Title: Tanzania Farming Systems Research project (621-0156)
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Title: Tanzania Farming Systems Research project (621-0156)
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Publication Date: 1986
Copyright Date: 1986
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Bibliographic ID: UF00081531
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Tanzania Farming_Systems ResearchProject (621-0156)


Technical assistance to the the Tanzania Farming Systems
Research Project (TFSRP) was provided by the Consortium for
International Development (CID), with Oregon State University as
lead university. Conceived as having a life of project of 3.5
years, the project's technical assistance contract began March 1,
1983, with technical assistance being provided through
approximately August, 1986.

The project's orderly implementation was interrupted in
early 1983 by factors extraneous to the project's design, namely,
that the Brooke Amendment would be applied to restrict future
funding to AID projects in Tanzania. This led to elimination of
one of the project's original components (the basic food crops
research component). While, the project's farming systems
component was retained, the number of districts in which field
activities were to be conducted was reduced from 15 to 3, with
technical assistance input also being cut back.


3.1 Concept What was the basic technical idea underlying the
project?


The TFSRP sought "to build institutional capacity within the
Tanzania Agricultural Research Organ:zation (TARO) to produce and
extend agricultural research more relevant to small farmers (CID,
1983:1). This was to be achieved by introducing "a farming
systems approach to redirect...prior:ties toward constraints to
increased production which are readily armenable to correction and
to improve...recom-mendations for increasing agricultural
production" (CID, 1983:1-2). The project workplan (cited in
Jackson and Osburn, 1986:4) stated:

The FSR approach involves assisting on-going agricultural
research and extension activities to redirect agricultural
technology development, testing, and disseiination processes
toward the needs of farmers. IT views the farm and farm
family as a total entity; seeks to understand the more
important interactions of the operation of the farm as a
system; and includes the farmer directly in the agricultural
technology development process.

A second key idea underlying the project was that of improving
management of the national agricultu-al research system (TARO).











3.2 Design How was this basic technical idea translated into a
project?


Six objectives were established for the TFSRP, as follows
(CID, 1983:2-3):

To develop and institutionalize a national research
organization (TARO)...capable of sustaining and
extending adaptive (on-fara) food crop research on a
national scale.

To develop and test a methodology for using the farming
systems approach as a research and information
dissemination strategy.

To integrate the farming systems research approach with
the ongoing food crop research program.

To develop and test improved technical recommendations
for increasing food crop production by Tanzania
smallholders.

To integrate the activities of the agricultural
research organization with the activities of other GOT
institutions serving the agricultural sector at local
levels to improve the transmission of research results
to small farmers.

To develop the skills of Tanzania researchers in basic
(on-station) and adaptive (on-farm) food'crop research.

The TFSRP was to be implemented as a pilot project by the
Tanzanian Agricultural Research Organization (TARO) in three
agro-ecological zones, with activities initially focused on a
small number of administrative districts in two zones during the
project's first year, and expanded to other districts and a third
zone in the second and subsequent years. Project activities
(such as diagnostic surveys and on-farm trials) were to be
carried out by TARO personnel assigned to zonal and regional
field teams.

At the time the TFSRP was initiated, a range of experimental
technology had been undergoing testing at the crop-specific
Agricultural Research Institutes (ARis). In basic food crops
(maize, sorghum/millet, and legumes), three to five years of
research on component inputs (including varieties) and cultural
practices had already been carried out by the time the project
started.










The workplan (CID, 1983:26-27) developed by the contractor
indicated that:

The two Senior FSR Specialists...will supervise and manage
the FSR Project in Tanzania, and, by the end of the
contract, will have developed FSR institutional capacity in
TARO from national to local levels such that the program
will continue after contract personnel have departed....
The Senior FSR Specialists will be assigned Tanzanian
counterparts for each agro-ecological zone within which the
project operates. They will operate from the Planning/
Evaluation Department of TARO Headquarters, with frequent
trips to the assigned agro-ecological zones. They will
serve as advisors to the ARI Directors (zonal coordinators)
and the Commodity Coordinators on food crop research
activities and coordinate the district FSR research/
extension teams. They will be responsible for establishing
working relationships with the various zonal, regional, and
district level agricultural extension staff and supervise
the work of the FSR teams in the regions and districts.

The senior FSR team will work closely with the regional and
district agriculture extension staff to find representative
sites to conduct village trials and to identify farmers
through village leaders to conduct on-farm trials. To run
on-farm trials, FSR teams should collaborate with the
Regional Agricultural Development Officer (RADO) and the
District Agricultural Development Officer (DADO) to select
the villages. The FSR Team, along with the DADO designated
Farming Systems Officer, discusses the matter with the
Village Council...to select the farm sites and the farmers.

The FSR Team will assist Crop Coordinators in setting up
village research trials on-farm to determine if the new
technology is relevant to farmer needs. The CID Crop
Improvement specialists as members of the FSR zonal teams,
will assist the...Senior FSR Team in identifying and
collecting all previous diagnostic field surveys conducted
in the specified zone and in coordinating all future
diagnostic surveys. The information obtained from the
farmers will be analyzed by the...Serior FSR Team and a work
plan for the next planting season developed fo both food
crop research and the faring systems program.

Training, another component of the project's workplan, was
to be provided by the contractor and by the AID-funded CIMMYT
Farming Systems Research Project based in Nairobi, Kenya.











It is of interest to note that the project workplan stated
that the "underlying philosophy...was to surpass the existing
state of the art for FSR field operation" (cited in Jackson and
Osburn, 1986:4). Further, the workplan stated that the project's
farming systems approach embraced:

explicit economic performance criteria to (1) measure the
economic performance of technologies...used by farmers...
[and]...establish bench-marks against which introduced
technologies will be evaluated, (2) establish research
priorities which meet farmer/researcher choice criteria
including technical feasibility, cost effectiveness and time
sensitivity, (3) provide continuous screening of introduced
technology...Eagainst3 technical/economic criteria to
eliminate technologies with little promise and modify
promising technology to enhance potential for adoption and
(4) measure actual level of economic gain when adoption
occur s3.

The workplan also stated that, based on the existing FSR/E
literature, "it appears that the Tanzania Project is the first
FSR project to embrace the development and use of explicit
economic performance criteria." However, the workplan also noted
that the project would "seek to identify and evaluate non-
economic factors that influence farmers decisions."


3.2 Ir!mIementation How was the project managed by the host-
country implementing agency, the technical assistance team,
and SAID?


Orderly implementation of the TFSFR was interrupted in early
1983 by factors extraneous to the project's design (specifically,
that the Brooke Amendment would be applied to restrict future
funding to AID projects in Tanzania). As a result, the number of
districts in which field activities were to be conducted was
reduced from 15 to 3, with technical assistance also being cut
back. While the original contract provided for 306 long-term and
30 short-term person months of technical assistance, the amended
contract approved in'September 1985 reduced these figures to 150
and 19, respectively. By the project's end, actual FSR/E
technical assistance (3.96 person years) was less than half
(49.5%) of originally planned FSR/E technical assistance (8.0
persons years) (Faught, 1986:11).










While responsibility for implementing the TFSRP was placed
in the Tanzanian Agricultural Research Organization (TARO),
expatriate staff generally operated throughout the project
without specifically assigned counterparts. There were long
delays in assigning Tanzanian staff to the project; and the
actual number of Tanzanian staff eventually assigned to the
project fell short of project needs, although two zonal teams
were functional at the close of the project. The limited project
staffing was complemented by the collaboration of at least seven
TARO scientists working on joint experiments and eight extension
people who assisted in conducting field trials.

Although the evaluation team found that the project's
diagnosis stage had been adequately designed, the team noted that
the project had not investigated "all...the resource allocation
decisions that farmers must make" nor addressed "the functioning
of the total system...in an explicit systematic fashion" (Jackson
and Osburn, 1986:5). The team recommended that the project
conduct earlier-proposed market analysis and intra-household
studies "to provide...the missing links regarding the total
system" (Jackson and Osburn, 1986:5).

Moving ahead with the activities specified in the project
design was constrained by personnel recruitment problems such as
delays in staffing field positions. Another problem was

that almost all commodity researchers are also part-time
farmers. ...one would expect them to be readily cognizant
of the constraints that farmers in the area have, and in
turn, that hands-on experience would influence their
commodity research activities. Apparently this is not the
case in that the commodity researchers rarely, if at all,
visited FSR/E...trials. In addition the constraints that
commodity researchers had with their own farm operations
were significantly different than other farmers. ...the
commodity researchers lacked the total system perspective
and were not fully aware that other farmer[s'3 constraints
were different (Jackson and Osburn, 1986:7).

While generally successful in attracting the cooperation of
commodity researchers, the FSR/E team lacked a senior person who
could exercise FSR/E leadership. This, coupled with delays in
staffing the project and staffing field positions with relatively
inexperienced professionals who were recent college graduates,
led to problems in implementing on-farm trials (e.g., the problem
of getting appropriate bean density levels among treatments and
an adequate control in terms of farmer traditional planting
density levels).











There were.also cases where extension personnel established
on-farm trials independently of those established by the
project's FSR/E team. This was problematic where extension had
not yet developed adequate FSR/E capability, and pointed to the
importance of integrating the FSR/E team and extension personnel
to ensure adequate hands-on, learn-by-doing, on-the-job training,
supplemented as appropriate by formal short-term training
activities.

The project was particularly effective in documenting.
project activities and outcomes. Over 100 documents were
produced, many authored or co-authored by Tanzanians. These
publications provided support material for short-course training
activities, and facilitated exchange of information within
country and among FSR/E programs across countries.


3.4 Evaluation How was the project's performance measured or
assessed?


The performance of the TFSRF was measured or assessed by the
evaluation team primarily in terms of the project's impact on
farmers. Training was also considered but is discussed below in
relation to the section (3.5) on institutionalization.

The evaluation of the TFSRP noted that the FSR/E team's
diagnostic surveys provided information useful in identifying
February as the month in which there was a food shortage in the
Kilosa district of Ilonga. To address this problem, the FSR/E
team designed and implemented a variety of on-farm trials to*test
potential technologies. One of these technologies was an early
maturing maize variety known as Kito:

Appropriate trials were designed to test adoption feasi-
bility for the traditional Ufarming] systems. Early on-farm
trial results were whopping successes. Almost all farmers
were pleased. Seed is in great demand and is reflected in
scarce seed supplies (Jackson and Osburn, 1986:9).

This case helps to illustrate the role which FSR/E can play
in identifying a problem confronting farmers and in designing
appropriate on-farm trials to test a potential solution to the
problem. As the evaluation team noted:

The "Kito" story brings home the necessity of looking at the
total system rather than a component, and highlights the
necessity of an adequate technology generating or research
support system Kito was on the shelf and FSR/E discovered
and assessed its adaptability to farmer systems (Jackson and
Osburn, 1986:10).



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The Kito variety, which had been developed earlier by
breeders at the Ilonga research station, had not proven popular
with farmers. The station's major emphasis had been on
developing varieties for production during the Masika (long
rains) season which was more dependable and had higher yields.
While the short season Kiko reduced the risk of crop failure from
drought when planted in the Masika season, Kiko produced lower
yields than full season varieties when planted in a normal
season. However, when planted in the Vuli (short) season, Kiko
yielded as well as traditional long season varieties and provided
a harvest several weeks earlier than the traditional varieties.
Also, it was found that:

subsequent Masika season crops of maize or cotton following
Kito planted in the Vuli season yielded 20 to 30 percent
more than they did if planted after traditional full season
varieties. Over the two year period that the trials were
run approximately 50 farmers per season grew Kito and in the
1985/86 season Kito seed were sold to an additional 500
farmers (Faught, 1986:4).

Thus, in addressing variety development on the basis of
maximum yield, the narrower commodity focus envisaged little or
no value of Kito. The partial analysis by commodity researchers
was incorrect, and highlights the consequences when researchers
and extensionists do not adopt a total systei- perspective
(Jackson and Osburn, 1986:10).

Comparing the project's actual accomplishments relative to
those initially planned, the Project Completion Report (PCR)
notes the following end of project status (Faught, 1966:15):

Instead of 18,000 farmers in 15 districts utilizing new
technology, some 500 farmers in 3 districts are
utilizing at least one technology package.

The methodology for using FSR as a technology
development and dissemination strategy has been tested
in two rather than three agro-ecological zone.

One team is staffed and trained to teach colleagues FSR
methods, and two teams are partially staffed and
partially trained. However, only a small fraction of
TARO's scientists are agricultural economists and none
are social scientists.

TARO will most likely continue to sustain a food
crop/adaptive research program on a national basis.
The quality and relevance of the research is more
questionable.












The purpose of the TFSRP was to introduce a farming systems
approach within TARO as a means of increasing the relevance to
farmers of that organization's food crop research progr.am. The
PCR concluded that the project "certainly has been successful in
introducing the farming systems approach, but it was on too
limited a scale and conducted for too short a time to have had
any significant impact on improving the research program"
(Faught, 1986:15).


3.5 Institutionalization How did the project provide for the
implementing agency to develop a sustainable capability to
continue to perform the types of activities supported by the
project?


The farming systems approach requires interaction between
researchers and farmers; it also implies limitations on the
extent to which a relatively small number of researchers can
meaningfully interact with the relatively large number of
farmers. Extension potentially can play a major role in
overcoming these limitations and facilitating interaction between
researchers and farmers. Indeed, the evaluation team noted that
extension's role

could become more crucial should FSR/E funds and personnel
be reduced. In fact, FSR/E survival could be determined by
the extent to which extension participates and is integrated
into the FSR/E activities (Jackson and Csburn, 1986:8).

While the evaluation team recognized that the FSR/E approach and
activities as "a source of knowledge and techniques that could
revitalize...extension," currently "this is not the case because
extension personnel did not articulate such benefits associated
with the FSR/E approach" (Jackson and Osburn, 1986:7).

These conclusions suggest that the TFSRF encountered
difficulties in defining and/or developing extension's
involvement in the project. Indeed, the project implementation
plan was based on the assumption that:

The Directorate of Extension and Technical Services (DETS)
will help insure that the FSR Project is properly integrated
with the extension workers in the field. DETS will insure
that the RADOs and DADOs are adequately briefed and become
actively involved with project implementation. The DETS
will also provide one person at the District level to be a
permanent member of the district FSR Team. Also, in
selected villages within each district, the village
agriculture extension worker will help conduct surveys,
carry out field trials and demonstrations and do other work
to implement the project (Jackson and Osburn, 1986:3).












However, when compared with the project's success in establishing
a close working relationship with TARO commodity researcher's, the
project was less successful in establishing "close ties with
extension workers...due at least partially to differences in
level and type of training" (Faught, 1936:4).

The project's relatively greater success in working with
TARO researchers owes in large part to the FSR/E training that
the project provided this group. Opportunities for training
included on-the-job training; national FSR/E training seminars;
long-term, discipline-oriented, academic training; and short
courses and workshops supplementing long-term academic training.
Some trainees also participated in the Farming Systems Research
and Extension Symposium at Kansas State University.

Training of personnel in FSR/E is a necessary condition for
institutionalizing a farming systems approach in a national agri-
cultural research and extension system. However, training alone
is not a sufficient condition. Trained personnel must be
assigned to positions where they can apply their training. In
this regard, the PCR noted that there had been an-expectation

that a substantial number of scientists and technicians
trained under the Tanzania Agricultual Research Project
would be posted to the Farming Systeri. Research Project but
these postings never occurred. Rz:ruitment of alternative
personnel was slow and, in fact, never completed (Faught,
1986:2).

Further, commenting on the ten participants who had been sent for
advance degree training, the PCR stateG:

This group, along with the group that has :worked on the FSR
project in-country for the past t.o years would constitute
an excellent cadre for continuaticn of the FSR program.
However, only four of the ten advance degree trainees were
employed on the FSR project prior to starting their graduate
program. There is no assurance t.at the six not previously
employed in the FSR unit will be posted there on their
return. In fact, there is no assu-an:e that even the four
previously employed in the FSR unit will be retained there
(Faught, 1986:2).

Thus, while the TFSRP was notably successful in establishing
a good relationship with farmers in the areas where the project
functioned, the PCR concluded that the project "failed to
establish a firm organizational niche within the Government
structure" (Faught, 1986:4). The PCR noted the following as
potentially contributing to this failure:








10


It was probably unrealistic to expect to achieve
institutionalization within the limited time frame and
restricted geographic area in which the project was
required to operate.

ith a strained budgetary position, the Government was
unable or unwilling to ccomit continuing recurrent
budget support for a new organizational unit.

The continued weakness of TARO, to which the FSR unit
was attached, probably discouraged institutionali-
zation.

Another potentially influencing factor may have been the sharp
reduction experienced in the project's technical assistance
component.

ThePCR indicates that the project was also generally
successful in establishing and strengthening ties with other
agricultural organizations. Less successful were the project's
efforts to improve TARO management capability. In this respect,
the PCR noted that:

It seems probable that the experience of going through
planning, budgeting, and monitoring and other exercises
involved in a research prograrn jointly with trained and
experienced researchers...must have improved the skills and
capability of the TARO staff to carry cut these activities
in the future. . Any imp-ovemrent in TARO nanagememt
that did occur may have been viped out with the dismissal of
the TARO Director and other tco staff shortly before
USAID/CID participation terminated (Faught, 1986:5).

At a more general level, the p-oject may also have had an
institutionalization impact at the policy level. As the PCR
notes, the Government's positive relative to the FSR approach is
set forth in the section on agricultural research in The
Agricultural Policy_of Tanz.aia (Ministry of Agricultute, March
31, 1983). This policy states that a coriurehensive research
program would be developed which wculd "be linked with the
extension program as closely as possible" so that "the peasant's
experience may be incorporated in research" and "research will be
given a farm-centered, problem-solving approach" (cited in
Faught, 1986:4). However, it is net clear whether this policy
was promulgated as a sincere "declaration of support" for FSR/E
or simply to meet a requirement or condition precedent for AID
funding of the TFSRP.










11

Overall, as the PCR noted:

The major lesson that should have been learned, or perhaps
more appropriately re-learned, is that development of a
research capability and the institutionalization of such
capability is a very long term activity. Resources that are
used for short-term support of such activities are
generally, if not always, wasted (Faught, 1986:16).


References


Consortium for International Development (CID)
1983 Tanzania Farming Systems Research (621-0156) Project
Workplan (Years 1 and 2).

Faught, William A.
1986 Project Completion Report: Tanzania Farming Systems
Research Project (621-0156).

Jackson, Robert I. and Donald D. Osburn
1986 Report of Evaluation of the Tanza-nian FSR Project and
Related Activities Land Development and Station
Development at Ilonga.


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