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Title: Sondeo
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Title: Sondeo
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Creator: Hildebrand, Peter E.
Publisher: Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologi´a Agri´colas,
Publication Date: 1982
Copyright Date: 1982
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Acknowledgement
        Acknowledgement
    Main
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
Full Text



I ~


THE "SONDEO" A MULTIDISCIPLINARY METHODOLOGY FOR FARM
DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS DEVELOPED FOR ICTA








Peter E. Hildebrand
Sergio -Ruano


Guatemala, C. A.
August 1982


Supporting Disciplines:
Rural Sociology and Economics


Institute for Science and Agricultural Technology
(Instituto De Ciencia Y Tecnologia Agricola)


-.o 0
























ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS




To all those whose field participation contributed to the

development of this methodology: to our colleagues at ICTA,
Selvin A. Arriage and Mamerto Reyes, for their suggestions,
corrections, and cormnents, and-to Anne Starks Acosta for
translating the present version from its original Spanish.








The "Sondeo," A Multidisciplinary Methodology for Farm
1/
Description and Analysis, Developed for ICTA,-



Peter Hildebrand -
3/
Sergio Ruano-3




INTRODUCTION



The "sondeo" is a modified, exploratory survey, with certain distinct
characteristics, developed by ICTA in response to financial and time
limitations. The information recovered through the sondeo is of a
qualitative nature. It 'should be followed up by quantitative research in the
form of area case studies, including in-depth surveying and production
record-keeping, so that complete info-rmation is ultimately collected for
each region where the generation and promotion of new technology is being
initiated.
The purpose of .the sondeo is to provide quickly the initial information
required to orient the larger research task of the Institute. Using'this
methodology, the farming system is described, the agro-socioeconomic and

and cultural conditions of farmers are determined, and restrictions are

1/ This document is an elaboration of the philosophy underlying the
methodology and of several methodological issues outlined in an earlier
work, written by Hildebrand and translated into Spanish by Maria E.
Chinchilla (ICTA Sociologist) in 1979 under the title of "Resumen de
1 *;od,:;1 e-i dcl Sr.nd12 Ucn-ia 5cr 1 PTA ." d .
p'.i 'Lishd in r. is a "Comb ning Discipline's in Rapid Ap.',Ipraisal: The
Sondeo Approach," Agricultural Administration, No. 8 (1981), pp. 423-432.
2/ Agricultural economist with the Rockefeller Foundation, assigned from
1974 to 1979 to be coordinator of Rural Sociology and Economics at the
Institute de Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricola (Institute for Science and
Agricultural Science and Technology), ICTA, Guatemala. Currently professor
of food and resource economics at Florida State University.
3/ Research associate in Rural Sociology and Economics, ICTA






-2 -


defined so that promoted modifications in technology are appropriate to
local conditions.
To comprehend the methodology, it is necessary to understand how ICTA
is organized at the regional level. In each of the regions where the Institute
operates, there is a regional director, who is the representative of the
director general of the Institute. Within the region are found national
commodity programs (corn, beans, wheat, etc.) and disciplinary support
teams (sociology and economics, soil management, technology testing, etc),.
making up a large team which is both multidisiciplinary and interdisciplinary.
The national programs conduct investigation in experiment stations and on
farmers' field, with the support of technology testing teams--teams which
extend their labor to each one of these programs.
All technicians, regardless of their discipline or the program in which
they work in the region, are under the direction of the Regional Director.
This large, interdisciplinary team is usually made up of some or all of
the following technicians: plant breeders, pathologists, animal scientists,
a specialist in sociology and economics, and approximately five agricultural
engineers who are part of the technology testing team. This group, backed
up by the national coordinators of both commodity programs (corn, beans, etc.)
and support disciplines (sociology and economics, soil management, extension),
is responsible for orienting and conducting the generation and promotion of
technology in the area. This task includes basic plant breeding and/or
selection of materials in the regional experiment station: trials in farmers'
fields: test plots managed by farmers, where alternative technologies are
validated: evaluation of the acceptability of proven technology by farmers:
:.1 :r 'u on -c. 1-k -i10, conadic,-_e6 by a; i.iejs v:ii; L:3Ltc.i L
technicians.
For the purpose of providing a basic orientation for the regional team,
the sondeo is conducted jointly by members of the technology testing team
who will be working in the area; where necessary, personnel from appropriate
programs; and with the essential participation of a team of socio-economists
composed of the following: anthropologists, economists, agricultural economists,
and/or agricultural engineers. Generally, there are five people from the
field of socio-economics and five from the technology testing team, who make
up a team of approximately ten people for the sondeo in each area.


* Agricultural engineer = general agronomist in Latin America






- 3-


If ICTA will be working in an area that has not been previously
described, one of the objectives of the sondeo is to characterize production
systems and delimit the area. This is done by identifying the predominant
system or systems of production used by the average or representative farmer
in the area, and later determining the most important system for the farmer
and the area in which this system is important. The reason for using as a
parameter a homogenous 4/ traditional or actual production system, is that this
production system will be that which ICTA will try to modify with the new,
improved technology. Beginning with a well-defined, homogenous system in
which to work, it is possible to simplify the procedure of generating and
promoting technology. The premise on which the selection of a homogenous
cultivation system is based, is that all the agriculturalists working within
that system have had to make similar adjustments to a common set of

restrictions, and at the same time, confront a common set of agro-socioeconomic
and cultural conditions.
The area which makes up the homogenous system will depend on three
fundamental factors: a common ecosystem, a common social stratum among
agriculturalists, and the same culture shared among the members of that social
stratum. The geographic and socioeconomic area that makes up the system
constitutes a "area of dominion" 5/ for the system for purposes of generating
and validating technology, and a "recommendation domain" 6/ for the purposes
of transferring that technology.
In addition to delimiting the geographical area in which the system
dominates, the task of the sondeo team is to discover which agro-sociocconondc
and cultural conditions are held in common by the agriculturalists practicing
in. th-. syst'-m; th.- n to det tho se whLc i arce most i-porLanLt i or Cd LniLig
the actual system; and finally, those which will be most important in affecting
whatever modifications the team might propose in the future. This will contribute
to delimiting and defining the area of dominion. The final product of the
sondeo is to orient the first year of work in farm trials and selection of
materials, as well as to assist in locating potential collaborators for the


4/ The term "homogenous" should be understood as referring to systems wich
characteristics that are similar but not necessarily identical.
5/ "Area of dominion" and "homogenous areas" are terms developed by the Fields
of Sociology and Economics of ICTA, through the experience and evolution
of this research methodology.
6/ "Recommendation domain" is a term established by the economics program at
CID=TT, and is equivalent to our "area of dominion."





-4 -


farm trials, farmers' tests 7/, and for the project of recording economic
indices of production.
Once the farm trials are conducted under local conditions, the first
year represents an on-going process of additional learning about the conditions
affecting farmers, which is invaluable to the technicians understanding the
reality of agriculture and livestock production in the area. The production
registers are case studies of representative production systems in the
area of dominion, conducted utilizing the method of multiple visits. These
are also initiated in the first year, providing the necessary data for
technical and quantitative analysis, for instance, information about costs
of production of the technology being used by the agriculturalists and its
managements.
By the end of the first year of work, technicians have not only been

planting under the same conditions as the farmers in the area, but also have
the information from the production registration project. For this reason,
it is not necessary to obtain additional quantitative information through
the sondeo. In any case, the sondeo is not a baseline study. More reliable
information for an impact evaluation in the area will be available in the
production registers, which increase in value very year, and which will
become useful as tools for monitoring and follow-up.


BACKGROUND


Generally, when a researcher needs to obtain data on a human population,
he resorts to the design of a questionnaire administered to a population. The
method of selecting the individuals to be interviewed might vary according
to the circumstances, financial resources, tin.e period, avalV.blL c tcaoil;,icAl
resources, quality and quantity of secondary information available, etc.

Methodologically, the first step should consist of an informal survey to
collect general data that will serve as a base for designing the questionnaire
and sample. 8/ This informal survey might also be referred to as a preliminary
investigation, exploratory investigation, exploratory survey, rapid appraisal,
etc.


7/ The farmers' tests is the next step following trials in farmers' fields.
Here the agriculturalist puts into practice and evaluates the new
technology. The role of the researcher is to provide advice and supervise,
and ultimately measure the acceptability of the new alternative among
farmers. If acceptance is high, the innovation is conveyed to the extension
program.
8/ For additional information, see: C. Andrew and P. Hildebrand, Planificacion y







-5-


Initially (1974-1976), the multidisciplinary team of sociologists and
economists in ICTA utilized the classical or orthodox methodology described
above for different studies to diagnose regions. That experience led to
several important insights: a) The information was collected and analyzed by
one group of technicians for the use of a completely different group.
Although each group was multidisciplinary, there was no interdisciplinary work
between the two groups. The information was to be utilized by technology
testing teams and national commodity programs, which given their own obligations,
could not dedicate much time to participate in the formal survey; for that
reason, they were dependent upon the information that the team of socio-

economists could provide. b) The planning, execution, analysis and presentation
of results of such a formal survey never took less than one year to complete.
The members of the technology testing teams or of the national commodity
programs obviously were neither able to participate in such a survey, nor
wait the amount of time required to obtain these results. c) The formation
of technical teams to work in a new area generally takes place between cultivation
cycles; within this time span, it has been necessary to gather the basic infor-
mation that will serve to plan the research. A formal survey could not be
adapted to these time constraints. d) The realization of a multidisciplinary
approach to exploratory research permitted a focus on production systems
instead of isolated crops. The systems focus led to the discovery of an
important phenomenon: In a similar ecological area, the agriculturalists
who share the same culture and economic stratum also share systems of production.
These shared units were earlier defined as homogeneous areas, and arc referred
to currently as areas of dominion. e) It was found that the combination of
:r rs o tec.o. tci Logy escing tc-.ilms and national parograis and tha so:;:'.,hac
in-depth, interdisciplinary conduct of the exploratory survey, yielded enough
information to plan the research adequately on a preliminary basis. f) Thus,
a multidisciplinary focus tied to the concept of homogeneous areas or areas
of dominion changed the orthodox exploratory survey into a new research method,
with particular characteristics which distinguish it from any other exploratory
survey. g) Since this was a new research methodology, it was necessary to
identify it with a distinct name; thus, the coining of the term "sondeo." h)
A Sondeo with the participation of technology testing teams and national
programs was found to be more important and much more useful than a formal
survey in which only the group of socioeconomists could take part. The
greatest shortcoming was that the sondeo lacked statistical validity and was







-6 -


unable to obtain much quantitative data. However, the latter problem was later
overcome by carrying out case studies of production units and representative
producers in the area of dominion, through a dynamic analysis of production
records. i) These records were started at the same time as the beginning of
the agricultural cycle and the initial research work on farmers' fields, through
multiple visits to the farms. By the end of the cycle, information had been
gathered that was more reliable than that obtained through a static or formal
survey. j) Given that the areas) of dominion had been previously defined,
a representative sample (with statistical significance) was not needed; the
factors defining the universe or study population already tended to be homogeneous.
k) It was leaned that, in spite of the fact that the method was developed for
the purposes of generating and validating technology, its philosophical and
methodological concepts could be applied to other scientific realms, such as
health and education.


DETER>:ININ FACTORS OF AN AREA OF DOMINION


Agricuci~.-.- a'~d livestock systems already existing in or adapted to a
specific envilrc... ni:.ak up one or more agrosystems. That is, an agrosystem
is a particular s.= of agricultural-livestock activities within a given ecosystem.
Environmental factors such as climate and soil determine the ecosystem. In
addition, the agrosy,:r:i is determined by economic, social and cultural factors.
In other ;,ria, he ;a r,:-,:;cc::: is a product of the interaction of physical,
socioeconomic anc cultural factors.
It has L.u..... ...: L.:i. ..:iculturalists who live and work in similar


within the sam:. uco., i.e. also share agrosystems. For example, in an
area in eastern C::ate.:.al, maize, bush beans and sorghum were the most important
crops, commonly pli:nted in association with one another. At first glance, it
seemed that only two principal cultivation systems existed: both consisted of
maize, bush beans and sorghum, but one was planted on flat lands and the
other on slopes. When the study concentrated on the hillside system, it was
discovered that there were at least three different subsystems made up of the
same three crops. The difference between these subsystems reflected differences
between distinct social strata among the farmers.
One group was composed of farmers with enough available land and capital
to contract labor occasionally for planting. This group planted the three






- 7


crops simultaneously, after the rainy season began. 9/ Another stratum was
made up of agriculturalists who lacked sufficient capital to hire labor, but
who had adequate land and a relatively good supply of bean seed. This was
planted in dry ground just before the rains began; maize and sorghum were
then planted following the onset of the rainy season.
The third stratum consisted of farmers with no capital and minimal

available land. This group planted a very small area, sufficient to produce
subsistence amounts only. Seed for all three crops were also scarce. In
short, the members of this group lacked land, capital and seed, but had
relatively large endowments of family labor which permitted them to plant
the three crops simultaneously after the rains began.

On the other hand, farmers were found who, when planting on dectivities,

had one specific system; the same farmers working on flat lands used a
different system due to the changed ecological conditions. These were small
commercial farmers, with hillside cultivation systems of the same type as the
first stratum cited above; but when planning flat lands, they plowed the
land with an ox or tractor, sowed maize and sorghum in association with
beans sown separately, and used hybrid corn seeds and chemical inputs such
as fertilizer and pesticides.
Another good example comes from the same eastern region of Guatemala,
where it borders the Republic of El Salvador. The ecological niche is the
same on both sides of the border, yet the production systems are different.
The differences are due mainly to political and cultural factors.


SOCIAL STRUCTURE ,AD CULTURE


The social structure is dater:-ined by the coi:1posicion of Jiffl'rncr
classes or social groups to which individuals belong. Each class or group

is differentiated by the way in which men relate to the means necessary for

generating wealth; by their roles in the organization and division of labor;

and by their participation in the distribution of social benefits.
From a sociological point of view, social stratification consists of
the division that exists within a society like ours between the different
social groups that make up the society. There will be as many social strata
as there are groups existing with related characteristics.



9/ P. Hildebrand and D. Cardona, Sistemas de Cultivos de Ladera para
Pequenos y Medianos Agricultores en La Barranca, Jutiapa, 1976, Guatemala:
I /-i I n\ -7 -7






-8-


Economic, social and cultural conditions will demarcate the differences
between social groups. Economic conditions will depend on the availability of
resources that can be used by the individual for production. A subsistence
farmer lacks land of his own, or possesses land of marginal quality and limited
quantity. He produces to survive, and only sells part of his output if he
has a surplus. Given this situation, he does not have the capacity to
accumulate capital for reinvestment to enhance the productive process. If he
has cash, he uses it to satisfy his priority needs and/or to start another
production cycle, but without being able to enlarge his production capacity
(or if he does, it is only in a marginal way). The productive process occurs
mostly through family labor, and the outputs are basic food shifts. This
situation leads to the lack of (or limited) access of the farmer and his
family to formal education. Neither can he possess basic health or household
services such as potable water, drainage, electricity, etc. Due to the lack
of formal education, there is a lack of knowledge about many aspects of modern
technology with regard to the productive process and other areas such as
hygiene (e.g., boiling water or using latrines).

The characteristics described above typify one social stratum of agri-
cultural-livestock producers. From the point of view of their economic
activities and resource availability, one can typify other strata of agricultural-
livestock proudcers and other groups in society.
Frequently, the notion of "culture" is confused with a level or degree
of knowledge. Instead, culture should be understood to mean that set of goods
created or discovered by men to satisfy their needs, whether material or
sp'-i tu- This :;L-.iu!s beli f f :I.':s, v 1_ ;iti .a L:J f-,,, .-Lf

conduct in general. Cultures cannot be judged against a standard or placed
on a scale; they simply vary among different social groups. One cannot
evaluate a culture as better or worse than, but only as distinct from, any other.
At the same time, one can describe one culture as more complex than another,
by virtue of the elements which make it up. The culture of a nomadic society
in the Sahara is composed of less elements than the society of a European city.
Moreover, culture is learned by experience through social relations, but is
inherited at the same time. The need to eat is not culture, but the way of
doing so and the food that is eaten is part of the cultural pattern.







-9-


ECONOMIC STRUCTURE AS A CULTURAL CONDITIONER


Since agricultural and livestock-raising activities are such an
important part of the lives of producers in rural areas, their culture and
the majority of their social activities are related to their economic under-
takings. Interpersonal relations, their beliefs, values and behavioral
norms are linked to a great extent with their work in the fields. In other
words, the social and cultural environment is determined by the farmers' work
on the land and by the output that can be produced. Religious beliefs explain
many phenomena that would otherwise be inexplicable where schooling does
not exist; these beliefs are enveloped in the tasks of agriculture and livestock-
raising. The principal social celebrations are related to planting and harvest,
and not to occasions which are important'in western culture. Prayers and
petitions to God are not for trivial favors, but for good rainfall and good
harvests.
George Collier, a social anthropologist, conducted a study in the
highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.10/ He verified how economic circumstances led
to different patterns of family and social organization in two indigenous
communities of cormnon origin. Different forms of tenure and land availability
led to the utilization of different cultivation systems, different social
relations in the production process, and hence to different forms of kinship
ties.


THE SONDEO


Ir hI.s already b-:en establ shed t'hit t"'L,- sundeo is 3 r.es.arch r.-thoL

that differs froir any other type of exploraLory survey. Two basic aspects
distinguish the approach: it must (1) possess an interdisciplinary focus;
and (2) be based on and utilize the concept of "homogenous area," area of dominion,
or recommendation domain.
Within ICTA's investigation methods, the principal purpose of the sondeo
is to assist the technicians in understanding the area in which they will be
working. Since quantitative information in not indispensable at that stage,
the sondeo can be conducted rapidly and there is no need for a long analysis


10/ George Collier, "The Determinants of Highland Maya Kinship," Journal of
Family History, 1978.






- 10 -


of the obtained information to interpret the findings. No questionnaires
are used; rather, farmers are interviewed in an informal way that does not
put them on guard. The interviewees are selected by chance, i.e., on the
basis of whoever is available and willing to talk to the researchers. At
the same time, the use of interdisciplinary staff serves to provide infor-
mation from a number of different perspectives simultaneously. Depending
on the size, complexity and accessibility of the region, the sondeo should
be completed within six to ten days, at minimal cost. Areas from 40 to 150
square kilometers have been studied in this time period. What follows is a
description of the methodology for a six-day operation to research a cropping
system with the purpose of generating technology.


DAY 1
The firs: day is a general reconnaissance of the area by the whole
team as a unit. The use of maps facilitates the process greatly. The team
must make a preliminary determination of the most important cropping system
that will serve as the key system, get acquainted in general terms with the
area and begin to search out the limits of the homogeneous system (i.e., to
delimit the area of dominion). Before beginning the field interviews, it is
recommended that the group contact an agent of an agricultural development
institution who works in the study area. This person should be able to give
the group a general picture of the situation in the area, and introduce the
research team to farmers who could act as key informants, very useful for
the first interviews with the whole team. 11/ Following each discussion with
a farmer, the group meets out of sight of the farmer to discuss what each one's
it:i rnrr station of t-;s. intervi w .as. In this a'.y, tli.- L, a:, ,nr.uz'.i b-L--a-m ti,
get familiar with how each other thinks. Interviews with farmers (or other
people in the area) should be very general and wide-ranging because the team
is exploring and searching for an unknown number of elements. (This does not
imply, of course, that the interviews lack orientation.) The contribution or
point of view of each discipline is critical through the sondeo because the
team does not know beforehand what type of restrictions nay be encountered.


11/ As much as possible, the interview should follow the chronological sequence
of the activity under investigation. For example, when dealing with any
given crop, begin with the soil preparation and continue in order
through the remainder of the cropping cycle, concluding with post-harvest
activities.





- 11 -


The more disciplines that are brought to bear on the situation, the greater
is the probability of encountering the factors which are, in fact, the most
critical to the farmers of the area. As has been stated, these restrictions
may be agro-climatic, economic or socio-cultural; thus, all the disciplines
can contribute to the sondeo. Generally, these interviews with key informants
are the longest, most active, and most complete, due to the simultaneous
participation of the entire team. Out of these interviews will come the
first hypotheses derived from direct investigation.


DAY 2

The interviewing and general reconnaissance of the first day serve to

guide the work of the second day. At this point, the team may already have
one or more hypotheses to test. The teams are made up of pairs: one agronomist

from the technology testing team and one person from sociology-economics
working together on the interviews with the help of area maps. The five
teams scatter throughout the area and meet again either after the first
half-day (for small areas or areas with good access roads) or day (for
larger areas or where access is difficult and requires more time to travel from
one site to another). It is recommended that a sequence for covering the
area be defined, with the pairs distributed among the segments of the area.
One technique that has been successful is to move through the area in a
clockwise direction, so that by the last day the study team has returned to
its starting point.
Each member of each team discusses what was learned during the inter-
views and tentative hypotheses are formed to help explain the situation in
the area. Any information concerning the limits of the area are also discussed
to help in the delimiltation. Tih tentrative hypotheses or doubts r-ised during
the discussion serve as guides to the following interview sessions. During

the team discussions, each of the members learns how interpretations from
other points of view can be important in understanding the farmers of the region.
Following the discussion, the team pairs are changed to maximize
interdisciplinary interaction and minimize interviewer bias, and they return
to the field guided by the previous discussion. Once again following the

half-day or day's interviews the group meets to discuss the findings.





- 12 -


The importance of these discussions following a series of interviews
cannot be overemphasized. Together the group begins to understand the
relationships encountered in the region, delimit the zone and start to define
the type of research that is going to be necessary to help improve the technology c
the farmers. Other problems such as marketing are also discussed and if
solutions are required, appropriate entities can be notified. It is important
to understand the effect that these other limitations will have, if not corrected,
on the type of technology to be developed so that they can be taken into account
in the generation process.


DAY 3
This is a repeat of day 2, and always includes a change in the composition
of the teams after each discussion. At least a minimum of four interview dis-
cussion cycles is necessary to complete this part of the sondeo. If the area
is not too complex, the cycles should be adequate. Of course, if the area
is large enough that a full day is required for interviewing between each
discussion session, then four full days are required for this part of the
sondeo.


DAY 4
Before the teams return to the field for more interviews on the fourth
day, each member is assigned a portion or section of the report that is to
be written. Then, knowing for the first time what topic each will be
responsible for, the teams, regrouped in the fifth combination, return to the
field for more interviewing. For smaller areas, this is also a half day. In
the other half diay and followifL: another dir scusion s..Isin, tl;he roi.
begins to write the report of the sondeo. All members should be working at
the same location so that they can circulate freely and discuss points with
each other. For example, an agronomist who was assigned the section on corn
technology may have been discussing a key point with an anthropologist and
may need to refresh his memory about a farmer's comments. In this way, the
interaction among the disciplines continues.


DAY 5
As the technicians are writing the report, they invariably encounter
points for which they have no answer, nor does anyone else in the group.
The only remedy is to return to the field on the morning of the fifth day






- 13 -


to clarify doubts that arose the previous day. A half day can be devoted
to this activity, while at the same type the main body of the report is
completed.
In the afternoon of this day, each team member reads his written report
to the group for discussion, editing and approval. The report should be
read from the beginning just as it will be when finished. As a group, the
team should approve and/or modify what is presented.




The report is read once again, and following the reading of each section,
.. are drawn and recorded. When this is finished, the conclusions
are read once again for approval and specific recommendations are then made
:rd reccrii ,bnch for the ICTA team who will be working in the area and for
an' other agencies that should be involved in the general development process

o ne zone.

The product of the sixth day is a single report generated and written
by c7 fall irterdisciplinary team, and should be supported by all its

member:. Fur:herr.core, after participating for all six days with each other,

each member should be able to defend all the points of view discussed, the
conclusions drawn, and the recommendations made.
One technique that can speed the consolidation of the report is the
use of a tape recorder. Onceeach member has written his section and this has
been discussed and approved by the group, a narrator can be designated to
record the complete report.


THEE REPORT


To a certain extent, the report of the sondeo is a secondary value
because it has been written by the same team that will be working in the
area. But just the fact that they have written it, is where most of the
value lies. By being forced into a situation in which many different points
of view had to be taken into consideration and drawn together, the perspectives

of all will have been greatly amplified. On the other hand, the report can
serve as orientation for non-participants such as the Regional Director or
Technical Director when discussing the merits or possibilities implicit in
the recommendations. However, it will also be obvious that the report will

appear to have been written by ten different people in a hurry, which is






- 14 -


exactly what it is. It is not a benchmark study with quantifiable data that
can be used in the future for project evaluation. Instead, it is a working
document to orient the research program, and which served these purposes in
the process of composition.
The exact format and the contents of the sondeo report will vary
according to the area being studied and the nature of the crops or livestock
systems included. What follows is a brief description of a report on an
area in Guatemala where basic grains and garden crops were of primary interest.

Purpose: Describes the reason the sondeo was undertaken and the dates.
Homogeneous Technology: Describes the principal characteristics
of the technology regarding the crops of interest found within
the limits of the area and the important differences outside the
area that changed the nature of the cropping system and defined
the limits of the area.
Description of the Area of Dominion: Geographical limits, altitude,
soils, and other important factors; includes a map with the
frontiers as precise as possible.
Land: Land tenure and farm size were important restrictions in the
cropping system and were described.
Labor: General labor availability and periods of scarcity and the
special tasks performed by women in tie homogeneous were described.
Capital: The capital flow in the traditional system which provides
the funds for investing in both the basic grains and the vegetables
was described and the poor functioning of the small farm credit
system was noted.
Corn: Corn is the most important crop in the area: the components of
this production system were described.
Beans: The role beans play in the system and their lack of general
importance were described.
Vegetables: The production system and tvhe !.arkt ing of gat:bls
were described.
Livestock Activity: The special importance of livestock and the
crop-livestock interaction were also discussed.
Conclusions: Conclusions for each one of the above sections were
drawn with special emphasis on their meaning to the future work of ICTA
Recommendations: Those relevant for planning ICTA's research, as well
as other important recommendations for other entities in the Public
Agricultural Sector and the private sector.





COORDINATING THE SONDEO


The disciplinary speciality of each member of the soadeo team is not
critical so long as there are several disciplines represented, and, if the
sondeo is in agriculture, a significant number of them are agriculturalists.
At least some of these should also be from among those who will be working
in the area in the future. The discipline of the coordinator of the sondeo
is probably not critical either, if he is a person with a broad capability,

an understanding of agriculture (if it is an agricultural sondeo), and
experience in surveying and survey technique. However, the coordinator Mnst
have a high degree of interdisciplinary tolerance, and must be able to relate
with the other disciplines represented on the team.
The coordinator, in a sense, is an orchestra director who must assure
that everyone contributes to the melody, and that in the final product,

all are in harmony. He arbitrates differences, creates enthusiasm, elaborates
hypotheses and thoughts from each participant, and ultimately will be the
one who shapes the product into its final form. It is probably not essential
that he have previous experience in a sorideo, but it would certainly improve
his efficiency if he had.




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