GENERATING TECHNOLOGY FOR TRADITIONAL FARMERS:
A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY METHODOLOGY
Peter E, Hildebrand
Prepared for presentation at the conference on:
Developing Economies in Agrarian Regions: A Search for Methodology
The Rockefeller Foundation Conference Center
August 4-C, 1976
INSTITUTE DE CIENCIA Y TECNOLOGIA AGRICOLAS
SECTOR PUBLIC AGRICOLA
GENERATING TECHNOLOGY FOR TRADITIONAL FARMERS:
A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY METHODOLOGY
Peter E. Hildebrand
The Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and
Technology -ICTA- is a new entity having been created by law in
October, 1972, and formally inaugurated on May 10, 1973, to gen-
rate and promote agricultural technology. Agricultural research
was not new to Guatemala at that time, rather ICTA was created to
attempt to correct the deficiencies of the traditional research system
which had not provided sufficient, appropriate technology to increase
production of basic grains in the quantities required. In general,
it was believed that the major faults of the traditional research
system lay in the fractionated steps of:
1. Identifying the problems of the farmer,
2. Identifying and developing technology,
3. Testing of technology at the farm level and adapting it to farmers'
4. Evaluating the technology when managed by farmers,
5. Evaluating the acceptance of the technology, and
6. The general promotion of its use, along with assurance o avail-
ability of inputs and services (Waugh, 1975, p. 17).
Agricultural Economist, The Rockefeller Foundation, assigned
as Coordinador de Socioeconomia Rural, Instituto de Ciencia y
Tecnologia Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala.
Extension, as differentiated from promotion, was not included as
an activity of ICTA. This remains in DIGESA, another entity
within the Sector Publico Agricola.
With special reference to the small farmer, Waugh con-
tinues that past research has failed because:
1. The researcher has not taken into consideration the problem of
the small farmer and his systems of farming,
2. The researcher is not competent as an agriculturist as practiced
by the small farmer,
3. The researcher has not tested the technology at the farm level,
under conditions of the small farmer, because he has not mas-
tered his system, and has not truly felt the responsibility to do so,
4. Acceptance by the small farmer has not been a part of the evalua-
tion of the technology (Waugh, 1975, p.17).
THE ICTA METHODOLOGY
In order to meet the challenge of generating technology
for the small, traditional farmer of Guatemala, ICTA has been develop-
ing a methodology in which the social sciences play an integrated role.
The methodology reflects the need for rapid results from low budget
research. To speed up adoption and help reduce cost,farmers are
involved in all phases of the research process and play a key role in
decisions. The methodology leads to technologies for precisely spec-
ified agronomic and socioeconomic conditions (which vary widely in Gua-
temala) and minimizes the possibility of recommending technologies
which are inappropriate and high-risk to the farmers, and hence, tech-
nologies which they resist, or ultimately do not adopt.
Sketched in Figure 1 is a model of the methodology which
has four characteristics valuable to the conditions in Guatemala as
well as other developing countries:
METHODOLOGY FOR GENERATING
TECHNOLOGY FOR SMALL TRADITIONAL FARMERS
.... .... .......____ __ ___ JI ] i i III II III
1. It rapidly generates technologies which are immediately avail-
able and appropriate to a selected target group;
2. This improved technology, in turn provides orientation for more
detailed research to follow;
3. It utilizes farmers in the development process to help eliminate
high risk technology which they could not or would not adopt and
to provide feedback to the technology development unit, and
4. It creates a multidisciplinary environment essential for generat-
ing successful technologies for small, traditional farmers.
The focus is on those many farmers who have been bypass-
ed by most or all modern technology. Within a project area, a target
group is sought whose socioeconomic conditions and agricultural situa-
tion are sufficiently homogeneous that their needs, constraints and capa-
bilities can be specified readily. The homogeneity criterion on which
the group is selected is the cropping system and technology being used.
In stable, traditional agriculture, farmers tend to achieve a highly
efficient equilibrium with respect to the agro-socioeconomic factors
they recognize as scarcest and most critical (Schultz, 1964). Hence,
selecting a group with a common cropping system is a relatively simple
means of selecting a homogeneous group with respect to the important
factors that influence the technology they use. And it is these factors
which must be understood if research to generate appropriate technol-
ogy is to be effective.
The methodology has four basic and identifiable, though
highly interrelated components:
1. Description and analysis of the traditional farmer with an orienta-
tion toward an understanding of the factors which have prevented
his benefiting from modern technology;
2. Adaptive research to generate new technology appropriate to him;
3. Farm testing (and promotion) to assure, early in the process
that the technology being developed is satisfactory from the target
group farmer's point of view; and
4. Evaluation of the technology generated.
Each of these four components requires sources of basic
technology and scientific knowledge, which in the case of ICTA are
primarily (i) internal, (ii) international centers, (iii) universities,
and (iv) private industry.
THE FIRST COMPONENT: DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS
The first component includes an agro-socioeconomic survey
of the target farmers to determine in detail:
1. What they are doing;
2. How they are doing it; and
3. Why they are doing it the way they are.
The purpose is to define the factors which influence their
choice of farming systems so the improved systems can be designed in
an applicable framework. In order to define these factors it is necessary
to understand economic and cultural as well as agronomic restrictions
which condition their cropping patterns and practices.
The first step is a non-structured reconnaissance which
may last from several days to a few weeks depending on size and
complexity of the region. Both social and agricultural scientists should
form the nucleus of the study team for the area. Having been armed
previously with secondary information, the team will use the recon-
naissance to obtain first hand information to help interpret the secon-
dary data and to identify, in general terms, some of the more important
agro-socioeconomic factors which influence the systems of small farmers
in the area. One of the most important goals of the reconnaissance is to
identify the most common farming, system (or systems) and delineate the
general geographical area in which it is important. This early recon-
naissance also provides the team an opportunity to learn the agricultural
vocabulary and terms of measurement peculiar to the region, both impor-
tant in structuring the questionnaire which will be used to obtain detail-
ed information on the most common system or systems in a more formal
The formal survey requires intuition and depth interviewing;
hence, quality is mere important than quantity. Size of sample is also
less important than representativeness of the sample because the infor-
mation is used to design experimental treatments in the second or adapt-
ive research component, and much of it is difficult to analyze statistical-
ly. The formal survey (as well as the reconnaissance) is also a valua-
ble means of locating potential paraprofessionals and farmer collabora-
tors who may be willing to participate in keeping farm records and in
following phases of the program.
A number of farmers falling in the target group should be
selected to begin keeping farm records in order to:
1. Provide more accurate information than is available from a survey,
2. Verify components of the survey,
4 i'. <7
3. Serve as continual contacts throughout that technology genera-
tion process, and
4. Aid in evaluating the technology.
The number of farmers in this activity will vary with the
size of the area and the resources available. For each person work-
ing with records, we have been trying for 25 to 30 farmers the
first year and 50 in the second and succeeding years.
Excluding the farm records, the time-span for completing
this first component should be no more than 3 months in each area and
is preferably carried out in the slack period between crop years.
THE SECOND COMPONENT: ADAPTIVE RESEARCH
There are two distinct phases in the second component of
the technology development process. The first is experimentation
designed to familiarize the researchers more fully with the traditional
technology of the target group and to improve on it in the short run.
This phase is conducted primarily by the same teams/which carried
out the survey. The second, and longer run phase is a continuum of
the first and involves the refinement of the improved technology develop-
ed previously. It is more traditional in research format and requires
personnel in addition to the original survey team.
The first phase requires an orientation that differs most
drastically from traditional research procedures and can prove to be
as much an art as a science.3 The team responsible for these expe-
rimental systems should be small in order to have maximum interac-
tion -just two people may be optimum- though in ICTA, three to four
may be the most usual number. Because the conditions of the small
farmer are so different and difficult to understand by the traditional
researcher, it is necessary in this phase to work in the conditions and
on the land of the target group of farmers --that is, the research team
in this phase must adapt itself to the conditions of the farmers so the
results are directly applicable to them because the farmers cannot
change their conditions to those ideal for the researchers.
The selection or design of the treatments in the first phase
is probably the most difficult part of the team's task and depends
heavily on their depth of understanding of the target group farm-
ers. Economic and risk factors are given special attention. Each
treatment in the experiment" (including the "check") which is a
duplication of the traditional system of technology of the target group)
should be considered as a "system" rather than as the more traditional
fertilizer levels or applications of insecticides for an individual crop.
The treatments also should fit within the capabilities of the farmers to
carry out in the short run. That is, they should not depend on a non-
existing infrastructure such as a credit program or the development
of new markets, etc. The object is to produce an improved technology
which can be put into practice immediately by the farmers so they can
begin benefiting from the program even while variety development or
The participation of social scientists in what is normally consid-
ered biological research is still controversial even though ICTA
is unique in the way in which the social sciences have been incor-
porated into the technology development process. For a fuller
discussion of this point, see the Appendix.
testing and fertilizer response studies and the like are being initiated.
Hence, the researchers must be acutely aware of the resource res-
trictions as well as the socio-cultural factors which influence what the
farmers can and will do.
Carrying out this phase in close proximity to the target
group farmers and considering them as "advisors" as well as utilizing
them for laborers, foments a constant contact both on the experimental
plots and on the farmers' fields. In this way and through close observa-
tion of the "check" treatment, the researchers continue to learn about
conditions of the farmers and listen to their opinions about the research
while it is underway. In order to benefit from this interchange, the
design of the experiment (as well as the treatments) should be suffi-
ciently flexible that changes can be made during the growing season if
there seems to be justification for doing so. Statistical control must
take a back seat to common sense because the goals of this part of the
process are to help understand the farmer and the traditional system,
to test ideas and to produce improved technology within a one or two
year period. Publication of the results in journals is not the primary
objective even if it is possible from time to time.
Another important aspect of the ICTA technology is
that the technicians generally live in the area where work. This is
the best way to gain the confidence of a suspicious and cautious rural
population. Because of the close contact with farmers it is also
important that the researcher not losehe farmers' confidence and
ruin the image of the program. For this reason, the researchers must
not only be well trained, but also have first hand knowledge of farming
as well as experimentation.
The product of the first phase of the experimentation
component has two uses. First, if a promising technology has appeared,
it can be incorporated immediately in a farm testing program (part of
the third component) and second, it serves as orientation for the second
phase, or more traditional experimentation, to refine the system.
Examples of the research need' of the second phase are
variety development, fertilizer response and disease or pest control.
Although personnel from outside the basic research team are needed
in the second phase, these researchers should not loose sight of the
clientele for whom the work is being carried out. As results which
look promising are available, they should immediately enter into the
farm testing component, so they can be judged by the farmers as soon
as possible. Number of personnel and time requirements for the
second phase experimentation program vary and will depend on budget,
goals and objectives, but this phase should be considered relatively
long run in nature.
THE THIRD COMPONENT: FARM TESTING AND PROMOTION
In the third component, the distinction between testing
new technology and promoting it is not clear cut because one phases
gradually into the other. The testing program which requires addi-
tional personnel (but should include the basic team), is carried out
on farms with the farmer. Technology which appears feasible in the
experimental stage is tested on plots sufficiently large to be significant
within the farmer's total production volume in order to insure his
interest and critical participation.
ICTA has defined two types of farm trials, each with
different goals and operational procedures. Following the generation
of a "technology" either on the experiment station or on rented farm
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land, this is tested at the farm level under a variety of realistic
conditions. These so-called "farm experiments" are designed to
assure that farmers can manage the technology or study how the tech-
nology must be modified to conform with farmer needs. In this type
of trial, used primarily with second phase research activities, ICTA
generally furnishes all inputs excepts land and the farmer's labor.
The second type of farm trial is the "farmer's tests"
where the farmer, himself, tests the technology and compares it with
his own traditional technology. This process of testing directly with
the farmer provides a means by which the farmers participate in the
evaluation. If they approve of the technology, they can immediately
begin to use it because they have already been introduce to it on a
first hand basis. Promotion, as such, is simplified because the farm
test program also serves as "demonstration" plots. For this reason,
as well as for more thorough testing, "farmer's tests" should be distrib-
uted throughout the area.
The key in the "farmer's tests" is that the farmer pays
all costs except the technical assistance required to incorporate the
technology in his system and he provides all the labor. This is the
critical stage because if the farmer conceives of the new technology
as too difficult, costly or risky, it is automatically screened out as
being unacceptable to him. This reduces the tendency to recommend
technologies that are not appropriate for the target group-a tendency .
that has plagued most efforts to work with small, traditional farmers.
In many farm test plots, the technicians maintain records of inputs,
labor use and production to help in the evaluation of the technology.
One of the plots, the present system of the farmer, provides an imme-
diate comparison both for the farmer and for the development team of
the potential benefits of the technology to the farm and to the area.
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THE FOURTH COMPONENT: EVALUATION
In keeping with the philosophy on which the Institute
was organized, the technology generated in the process described
above, is not considered as successful unless and until it is being
adopted on a large scale by the target farmers. ,Some built-in eval-
uative procedures which aim to increase the probability that the tech-
nology will be attractive to the target group, and therefore adopted by
them, have been described. These include the farm records, the
records kept by the technicians and the comparisons available to the
farmers for evaluation purposes from the farmers' tests.
In addition, three other procedures are being used to
monitor longer range adoption of technology. Through a continuation
of the farm record project, a long-term trend in type of technology
used by the collaborators is available. A continuation of this compo-
nent not only provides data, but also insures a continuing dialogue by
which the technicians are able to follow the farmers' thinking, needs
A shorter run procedure is being initiated at the present
time in one area, and if it appears useful, will be expanded to all the
regions in which ICTA operates. This is to make a follow-up survey
of the farms which were included in farmer's tests in proceeding
years. The purpose is to determine what recommended practices
are being used and on what proportion of the crop. Farmers will
also be asked why they are or are not using each of the practices
which were recommended as a result of the tests on their own farms.
Occasionally, a special study is undertaken to evaluate
certain specific aspects of a technology being introduced. One of these
involved the yield potential of some new sorghum varieties (Reiche,1979
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and another, the opinion of farmers regarding a new corn hybrid (Bus-
to Brol, 1975).
The ultimate evaluation of the success of the technol-
ogy -to determine the effect on production of basic grains- is not
incorporated in the methodology. In part, this is because other enti-
ties within the Sector Publico Agricola and elsewhere in the govern-
ment are charged with estimating agricultural production. Also, to
determine the effect of technology on production separately from the
effect of other factors is well-nigh impossible even in countries with
highly developed statistical reporting services. Finally, an advance
in corn production technology, for example, may not increase corn
production in the region for which it was generated but rather pave the
way for an increase in the production of other crops as land is with-
drawn from corn by farmers interested in that crop mainly for family
EXAMPLES FROM THE METHODOLOGY
In the three year growth of the Institute, this method-
ology has not yet been used completely in any one place, although each
element has been initiated in at least one of the three regions where
ICTA is active within the country. It is being approximated most close-
ly this year in the Central Highlands in the Department of Chimaltenan-
go although all aspects are still not complete even there. However,
it is worth noting that even parts of the whole can have an important
impact on technology generation so utilization in each region will be
described to show how the different components contribute.
A LAND PARCELIZATION PROJECT ON THE PACIFIC COAST.
This is not an area of small, traditional farmers, but
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rather of relatively large (20 hectare) holdings where, because of
their recent creation, no long-term traditions exist. CIAT had ini-
tiated a large scale study of the farmers in the area (Santa Maria,
1976), so ICTA chose not to use its scarce resources on this phase of
methodology. Also, the cropping systems being used were relatively
simple and lent themselves to modification by the second phase of the
adoptive research and farm testing components. Hence, the program
of ICTA was basically variety trials, fertilizer experiments and herbi-
cide studies (Crisbstomo, 1976) plus a farm record-keeping project
(Busto Brol, 1976).
In 1975, widespread farmers' tests of the most promis-
ing practices and varieties were conducted and on most of them records
were kept by the technicians. One of the most interesting situations
involved fertilizer use on corn. The national extension service (DIGE-
SA) and the small farmer credit bank (BANDESA) recommended rather
large doses of fertilizer in their technology packages relying primarily
on conventional wisdom as a guide. But many farmers did not use
fertilizer and others complained of little or no response. Because
prior research on fertilizer had been inconclusive, much attention was
given this factor of production by ICTA. The conclusions from 96
farm trials on corn indicate that under most conditions fertilizer use
does not pay in this area at the present time. This important conclu-
sion, combined with other practices which were incorporated in the
trials, allowed ICTA to recommend shifts in the use of resources,
particularly capital, and increase production while at the same time
lowering costs to below that being loaned by BANDESA for corn produc-
tion in the area. In Table I is a summary of the comparison between
the technology being recommended by ICTA with that used for loan
purposes by BANDESA and with the average of the 23 farmer collabora-
tors in the record keeping project. In 1976, the ICTA recommendation
was accepted and new loans are being made on that basis.
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CORN PRODUCTION COSTS AND INCOME IN DOLLARS
PER HECTARE. PARCELAMIIENTO LA MAQUINA
ITEM DIGESA ICTA Farm Record
1975 Technology Keepers
Cultural practices 117 130 110
Land preparation 34 34 34
Planting 16 9 7
Cultivations 36 34 40
Harvest 31 53 29
Inputs 126 39 10
Seed 14 13 9
Pesticides 36 26 1
Total Costs 243 169 120
Yield Kg/ha 2,730 3,310 1,950
($ 154/m.t.) 420 510 300
Net income 177 341 180
Rate of return (net) % 73 202 150
Source: (Busto Brol, 1976)
THE ORIENTED: A DUALISTIC REGION
The ICTA program in the Department of Jutiapa in
the southeastern part of the country has two distinctly different groups
of clients. Those farmers who own or rent flat (or relatively flat)
land, although classed as small, and medium in size, generally plow
(many with tractors), utilize fertilizers and insecticides and many are
incorporated in the DIGESA / BANDESA technical assistance and
credit program. Multiple or associated cropping is still common on
these lands but some farmers are utilizing relay monoculture includ-
ing inter-planting, while others practice monoculture in rotation.
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A very distinctive type of agriculture is practiced on
the sloping to steep hillsides where much of the land is rocky and
eroded and very little is plowed. Here, with very few exceptions
associated cropping is practiced and very little fertilizer and vir-
tually no pesticides are used. These farms are mostly small,
subsistence types with few exceeding 3.5 hectares.
The production team4 in the Oriente is conducting
farmer.: tests and farm experiments based on previous knowledge
rather than on the survey component of the methodology. To date
their work has been almost entirely in monoculture designed for
the farmers on better land and who are clients of the DIGESA/BAN-
In 48 farm experiments and 20 farmer's tests on corn
(Waugh,1975) covering seven "municipios" a great deal of informa-
tion on yield components was obtained to help speed up the process
of technology development and superior varieties were identified.
Results from 31 farm experiments and 8 farmer's tests on beans
were less conclusive leading to the suggestion that much more work
needs to be done on this grain. For grain sorghum and corn,
packages of recommendations were made which should be of great
help to the credit program (Plant, 1976).
Very little information was available on the farmers
who till the rolling to steep land which abounds in the area. Because
they are in the majority, this was the group chosen for the agro-
socioeconomic survey which was conducted in early 1975. The most
common systems in the area corn-sorghum or corn-bean-sorghum
The "production teams" in ICTA are in charge of part of the
farm experiments and most of the farmers' tests.
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all planted at the same time. The two systems are essentially
different parts of the same system in that it is common for a farmer
to plant part of his land to corn-beans-sorghum and when he uses all
his bean seed (which is very scarce and expensive) he continues
planting only corn and sorghum on the remaining land.
Based on the survey, (Reiche, 1976) which identified
bean seed and labor at planting time as the most limiting controlable
factors (excluding rainfall) several experimental cropping systems
were planted in May, 1975. In one promising system using local
varieties and no fertilizer nor insecticide because the majority of
farmers do not use them, production of corn and sorghum were
increased and bean production was held constant (Hildebrand, 1976).
However, the amount of bean seed used was reduced 44% and only
71% of the amount of labor was required at planting time compared
with the "check" or common system. The increase in production
and decrease in labor, greatly increases the productivity of time
spent in planting which may be the single most important considera-
tion in the mind of these farmers.
The system requires nothing different from what the
farmer normally uses, and indeed, less of some critically scarce
resources. The primary change is in form of planting. This sys-
tem has now been incorporated in farmers' tests, skipping the farm
experiment stage because it was developed under farm conditions.
Also, new experiments have been initiated which include variety trials,
spacing and fertilizer use with which it is hoped to increase produc-
tivity even more without exceeding the capabilities of the farmers to
adopt the technology.
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Some of the most advanced research in the country,
particularly in wheat and to a lesser extent in corn and potatoes,
was underway in the Western Highlands at the time the new institu-
te was established. The production team in this region was orga-
nized barely in time to initiate planting in 1975 and relied heavily
on available sources of information to establish farm experiments
and farmers tests in Quezaltenango (Schmoock, 1976). Meanwhile,
another experimental methodology was underway in two other loca-
tions using cooperatives with minimum ICTA investment, to conduct
farmers' trials, primarily with new varieties of corn and wheat
In order to initiate the complete technology generation
methodology, an agro-socioeconomic survey was conducted in early
1976 in another region, Chimaltenango, in the Central Highlands, so
that appropriate information on traditional agriculture in that area
would be available for the arrival of the production team in 1977.
A member of the production team from Quezaltenango and one from
the national bean program participated in the reconnaissance and
the survey. The reconnaissance located an area in western Chimal-
tenango centering around Tecpan with a widespread, traditional tech-
nology. The survey was underway at the time of the recent earth-
quake at which point 40 questionnaires of the 60 programmed had been
completed, and analysis was undertaken on these.
Unlike the Oriente, labor is no serious problem for
the small farmer of this area even in the seasons of most work. In
part, this is because the rains are better distributed and the growing
season is longer, but mostly because the population pressure is so
great that holdings are very small (1.4 hectares average in the survey.
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Historically, the Highland farmer has had to migrate to other areas
looking for work in order to supplement the production on his own
farm even to achieve self sufficiency. Therefore, land is consider-
ed as one of the most limiting resources.
"The Highlands is a productive area with many crop
alternatives, but the small farmer, in general, produces corn, beans
and "haba" (European broad bean) to insure his family at least a
minimum diet. Only those who have more land or become more pro-
ductive corn producers and surpass subsistence production begin to
experiment with other crops. The first crop to be tried is usually
wheat, a cash crop, then potatoes and/or cabbage. Accordingly, the
crop systems experiment is designed primarily to increase corn,
bean and haba productivity, but also includes wheat and cabbage.
Potatoes will be incorporated next year.
A total of 18 different neighbors, all of whom are in the
target group have been working in the crop systems experiment and
all serve as "advisors" as well as laborers. Four of these same
men are keeping records as part of the group of 25 farmers in that
activity. Three wheat and five corn varieties are included in the
trial and the bean program is screening several hundred for adapta-
Altogether, a large amount of information will be avail-
able for the use of the production team from the survey, the farm
records and the crop experiments, but the procedure still is not
achieving its full potential. The author and an anthropologist, along
with two Perito Agronomos5 are conducting the experiment. Owing
to the press of work in the Wesrn Highlands, the member from that
production team was not able to participate in the analysis of the
survey data nor in planning and conducting the crop systems experi-
ment. Personnel from the bean program have been available for
5 A Perito Agronomo is a graduate of the National Agricultural
School which provides 3 year's course work and practical
experience beyond the high school level.
advising when necessary, but ideally they, the corn program, and
specially, the production team should be participating in the day to
day work, the decision making and the learning activities. This
will probably be the case during the second year of the trials in
1977, but because the budget was not sufficient, this year, the com-
plete methodology could not be put into practice.
Described in this paper is a multi-disciplinary method-
ology for generating new technology for small, traditional farmers
as it has developed over the first three years of operation of the
Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology, ICTA, of Guatema-
la. Although we know how all four components (description and anal-
ysis; adaptive research; farm testing and promotion; evaluation) fit
together, the methodology still has not been used as an integrated
whole in any one place. Rather, components have been developed
and used on a regional basis as need and budget permitted. These
separate components, however, provide very useful information even
when not part of a complete system and may be adapted to the
varying conditions found in any region as well as to a growing bud-
get and staff.
Perhaps the most unique socioeconomic feature is the
method used to select homogeneous target groups. Instead of
attempting to define and select the group on the basis of resource
characteristics, a common cropping system is sought. Then a
highly integrated combination of surveys, record keeping, experi-
ments, farm tests, promotion and evaluation are used to generate
technology for the specific conditions of those farmers who practice
this cropping system and, hence,become the target group. The high
proportion of work done on farms and with farmers is probably the
most unique and important agronomic feature.
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The methodology depends on a well coordinated,
multi-disciplinary effort, but it is precisely this characteristic
which is necessary to reach a type of farmer who has yet to
benefit from the vast investments being made in the world to develop
improved agricultural technology.
THE SOCIAL SCIENTIST IN "BIOLOGICAL" RESEARCH
The participation of social scientists in the first phase
of adaptive research is the most controversial aspect of the entire
methodology. It is difficult for a biological scientist to believe that
an economist or an anthropologist can contribute to crop research.
In all candor, this judgment is not without some strong foundation.
In most organization when scientists (usually agricultural econ-
omists) are incorporated into technology generation teams, the role
most often assigned them by the biological scientists (invariably the
project leaders) is that of accountant --to determine cost and return--
a task necessary in applied research but one not savored by most
biological scientists. The social scientist, while disagreeing with
this role, usually comes no closer by insisting on model building
either at the macro level to show the general importance of, or to
justify the project, or at the micro level, frequently to show how
the biological scientist is erring by not considering economic or
other social factors in his work. In either case, life is much less
complicated by letting the two types of technicians drift apart, each
doing his own thing in the comfort of being watched over only by his
In ICTA, the primary role of the social sciences as re-
cognized by other personnel (including management) is that of providing
information about the small farmers and their systems of production
to the biological scientists. There is little controversy over our
ability to do this, particularly as long as we stay in the realm of farm
surveys. But when we venture into the first phase of the adaptive
research component in order to continue the process of learning
about the farmer and his cropping systems, and particularly to initiate
technology development, the biological scientists raise their
A factor of utmost importance if this procedure is to
function as it should is the understanding that in applied research
oriented toward generating technology for a particular group of
traditional farmers, economic and social factors are equally as
important as biological factors in determining a technology appro-
priate for the client. A second factor is to recognize that a social
scientist is as capable of learning the basics of biological research
as the biological scientist is of making his own basic economic anal-
ysis. Obviously, the training and orientation of the social scientist
is critical both with respect to his capability to contribute to biologi-
cal research and to his acceptance in this role by the biological
scientist. A fourth necessary ingredient is that the biological scien-
tist has an inclination toward applied research and understands the
importance of orienting his work toward specific clients.
Though the first and second phases of the adaptive
research component are highly interrelated there is an important
distinction. The first phase is largely farm management research,
broadly defined, and is conducted to study the influence of social and
economic factors on the potential for increasing farm productivity
in the target group. The second phase is primarily biological re-
search which strives to increase productivity within the capabilities
of the target group. Hence, there is no need for competition or
concern over usurping prerogatives in either phase of the component.
The active participation of biological scientists in the first phase helps
them identify with the target group and understand their problems, and
improves the techniques used in conducting the research. The parti-
cipation of the first phase technicians --both social and biological--
in the second phase research helps maintain the orientation toward
the specific target group.
Busto Brol, Bruno, Osman Calderbn y Peter E. Hildebrand. 1976.
Registros economics de produccion con agricultores cola-
boradores del parcelamiento "La Maquina". ICTA. Guate-
Busto Brol, Bruno, Osman Calderon y Esau Samayoa. 1975. Eva-
luacibn del maiz hibrido ICTA Tropical 101 en varias plan-
taciones de la Republica de Guatemala. ICTA. Guatemala.
Corisco, Amalia, Bruno Busto Erol y Sergio Ruano. 1975. Eva-
luacibn del trabajo del ICTA en la Cooperativa San Lucia R.
L., Departamento de Solola y con el program de Vecinos
Mundiales, Departamento de Chimaltenango. ICTA. Gua-
Crisostomo, Carlos, et. al. 1976. Informe Anual La Maquina,
1975. ICTA. Guatemala.
Hildebrand, Peter E., Carlos E, Reiche y Esa( Samayoa. 1976.
Sistemas de cultivos de ladera para pequenios y medianos a-
gricultores, La Barranca, Jutiapa. ICTA. Guatemala.
ICTA. 1971. Antecedentes, objetivos, proyecto de estructura y
presupuesto, ICTA, Grupo de Trabajo III. ICTA. Guatema-
Plant, Albert N. 1976. Progress report to the General Director of
ICTA and USAID/Guatemala. ICTA. Guatemala.
Reiche, Carlos E., Peter E. Hildebrand Sergio Ruano. 1975. E-
valuacion de algunas variedades de maicillo (sorgo) en fincas
pequefias y medianas del Oriente de Guatemala. ICTA. Gua-
Reiche C., Carlos E., Peter E. Hildebrand, Sergio Ruano y Jaime
T. Wyld. 1976. El peque~io agricultor y sus sistemas de
cultivos en ladera: Jutiapa, Guatemala. ICTA, Guatemala.
Ruano A., Sergio R. 1975. El Altiplano; una zona maicera en el
future?. ICTA. Guatemala.
Santa Maria, Gilberto. 1976. Analisis de productividad, eficiencia
y consideraciones sobre riesgo en el sistema basico de pro-
duccibn del parcelamiento La Maquina, Guatemala. Tesis de
M.S. Program de Estudios para Graduados en Ciencias A-
grarias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia e Instituto Colom-
biano Agropecuario. Bogota, Colombia.
Schmoock, Werner. 1976. Algunos metodos para el disefo y la eva-
luacibn de agrosistemas de maiz y trigo en el valle de Quezal-
tenango, Guatemala. Tesis de Maestro en Ciencias, Escuela
Nacional de Agricultura, Colegio de Postgraduados, Chapingo,
Schultz, Theodore W. 1964. Transforming traditional agriculture.
Yale University Press. New Haven and London.
Waugh, Robert K. 1975. Four years of History. ICTA. Guatema-