID Worldwide Research Network.

8. This project demonstrated the very great potential that AID has

or can mobilize in helping develop national institutions, especially of

this type. In helping with the design of ICTA, AID was able to call on

the U.S. research tradition, on its 35-year experience throughout Latin

America, on its earlier institutional development work in Guatemala, on

the varied experiences of the international agricultural research

centers of which it is the largest supporter, and on its own

imagination. In the several implementing projects it made use of all

these resources, plus the technological resources (germ plasm and

personnel) of the U.S. and international research centers. Underscoring

all of this is its ability to collaborate with other donors.

Annex I IV
from original

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