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Table of Contents
Training for tesito: Rural vocational training in the The Gambia
The green revolution game: A training experience
Towards a new extension strategy: From promotion of innovations to participatory communication
Vocational training in agriculture for rural youth in Tonga
Some aspects of vocational training for small farmers through mobile units
Approaches to mobile training in Fiji
The social laboratory: Some experiences and perspectives
Training for development: Pictoral view
Design considerations for grassroots training programmes in Sierra Leone
Where government services do not reach
A livestock improvement programme: Tongu District, Ghana
Approaches toward district development models for multi-agency teamwork
How feasible is a poverty-focused and integrated approach to rural development?
Training for aquaculture enhancement in the developing world
Communication inj extension work
Extension in subsistence agriculture: Experiences in the Sudan
Video for farmer training
training tor agri culture
and rural developmenjl
: -.. S '*-^ -. .....T, ..--- ,...- .-....
A joint authorship publication
of FAO, ILO and Unesco, this
journal is an annual review
of current opinions and experience
in agricultural extension and
their contribution to
Kenya. Harvesting fish ponds -
the field application of aquaculture
FAO Economic and Social Development Series
and rural development
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
International Labour Organisation
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
The designations employed and the presentation of mate-
rial in this publication do not imply the expression of any
opinion whatsoever by the Food and Agriculture Organi-
zation of the United Nations concerning the legal status of
any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or
concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The views expressed are those of the authors.
The copyright in this book is vested in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations. The book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, by any method or process, without
written permission from the copyright holder. Applications for such permission, with a statement
of the purpose and extent of the reproduction desired, should be addressed to the Director,
Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme
di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
0 FAO 1982
Printed in Italy
A. Bittaye and
E.A. Dowler and
P. Zainuddin and
Training for tesito: rural vocational trai-
ning in The Gambia
The Green Revolution Game: a training
Toward a new extension strategy -from
promotion of innovations to participa-
Vocational training in agriculture for
rural youth of Tonga
Some aspects of vocational training for
small farmers through mobile units
Approaches to mobile training in Fiji
The social laboratory: some experiences
Pictorial review following page
Design considerations for grass-roots
training programmes in Sierra Leone
Where government services do not reach
A livestock improvement programme -
Tongu district, Ghana
Approaches toward district development
models for multi-agency teamwork
How feasible is a poverty-focused and
integrated approach to rural develop-
Training for aquaculture enhancement
in the developing world
I. Sica Communication in extension work 103 Training for tesito:
R. Sharland Extension in subsistence agriculture rural VOCational
experiences in the Sudan 115 training i
training in The Gambia
Colin Fraser Video for farmer training 121
A. Bittaye and C. Fraser
The self-help approach is becoming important in rural development pro-
grammes. The need for an increasing number of development projects, the
limitation of financial support, and other pressures are stretching aid and
development resources beyond their present capacity. Total reliance on out-
side assistance is no longer realistic or effective. Self-help programmes, where
substantial parts of the resources and organization are supplied by the com-
munity itself, are a possible alternative.
An ambitious self-help programme that recently started in The Gambia
illustrates the contribution that can be made by people at all levels in the
community with help from the Government and outside sources. This article
describes that programme and indicates how the concept of tesito, which is the
Gambian word for self-help or self-reliance, has been used to involve people
for their own, and their country's, benefit. The rural vocational training pro-
gramme concentrates on the development of skills for those activities indirectly
associated with the business of farming.
The programme is essentially a delivery system focused on the skills
training of rural people. It mainly consists of a centre for the training of village
trainers, village training programmes, a mobile training unit and a material
supply service to support the village training activities. The latter has yet to be
implemented. Training is carried out at two independent but related levels -
training in the centre and training in the villages.
The training programme is a government function under the control of the
Mr Bittaye is Coordinator, Rural Vocational Training Programme of The Gambia, and Mr Fraser
is Rural Vocational Training Expert, ILO.
2 A. BITTAYE AND C. FRASER RURAL VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN THE AMBIA 3
National Vocational Training Board, having been set up with the assistance of
UNDP and ILO. As can be seen from the figure, the structure of adminis-
trative and support units terminates at training activities in in-village pro-
grammes and Mixed Farming Centres (MFCs). These are the two vital contact c E
elements in the programme. --- -
In-village training activities
These are non-formal, on-the-job training courses carried out on a self-help
basis by multi-disciplinary training teams. Each team comprises one com- C 0
munity development assistant and four in-village trainers in the various skills. c
In-village training teams are supported by extension services for agriculture, 2 2
animal husbandry, health and hygiene, and functional literacy. The target
population is the 15 to 29 years age-group, including both men and women.
Programmes are aimed at village improvement, increased productivity, reten- .
tion of income within the community, generation of alternative sources of _
income and job creation. Although there are particular courses for women in
home economics, domestic handicrafts, vegetable gardening, fruit growing and O "-
poultry keeping, all courses offered are available to both sexes. a
Major interchanges in these in-village programmes will be the 60 key u C W
villages distributed throughout the rural areas. A "key" village is one selected E .
from a cluster or circle of villages from which training activities are carried on I a -
within the village circle. Key villages are generally about 20 km apart, with z
approximately 16 villages in each key-village circle. The greater part of all 0
instructional programmes is carried out in key villages. Key villages are used J c
because they are established bases for the Department of Community Devel- z -E M
opment field programme. po
Mixed Farming Centres (MFCs) -
Mixed Farming Centres are the other grass-roots interchanges used in the
training programmes. At present, they are providing skills upgrading courses &_ E
for self-employed blacksmiths. They have been established as a priority train- 2
ing need, and include the repair and maintenance of animal-drawn farm im- as ,
plements recently introduced by the World Bank-supported Rural Develop-
ment Project. Later, when the initial demand for artisan skills upgrading in
these areas has been satisfied, the programmes will be redirected toward
upgrading the skills of other rural craftsmen, such as masons, carpenters, rural
mechanics and toward the needs of small-scale rural enterprises, including -
workers' cooperatives. Trainees who have successfully completed courses in
the in-village training programmes will be considered for further training in
4 A. BITTAYE AND C. FRASER
The MFCS are used for skills upgrading programmes because they are
the established bases for the Department of Agriculture's extension service.
They number about 25 in all and are spread throughout the country. This
specialized function of training rural artisans is similar to the function of the
in-village programmes, except that the latter provide basic training in more
generalized skills areas.
Support for training teams
The main unit servicing the in-village programmes and MFCs is the Rural
Technical Instructor Training and Services Unit. This unit offers training for
the various types of trainers through three main service groups (instructor
training team, appropriate technology group, training aids workshops), and
will be supported by a data collection and evaluation section. The subjects
offered are training methodology, appropriate technology, audio-visual aids,
rural mechanics, building construction, handicrafts, home economics, horti-
culture, building construction, handicrafts, home economics, horticulture,
metalwork and functional literacy training. The unit also offers a technical
advisory and training service to a further training unit known as the Indigenous
Business Advisory Scheme (IBAS) another ILO project. Through this unit,
business training is provided for graduates of the in-village and artisan training
programmes. IBAS also assesses job-creation opportunities and advises on and
arranges capital funds for the two major types of training activities mentioned
Village-level training programmes are also supported by the mobile
instructor training team, which regularly visits the in-village trainers, super-
vising their programmes and continuing their training. This unit has attached
to it one instructor for each skills area; it monitors the village-level training
programmes, is a link to the instructor training centre, provides feedback and
can offer courses in specialist areas for which local expertise is not readily
The planned programme consists of:
Training the rural vocational instructor training staff;
Training for pilot in-village and MFC-training programmes;
Implementation of pilot in-village and MFC-training programmes;
Gradual expansion of the total programme (it is, as yet, in the early
stages and the pilot in-village and MFC courses have started only recently).
RURAL VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN THE GAMBIA 5
The key question when designing most of the courses was: "When can we carry
out training in the villages and MFCs?" The answer to this was governed by the
farming season when most people are busy with their farms and not avail-
able for training. The farming season is also the wet season and for a large part
of the time, conditions are not suitable for training. This meant that training in
the villages could only be done in the non-farming season from December to
April. However, training could still be carried out during the remainder of the
year, from May to November, in the MFCs.
Selection of key villages
Key villages are generally accepted as those already identified and chosen by
the Department of Community Development in terms of their suitability for
development purposes. In the final selection, an approach is made through the
village elders to assess the willingness of the community group to join the
Recruitment of trainers
The responsibility for recruiting potential in-village trainers is first given to the
villagers; criteria have been developed to guide them in their selection. In-vil-
lage trainers are not permanent government employees. Rather, the trainers
are seen as farmers who will be providing training within the village on a
short-term basis as a service to the community.
Training of trainers
In-village trainers are given six to ten months full-time training, depending on
the skills area, followed by three periods of five to six months' conducting
training courses in the villages. While conducting the in-village courses, the
in-village trainers are still under the supervision of the instructor training
centre; the courses are considered to be on-the-job training for the trainer.
During a three-year period, thus, the in-village trainers themselves undergo
training for about two years.
Incentives for trainers
While training at the instructor training centre, the trainees receive an allow-
6 A. BITTAYE AND C. FRASER
ance. They are supported during the in-village training periods by the Gov-
ernment, and collectively by the villagers. During the farming season the
in-village trainers return to their farm or other occupation. At the end of three
years they can go for further training, seek alternative employment, or return
to their farms better equipped to cope with life in rural areas.
Incentives for the villagers
Significantly, this is the villagers' programme; although given support, they are
largely responsible for their own training. Each key village is provided with
fully equipped training workshops for rural mechanics and building con-
struction, a women's training compound, a vegetable garden to be used for
training, and sufficient materials to start up training courses. In many cases,
this is the first time that they have had vocational training in the villages. In
addition, the workshops and the trainees provide the facilities for village
improvement, maintenance and repair.
Training for whom?
The main impact of the project is intended to be at village level throughout the
rural areas. Although the project is aimed chiefly at the 15 to 29 years
age-group, benefits should also accrue to the rural families. The in-village
programmes envisage a unified system, working through a village committee,
avoiding a proliferation of separate inputs, which could lead to confusion
among rural family groups. Training programmes will work with the rural
people, involve the community, be carried out inside the villages, and con-
centrate on the family group. The curriculum will be designed to meet the
needs of farmers and rural workers, both male and female. The 60 in-village
training teams will eventually reach 960 villages and 135 840 people in the
target population. The 25 MFCs will upgrade the skills of approximately 1 000
blacksmiths, essentially as a repair and maintenance service for the introduc-
tion of animal-drawn farming implements. The other craft instructors at MFCs
will provide further training and employment for graduates of the in-village
Collaboration with IBAS, which will have credit lines and give business
advice and training, will improve the prospects for the development of entre-
preneurs, resulting in the creation of small-scale village industries and more
job opportunities. Other agency inputs will also benefit from the coordinated
approach. For example, a pilot programme for the construction of
wood-burning stoves carried out by the appropriate technology section in
collaboration with the Forestry Department has trained 92 stove builders and
built 184 stoves in 32 villages; the blacksmith section has made hand tools and
RURAL VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN THE GAMBIA 7
given other assistance to a Freedom From Hunger Campaign swamp rice
project; the rural mechanics section is currently helping the Catholic Relief
Service to install oilseed crushing plants and the instructor trainers offer rural
technology subjects to Community Development assistant trainees.
This tesito programme has been written up for publication at a compara-
tively early stage because it incorporates proven ingredients of rural develop-
ment programmes. Although the final result, in terms of a greater number of
well-trained people at field level, is not yet in evidence, by far the most difficult
and expensive part of the programme, the establishment stage, has been
completed moderately successfully. The remainder of the programme will
probably experience a number of operating difficulties; no programme of this
size could hope to avoid them completely. But the impetus is there, and the
combined action of community and the Government during the next four or
five years should be suffiicient to carry it through to completion.
The Green Revolution Game:
a training experience
E.A. Dowler and G.P. Chapman
The Green Revolution Game is a fairly sophisticated simulation of the role of
technology in the processes of social and economic differentiation of an Indian
village. Participants who may have only a minimum of technical knowledge or
who may be specialists in any of various different disciplines take on the
uncertainties and decision-making confronting traditional farmers. Thus,
the main aim of the Game is to bring alive to participants a little of what life is
like for a small farmer as a member of a viable community in a developing
country. In particular, the Game demonstrates how complex decision-making
can be even in such a simplified version of traditional agriculture.
In that the core structure the growing and marketing of a crop that is
also used for subsistence is essentially simple, and there are no formal rules
governing social behaviour, the Game has a broad potential use in many
different contexts and with a variety of objectives, some of which are men-
The demand for such training techniques
During the last decade, a great deal of effort has gone into trying to understand
why massive investment in the new, so-called "revolutionary" technology and
the huge transformations of agricultural production systems that have been
initiated have had such a variable impact throughout the developing world.
There is now a growing awareness of the enormous social implications of
agricultural innovation, and that dramatic change in the structure and pattern
of distribution of resources in society is an inevitable, integral feature of
introducing the new technology. This awareness has led to a demand for
introducing ideas about social change into the training of the scientists, tech-
nicians and others who will be professionally involved in the business of
promoting, fuelling and researching agricultural change.
Ms L.A. Dowler is a Research Fellow at the Nutrition Policy Unit, Department of Human
Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC IE 7HT,
and Dr G.P. Chapman is a Lecturer in South Asian Geography, Department of Geography,
Un diversity of Cambridge, Cambridge CR2 3EN.
10 E.A. DOWLER AND G.P. CHAPMAN
Simulation and gaming techniques have a long history of use in education
and communication for creating awareness of what problems other people,
with different constraints and priorities from one's own, may face, and for
testing out particular strategies and schemes. They can be a powerful means of
changing people's perceptions (Taylor and Walford, 1978; Megarry, 1978).
In this particular game, participants do not learn much about the actual
technology itself; they do learn a great deal, however, about the implications of
that technology for small farmers in terms of decisions they have to make, and
their relationships with other farmers in the community. Faced with uncertain
odds, they have to take decisions that are to some extent competitive, both with
each other and against the environment, but there is no "winning" or "losing".
Final assets may be calculated in order to show how much extra wealth the new
technology has generated in a village, for example, but to end up the richest
farmer is not necessarily the point of playing.
The Green Revolution Game is played by about 20 participants grouped in
pairs; each pair manages a farm and family of independent size (distributed at
the beginning of the Game). Farmers grow crops of rice, which they use both to
feed their family and, if there is surplus, to sell for cash. If they do not produce
enough for any reason, members of the family "starve to death", beginning
with the children.
Surplus money can be used to invest in technology to increase yields
(fertilizer, high-yielding varieties of seed) or to counteract the negative effects
of the environment (wells for irrigation, pesticide) and they can also purchase
rice, labour or even a little land, according to circumstances. The technological
inputs are all risky investments, and chance events can counteract the known
odds of success.
A Game Manager uses packs of cards to generate in random fashion the
drought and pest attacks for each season, to bring about births, and to vary the
availability of inputs every year. The Manager also collects from each family
the rice that is to be consumed during the year. If required, the Manager can
announce a major "disaster" (flood, war, etc.) that significantly reduces yields.
A Banker sets the market price for rice each year, according to the amount
of rice on the market, and distributes the cash return for declared sales. The
Banker also sells all the inputs (although farmers can also buy from one
another), some rice and occasionally land. He or she collects odd taxes, etc. as
may occur during the Game and sometimes is a source of negotiable bank
loans. The Banker's position is obviously potentially very powerful: a loan -
or a foreclosure of a loan at a critical period can make a great deal of
difference to a family's survival or profitability. There are no formal rules
about loans the Banker may behave as he or she thinks fit.
THE GREEN REVOLUTIONGME
The interaction between farmers is an important part of the Game. The
market price for rice is determined by how much everyone sells, and land needs
labour to work it -with irrigated land requiring twice as much as unirrigated.
Usually, land and labour within each family are not balanced, and the re-
quirements may change with variations in family size, land-holding size, and
whether or not the farm becomes irrigated. A free market in labour usually
develops and can become quite complex. Various arrangements between farms
may involve share-cropping tenancies, rice loans to avoid starvation, unionized
labour, a second bank, etc. as players or the Game Manager think will benefit
The overall result of a simulated six or seven years' play is usually that
players with little land get increasingly into debt and may lose family members
through starvation or displacement, while players with larger holdings usually
survive and may sometimes become quite successful both in terms of financial
and capital assets, and in terms of social power. However, the Game Manager's
manipulation of some of the critical variables can have a significant effect. For
instance, the birth rate can have a major impact on the generation of surplus
and so continually destroy plans for development. Similarly, if the aggregate
man:land ratio is too high at the beginning of a Game, development may be
totally inhibited until starvation or displacement has lowered the population
Such facts are made explicit in discussion periods during and after play.
These discussion periods are crucial to the Game; they enable participants to
voice individually their experiences, emotions and strategies during play. They
also allow the group as a whole to develop a collective experience and under-
standing both of how events and circumstances were linked together and of
how such social structures and relationships as were developed reflected the
values perceived or otherwise of the particular group involved. Informa-
tion about experiences of other groups is very useful at this point (the Manager
can introduce it).
Experience of playing
On the whole, most people enjoy taking part in the Game; they usually claim to
have learned a great deal. In particular, people begin to understand things
from the "small-farmer viewpoint". The farmer is a risk-taker: he faces un-
certain odds, with small margin for error and therefore little flexibility, as the
cost of failure is high. He is also the manager of his own affairs, but however
skilful a strategist, he may fall on hard times because of chance events and
combinations of circumstances. One of the lessons of the Game can be that it is
not easy to decide on the right strategy for a particular farm at a particular
time. Another is that the relationship between short-term (single-year survival)
and long-run strategy is quite complicated.
L.A. DOWLER AND G.P. CHAPMAN
"Seeing things from the small-farmer viewpoint" can work at another
level. Most relevant professionals deal in aggregate statistics -the population
growth rate, or the supply of credit and express macro, area.or national
planning and policies in such terms. The technological, "macro-thinking"
backgrounds associated with such policies often lead to the creation of inno-
vative technical strategies with little practical reference to the traditional farm-
er, who sadly is often regarded with impatience and even intolerance if and
when he fails to take advantage of developments offered. Often, taking part in
a Game leads participants to realize how differently such aggregate statistics,
which are perfectly valid for description and prediction of the system as a
whole, are perceived from within by individuals who often neither know nor
care about overall rates. It is the birth of a child or getting a bank loan at a
particular time that can make the crucial difference to a family for survival or
disaster rather than the average returns over time from a particular technology.
In fact, people can become so emotionally involved in their own family's
survival as to abandon those very strategies their training might prompt, and
find themselves unconsciously reacting like traditional farmers, especially
where they confront modem technology or ideas.
At a more subjective level, participants have to realize how arbitrary,
irrational and even fatalistic are some of their own assessments of what is
happening, whatever their level of training. Quite often, those who seem to do
badly blame the constraints and those who do well laud their own policies -
despite the fact that someone else who tried the same strategy was apparently
less successful. What is more, "success" is very subjective. Some who think they
have done well in gross absolute terms can often be shown as indifferent
performers compared with others in terms of profit per hectare, etc.
Feelings during play vary very widely, from boredom or anger to total
absorption or a sense of mastery over one's own or others' destiny. In fact,
everyone taking part, including the Game Manager, usually has a different
idea of what went on, and the various perfectly valid individual perceptions
need to be examined and developed by discussion into an understanding of
what was happening within the group: how the processes of social.and eco-
nomic differentiation occurred and how they were open to manipulation
internally and externally.
Participants are often surprised by how much additional wealth can be
generated in a small village through the use of new technology, and by how
rich some individuals may become. They are often equally surprised by the
critical importance of cash surplus or realizable assets at a particular time for
immediate survival of a family, when some communal disaster or individual
Cooperatives are. often tried. They seldom succeed unless they have re-
stricted aims, such as a labour monopoly union. Otherwise, the more powerful
members dominate the group and benefit most, or the interests of the partici-
THE GREEN REVOLUTION GAME
One aspect of power that the Game can make explicit is how much
communications matter. Even in a smallish room of 25 or so people, channels
of information develop that can be highly influential. Those physically situated
near the Manager and the Banker always seem to do well, whatever their initial
assets, simply because they are first in or hanging around queues, and always
hear and react to crucial information quickly.
Most of those who have played point out the Game's physical limitations
- it deals with only one cash and subsistence crop, it omits the role of animals,
intercropping, alternating varieties of local seeds, variable fertilizer applica-
tion, etc. It also has no marriage, no sex or caste discrimination, and no adult
death rate, all of which might considerably influence social and economic
patterns in a real village. The potential for introducing some of these and other
missing factors exists, but the authors feel at present that the Game has reached
its limit of complexity. Games by definition omit much of real life, and become
unworkable if too much of it is introduced. There is nothing to prevent the
existing structure from being developed further in the future. Meanwhile, such
omissions as are raised can be fully discussed at the appropriate times.
In May 1981, the authors visited FAO Headquarters in Rome and tested
the Game with Professional staff from a number of different Divisions. The
overall reaction was favourable with most players recognizing that life and
decision-making at village level is not at all easy. Despite its acknowledged
limitations, the realism of the Game in putting the player in the shoes of the
villagers was considered as one of its main advantages. The players also
recognized the training potential of such a game; not so much for use at village
worker level, but as part of induction training for new extension workers. In
this regard, the Game was considered to be an ideal method of orienting the
thinking of newly qualified extension workers, who may have had little or no
field experience in developing countries, to the sorts of constraints facing
production at village level. In the same way, the Game was seen to have a
definite use at institutions for training extension workers and other rural
Origins and use of the Game
The Game is based on data and experiences collected during 1970-71 by
Graham Chapman in South Bihar, India (Chapman, 1974) while he was
studying local farmer efficacy as managers of a system within an uncertain
environment. He devised it initially in 1972 for use with geography students in
Cambridge, United Kingdom, but it has subsequently been used by him and
several other workers with students, trainees and professionals of many dif-
ferent disciplines in various international agencies, educational and training
institutes and in several countries.
Graham Chapman has developed the original Game further over the last
14 E.A. DOWLER AND G.P. CHAPMAN
decade, as has Elizabeth Dowler, who made her own physical kit of the same
Game some years ago for use with postgraduate nutrition students in London.
They are now collaborating to produce commercial kits for sale and distribu-
tion worldwide in response to a growing demand; kits are now available. For
information and order forms, please contact either of the authors. Each kit will
contain all the physical equipment necessary for running a game Manager's
board and packs of cards, money, investment bonds, rice tokens, "input"
tokens, land, people, participant instruction and record sheets, and a full
manual for the Game Manager and Banker to enable purchasers to run and
manage the Game without formal training. (A short workshop on Game
management will be run in the United Kingdom in 1982.)
In conclusion, our experience has been that, used carefully, a simulation
such as the Green Revolution Game can be a powerful addition to training and
education programmes dealing with the processes of social and economic
development at the micro or even macro level.
CHAPMAN, G.P. Perception and regulation: a case study of farmers in Bihar. Trans. Inst. Br.
1974 Geog., 62: 71.
MEGARRY, J. Retrospect and prospect. In Perspectives in academic gaming and simulation. Ed by
1978 R. McAleese, Kogan Page. 5: 3.
TAYLOR, J.L. & WALFORD, R.A. Learning and the Simulation Game. Open University Press.
Toward a new extension strategy -
from promotion of innovations
to participatory communication
In the early post-independence era, agricultural extension programmes in most
developing countries were based on the concept of promotion of innovations.
The assumption behind this approach was that any innovation was equally
applicable to all farmers and that progressive farmers could spread such
innovations effectively throughout the country.
This concept gained greater acceptance with the advent of the Green
Revolution in the early 1960s. Soon, thousands of small farmers were receiving
messages acclaiming the advantages of the new seeds. The philosophy of this
approach was simple. "New varieties can double or treble a farmer's yield. If
you want to help a farmer, persuade him to accept it. Do not waste time in
seeking his views."
Thus, when formulating agricultural extension programmes, there were
often no serious attempts made to consult small farmers about their particular
local problems and needs. In technical language, this approach is called the
centre-periphery extension model. The farmer, as the recipient of information
and innovations, is regarded as being on the periphery of a circle that has at its
centre the various government agencies that develop and diffuse innovations.
However, the degree of rigidity with which the model was used varied from
country to country, depending on social, cultural and political conditions as
well as the administrative structures. Despite variants, the centre-periphery
flow concept still prevails in most countries.
In Sri Lanka, the use of this approach resulted in spectacular overall
increases in paddy yields of 75 percent in 15 years. But, in the long run,
expected levels of performance failed to materialize despite the continuing use
of high-yielding varieties (HYv) by the majority of farmers. Although, by 1979,
80 percent of the cultivated area was under HYV, the average annual yield was
only 2 685 kg per hectare much below the productive potential of the new
varieties. In fact, it appears that since the early 1970s, average yields have been
Mr Wickramasinghe is Research and Training Officer (Communication), Agrarian Research and
Training Institute, Sri Lanka.
levelling off well below the potential of the new seed. Consequently, targets set
by planners for attaining self-sufficiency have not been realized.
Recent studies done in Sri Lanka on the effects of the Green Revolution,
extension methodology and farmers' perception of innovations have shed light
on some negative consequences of the centre-periphery approach. The main
shortcomings were identified as:
Over-adoption of new high-yielding varieties, i.e. cultivation of certain
new varieties under unsuitable conditions;
Adoption of certain practices in the HYv package before assimilation of
an adequate knowledge of their use and application, e.g. fertilizer.
It is probable that the cumulative effect of the above shortcomings over a
period of 25 years has had some influence on the levelling off of paddy yields
since the early 1970s.
Over-adoption of new high-yielding varieties
It is well known that, unlike traditional varieties, the new high-yielding varie-
ties (NHtYV) are sensitive to stress. They need favourable ecological conditions
and good managerial care. If a new variety has been promoted in an area that is
ecologically unsuited to its growth, then it will not give the expected yield.
Similarly, if the plant, during the crucial stages of its growth, does not receive
adequate managerial care it will also yield poorly. Both cases are examples of
over-adoption of NHYv. In both cases, it could be said that the farmers em-
ployed a technology that required a higher level of inputs than they were able
to provide when approximately the same results could have been obtained with
an alternative technology and lower levels of inputs. The case of farmers in
eight villages in the dry zone of Sri Lanka who grew paddy under unstable
environmental conditions is a typical example. All lands were rain-fed. Many
were highly fragmented. Only 43 percent of the farmers had applied any
fertilizer. Yet, during the course of a study on farmers' knowledge and per-
ception of improved technology, the author of the present article and his
colleagues found that 90 percent were cultivating a new high-yielding variety,
with poor results (Gunawardena, Wickramasinghe and Abeyratne, 1980).
The farmers undertook to cultivate these varieties in order to improve
their income. Extension officers told them of their high-yielding qualities.
Villagers had also seen that farmers in a neighboring irrigation scheme got
high yields from this type of seed. But, outside the tnscheme, the farmers were
not so fortunate. The climatic and economic odds were against them. However,
a few farmers who wanted to stick to an old improved variety could not do so,
as seed was not available. The government extension service distributed only
NHYV. Private seed farmers were also producing seed of the newer varieties,
TOWARD A NEW EXTENSION STRATEGY 17
iccause it was commercially more profitable for them than the older ones.
In a study conducted under the direction of B.H. Farmer in a different
1,.cation on the island in 1972/73, H.D. Dias found that 97 percent of his
,3n ple had cultivated new varieties. Yet, only 55 percent had applied any
icrtilizer, herbicide and insecticide. Not surprisingly, only 14 percent of the
area in the minor season and 21 percent in the major season produced yields
that could be considered to have justified the adoption of the new technology
Kalutara, a coastal district in the wet zone lying to the south of Colombo,
is a typically sub-optimal area for cultivation of new varieties. About 90
percent of the land is rain-fed, with a tendency to periodic flooding. Yet, in
1970-71, 17 000 hectares of a total of 23 000 hectares were under new varieties.
The average yield was 1 549 kg per hectare, much below the yield potential for
this kind of seed paddy. By 1980, the area under HYV gradually dropped to 4 000
hectares. While these changes were taking place, the average yield stayed more
or less uniform. This shows that good intentions alone do not guarantee
improved results from new technology. Any adopted technology should be
appropriate to the particular socio-economic and ecological conditions of the
Reasons for over-adoption of NHYV
How did conditions of over-adoption of NHYV occur in Sri Lanka? The first HYv
(H4) was introduced to the farmers in the late 1950s. The extension services
embarked on a quick promotional dri"In attempting to go ahead with the
spread of these new and better varieties in the shortest possible time, it is
inevitable that it was not possible to ensure that every hectare of land grow-
ing the new varieties would receive the levels of fertilizer and management,
pest control, etc., that the varieties required (Abeyratne, 1973).
However, the new variety, H4, had certain characteristics that to a certain
extent neutralized the adverse effects of the centre-periphery approach used to
promote it. H4 was the outcome of a cross between a local and an imported
variety. While eliminating the defects of the local variety, H4 retained the
ruggedness of its local parent. "A wide range of adaptability is perhaps the
most prized virtue of the variety. H4 is recommended for practically all parts of
the island" (Senewiratne and Appadurai, 1966). These qualities of the new
variety enabled farmers to obtain high yields even at a comparatively low level
But such circumstances did not hold true for subsequent HYVs. These were
sophisticated strains needing favourable ecological conditions and intensive
care. Even so, a similar extension strategy was used to promote them. Farmers
operating under favourable conditions took to the new varieties with spectac-
ular results. Farmers working under difficult environmental constraints also
18 L. WICKRAMASINGHE
decided to use the latest varieties. They were perhaps influenced in their choice
by their positive earlier experience with H4. The enthusiasm of farmers
coupled with official extension support in the form of subsidized 'inputs and
close supervision helped in causing the new varieties to spread rapidly, thus
leading to conditions of over-adoption ofNHYV.
It is also true that rapid development of high-yielding varieties produced a
sense of euphoria and the notion that self-sufficiency in rice was close at hand.
Adoption was equated with development. Farmers who cultivated new varie-
ties were the heroes in the battle for self-sufficiency. This produced a psycho-
logical environment that fostered the idea that adoption of innovations was
Adoption of NHYV without adequate knowledge
Knowledge is an important factor in taking a decision to accept or reject an
innovation. Even if a person takes a decision to adopt a particular innovation,
he does not necessarily have full and complete knowledge about its use. But the
degree of completeness or adequacy of knowledge will affect the manner in
which it is applied.
In the study concerning knowledge and perception of improved technol-
ogy above, 76 percent of farmers in an area with a high potential for the
cultivation of HYV had applied basal fertilizer. But 62 percent of farmers in this
area had no knowledge whatsoever about the recommended quantities, timing
of applications, and methods of application. This is a clear case of adoption of
HYV without adequate knowledge. This lapse adversely affected the level of
benefits expected as a result of fertilization. What, then, were the possible
causes of this phenomenon? In Sri Lanka, fertilizer was not promoted as a
single innovation. It formed part of the HYV package. In the eyes of the farmers,
the main innovation was the new variety. Fertilizer was of secondary impor-
tance, regarded as useful but not essential. Farmers were not too worried about
quantities and times of application as long as some fertilizer was used. This
attitude was shared by the extension services, too.
Attempts at promoting technology without due respect for human and
local factors often produce unforeseen results. The remedy then is to change
from a rigid centre-periphery mode to a flexible locality-specific approach.
The objective of this approach is to forge an effective partnership between the
farmers and the development agencies by creating conditions conducive for
farmers to participate actively in development activities.
The Agriculture Department of Sri Lanka is now moving toward a loca-
lity-specific approach. The Extension Division was decentralized so that more
decision-making power could be given to each district under an Assistant
Director. More importantly, a decision was taken to establish adaptive re-
search stations in each of the 24 districts to foster the development of varieties
TOWARD A NEW EXTENSION STRATEGY y1
more suited to specific environments. While administrative decentralization
and localizing of research activities are important pre-conditions, the key to
effective implementation of the locality-specific approach lies in the ability of
the field officers to make farmers active partners in development programmes.
The following case study describes such an experiment in Sri Lanka.
An alternative strategy
The Gal Oya Water Management Project, in which the author has personal
experience, uses the locality-specific approach to promote better water man-
agement among farmers. The project began in 1979, funded by the Government
of Sri Lanka and USAID, and has two major components:
Rehabilitation and modernization of the left bank irrigation system;
Development of an effective water management programme through
active farmer participation and improvement of the performance of the irri-
What was the need to introduce a farmer participation programme in Gal
Oya? A review of causal factors will illustrate the validity of the locality-spe-
The Gal Oya irrigation scheme was completed in 1951. The left bank area
is primarily inhabited by small farmers. The average landholding size is about
1-2 hectares. Especially in schemes involving smallholdings such as the Gal
Oya, water management requires genuine two-way communication, up from
the farmers and down to them. Yet, the conventional centre-periphery ap-
proach that was used to administer the system obstructed the two-way flow of
information. Negative attitudes toward farmers' needs and the lack of an
efficient grass-roots-level organization to promote two-way communication
made the gap between officers and farmers wider. Gradually, farmers began to
resort to negative practices, such as stocking and stealing of water, and manip-
ulating and damaging control structures. Today, the system has deteriorated
to the point that it is difficult to exercise any effective control over water.
Thus, the purpose of the farmer participation programme is to encourage
farmers and the Government Irrigation Department to establish a cooperative
working relationship in order to make the irrigation system more responsive to
the needs of the farmers.
A cadre of 30 field officers designated Institutional Organizers (1o) was
recruited to assist farmers to participate actively in the redesigning and re-
habilitation of the system. For the first time in Sri Lanka, an attempt is being
made to depart from a typical engineer-planned rehabilitation programme by
drawing upon the knowledge of farmers. Institutional Organizers also assist
farmers to establish water-user organizations or any other institution desired
_U L. WICKRAMASINGHE
by farmers to manage the distribution of water in their area. This approach, it is
hoped, will assist the development of a sense of responsibility among farmers
for future maintenance of the system and management of irrigation water at
better levels than the present ones.
Application of the locality-specific concept is still in an experimental
stage. An analysis of the role of the to in Gal Oya helps to explain some
important characteristics of the emerging methodology. Since the Institutional
Organizer's role is affected by his attitude, both are discussed below.
Respect for people
The locality-specific approach recognizes that in any rural development pro-
gramme the most important resource is the people. The to is thus trained to
respect and have faith in people. He believes that even uneducated farmers,
given the opportunity and proper guidance, can make positive contributions
toward the solution of local problems.
Familiarization with the environment
The to lives with farmers in the village. He does not merely visit and then fade
away to a nearby town. He familiarizes himself with the farmers, their customs
and beliefs and the environmental conditions under which they live and work.
This familiarization helps him or her to understand the real problems and
issues facing the farmers.
The to is a catalyst. He does not decide for people. He discusses with them,
helping them to analyse and highlight issues. But he leaves the decision making
to the people. He does not feel let down when his ideas are rejected. If the
decisions taken by people prove to be wrong later on, he does not assume an
"I-told-you-so" attitude. He sits down with them and through dialogue helps
them to learn from their experience.
For example, in Gal Oya the to is expected to promote the formation of
water-user organizations for self-management of water within their area of
jurisdiction. But he has no predetermined model of farmer organizations to
offer to farmers. He promotes the concept, but leaves the decisions about the
nature, form, membership, rules, etc. of the organization to the people. Al-
ready, farmers have provided useful information about the structure of the
organization. For example, they indicated that effective cooperation without
political intervention or ethnic and local leadership rivalry was more likely if
TOWARD A NEW EXTENSION STRATEGY 21
water-user groups were kept fairly small in the early stages. Farmers' sugges-
tions indicated that the primary water-user group should comprise about 15 to
25 farmers cultivating an area of about 25 to 40 hectares.
The o10 is a facilitator. He facilitates smooth, purposive interaction between
farmers. He encourages the development of a group consciousness among
them. He helps people to mobilize their own resources. He also facilitates
group interaction with service agencies of the Government. But he never does
things for people, such as obtaining fertilizer, as it would make farmers de-
pendent on him. He builds the capacity of the group to gain access to the
services offered by the State directly. His wish is to make farmers self-reliant.
The roles of educator and pupil are not fixed under the locality-specific
methodology. The to is both a teacher and a learner. He teaches new attitudes
and skills to people, but is not afraid to learn from them in return. In fact, in the
first few months, he learns more than he teaches. He does not believe that he
possesses a knowledge superior to that of the people. The io knows that,
although the farmers lack formal, science-based knowledge, they do have
knowledge derived from experience. He knows that the farmers in the scheme
have 30 years of experience in irrigated agriculture. He attempts to draw upon
and pass on this invaluable know-how to the engineers who are to redesign the
The to helps to organize the first meetings between farmer groups and
the irrigation engineers. At these meetings, engineers explain the rehabilitation
and the water management programme to farmers. Then they request farmers
to identify specific problems and needs in their areas, and make suggestions for
solutions and recommendations for future management policies. The
cross-fertilization of the engineers' theoretical knowledge and farmers' expe-
rience will create, it is hoped, a system better designed to meet the needs of the
The to believes in establishing a genuine two-way flow of information. He
communicates through dialogue, debate and discussion. He listens as often as
he speaks. He treats farmers as his equals and he communicates with them as
equals. Thus, it is imperative for village-level workers using the locality-spe-
22 L. WICKRAMASINGHE
cific approach to display positive attitudes, sympathy and a sense of loyalty
toward the farmer. He should also have an intimate knowledge of village
society and culture. He should be able to relate farmer behaviour to peculiar
circumstances such as subsistence economics and socio-cultural factors. Tech-
nical competence alone does not make one an effective village level worker.
Therefore, it was decided to recruit as los only candidates who have a pro-
nounced bias toward rural people.
Institutional Organizers were recruited through open newspaper advertise-
ments. Graduates (male and female) in social sciences, agriculture and devel-
opment studies having the following qualifications were invited to apply:
Personal experience in paddy farming;
Experience in the dry zone, i.e. they should have worked or lived in the
dry zone for a considerable period of time;
Past participation in village organizations;
Ability and willingness to live and work with rural people in remote
Nearly 70 percent of the successful candidates were sons or daughters of
It was difficult, however, to assess the extent of alienation of the candi-
dates from their original environment caused by their university education.
Certain specific questions based on previous village case-studies were used to
ascertain whether they had acquired an elitist orientation that distorted their
view of village life.
For instance, the popular belief among bureaucrats and the educated
village elite is that farmers alone are responsible for wastage of irrigation
water. But research findings have indicated that government officers also
contribute by weak management and inappropriate scheduling. If a candidate
agreed that the farmer was the sole culprit, he was subjected to further checks
to ascertain his attitudes. The fact that about 50 percent of the trainees had
cultivated their land, even after graduation, indicated that university education
had not seriously distorted their values. Of 1 000 candidates, 32 probationary
los were selected for training.
After recruitment, trainees underwent induction training for six weeks. During
the first two weeks, trainees were exposed to the concepts and methodology of
TOWARD A NEW EXTENSION STRATEGY 23
the locality-specific approach, techniques of organization, communication and
working with groups. Lectures, discussions, role plays, games and exercises
were used to present concepts and ideas and to develop requisite skills.
The last four weeks were devoted to field training. The objective was to
provide participants with practical on-the-job training in the methodology of
promoting peoples' participation by working in partnership with people. The
main stages of the methodology are:
Entering into the community;
Establishing rapport and winning the farmeFs' confidence;
Familiarizing oneself with the social and physical environment of the
Studying farmer problems and needs as well as issues in irrigated
Establishing a process of dialogue for problem identification and so-
lution, promotion of appropriate innovations and knowledge, etc.
The field programme was designed to provide a dual learning experience
for the trainees. While familiarizing themselves with the main problems facing
farmers in the project area, trainees gained valuable practical experience in
using the above methodology in a face-to-face working relationship with
farmers and government officers. For this activity, trainees were divided into
four groups. Each group was assigned to work in a single-colony village
reviewing major problems faced by the community in the following main areas
relating to water management: agriculture, irrigation, land tenure, and com-
Although the study of problems in the above four areas was important by
itself, the training strategy was to use this as a convenient medium to provide
practical experience to the trainees in working with farmers.
Approximately four weeks were devoted to the study of problems in each
of the above categories. For example, in the first week, trainees studied prob-
lems in agriculture; this was followed by irrigation in the second week, and so
on. Thus, in the first two days of the first week, trainees met farmers to discuss
problems pertaining to agriculture from a farmer's perspective. The third day
was devoted to discussions with field officers about their view of problems in
agriculture. On the fourth day, senior district officers of agriculture spoke to
trainees on the problems of agriculture from a regional perspective.
At the end of each field day, a short plenary session was held to reflect on
the day's learning experiences. The fifth day was used to synthesize the find-
ings of the week. This was done through group discussions. The chairman of
the four groups for that particular week presented the group report at a plenary
session. After the presentation of the reports the plenary session was converted
into a learning session in which the experiences gained during the week on
24 L WICKRAMASINGHE
various aspects of the methodology were thoroughly debated and analysed by
participants and the training staff.
Reflection -sessions and group discussions were conducted in a spirit
conducive to the uninhibited expression of ideas. The trainees were given
complete freedom to disagree with the ideas of the training staff and to propose
alternative viewpoints. Debate among trainees was also critical and analytical.
One of the main objectives of these sessions is to provide los with training in
establishing a process of frank dialogue both with farmers and among farmers.
GUNAWARDENA, A.M.T., WICKRAMASINGHE, M.L. & ABEYRATNE, S. Farmers' knowledge and
1980 perception of improved technology: a study of five farming systems. Colombo, Agrarian
Research and Training Institute.
DIAS, H.D. In Green Revolution: technology and change in rice-growing areas of Tamil Nadu and Sri
1977 Lanka, ed. by B.H. Farmer. London, Macmillan.
ABEYRATNE, E. The extension of high yielding varieties. Paper. Seminar on economic and social
1973 consequences of the improved seeds. Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, and
Agrarian Research and Training Institute, Sri Lanka.
SENEWIRATNE, S.T. & APPADURAI, R.R. Field crops of Ceylon. Colombo, Lake House Publishers.
Vocational training in agriculture
for rural youth of Tonga
in approaching this subject, the present situation of Tonga should be covered
The Kingdom of Tonga is situated in the southwest Pacific Ocean, some 710
kilometres (450 miles) ESE of Suva, Fiji. The archipelago consists of approxi-
mately 150 small islands, of which only 36 are inhabited.
The Tongan economy is predominantly agricultural, with a secondary depen-
dence on fishing and, more recently, tourism.
Land tenure system
Although, under the Land Act of 1927, all land in Tonga is ultimately the
property of the Crown, it is divided into four tenure categories:
Hereditary estates of the nobles;
The King's hereditary estates;
A hereditary estate held jointly by the Royal Family;
Government, or Crown land.
These estates are subdivided under law to provide bush allotments. Ac-
cording to Tongan law, every Tongan above the age of 16 years is entitled to a
bush allotment of 33.3 ha (8.25 acres) of land.
Dr V.S. Lall was the Principal, Hango Agricultural College, from 1975 to 1978. He is currently the
Director of the National Rural Reconstruction Programme of the National Council of the YMCA
26 V.S. LALL
Importance of agriculture in the Tongan economy
According to the 1966 census, 67 percent of males over 15 years of age were
employed directly or indirectly in agriculture, and 81 percent of Tongan
women over 15 years of age were occupied with domestic chores around their
own household, including preparation for agricultural crops and handicrafts,
and working in home gardens or on the bush allotments. Tongan agricultural
systems rely predominantly on human labour with no plough animals and only
The traditional Tongan agricultural system, on which more than 90 per-
cent of its population depends, has remained much the same as it was when
Tasman first discovered the archipelago in 1642. The diet is still based on root
and tree crops as part of a bush-fallow system. The present agricultural system
to a very large degree satisfies the local needs for medicines, cosmetics, bev-
erages, fibres, ornaments and a number of other subsistence items.
The population of the kingdom has increased to the extent that the present
*scale of food production is inadequate to cope with the present demand. Many
food items like rice, butter and meat are imported and this uses up much of the
already meagre stocks of foreign exchange.
However, as stated by Schultz (1964): "The man who farms as his fore-
fathers did cannot produce much food no matter how hard he works or how rich
is his soil. The farmer who has access to and knows how to use what science
knows about soils, plants, animals and machines, can produce an abundance of
food though the land be poor..The knowledge that makes this transformation
possible is a form of capital whenever it is an integral part of the material
inputs farmers use and whenever it is a part of their skills and what they know."
It is true that the present Tongan farmers have a wealth of knowledge
associated with traditional agriculture, but unfortunately, as suggested by
Schultz, a new "form of capital" is needed to provide for the future. Increased
emphasis on vocational training in agriculture in Tonga is necessary for the
The farming in Tonga is entirely dependent on rain as a source of
irrigation. If that fails, there is an acute shortage of food for home consump-
The village crafts are giving way to cheaper consumer goods produced
by industries overseas.
In the rural areas of Tonga, there is no trade worth mentioning, and
there is hardly any cash economy. The money, as soon as it is earned by the
farmers, flows back to the cities.
Tongan agriculture, being traditional and subsistence in nature, has
not been able to attract rural youth to take up farming as a profession. Thus
there is a heavy drift of potential youth power to nearby countries such as
Australia, New Zealand and American Samoa, in order to obtain work.
TRAINING IN AUKICULIU$IK.L I'UK Luvl. su_ -.
Establishing an institution of vocational training in agriculture
ro increase food production for the growing population, and give rural youth
the motivation to become established in farming, the Hango Agricultural
College was established by the Free Wesbyn Church of Tonga in 1969. The
name "Hango" (meaning bounty) was given to the college by the King of
longa, who himself is a keen farmer and sincere proponent of agricultural
Objectives of the training institution
The underlying assumption of the institution is that progressive and productive
farmers are not necessarily born but can be trained in the ways of innovation
and risk-taking. The institution also believes that in the population of a rural
area there are individuals who have characteristics that qualify and incline
them to become effective agents of change.
The primary objectives of Hango Agricultural College were, therefore, to
remove some of the handicaps that mark today's village economy and to
induce rural youth to regard farming as a good and profitable way of life when
properly practised. In addition, the institution endeavoured to stimulate a
positive attitude to development and conservation.
By pursuing the aims already mentioned, the training institution hoped to
achieve a reduction in the drift from rural areas; to develop a more positive
attitude to farming; to develop self-reliance, resourcefulness, problem-solving
abilities and responsibility; to encourage a more methodical and scientific
approach to farming; to foster the acquisition of practical and management
skills; and to awaken an awareness of environmental considerations among the
The above objectives were to be achieved through a programme of
instruction that included the essential theoretical aspects of farming, together
with a strong emphasis on practical field training.
Location of the training institution
Hango Agricultural College was established on a small island, Ella (88 km2 -
34 mi2), about 40 km (25 mi) from the main island of Tongatapu. This island
was selected because a large area of agricultural land was available for dem-
onstration and field training; the geo-climatic conditions were largely rep-
resentative of the rest of the country's environment; and the entire population
of the island was engaged in farming and an increasing area of land was being
brought under cultivation.
News about admission requirements is spread, about three months before the
start of each new course, by various means: word of mouth by the community
leaders, church ministers, community meetings kavaa drinking sessions), etc.;
printed media such as handouts, prospectus and local newspapers; local radio
broadcasts; and finally ex-students provide an effective means of spreading the
news about the college programmes.
The selection of the trainees
On average, about 20 trainees are registered each year. The course lasts for two
years. In order to be admitted to the college, trainees have to be at least 17 years
of age, have achieved at least a pass in the school-leaving certificate, produce a
medical certificate indicating fitness and a sound physique that will permit
involvement in agriculture and community life, and the candidate must pro-
duce a certificate from two referees about his character, one of whom must be
the local priest.
Provisionally selected candidates are personally interviewed by the Prin-
cipal and a few members of the community and faculty on their arrival at the
college. Personal interviews or admission tests serve the following purposes:
They probe into the personal and family background of the candidate;
They reveal the extent of past technical or farming experience or
They discover the reasons why the candidate wants to join the agri-
cultural training course;
They clarify student objectives and determination with which they are
to be pursued;
They establish whether the student has family support including the
extent of financial assistance available;
They establish the extent to which each student has been associated
with developmental activities in his local community.
The selected candidates are then put on probation for one month. This
rigorous procedure ensures a minimum of drop-outs, and the retention of those
candidates who have the seriousness to take up agriculture as a profession.
Motivating the candidates
The motivation of the candidates ultimately decides whether a candidate will
get himself established in farming. Motivation, therefore, is a vital factor.
TRAINING IN AGRICULTURE FOR TONGAN YOUTH 29
MNotivation denotes that driving force within the individual that urges him to
strive to achieve an objective, whatever the obstacles may be.
Factors that ensured motivation of candidates
The environment of the training institution was discovered to be one of the
basic factors in retaining the motivation of candidates. The institution through
its various social programmes provided the candidates with a deep sense of
identification and pride.
The training facilities were geared to function well and care was taken to
provide a proper and congenial atmosphere both in the class-rooms and in
The period of training and its timing were such that the candidates did not
feel homesick. Because the period of the course was for two years, due care was
taken that the candidates could visit their homes during important festivals.
By these means the drop-out rate was kept to a minimum. This was
considered an essential requirement because drop-outs represent a substantial
loss to the institution in terms of wasted effort as well as having a bad influence
on the morale of other trainees.
The programme of instruction at the college and the training farm was based
on practical work. Theoretical teaching was used to the extent that it prepared,
explained and improved practical training in farming. The training content
was kept flexible so that the needs of the trainees and the regions could be
The whole philosophy of training was based on the preparation of trainees
through the concept of "learning by doing". The teaching included agricultural
techniques, farm management and agricultural economics, and civic and reli-
Maintenance of soil fertility, soil management, mineral depletion, physical
structure, humus and leaching, etc.
Practical methods and demonstration of cultivation practices at various
Ju V.S. LALL
Sowing and planting
Irrigation and drainage
The plant (botany and physiology).
Farm produce; grain; roots, flowers, fruits, leaves, etc.
Particular agricultural problems
Training content included the application of general principles of agriculture.
Special emphasis was laid on the production of export crops and crops de-
signed for local consumption. A greater part of the trainees' time was spent on
the practical cultivation of these crops on the college farm.
This training mainly emphasized the damage done by insects, pests and dis-
eases and the various control measures to eradicate them.
The general principles of animal husbandry are covered, including:
Balanced feeding of the milch and beef cattle
Food sources, fodder production, pasture maintenance
Feeding techniques, preparation, mixes, cooking
Veterinary hygiene, elementary knowledge of diseases and cures
Animal products meat, milk, eggs, leathers, manure, etc.
Applied animal husbandry
Training of cattle
Raising poultry, including turkeys
TRAINING IN AGRICULTURE FOR TONGAN YOUTH 31
I hec course also includes practical instruction on artificial breeding, feeding,
reproduction and applied hygiene.
Practical workshop instruction in trades like the manufacture of farm imple-
ments, blacksmithing, carpentry, mechanics and stone-masonry.
Farm business or agricultural economics
Management of an agricultural business:
Elementary principles of marketing
Expenses and receipts, simple book-keeping and farm records
Budgeting and financial decision-making
Prime costs, running costs
Saving and borrowing
The process of decision-making for choosing the most economical and
efficient farm enterprise
Production planning and the procurement cycle for various inputs
How to evaluate the farm risks
The aim of this subject is to impart to trainees a keen social and civic sense and
to enable them to grasp the fundamentals of the indispensable role of rural
people in society both as citizens and churchmen (Tonga is a Christian coun-
try). The course covers the rights and duties of citizenship, the history of the
country, and its place in the modem world.
This forms an important part of the development of the trainee and the course
content is designed by the college chaplain.
As stated earlier, class-room instruction is not given in isolation and even the
fields are used as class-rooms and field laboratories. Specific field assignments
are allotted to the trainees in field situations.
32 V.S. LALL
All the first-year students have to complete field-level work in crop pro-
duction. The college does not employ any farm labour, the entire workload
being performed by the trainees themselves. The advantage of this is that from
the beginning students are accustomed to conditions that approximate as
closely as possible those they will find in their villages when they establish their
own farms. In such a training farm, production and training are integrated.
The farm produces food at no cost to the trainees.
To give students the complete opportunity to develop their skills in farm
operations and production management, each is allotted a 0.2-ha (half-acre)
farm unit. The farm supervisor helps the trainees with farm plans. This
teaching/learning activity is done in three stages of increasing complexity,
depending on the student's stage of training.
Directedfarms. The first-year students are helped to prepare their farm plans
and constant supervision is provided. The trainees are helped to make practical
decisions for a profitable return.
Supervisedfarms. The second-year trainees are expected to draw up their own
farm plans and to carry out the production operations on their own. They are
encouraged to put into practice the principles that were taught to them during
the first year. Only cursory supervision is provided by the instructors.
Independent farms. After completion of the training, the trainees set up their
own farm enterprises. They make their own decisions. The services and guid-
ance of the college are available to them, if they so desire. There is also a
systematic follow-up programme described later.
The above three stages provide the students with excellent work
and managerial experience. Incorporated with the concept of learning, is
an income-earning mechanism associated with the productivity of the student
In order to market the produce and procure the production inputs like
seeds, fertilizers and insecticides, the college has established a students' pro-
duction-cum-marketing cooperative society. This is a registered body. The
income is put in a joint account with individual trainee's accounts separately
maintained. According to the constitution of the cooperative, no trainee can
withdraw his share during the time he is under training. After he finishes his
training, his share is available to him only for the purpose of starting an
agricultural operation or for the purchase of implements. This control has
greatly helped the trainees to become established in farming. Many of the past
students have been able to buy cattle for milk production. The entire man-
TRAINING IN AGRICULTURE FOR TONGAN YOUTH 33
igcement of the cooperative is in the hands of the trainees, who elect their own
otlice-bearers. The Principal of the College nominates only a staff advisor.
The trainees are given the option to specialize in dairying in addition to
specialist crops, like water-melons, yams and onions. The college runs a dairy
farm with more than 100 milking cows. All trainees have to accept responsi-
bility for undertaking a variety of jobs in the dairy. Every second-year trainee is
presented with one female calf to raise successfully for one year. The college
gives the calf as a gift, but the trainees have to pay about US$40 for rearing
charges. The trainee cannot pay this rearing fee in cash, but must instead
contribute the equivalent in labour. Fence repair, stockyard maintenance, and
fodder production are typical of the types of jobs he is expected to do. This
exercise proves highly beneficial to the trainee in that he has a sense of pride in
owning the heifer because he worked for it, and secondly he develops skills for
cattle raising. Above all, he develops a liking for manual work. Because the
college does not employ farm labour, the trainees gain the skills necessary to
perform many different types of farm operations.
The trainees' study work is tested by examinations, tests, and quizzes, both
during and at the end of the course. On the successful completion of the course,
a certificate in agriculture is awarded to the trainees.
A survey of past trainees over a period of five years was conducted to deter-
mine the percentage of trainees who had successfully established themselves in
farming. The results showed that more than 70 percent of graduates were
involved in full-time agriculture, and a small number were working in govern-
ment agricultural services. This healthy trend was partly attributed to a system-
atic follow-up programme maintained by the college. This programme
Visits. The past trainees were encouraged to visit the institution any time they
needed assistance. The faculty was assigned periodically to visit and guide the
past trainees. This active linkage helped to maintain a high level of motivation
among the farm operators.
34 V.S. LALL
Newsletter. A newsletter about what trainees from different courses were
doing, new directions or guidelines from the Government, and short articles on
how to improve selected farming enterprises with the latest technology was
sent out at regular intervals. This helped to keep past students in active contact
with the institution.
Seminars and workshops. These activities kept the past trainees in contact with
the institution and with many valuable resource persons. Often short consul-
tations on specific areas of need were conducted at a farm of one of the past
Ex-Hango Students' Cooperative Society. On the major islands of Tonga, the
ex-students were encouraged to form "service cooperative societies". The main
objectives of such cooperatives were for the members to pool their resources,
acquire farm machinery and attract bank financing. The college provided
agro-support services to the members of the cooperatives in the form of farm
machinery, fertilizers, seeds of improved varieties and quality, and other inputs.
The rate of trainees taking up agriculture as a profession was directly depen-
dent upon the extent the institution was able to provide agro-support services
and effective extension and farm advice.
The drop-out rate was minimal where the motivation among the trainees
The level of motivation to practise farming was high among the rural
youth as long as they were convinced that there was "money" in the operation.
The tendency to class agriculture as a low social-status profession was
changed when agricultural operations brought economic advantages to the
The training for agricultural development convinced the staff of the
institution that change was a continuous process and could be directed to
advantage with deliberate planning and sustained effort.
Learning becomes most relevant when it is built into a life experience
(learning by doing).
The most effective venue for rural training is within the community
SCHULTZ, T.W. Transforming traditional agriculture. New Haven, Yale University Press.
Some aspects of vocational training for
small farmers through mobile units
Given the narrow scope of this study, it is necessary to recall some facts on the
particular nature of vocational training for farmers where direct professional
training in the field may be more suitable than training given in a centre.
In the industrial and artisan sectors, training takes place in a technolog-
ical context and according to fixed parameters. But in agriculture, a biological
field, fixed parameters are the exception since variability is the rule rather than
the exception. Between the development of a plan and its execution, there is a
host of variables that are difficult if not impossible to control, partly because
the technology on the farm is still rudimentary, and partly because of the very
nature of farming itself.
In every agricultural activity, the different operations are closely related to
each other with precise constraints as regards time, type of soil and other
factors such as temperature, rain, predators, pests and disease. In order to
produce, the farmer must adhere to a seasonal schedule. Because of seasonal
constraints the farmer cannot plan and run his business as can, say, a mechanic
or a carpenter, for whom any action that is carefully performed produces the
desired effect almost immediately. Accordingly, the small farmer is always
liable to be psychologically affected by the environmental, social and econom-
ic constraints of farming. Practical training programmes in agriculture must
always be designed and implemented bearing these points in mind. The use of
mobile units has been seen to have advantages because the training can take
place in the farmer's home environment with members of his own social group
and at much lower cost than comparable courses held in a regional training
Vocational training in district centres
The drawbacks of training centres in the presentation of training courses for
farmers are well known:
Mr Ralitte is an ILO Rural Training Expert in Bolivia under the ILO/Swiss Government Rural
Vocational Training Project.
36 J. RALITTE
Heavy investment and high operational expenses are incurred in relation
to the number of people trained. It takes a long time to set up the centre and, once
created, it has to continue to function even though the number of trainees may
not be sufficient to justify its existence.
There is a lack of flexibility in adapting quickly to new situations.
Technical personnel spend more time on management than in actual
The centres usually do not attract the best students because successful
farmers can rarely be absent for long periods. Instead, the less hardworking
elements are trained and these seldom have much influence on their fellows.
The centre is empty for part of the year, during which the operational
expenses still have to be covered and the talents of technical personnel are not
utilized to the fullest extent possible.
The technological means at the disposal of the centre often bear no
relationship to those at the disposal of the trainees on their farms.
Regardless of the preceding points, a centre need not necessarily be inflex-
ible and have an expensive infrastructure. It could easily take the form of a
low-cost collection of basic resources, which could serve as a central point for
demonstrations and provide support for short, intensive courses. In an arrange-
ment such as this, the low-cost centre and mobile unit could complement each
other, since the weak point for the mobile unit may be the lack of bulky
If we look at training from the economic standpoint, it is quite certain that,
with reduced means, it is only through practical training in the field that large
numbers of people can be reached for the development of production in a given
region. The effectiveness of training is improved, too, because an instructor in an
on-farm situation is able to give a different dimension to practical training
compared with training given in a centre.
Some aspects of the use of mobile units
Group training is essential. Training can only be carried out with groups. It is not
economically feasible to work with individuals. It is necessary, therefore, to take
advantage of existing groups or else to create them where appropriate. With
established groups such as associations and cooperatives, enough par-
ticipants can usually be gathered in one place to justify the conduct of a course.
In cases where it is necessary to assemble groups of people who do not usually
meet, the problem is greater, but can usually be overcome by arousing interest
through public promotions.
Deciding on the type of training to be offered. The type of training offered can vary
greatly according to the type of practical training envisaged, its level, extent, the
VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR SMALL FARMERS 37
Iicquency of courses, their duration, and the way they are fitted into a rigid or a
itcxible schedule of operations related to the time of year and the means avail-
.ible for the programme.
Ihow mobile should the instructor be? The instructor can be mobile either through
tie use of a bicycle, motor cycle, or car, or he can be moved from place to place
an a rotational basis depending on the structure of programmes.
Should students be moved to suitable locations? In some cases the instructor may
have at his disposal a vehicle large enough to transport the participants to the
tield for practical demonstrations and visits. But, whatever the means available,
lthe strategy to be adopted will depend on the type of activity on which the course
Desired level of competence of the instructors. There are two possible levels to be
considered: the instructor could simply be capable of dispensing lessons he has
learned, or-he could go further by applying the knowledge he has acquired to
individual farm situations. This latter type of action requires a plan to be
prepared and studied for each course participant and involves a higher level of
expertise on the part of the instructor. This approach is obviously the better of the
two because it breaks down any separation that may develop between training
Level of teaching. There is often much discussion about the level of training
required for the technical success of an activity and the most appropriate meth-
ods of imparting knowledge so that it can be assimilated easily. Obviously if a
message is to be understood it must be put across in terms that are compatible
both with the problem to be solved and the capabilities of the audience.
Qualification level of instructors. Among the causes of failure, or only partial
success, of agricultural training programmes is the qualification level of instruc-
tors and extension workers. This is not so much in regard to their capability of
transmitting a technical message, as it is in their inability to apply, or adapt it to
Where training is seen as something more than the simple teaching of
certain jobs, it is highly desirable to employ technicians of a high professional
level. This does not mean that farmers who have been selected from among the
most capable and who have received short-term training should be rejected for
teaching at the grass-roots level. It is fortunate that the type of instruction offered
through mobile units is generally of a practical and elementary nature and highly
qualified academics are not necessary.
Instructor versatility. The instructor should be versed in a number of disci-
plines. For example, with livestock raising, training covers many aspects, includ-
VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR SMALL FARMERS 39
ing animal husbandry, animal health, agriculture, organization and manage-
ment. Obviously the broader the knowledge of the instructor, the greater the
number of subjects that he can cover. This can result in considerable econo-
mies and reduce the number of lecturers required. However, one should avoid
overtaxing individual instructors. One option that is available is to use two
instructors simultaneously in the mobile unit and to increase the number of
participants. The lectures and debates could be conducted with all the partici-
pants at one time and they could be divided into two groups for practical
Duration of the training courses. It is not possible to define the ideal length of
time for a training course since it will always depend on the various limitations
and difficulties involved. The time available to the small producer is limited
since he is already engaged in a great variety of day-to-day tasks required to
ensure the running and development of his farm. This is the reason for a
reduced course time of one week with a week's follow-up course later when
seasonal demands are fewer.
Drop-out rate. Regardless of the interest shown by the participants in any
course, attendance generally drops as the course progresses. It is easier to
maintain a full attendance with short, intensive courses of one week than with
courses that extend for two or three weeks. However, in order to avoid the
transport costs associated with repeated follow-up courses, it may be advisable
to prolong a course rather than to return several times to the same place.
Considerable time needs to be devoted to the scheduling of courses to obtain a
balance between effectiveness and feasibility.
Preparing the trainees for a course. The course should be "sold" to the partici-
pants so that it is considered an important event by both the village and by the
group involved. Prior technical assistance can be decisive in rallying a hesitant
group. In livestock raising, it is always extremely easy to give advice, to prove
that a loss of animals could have been avoided by a simple diagnosis, that a
better balanced supply of minerals should be given, that a given male should
have been castrated, that a particular cow, apparently sterile, should be culled
or perhaps given treatment with a certain guarantee of success, etc. All this
must naturally be presented with the necessary tact; an idea must not be
imposed, but simply suggested.
The mobile unit
Mobile units should be equipped only with equipment that is essential for their
intended purpose. A mobile unit is neither a circus nor a demonstration stand.
Unless it is absolutely necessary, all bulky equipment should be avoided. For
example, in a cattle husbandry operation, a veterinary medicine kit and two
lassos are generally enough as~he basic equipment.
In the event that it is considered advisable to bring equipment to a farm,
one must realize that if the producer has not yet purchased such equipment,
more often than not it is simply because he has not had the means to do so. All
demonstrations should be given with equipment that is in common use,
otherwise their effect may be negligible.
In any mobile programme, the vehicle used is, by its very nature, the basic
piece of equipment. The vehicle usually has to satisfy three needs:
It has to convey the instructors to the place where the course is being
It has to transport the trainees over short distances for the practical
e It has to provide overnight sleeping facilities for the instructors.
Bearing this in mind, and setting aside the case where bulky material has
to be transported, a 2.5-tonne lorry is recommended (one or two axles as
required), with, at the back, a railed platform of 2.10 x 2.85 m. A coffer
running the breadth of the platform at the back behind the cabin can be used to
hold small tools and material as well as acting as a seat.
Along the sides of the platform, a 30-cm-wide bench can also be used for
seating. In this way, one can transport about 20 people seated and another 10
standing. A robust framework should be fitted over the back platform so that
people standing up have something to hold on to, which can also act as a
support for a covering as protection from rain.
Follow-up action with mobile units
With the growth in the number of trainees, technical assistance after the course
often requires greater resources than the course itself. Such aid should not be
promised if it cannot be provided; if it is provided, it should not fall into a
simple, passive routine. With practical work, supervision during the different
training phases can often be done on a group basis with the mobile unit
travelling to the location involved.
Mobile units are an extremely effective method of providing appropriate
training at low cost. The fact that they can be used in a local situation with
resource materials that are familiar to the student group is perhaps their
biggest advantage. Much depends on the quality of the instructor, however.
38 J. RALITTE
t _J. RALIITE
The mobile unit is only the means of bringing training materials to the location
where the training is to be conducted. All the other considerations, such as
identification of the student group, design of an appropriate course of training,
teaching methodology and so on, require the same attention as courses con-
ducted at permanent training centres. The instructor or team of instructors
used with mobile units must have particular qualities to be able to work with
limited resources in what are often makeshift conditions and yet still conduct
effective programmes. By far the majority of courses presented by means of
mobile units are of the basic-skills type, which requires a grass-roots approach.
Technical competence is an essential requirement for all instructors, but in the
selection of those for use with mobile units, at least equal emphasis should be
given to ability to communicate with audiences of varying abilities.
Approaches to mobile training in Fiji
Rural training in Fiji has in the past been largely based on an institutional
approach. Both long- and short-term courses, most of which have been
residential, have been provided at training centres throughout the country. The
effectiveness of many of these, however, has begun to be questioned, particu-
larly because costs have escalated. During the past 10 years, there has been a
move toward taking training to the people. Several mobile training approaches
have been developed, the two major ones of which are now examined.
APPROACH NUMBER I
The mobile training programme of the YMCA
This programme started in 1974 in support of the Young Men's Christian
Association's (YMCA's) community development activities in rural villages.
The first offering was an outboard motor course, which aimed at providing
training to operators in the basic maintenance and repair of their engines.
The approach has been a simple one. An instructor-mechanic has been
appointed who, with virtually only his box of tools, has moved through coastal
villages or those on inland rivers, providing training to groups of 8 to 12
operators. Such groups have been trained on their own engines under a tem-
porary shelter erected in the village. Prior to training, a survey to identify the
main mechanical problems and training needs was carried out and then
instruction provided to rectify these. Courses have been usually of two weeks'
duration and, after completing training, each operator has been able to pur-
chase a set of basic tools at a subsidized price. A number of follow-up courses
have also been held.
Since this first programme was initiated, further programmes using the
same approach have been started in chainsaw/milling operation and mainte-
nance, carpentry/boat building, sewing machine repair and maintenance, and
wood carving. The latter was terminated in 1980 because of a fall in the market
for carvings. The number of trainees who have participated in 160 courses
Mr Bamford is ILO Regional Adviser on Rural Training in the Pacific.
42 G.N. BAMFORD
under these programmes between 1977 and 1980 are given in the following
Programme 1977 1978 1979 1980 Total
Furniture making 4 12 11 27
Building construction 5 12 17 34
Boat building 7 12 11 30
Wood carving 44 42 19 25 130
Outboard motor maintenance and repair 191 47 69 43 350
Chainsaw/milling 18 144 145 127 434
Sewing machine repair 34 155 219 408
TOTAL 264 296 411 442 1413
In all programmes, training has involved the whole community because
the village has accepted responsibility for providing the meals and accommo-
dation for the instructor. Trainees have been required to pay a nominal fee of
$1.00 per week, with the remaining costs being shared by both the community
and the YMCA. During 1980, the costs to the YMCA were as follows:
Outboard motor courses
Sewing machine repair
Overheads (administration, etc.)
The cost of training one trainee for one week was US$22 (based on a total
of 695 trainee weeks at a total cost of US$15 000). This compares favourably
with similar short but institutionally based courses where the cost was US$69
An evaluation of these programmes has shown that the approach adopted
by the YMCA has a number of advantages:
I Exchange rate: US$1 = F$0.87.
It tackles the specific training needs of rural people, these often being
related to particular development activities;
Instruction is provided in the home area of the recipient and therefore
minimally disrupts his other commitments;
It is based on the principle of learning while doing;
It is community oriented;
Costs are low because extensive and expensive facilities are avoided.
However, several problems were identified that have prevented pro-
grammes reaching the full potential. These are discussed below.
Poor back-up organization. The back-up organization has not always been
adequate, with the result that there has been a failure to identify sufficient
groups to keep instructors fully utilized. For example, in 1978, the outboard
motor instructor conducted courses for only 39 percent of the time available.
For the YMCA approach to operate effectively, it is essential for instructors
to be part of a structure with direct links to the rural community. The YMCA in
Fiji has these through its 20 rural workers who operate in 100 villages. Even so,
it has been found necessary at times to work through the Government at
provincial level. Failure to exploit such structures effectively can lead to
under-utilization of instructors.
Different objectives of instructors and villagers. In some cases, it has been
difficult to provide effective training because village participants have seen the
instructor more as a skilled tradesman than as a trainer, and they were more
interested in the completion of a project such as a house or a boat than
Effect of continuous travel on instructors. Fully mobile programmes make
heavy demands on staff. If they are married, they create difficulties for their
families, too. To overcome this problem, several countries have used
centre-based instructors for only part of each year. Thus, several instructors
may be able to share the mobile training activities.
Instructors'lack of training in instructional methods. All instructors are skilled
artisans, but none has received formal training in instructional methods. It is
most unlikely that formally trained instructors would be attracted by the
conditions of work and level of training of a mobile programme. Most have
aspirations for serving in the type of institutions in which they themselves were
trained. Furthermore, most seek the security and conditions of government
service and not employment with a non-government organization. The latter, if
often much better able to provide training at village level, cannot provide
comparable conditions or opportunities for professional advancement.
APPROACHES TO MOBILE TRAINING IN FIJI
44 G.N. BAMFORD
Thus, it is virtually impossible for an organization such as the YMCA to
recruit trained instructors. An intensive programme of in-service training in
instructional methods for its skilled artisans is therefore the solution.
Despite the above problems, the approach developed by the YMCA has
provided training to a large number of rural people at comparatively low cost.
While, in most cases, training has remained at a preventative-maintenance/
basic-skills level, it has in some cases resulted in trainees further developing
their skills and in establishing their own village enterprises. The approach has
provided a model that is being used in a number of other countries in the
Pacific region because it is particularly appropriate for those with isolated
APPROACH NUMBER II
A multi-purpose mobile unit
The second approach is one based on a mobile unit. This unit serves Fiji's
second largest island, Vanua Levu, which has a maximum length of 190 km
and an average width of 35 km. The area covered comprises the three provinces
of Bua, Cakaudrove and Macuata and has a population of 103 000, the ma-
jority of which are Fijians, although Indians predominate in Macuata. Al-
though some areas are still only accessible by sea, there has been a large
expansion of road-building in recent years so that the island now has more
than 400 km of main, all-weather roads as well as many more kilometres of
feeder roads to villages and settlements.
Two multi-purpose rural training centres provide a wide range of short,
residential courses to both men and women. The response for such training has
been good from the Fijian community, but it has been virtually non-existent
from the Indian community owing to strict farm and family commitments
which prevent attendance. To meet this latter situation and also to provide
training for Fijians in remote areas, the Fiji Government, with technical
assistance from the International Labour Organisation, established a mobile
training unit in 1979.
The mobile unit consists of a 2-tonne, two-wheel-drive truck fitted with a
lockable canopy and containing basic training equipment; the unit may be
used by any agency operating in the three provinces. Where specialized
equipment, such as agricultural implements, is required, this is provided by the
agency responsible for that specific course. The mobile unit does not have a
permanent staff of instructors, these being provided by the various agencies
APPROACHES TO MOBILE TRAINING IN FIJI 45
using it. The only permanent employee is a driver/operator. The unit operates
from the Rural Training Centre at Nasoso in Macuata Province.
The unit has the following equipment:
I tent (5.5 X 5.5 m) that, with side flaps propped up, provides a total
coverage of 9.5 m X 9.5 m and is able to accommodate 40 people
I electric generator (1.5 kW) plus spare parts
I portable fluorescent lamp
1 16-mm sound projector plus spares and a splicer
I projection screen
I slide/film-strip projector
I cassette tape recorder and microphone
I typewriter (portable)
I duplicator (methylated spirits)
1 chalkboard and easel
6 folding tables
18 folding canvas stools
3 folding chairs
I pressure lamp
I set of basic woodwork tools
1 set of basic mechanical tools
The cost of the unit was as follows:
Two-tonne truck (diesel) fitted with lockable
steel canopy and internal fittings
Planning and coordination of training
A Planning/Coordinating Committee under the chairmanship of the Com-
missioner (the senior government officer in Vanua Levu), which represents all
major agencies operating on the island, meets twice a year to plan a schedule of
operation for the unit. The implementation of this schedule is then the joint
responsibility of the agencies concerned and the supervisor of the Nasoso
Rural Training Centre, who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the
qo G.N. BAMFORD
unit. The agencies that have used it during the 16 months to 30 April 1980 and
the degree to which each has used it are shown in the following table:
Agency/department Number of Total days
times used used
Department of Forests 2 8
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Agricultural Extension Division 5 22
Fisheries Division 3 15
Department of Education 2 8
Department of Health 2 4
Department of Cooperatives 2 10
Fiji Sugar Corporation I I
Methodist Church 1 3
Nasoso Rural Training Centre 1 4
TOTAL 19 75
Effectiveness of the unit
The following is based on a recent evaluation of the unit.
Ability to reach target groups. The specific target groups to be reached by the
unit were Fijians in outlying areas not already served by Rural Training Centre
programmes and members of the Indian community who do not participate in
residential courses. The unit has been effective in taking training to the former.
Even villages accessible only by sea have been reached, the equipment being
readily transported by boat. During the 16-month period to 30 April 1980,
more than 900 Fijians had participated in courses of from one to five days. An
additional 2 000 had attended evening programmes, although these are prob-
ably best regarded as public relations/entertainment, rather than training.
However, the Indian community has scarcely been reached, with only 90
Indians attending courses. This has not been a result of a lack of interest on the
part of this community, but rather a failure when planning to direct sufficient
programmes to them.
Level of utilization. It is unlikely that a unit of this type will ever be used more
than 70 percent of the time. The Nasoso Unit has had a planned utilization
level of 44 percent and an actual one of only 30 percent. Thus, it has been very
much underutilized. The cancellation of a number of courses was unavoidable
(there was a hurricane), but in other cases it was a result of poor planning and
organization. Improved communications between the agencies and the Nasoso
Training Centre are also an important factor in increasing the level of utiliza-
tion of the unit.
APPROACHES TO MOBILE TRAINING IN FIJI 4/
Suitability of vehicle and equipment. The vehicle has proved satisfactory. In
only a few situations would four-wheel drive have been an advantage. The
storage of the equipment has also proved adequate, no damage being caused
by dust or vibration. The usage of the main items has been as follows:
16-mm sound projector and screen
Amount used in all courses
The only items not used to date have been the tent and the sets of
mechanical tools. The first was included in the equipment for use mainly in the
Indian settlements, where facilities for training were often absent. In Fijian
villages, the facilities used were schools, community centres, or, more fre-
quently, temporary shelters. Because the Indian participation has been small,
the tent has not been used, but all agencies considered both it and the tools to
be a worthwhile part of the unit's equipment. The only items added have been
extra display boards.
Standard of training. The evaluation has shown that the most effective train-
ing has been provided by those agencies with a training section and in which,
therefore, group training is given a high priority. Such agencies have staff
trained in group-training methods as well as in the use of the mobile unit. Thus,
the effectiveness of the unit as a support for training is almost entirely depen-
dent on the quality of the instructors using it. With untrained personnel, there
has been a tendency for it to be used more as a mobile film unit than for serious
Coordination. The Coordinating Committee brought together all major agen-
cies involved in training. This resulted in the island's overall training needs
being identified. However, courses have generally been operated by single
agencies in the field for which they have specific responsibility. On only three
occasions has a more integrated approach been adopted to which several
agencies have contributed. The unit will be most effectively used when the total
needs of a local community have been identified and a more integrated ap-
proach can be used to meet these.
Cost of operation. The operational costs of the unit for the 12 months to 28
February 1981 have been:
46 G.N. BAMFORD
Driver/operator's salary and subsistence
Vehicle operation costs
Equipment maintenance and repair
If programmes of a public relations/entertainment nature are excluded,
the cost per trainee per week was US$34. This cost includes depreciation on the
vehicle and equipment, but excludes agency costs, which would mainly be the
salary of the instructorss. Clearly, with greater and more efficient use of the
unit, this cost could be considerably reduced.
In comparison, the cost per trainee per week for residential courses pro-
vided at the Nasoso Rural Training Centre was US$52. This sum includes
depreciation, but excludes instructors' salaries since, as with the mobile unit,
these are carried by the various agencies using the Centre.
In general therefore, even though underutilized, the mobile unit has
resulted in systematic training being provided to a much larger number of rural
people than was possible through residential courses at the Nasoso Centre (300
people have been trained at Nasoso and 900 through the unit).
GENERAL CONCLUSIONS ON BOTH APPROACHES
The growing interest in recent years in non-formal approaches to training has
been based on the assumption of their greater effectiveness, lower cost and
ability to meet the needs of much greater numbers than the more formal
institutional approaches. The mobile training programmes described above
are non-formal, have reached large numbers at comparatively low cost and
have generally provided useful training. However, the evaluations of each have
shown that, unless efficiently organized to ensure optimum utilization of per-
sonnel and equipment and if training is not given by adequately trained
instructors, such non-formal approaches may be neither low in cost nor effec-
tive. Nevertheless, they do have the potential for being both, and in the Pacific
region can make a valuable contribution to the improvement of skills and
knowledge of rural people, and thus the betterment of rural living.
FLIKKENA, W. Mobile training programmes of the YMCA in Fyi. Suva, ILO.
The social laboratory:
some experiences and perspectives
The social laboratory concept for rural development remained almost static
after its early and successful beginnings in China in 1935. Bangladesh used the
technique in launching its Comilla initiative in 1959, but it was not until 1970
when the Pila Social Laboratory was started at Laguna, the Philippines, that
the idea started to become more widely adopted. There are now seven other
social laboratories in the Philippines, four in Thailand, one in Indonesia and
one in Malaysia. It seems that the potential for social laboratories in achieving
orderly and appropriate rural development is at last being recognized. How-
ever, there is still a long way to go in advertising its advantages and so achieving
wider adoption of the concept.
The social laboratory concept
As initially conceived, the social laboratory in Pila was the facility of an institu-
tion of higher learning in agriculture for evolving strategies and approaches for
accelerating agricultural and rural development through research, training and
demonstration. Itis a unique type of "laboratory" in that it is located in a specific
village or group of villages where conditions of life and living are real.
The social laboratory project embodies an interdisciplinary approach. It
involves the application of knowledge not only in the social sciences but also in
the other sciences because, in its implementation, the workers (who may
include social laboratory or university staff, representatives of line agencies
and other development agencies, and the people themselves) have to deal with
appropriate technology in crop and animal production and management, and
in other activities of the people that will promote their economic and social
There are two schools of thought on the function of the social laboratory.
First, in some institutions where the extension function has not yet been fully
developed, the social laboratory is considered merely as an "extension or
Mr Saguiguit is Deputy Director, South East Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Studies in
Research and Agriculture (SEARCA).
JU G.F. SAGUIGUIT
public service arm" of the college or university. But in the second group of
institutions where the triad of functions instruction, research and extension
has been fully institutionalized or normalized, the social laboratory has
developed into a facility for pre- or in-service training of extension and allied
workers for undertaking research under village conditions. Their purpose is to
achieve more expeditious transfer of science and technology from the college,
experiment station, or any other source or sources to the end users, and to
demonstrate an integrated approach to agricultural and rural development
with the active involvement of the people. The involvement of the farmers and
others in the villages in all these activities is a means of training the people to
help themselves, to be more self-reliant and to work together for the common
The above two schools of thought may be considered as the stages in the
development of the social laboratory project, because its functions are deter-
mined to a large extent by the developmental level of the sponsoring institu-
Objectives of the social laboratory
The objectives of the social laboratory should be viewed from the standpoint of
the institution and the rural clientele to which development efforts are
The general or long-range objectives are:
To mobilize and develop the village people toward self-reliance;
To bring about satisfying change and growth in rural life;
To help small farmers become efficient and effective in availing
themselves of the services of agencies and institutions in the development of
viable village enterprises.
The operational or specific objectives, however, are realistic and concrete
statements of what is to be achieved in a given setting and timetable. The
objectives are viewed both from the standpoints of the institution and (he social
From the institution's viewpoint, the social laboratory aims to:
Serve as a facility for training students and change agents in extension
and related fields in order to prepare them for agricultural and rural develop-
Develop strategies and approaches and generate models that could be
useful for development agencies, policy makers and extension workers in
accelerating agricultural and rural development efforts;
Make the university/college/institutions more responsive to the needs
of the community insofar as the problems of rural development are concerned;
Serve as a channel to transfer science and technology to the end users.
THE SOCIAL LABORATORY 51
From the standpoint of the clientele, the social laboratory aims to:
Develop indigenous local leaders and potential leaders through edu-
Develop the capabilities of rural people to organize themselves for
undertaking development projects/activities in relation to the needs and prob-
lems of the community;
Encourage rural families (youths, farmers and rural women) to engage
in economic as well as social activities to promote cooperation and under-
Utilize and improve existing local facilities and resources;
Increase agricultural productivity and family income through cottage
industries and other income-generating projects;
Maximize the use of credit and marketing facilities;
Promote cooperatives and other forms of association among villagers.
Strategies and approaches
Three interrelated approaches have been identified as appropriate for the
achievement of the objectives of the social laboratory, namely: the institutional
approach, inter-agency linkages and collaboration, and training support.
The institutional approach. The institutional or organizational approach pro-
vides opportunities or creates situations in which local people are trained,
organized, motivated and assisted to the extent that they can work together
through their own organizations as effective government partners in agricul-
tural and rural development.
Besides the obvious advantages of group over individual action, there is
an assurance of greater viability and continuity of the programme if the people
feel that the programme is by, and for, themselves.
To organize people requires different techniques. For example, in the Pila
Social Laboratory, the farmers in two villages were rallied around their need to
obtain and install a water pump to draw the underground water and
supply the much-needed irrigation water in an area that was not reached by the
national government irrigation system during the dry season. Then, in order to
minimize the adverse effects of middlemen on the income of duck raisers in a
third village of the same social laboratory area, the people organized them-
selves into a marketing cooperative.
In the Visayas State College of Agriculture (VISCA) Social Laboratory in
Baybay, Leyte, one effective approach was the promotion of household
industries such as macrame '-making, which involves the use of raw materials
I Baskets, bags and other articles artistically knotted from abaca (Manila hemp) and other indig-
enous plant fibres.
that are abundantly available throughout the year and in which the natives
have a long tradition of artistic workmanship.
In the social laboratory villages in Thailand, the farmers organized
themselves into credit unions from which they could borrow money needed to
buy farm inputs such as fertilizer and insecticides. In one social laboratory
village, the "spiritual" approach was employed by getting the people to put up
a wat (Buddhist temple) so that monks who could easily influence the farmers
would reside in the area.
The above examples of establishing village organizations point to one
important principle in the mobilization of people: people will organize them-
selves and work together to satisfy a common need they cannot do it
individually. The sooner that people come to realize that individually they
cannot possibly meet community needs satisfactorily, the sooner they will
endeavour to organize themselves for the benefit of all.
Inter-agency linkages and collaboration. There are government as well as pri-
vate agencies that cater to the development of the various sectors of the
community -agriculture, health, education, industry and so on. Within each
of these sectors, there may be more than one agency or office involved. It is the
job of the social laboratory worker to identify and discover these agencies and
to promote inter-agency linkages and collaboration among them. This may be
achieved by consultations, acknowledgement and due recognition, and estab-
lishing clear lines of communication. Should duplications and misunder-
standings occur, they should be clarified as soon as practicable.
The social laboratory worker should clearly demonstrate that he is not
there to duplicate, replace or superimpose on the functions of the line agencies
operating in the area. As a university staff member, he is there to implement
the institution's commitment to work with and assist the people to undertake
action projects in agricultural and rural development. His main concern is to
get the people to learn to work together for mutual benefits and to avail
themselves of services that are provided to assist them in their efforts to attain a
Of course the social laboratory worker must possess a certain degree of
technical competence because representatives of technical agencies are not
always present in the villages; but where these representatives are available,
they would be expected to guide and provide the desired technology. The
social laboratory worker can effectively complement the services of the repre-
sentatives of technical agencies because he works with the rank and file of the
clientele continuously and over longer periods.
Training support. The social laboratory staff, the students of the institution,
development workers of other agencies, and the various segments of the
clientele (adult farmers, rural women, out-of-school youths, local leaders, etc.)
need training to make them more productive and effective.
THE SOCIAL LABORATORY 53
The social laboratory staff may directly undertake training programmes
Ihat are within their fields of competence, but it is always advisable to involve
iic relevant agencies or services, especially in the matter of improved technol-
,v. Identifying the objectives and procedure of training programmes is,
however, more the responsibility of the social laboratory staff.
The importance of training all segments of the rural population cannot be
over-emphasized. And it is not only training to increase productivity that should
,e fostered, but also training that will enable the people to do things for
themselves, training that will equip them with the necessary attitudes, skills
and abilities that make for self-reliant, productive and strong and united
citizenry. The people should be imbued with the fact that they are responsible
for their own well-being.
Establishing the social laboratory
Experiences in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian Ministers of
Education Organization (SEAMEO) member countries have so far pointed to
the following steps or procedures in establishing a social laboratory.
Advocating the social laboratory idea. This may be done through seminars,
meetings, conferences and other related activities to create awareness and
obtain the support of university/college constituents, administrators, and local
officials at the village/town/district level. The importance of the direct in-
volvement of all the people who will be concerned, including the head of
the sponsoring institution and the local leaders, should not be overlooked.
Establishing the appropriate organization structure in the institution. The insti-
tutional machinery is set up by selecting the proper staff and defining their
functions clearly. Once selected, the staff should receive practical training in
the social laboratory scheme.
The social laboratory organization should not be independent of other
structures or units of the institution. In fact, it is placed directly under the
extension office or division of the institution. The Director, Chief/Head of the
office is the overall administrator of the project and has a field staff. This staff
is a team composed of an agricultural education/extension specialist who
serves as team leader, a crop production specialist, a livestock production
specialist, and a farm management specialist.
Selecting the site. In the case of the Pila Social Laboratory, the following
criteria were taken into account:
Proximity to the SEA RCA /University of the Philippines at Los Bafios
(UPLB). Since this was the pilot social laboratory, it was deemed necessary to
locate it as close as possible to the sponsoring institutions for closer supervision
and easier communication between the administration (SEARCA/UPLB) and
the field staff;
A comparatively high percentage of landowner-farmers or leaseholders.
This was necessary so that farmers could make their own decisions without
interference from anyone else;
Availability of irrigation facilities or potential. This was necessary to
facilitate area development within the shortest time possible;
Possibility of crop diversification. The farmers were able to practise
multiple cropping and mixed farming to increase their income;
Accessibility to roads and markets;
Suitable size of the area. If too small, it might not be economical to
operate diversified farming, and if too big, it would not be easy to manage.
Launching the social laboratory programme. The actual launching of the social
laboratory entails a number of preliminary activities, such as:
Conducting a base-line survey to determine the needs, resources and
capabilities of the community on which the programme should be based The
base-line data gathered in the survey are necessary for the later evaluation of
the impact of the social laboratory;
Entering into some kind of an agreement with line agencies operating in
Forming the advisory council. Membership in the local advisory council
should include local and municipal officials arid representatives of line agen-
cies and other institutions based in the area;
Formulating the programme. This phase includes preparing the plan of
activities, determining and placing projects in priority order, setting goals and
objectives, designing training programmes and providing for information and
Operational components of the social laboratory
The programme and other activities in the social laboratory are categorized
under three major components, namely: field operations; research, evaluation
and documentation; and training information.
Field operations. These include activities related to the production of crops and
livestock and management aspects of agriculture and home-making in the
social laboratory area. Examples of field operation activities are: introducing
improved farm practices, controlling pests, irrigating and draining farm areas,
developing local leaders, establishing demonstration farms, forming or devel-
oping local institutions and organizations, holding meetings and forums about
THE SOCIAL LABORATORY 55
the social laboratory programme and projects, conducting farm and home
%its, assisting farmers to obtain loans and other inputs for production pur-
oses', developing or improving physical facilities and other activities that will
help and improve farm family living.
,,'search, evaluation and documentation. This component is a built-in mech-
anism in a social laboratory. It goes hand in hand with field operations
toward discovering the problems of the rural clientele and those of develop-
ment agents, including the social laboratory staff, in the application of the right
development approaches and strategies. Through a system of records and
documentation, the progress, direction and accomplishments of the social
laboratory can be determined. Feedback information is monitored by means
of regular monthly/weekly meetings, reports and other communication media.
Training and information. This component is responsible for all types of train-
ing activities in the social laboratory, especially those that involve the clientele,
i.e. adult farmers, rural women, out-of-school youths and others. Training
activities may also include areas outside agriculture, such as nutrition, health
and social organization.
In the social laboratory, a project is any activity or series of activities with
specific location or concentration, clientele, objectives, timetable and mech-
anism for evaluation. Project implementation involves three interrelated
and sequential phases: planning, specifying and implementing.
Planning. This phase refers to the analysis of the situation in terms of problems
and needs of the clientele and considering desirable and feasible projects or
activities that will alleviate or help solve the problems.
Specifying. This means identifying the procedures, strategies, means and other
activities that would be necessary in order to achieve the desired objectives.
The activities should be examined carefully in terms of their technical require-
ments, institutional/organizational/management aspects, the socio-cultural
implications of the projects or activities on the life of the people and the
community, and the financial and commercial aspects of the projects to be
Implementing. In the actual execution of the projects, there should be close
adherence to the plan, but with a certain degree of flexibility toward unfore-
seen changes. The objectives and the extent to which the projects are realized
should provide the major criteria for their evaluation.
6 _G.F. SAGUIGUIT
Promoting viability and continuity of the social laboratory
Once a social laboratory is established, it should be kept "alive" and viable. It
should be so developed that it becomes a permanent institution in the com-
munity even after the social laboratory workers are pulled out. To accomplish
this twin objective, an identification of the projects, and constraints to viability
and continuity of the social laboratory, and their consequent corresponding
solutions or preventive measures becomes necessary.
Problems and constraints to viability and continuity
Experiences in the Philippines have pointed out the following causes of inac-
tivity or lack of viability of the social laboratory project. From the standpoint
of the sponsoring institution, the most important problem was funding. Often,
the social laboratory project was not allocated a specific budget and depended
only upon external sources of funding. As a result, some social laboratories
which were established by SEARCA with financial assistance from another
agency during the initial five years were "neglected" by the sponsoring insti-
tution as soon as the financial assistance was terminated.
There were certain other problems that confronted the sponsoring insti-
tution in keeping the social laboratory a viable project. An example was the
rapid turnover of social laboratory personnel as a result of low salary, inse-
curity of tenure (because social laboratory staff were almost always appointed
on a part-time basis), professional jealousies among the staff owing to lack of
understanding of their functions and non-involvement in decision-making or
group action, and lack of appreciation or ability to do rural development work.
Another problem experienced by the sponsoring institution was the
absence of appropriate technology for the small farmers who constituted the
clientele in the social laboratory.
From the clientele's viewpoint, the above problems appeared more diffi-
cult to solve than they were. Control could have been exercised over most if not
all of them. There were the behavioral or attitudinal problems demonstrated
by the farmers' negative attitude toward the social laboratory staff, the
"wait-and-see" attitude of some farmers, traditionalism, non-participation in
meetings or group activities, and a tendency to depend too much on the social
laboratory staff for everything they needed (dole-out attitude). Problems con-
nected with leadership in the village have also been found. Often there was
lack of competent and capable leadership, and even if it was available, there
were conflicts of interests as a result of political, religious, ethnic, social and
economic differences among the leaders. Sometimes there was abuse of power
and authority by some and, purely for economic and selfish reasons, a power
struggle existed among them.
Besides the behavioral and leadership problems, there were economic
THE SOCIAL LABORATORY
actors that affected the clientele, such as lack of capital and necessary funds to
apply new technology, inadequate labour supply, improper use of available
resources for unproductive activities and difficulty in marketing the produce.
In Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, some degree of inactivity of the
social laboratory has been observed to be principally a result of two factors,
namely: inadequate finances; and the belief that the development of the
countryside is a function of the Extension Service of the Government, and that
the University that sponsors the social laboratory should involve itself in
teaching and research only.
Suggested solutions to the problems and constraints
Provide adequate finances for both the sponsoring institution and the clientele.
The social laboratory should be provided with a specific allotment in the
institution's budget so that its operation and maintenance would be assured on
a continuing basis and its personnel placed at par with the other staff of the
To help the farmers meet their financial needs, the social laboratory staff
should be able to train them in exploring possible sources of credit in govern-
ment and private financial institutions and assist them in obtaining loans from
Hold regular staff meetings for evaluation purposes and for clarifying roles,
functions, responsibilities and problems of each member.
Conduct training programmes for the social laboratory staff and the clientele.
The staff need training in strategies of development work and in some specific
agricultural subject-matter to increase their technical competence. The adult
farmers, rural women, out-of-school youths, and other segments of the village
populace need training to meet their particular needs and aspirations. Training
for leadership is essential both for the present and prospective leaders.
Initiate and sustain activities that will promote unified action and group partici-
Involve the target clientele and all concerned in decision making and in pro-
gramme formulation and implementation. Specialists and experts from other
agencies should be consulted on technical matters.
Explore appropriate technology for small farmers and make arrangements to
assist them in securing necessary inputs and to market their products profitably.
Take the farmers on a field trip of progressive farms, or, better still, establish
demonstration farms within the village on specific types offarming activity.
..SAGUU training for development pictorial review
Until the present, the sponsorship of social laboratory projects has been as-
sumed by institutions of higher learning in agriculture. It is possible that
agricultural extension bureaux or agricultural advisory services might adopt the
social laboratory approach in carrying out more functional and effective ser-
vices with more impact. In the Philippines, for example, where there are at least
five municipal agriculturists or related workers (such as the livestock inspector,
the home demonstrator and the community development officer) in each
province, these five agriculturists could be organized into a social laboratory
team that would then establish pilot social laboratories in centrally located
farming villages in each municipality of the province. The social laboratory
villages could then serve as models for the nearby villages to copy.
The social laboratory projects that have so far been launched will be the
subject of continuing evaluation and impact studies. It is hoped that such
studies will yield enough materials for writing a handbook on the social Benin. Extension workers and a village group
laboratory, including its establishment, operation and management.
In Southeast Asia, institutions of higher learning in agriculture and even '
agricultural and rural high schools will be encouraged to continue launching
social laboratory projects. It is believed that the social laboratory is one project B
that can make these institutions more realistic and practical, and increase their
orientation to development and the public service. Plans are afoot to develop
the social laboratory into a functional informal education programme in the
Cameroon. A demonstration of cultivation techniques
Kenya. A fish breeding unit. These units are essential
for widespread adoption of aquaculture (see article by R.J. Roberts)
Ethiopia. An extension agent addresses
a Farmers' Association meeting
Tonga. A student at Hango College
works on his small plot'
The partly harvested cabbage crop
in the foreground is part of a College
cash crop (see article by V.S. Lall)
Nigeria. A farm management
,,.ime being used for training
isee article by E.A. Dowler
and G.P. Chapman)
Tunisia. An irrigation engineer gives
instructions in irrigation practice Swaziland. A farm radio
to a farmer group broadcaster interviews a farmer
Iraq. An extension agent discusses problems
in fodder crop production
Thailand. Extension agent helps farmer to build trench terrace
Chad. Training in irrigation pump maintenance
Honduras. An extension agent
provides information on practical beekeeping
Design considerations for
grass-roots training programmes
in Sierra Leone
The level of education for rural development is one of the most successful
achievements of post-independence Sierra Leone. Training facilities have
tended to cater for all types and levels of specialities for agriculture and rural
development. It is possible to identify a high-level category of training pro-
grammes (the University), an intermediate level (the training colleges) and a low
level (vocational, primary and high school, and informal training schemes).
The last of these categories is perhaps the most important because it provides a
large number of change agents who may be distributed throughout the rural
communities much more widely than graduates from the others.
The strategies behind training programmes are at present undergoing a
whole series of changes. Rural educational objectives are being thoroughly
examined and the quest for means to make a more effective impact on the
target group, the rural population, is proceeding. Recent approaches have
tended to favour a restructuring of existing programmes and institutions rather
than the establishment of new ones. In addition, current training programmes
have tended to have a local and adaptive flavour that makes them more
relevant to local needs.
Characteristics of training programmes
Training programmes in Sierra Leone are the result of careful planning. The
process usually starts with the expression of a felt need for some form of
training programme from a number of possible sources, including policy mak-
ers, planners, implementers and the rural people themselves. What is impor-
tant is that the need for a particular programme is identified and responded to.
Planning for the programme proceeds on several levels: estimating costs,
selecting participants, designing the programme, timing, location of a venue,
and involving the rural people. At the early stages of planning, the planner or
Mr Turay is Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Environmental Studies and Geography,
N'jala University College, University of Sierra Leone.
programme director is seen as the major link between planners, decision mak-
ers, field workers, trainees and the rural people. The major concern is that a
high level of involvement of all parties be established so that interest is main-
tained throughout the programme.
Based on this interest, the programme director contacts specialists in
various fields to determine an appropriate curriculum, including the use of
local instructional materials and resource persons. This stage of the program-
me can involve many meetings. The advantages are that, right from the start,
the directorate is in close contact with all those who have an interest in the
programme. This facilitates discussion of the objectives and strategies of the
training programme, the required qualities of trainers and trainees, and the
expected results of the programme. Training programmes are therefore meant
to provide learning processes toward action from and for all sectors of the
system the trainers, the trainees, the rural population and the directorate.
The curriculum is generally related to certain specialist areas that depend
on what aspect of rural development is being emphasized. Each curriculum
developed is different from all others. For example, the curriculum for teach-
ing a particular aspect of rural technology is different from that related to
teaching about village maternity aids. The curriculum also differs according to
The effectiveness of the curriculum, as far as the target population is
concerned, does not depend so much on the curriculum itself but on the new
emphasis on extension methods. The realization that man is a person, not an
object, or the human approach to training and extension, is becoming more
important. This new approach has brought tremendous dividends. There can
now be a dialogue between innovator and recipient, trainee and trainer, and
each of these groups can be a valuable source of guidance in curriculum design.
Training for rural development and agriculture has tended to distinguish
three major determinants of effectiveness. These are traditional, professional,
and organizational/structural factors. It has been found that whatever the
levels of planning, curriculum development, and inputs to training program-
mes, the appreciation of certain traditional attributes of the rural society is
necessary. The ability to speak the local language, respect for local people,
their culture and way of life, and the search for common grounds to generate
dialogue can be major determinants of the success or failure of training pro-
Professional attributes of the change agent are important, but these are
constantly conditioned by the very nature of that professionalism set against
tradition and the rural worker's placement in the administrative structure. His
professionalism is now found to be of greater relevance if it is complex enough
to serve the numerous enterprises in village communities.
The change agent's professionalism is also found useful if he can impro-
vise by defining a local "launching pad" that can transform the development
philosophy into action. For example, through participation in the farmer's
TRAINING PROGRAMMES IN SIERRA LEONE 61
operations, and by having respect for the farmer's way of life, the change agent
can establish a line of communication. This must be exploited to deliver the
information needed for social change.
Some agents who are constantly discouraged by faulty organizational
structures tend to lose the spirit and purpose of training programmes. The
result can be a complete break in communication between the change agent
and the members of the rural area. His supervisors may also be too far away.
ite may lack the tools to do his work. He may feel that his feed-back function
S between village and town is useless. The extension worker may not understand
the importance of his functions as an interacting agent in the development
chain. His success or failure as an extension man largely depends on his
awareness that all these factors may determine his effectiveness. The extension
training programme in Sierra Leone addresses itself to such problems.
Irrespective of their area of speciality, all extension agents are expected to
have some basic ideas about extension education, educational psychology,
rural organization, leadership training and rural sociology. Technical training
is only a basic requirement. The trainee is expected to develop during training
a sound appreciation of the cultural background of the rural area, a command
of interacting/communication skills, and a commitment to rural work and
people. This last set of qualities is now given greater consideration in the final
selection of trainees.
Local and informal techniques in grass-roots training programmes
Local techniques have proved to be very successful means of training rural
development workers. The class-room may be in the rural training institute, or
the village. In other words, the immediate environment is a ready laboratory.
In training institutes, trainees are brought in touch with contact farmers or
master farmers. These farmers have been identified as the more progressive
elements in the rural areas. With appropriate guidance they can perform some
of the duties of extension agents.
For example, in some integrated agricultural development projects, dem-
onstration plots are established on the contact farmer's farmland by the
extension agent. The contact farmer monitors their progress and passes rele-
vant information to other farmers in his neighbourhood. At the end of the
growing season, his experiences with the demonstration plots are recorded at
the rural training institute. In this way, the contact farmer directly contributes
to the training of extension agents by explaining his experience as an interact-
ing agent between other farmers and the extension agents.
Field experiences have shown that these local "launching pad" tech-
niques have been most effective in activating people toward rural development.
Trainees are taught basic stages of this local technique. A good case in point
concerns "spin-off" agricultural development projects from adult education
/_ H. TURAY
operations. The extension agent finds a means of communication with a village
community that defines adult literacy as a priority area. The programme is
such that literacy is combined with discussions on community problems.
This is development education in practice. The author witnessed several
literacy classes where the community pointed out that disease, the water supply
and food were their basic problems. Key words like disease, water, medicine
and food were written on the board in the local language. The people in the
class were able to learn how to read and write in their language as well as
having ample time to discuss rural development problems.
To supplement discussions, these learning sessions have been interspersed
with singing sessions, when songs are sung in the native language. The songs
depict life styles of the community and bring a social element into the pro-
gramme. The cultural base of the village can be traced from these songs. Thus,
learning and discussion of crucial development matters are carried out in a
Graduates from these literacy classes are sent to other villages. But this is
not the end of the process; today, these communities decide on introducing
other types of group activities like farming, cloth dying and other crafts. Many
non-governmental organizations and even central governments are supporting
these types of group ventures.
It is important to note that all classes are self-supporting. Students con-
tribute money for lighting-kerosene, chalk and other teaching aids. The lessons
to be learned by the trainee extension workers using this technique are numer-
ous. Since these classes are for both sexes, the trainee will notice that women
are as vocal as men. In other words, even at the village community level, the
society is experiencing a cultural transformation. The second lesson to be
learned is that illiteracy and lack of formal education cannot be equated with
ignorance. The trainee appreciates also that rural people will accept innovative
practices if they understand why they are such good ideas and how they work,
rather than doing them just because they work.
The trainee will understand that, left to himself, the villager is a very well
organized person with a high sense of responsibility to his society and the world
at large. Consequently, whatever message or package is brought by a rural
development worker, it should be launched with extreme caution. The villager
does not always consider himself so poor as to be less happy than the urban
dweller. Nor does the extension worker have to use simple approaches because
he feels that anything complicated would not be understood. If songs are the
best way to pass on the message, the extension worker should use them.
Currently, substantial efforts are being made toward identifying the char-
acteristics and the distribution of major forms of indigenous technology in
Sierra Leone. The technological and scientific processes identified are being
considered as a basis for education for rural areas. Indigenous technology can
be used to promote non-formal education and to generate greater awareness of
the potential for exploitation of rural resources.
TRAINING PROGRAMMES IN SIERRA LEONE (3O
Of great significance is the use of traditional attributes of local community
organization in the design and implementation of training programmes. The
village is an organized community with social structures that must be recog-
1ized and respected. There is the village chief, section heads of the village and
otherr community leaders like religious heads, native doctors, heads of work
groups and teachers. These community leaders are often backed by councils
Ihat meet behind closed doors. It is at these councils that many village decisions
are taken. For these reasons, the principles of village community leadership are
essential parts of the training curriculum. Practical exercises like visiting a
village and initiating the process of contact, communication and participation
in village activity have been found to be extremely effective ways of teaching
The town crier or village "minister of information" can be a useful addi-
tion to display charts and posters. The village counsellor in charge of village
health can also be of help. The point here is that the village tends to have most
of the community structures and functions of larger townships. The selection of
leaders can be done by the people because they know each other best.
The rural worker's primary concern is to discuss development problems
and solutions with the community in such a way that the target population is
committed to participating in resolving problems. Acquiring the ability to
analyse a situation, identify resources, break the solution into separate tasks
and the evaluation of whether the problems have been solved has been found
to be a major test for the trainees.
Evaluating the efficiency of training programmes
Evaluation has become a common practice in most training programmes in
Sierra Leone. The most common type is the self-evaluation system. Trainees
and other participants are asked to give their views about the programmes and
to suggest ways of improvement. The other type involves independent local
evaluation by non-participants. This type of evaluation often appears at the
planning and policy definition levels. The Sierra Leone agricultural society
conferences also provide an arena for experts to discuss evaluations of these
programmes. Special national workshops may also address themselves to key
issues concerning the effectiveness of training programmes. Finally, foreign
experts have been used both as consultants and evaluators of training pro-
Evaluation exercises are of no use if recommendations are not brought
down to the grass-roots level. In the case of Sierra Leone, independent evalua-
tors have access to the target population who, in most instances, have clear
ideas about these programmes and their effect on them. At the most recent
national agricultural society conferences, it was interesting to hear farmers
openly criticize aspects of the delivery system and the performance of exten-
sion agents and other rural workers. There is no doubt that rural communities
are gradually identifying for themselves a role beyond being mere recipients of
goods of an agricultural and rural developmental nature. They are critical of
every move and this helps the building of a progressive rural society.
Training programmes are constantly under review, through feedback
from evaluations and the rural communities themselves. It is generally agreed
that the provision of training services is adequate. However, a major problem
may arise from the lack of follow-up programmes, and the tendency for
trainees to "opt out" in search of better jobs in larger towns. This continuous
displacement of trained personnel is largely responsible for the shortage of
extension workers in the country. Sometimes the training and observation
periods may be long and cumbersome for trainees.
Trainees may have none of the devotion and commitment required in
rural work. Transportation and the equipment necessary to operate in remote
areas may be very scarce. Besides this, the rural worker tends to see no future
for himself in the long chain of an administrative structure, where his proven
experience and suggestions for effective change in the rural areas may not be
The relevance of training programmes to agricultural and rural development
In Sierra Leone, training at all levels is accepted as part of the rural develop-
ment process. Training is necessary for an understanding of technical subjects
related not only to agriculture but also to the needs of rural people. Effective
means of reaching villages and motivating them may involve different ap-
proaches. There is a need to understand human behaviour, customs, values,
attitudes, all of which may vary from village to village. Training plays an
important part in fostering this understanding. -
The training patterns and periods vary, but are directly related to the level
of trainee. For example, in the agro-training centres, trainees go through the
course in six months. They are exposed to various aspects of practical training
before they are absorbed into the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Those
at national training centres undergo 18 months of training in agricultural
extension, community development, communication skills, rural crafts and
construction. At this level, some trainees become self-employed while others
are absorbed in rural development work. At an intermediate level like that at
Bunumbu Teachers College, trainees leave the programme after three years,
both as primary school teachers and as community developers in the areas of
health, nutrition, agriculture and village leadership. The relevance of training
programmes largely rests on the realization that work of all development
agents should be regarded as a single process of educating the community for
change. The variations in levels of training and forms of speciality are directly
related to differing rural needs and natural resources.
Where government services do not reach
This paper describes successful but contrasting local-level approaches to agri-
cultural modernization and rural development in two neighboring countries,
Zimbabwe and Zambia, in central-southern Africa. The former has a uniquely
strong economic infrastructure that historically has not served the mass of the
rural poor crowded into the Tribal Trust Lands, while the latter has large
numbers of subsistence farmers living in remote areas isolated from govern-
ment services (which are in any case inadequate) and whose traditional farm-
ing systems have been undermined by the withdrawal of male labour to work
in the towns and mines. In Zimbabwe, a church-based organization has fo-
cused on channelling inputs to and organizing marketing for informal farmer
groups linked to a supervisory centre by a network of voluntary committees. In
Zambia, an international development group has taken an incremental "pro-
cess" approach through the catalytic presence of three residential expatriates.
Many countries in central, southern and eastern Africa share the problems
of Zimbabwe and Zambia where large numbers of small-scale cultivators live
beyond the reach of government services, but not untouched by market and
Typically they have inadequate resources to maintain family subsistence
and practise degenerated agricultural systems, but face rising cash needs and
have a desire to participate in "modern life". It is unrealistic to suppose that
governments are going to find resources easily to improve services and assis-
tance to such farmers, let alone design the special facilities and organizations
that many such communities now require before they are able to take advan-
tage of commercial opportunities and regular extension advice. Private, vol-
untary organizations and the self-mobilization of local farmers have a neces-
sary and unique role to play in such circumstances.
Mushandirapamwe C.A. Agricultural Project, Zimbabwe
The Mushandirapamwe Project arose in 1968 from the request of members of
Catholic associations, linked to a Jesuit-run training centre, Silveira House, in
Dr J. Jiggins is Programme Officer, Ford Foundation, Nairobi.
00 J. JIGGINS
Mangwende Tribal Trust Land (in Mashonaland) for assistance in the pro-
duction of food crops following the abandonment of the Land Husbandry Act
and the gradual onset of the liberation war. The "one acre [0.4 ha] maize group
scheme" emerged as a result of discussions with farmers. These centred around
whether to grow maize, or whether to plant cash crops to supply the modem,
white-dominated agricultural sector. The farmers wanted first to provide for
their own food security and assist the guerilla forces, but were willing to sell
maize to the market if they could generate a surplus over the average of 12 bags
each (90 kg) needed to feed their families.
Early groups were formed from Catholic association branch members
attending Mass Centres, but came to rely on natural social units with religious,
kinship and tribal cohesion. The groups elected leaders who were invited to the
Silveira House training centre (outside Salisbury) for an Agricultural Aware-
ness course, which stressed the need for cooperation in land preparation,
ordering of inputs, transport, crop care, and marketing. Each farmer was to
retain his own land but would work with group members to ensure maximum
productivity. They were taught deep ploughing, correct application of inputs,
harvesting, grading and bagging, to conform to the quality demands of the
commercial marketing system. The groups were also assisted from a revolving
Loan Fund for the purchase of the inputs.
The project staff had tested the technical recommendations and achieved
yields of 25 to 30 bags in the first season. Subsequently, up to 40 bags were
obtained. Loans were made to individual members of the group, peer pressure
being used to keep all members up to the mark. A farmer who produced 25 to
30 bags could keep 12 for home consumption, sell 6 bags through the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) on which the loan was recovered by stop order, and
still have up to 12 bags for sale for cash to the GMB or on the open market.
(The scheme had the particular advantage that GMB prices were usually the
highest in the market, so farmers were eager to sell to it. In Zambia, and many
other countries in the region, official marketing board prices are usually not
only well below import parity but considerably lower than open market prices.)
Each group appointed a committee of good farmers who would arrange
the loan requirements, bulk ordering, and marketing, with the assistance of
Silveira House. A number of neighboring groups, as soon as they were ready,
formed an area cooperative with a local secretary or Area Field Promoter, who
was usually a local farmer whose expenses were paid by Silveira House.
Several area cooperatives eventually joined together, and were assisted by a
Regional Coordinator who was a qualified agriculturalist supplied through
Silveira House. Finally, a Central Committee was formed consisting of two
representatives from every group to assist in the bulk ordering of fertilizer,
marketing and transport. The farmers themselves were thus fully integrated
into the management and supervision of the project, as it expanded, with the
organizational complexity growing only with the needs of members.
Silveira House provided continuing encouragement through field days
WHERE GOVERNMENT SERVICES DO NOT REACH 67
held at pre-planting, mid-season, and marketing time, and through running
"good farming" competitions. Noticeable improvements soon began to occur
in the husbandry of the total farm enterprise, and demands began to be made
for assistance in other areas. A nutrition project was begun under the guidance
of Sabina Mugabe, who trained 10 nutrition area field promoters, the project
expanding through the groups to involve training of a further 12 volunteers,
and another 8 working in semi-urban areas.
Because the project always worked with and under the direction of local
people to serve their needs, it was able to continue throughout the war period.
By the time of the settlement in early 1980, the Mushandirapamwe project had
29 Area Field Promoters, 78 active groups, and a further 98 "war-affected"
groups whose activities had been temporarily disrupted by the fighting. Each
group currently has between 100 and 200 members of both sexes, giving a total
of around 20 000 to 35 000 farmers served by the scheme. The scheme has
spread to eight other regions, and is supported by three central training and
administrative staff at Silveira House, one assistant administrator, and one
secretary. Two trucks and one motorcycle assist with transport needs, in addi-
tion to the trucks, motorcycles and bicycles operating in each area, which are
owned by the area cooperatives.
Silveira House has thus been able to link subsistence farmers in the Tribal
Trust Land Scheme to the economic infrastructure historically servicing only
the white farmers.
The problems in Zambia are rather different. There, even at the district
level, government services lack resources, are poorly staffed and are badly
served by market and price structures. Below the district level, in many areas
government services hardly operate at all.
Brothers to All Men International (BAM) Integrated Rural Development
Programme in Ward 3 of Luwingu District, Northern Province of Zambia
Though isolated at the end of a rough track winding through forest land that
terminates in the swamps of Lake Bangweulu, the 6 000 or so inhabitants of
Ward 3 are affected by the demands of the national economy. There are very
few men between 20 and 35 years old, and most of these go to the copper-belt
towns to find wage employment. Only about 60 to 65 percent of households
have an adult male permanently resident. Owing to the shortage of male
labour, about 15 percent of all households have critical seasonal food deficits,
which rise to about 80 to 85 percent in female-headed households. About a
third of all households do not sell any crop, even locally. Perhaps 85 to 90
percent of households headed by women have to find casual daily piece-work
to supplement their subsistence production. Most of this work is cassava
pounding or weeding in return for food. In such circumstances, it would be
unrealistic to suppose households could move straight into commercial pro-
68 J. JIGGINS
duction for the market, even if adequate structures existed to support com-
mercial farming. The catalytic role played by BAM in household and com-
munity level mobilization, the strengthening of existing participatory planning
bodies at village, ward and district level, and the development of local-level
leadership and organizing capacities are necessary prior steps in the develop-
ment of productive potential within existing techniques of production before
"technological transformation" is embarked upon with the introduction of new
practices and crops and the formation of new linkages with the Government.
Brothers to All Men International is a non-profit private organization
based in France. It operates in six countries in Africa and in others throughout
the world, mainly with the isolated and the less advantaged people. Its staff are
trained both to spot technical opportunities and to stimulate and strengthen
organizational development, but their aim is not to provide technical inputs
themselves; nor do they provide any direct financial assistance. Rather, they
hope to build people's confidence in their own capacity to plan and implement
local investments by mobilizing locally available resources and by making
effective demands on whatever government or other facilities and services do
In Luwingu, they began by involving the more or less moribund village
and ward committees in surveys of their own resources and, on the basis of the
sharing of awareness .of common problems that this generated, local leaders
developed a one-year plan, most of which could be implemented on a self-help
basis with the support of BAM in the formulation of necessary steps and with
material assistance from government services at the district level. Government
services were themselves constrained by the weaknesses and shortages in the
national economy but, through the District Development Committee (DDC),
they were able to identify realistic inputs to the plan's implementation. It is
important to note that the DDC and departmental staff were on the whole
grateful to be informed of grass-roots attitudes and needs and did not feel
threatened by the new demands being made upon them. In fact, one of the
most useful early catalysts turned out to be precisely the sharing of knowledge,
problems, and successful implementation within and between villages, and
between villages and higher level organizations.
After a 6- to 9-month preparatory period, the first year plan (1979-80)
identified activities in health, education, agriculture and rural infrastructure,
some of which were specifically targeted to the really disadvantaged identified
by the surveys. For example, where a women's club existed, many women with
children but no adult male support were ashamed to attend or bring their
children because of financial demands, however minimal, and because they
had no soap to wash either their clothes or themselves. Cooperation between
women was also sometimes difficult amid the jealousies created by scarcity of
men. Many women were simply too overburdened to join women's groups.
New "sewing groups" would clearly have little relevance for such people, so
their involvement was sought in other ways.
WHERE GOVERNMENT SERVICES DO NOT REACH 69
Experience with implementing the first plan also identified inadequacies
in the existing organizational structures. Where whole-village mobilization was
necessary to complete a job (e.g., cutting a pathway), this seemed to occur not
through the leadership of the Village Productivity Committee (VPC) but
through the efforts of informal groups of leaders. And many of the activities
turned out to require mobilization at the "Centre" level, i.e. a sub-area of a
ward corresponding roughly to the catchment area of a primary school
including maybe 10 to 20 villages. Seven such centres were identified as
forming the most suitable unit for local-level development work. In practice,
they began to act as the link between the VPCs and the Ward Development
Committees (hitherto neither knew what to do or how to do it concretely).
The people began to learn just how much effort it takes to manage and
administer decentralized local development and at several points there have
been angry calls for "Government" to do it all for them, and a reluctance to
contribute anything further. But when people live so far away from access to
any resources but their own, it does not take long for the realization that they
are "on their own" to rekindle a new determination. At this point, petty
constraints such as the lack of pencils and writing materials begin to figure
largely in their sense of frustration and it is at such moments that an organi-
zation like BAM can assist in tiding over a resource gap, or suggesting ways of
minimizing demands on scarce resources.
In the second year plan, and looking still further ahead, BAM is especially
concerned to help the villagers to strengthen village access to the district (which
still tends to be mediated through its own staff) and to help people to capitalize
on the benefits of the small-scale infrastructural investments they are making.
Its incremental approach, expanding the meagre margins of people's existence,
cannot be expected to generate rapid "transformation", but it does set in
motion processes that give people greater control over their lives and that
develop, however slowly, profitable economic opportunities. In contrast to
many government-initiated "self-help" projects, which have tended to gen-
erate social services dependent on central recurrent financing, experience in
Luwingu suggests that rural people indeed have the capacity to suggest and
sustain within their own production environment small innovations that
increase farm productivity (e.g. green manuring) or nutrition (e.g. experimen-
tation with yellow sweet-potato varieties).
The two contrasting situations described here point to the need for organiza-
tional adaptation to circumstance; no one model fits. They also suggest that
what can be done for communities living beyond the reach of government
services is often critically dependent on the nature and availability of resources
in the surrounding economy.
A livestock improvement programme -
Tongu district, Ghana
This article discusses the introduction of a new breed of cattle into Ghana
aimed at improving local stock for the supply of meat. A number of cattle-
breeding farms have been established in the country where the imported breed
is being multiplied for distribution to individuals as well as to groups of
farmers, as part of a livestock improvement programme. The author has
worked as an Animal Husbandry Officer on one of these breeding farms for
the past five years and has prepared this article to show how constraints
imposed by both the Government and the traditional farming systems have
caused difficulties in the widespread adoption of the programme.
The Tongu district lies in the southeastern part of Ghana, forming one of the
three agricultural districts of the region. The average maximum temperatures
are highest in March, registering about 29 to 30C, and the average minimum
temperature recorded is about 10C, which occurs in August. Relative humid-
ity is high during the night and early morning, reaching about 90 percent, but
diminishes during the day to about 65 percent. The average annual rainfall is
about 890 mm (35 inches) which occurs in the two rainy seasons of March
to June and August to September. The distribution of rainfall can be erratic in
the Tongu district.
Crops grown are cassava, maize and vegetables. Cattle, sheep and goat rearing
are important income sources. Local birds (chicken) and fish provide the
immediate meat requirements.
Mr S. Ofori is an Animal Husbandry Officer in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Wenchi,
A LIVESTOCK IMPROVEMENT I KUUKAMMt U unriir
The area is under savanna vegetation. Shifting cultivation is still being prac-
tised, but extensive areas are used for grazing animals. The land-lease system
is generally practised.
Households in the district are grouped in clans and the district distribution of
land and much of the informal social organizations are clan-oriented. Life in
the area is not geared toward earning cash income from large-scale farming,
but farmers need to maintain themselves with the harvest and proceeds from
subsistence farming in staple food crops such as cassava, maize and vegetables.
Some of the subsistence farmers are also engaged in cattle rearing. The farmers
are sedentary as opposed to nomadic.
Cattle breeds and ownership
The main cattle breeds in the area are the indigenous West African Shorthorn,
N'dama, the White Fulani, and crosses of these breeds.
The West African Shorthorn and the N'dama are small humpless cattle kept
mainly for beef production. The White Fulani is a bigger animal with a hump,
normally referred to as the zebu.
The cattle farmers in the district fall into three major categories. These
Small-scale farmers whose herd size ranges from 5 to 30. The majority
of these farmers are located in the more remote areas of the district;
Large-scale farmers, who have up to 500 animals;
Absentee farmers who normally farm on a large scale, but who stay in
the town or city and hire labour to run their farm.
The wealth of individual cattle owners may be determined by the size of
their herds. Cattle are a major source of wealth and the farmers always regard
their animals as a source of investment. The size of herd also determines a
man's prestige and therefore his social status in the society. Because of the
desire to have increased numbers, cattle owners are reluctant to sell or cull their
animals. The people consider having large numbers of cattle on the hoof as a
form of investment.
As rainfall can be erratic, there are often low crop yields and poor har-
vests. In such situations, people tend to regard cattle as a form of security
because they can be exchanged for cash in an emergency. In other places where
diseases are prevalent, such as in areas of heavy tsetse-fly infestation, the
owners prefer to have large numbers of animals, with the expectation that at
least a few may survive should there be an outbreak of a disease. In such a
situation, the people are interested more in numbers than in quality.
While the maintenance of large numbers of cattle without considering the
quality of the herd appears rational to the traditional cattle owner, because the
cattle are regarded as wealth, investment and prestige, it is considered irration-
al by the development officer whose concern is to improve both numbers and
quality. This disparity is the crux of the issue. Traditional cattle farmers have
been blinded by the accepted role of animals in society, which has been
dictated by the local customs and traditions. The difficult task of changing
these beliefs and customs in the society could be made easier if the farmers
could be encouraged to understand why there was a need to consider quality
improvement in their herd management.
Traditional cattle management
Simple, traditional cattle management is practised in the district. There are no
fences except small enclosures called kraals in which animals are confined for
the night. Cattle are confined from between 1700 and 1800 when they return
from grazing until they are turned out the next morning around 0900. Those
that are heavily pregnant, sick or newly calved are housed in the kraals and fed
while the remainder leave for grazing. Veterinary staff are called in to treat sick
animals if a veterinary station happens to be nearby, otherwise local treatments
are carried out. If animals become too weak, they are slaughtered.
Breeding is not controlled. Bulls, cows, calves and heifers from each
village are herded together throughout the year. The indiscriminate mating
under these conditions leads to inbreeding and calving throughout the year.
Most of the problems associated with inbreeding, such as poor calf growth rate
and high calf mortality, are widespread in the herds.
There is no programme for weaning. Calves suckle their mothers until
they are weaned naturally, usually until just before the next calf is born.
The cattle are normally grazed on pasture. Extensive management prac-
tices are carried out and cattle on range are usually escorted by herdsmen.
No supplementary feeding is provided at any stage of the production
cycle. Green grass is plentiful during the rainy season, but during the dry
season, which occurs between December and March, there is less forage and
the available forage becomes dry with low nutritive value. During this period
the grass is set on fire to remove coarse material and stubble and to encourage
new growth at the beginning of the rainy season. The cattle are completely
deprived of grass during and immediately after the burning. This means herds
of cattle need to be moved to other, distant areas where they can graze. At this
time, cattle owners engage extra labour to join in escorting the herds.
72 S. OFORI
There are two types of labour employed, hired labour and family labour,
and the choice depends on the available resources of individual farmers.
Payment of hired labour is made in the form of housing, food and clothing.
The herdsman is also allowed to take milk from the cows as part of his
remuneration and this deprives the calf of much of the milk needed for its
growth. Generally speaking, hired labour is too expensive for small-scale
farmers. The family labour system, which utilizes surplus family labour, is very
common among small farmers. It dqes not involve any payment, but it is dying
out gradually for a number of reasons:
When children are used as herdsmen, they are unable to walk long
distances with the cattle, especially during the dry season, and this prevents the
best available pasture from being utilized.
As soon as children attain the school-going age, they attend school and
are largely lost to the farm as a labour unit. Further, after completion of their
schooling, most drift to the urban centres in search of more lucrative jobs.
Adult members often spend much of the time that should be used for
herding cattle in fulfilling social obligations.
In view of these labour problems, the small-scale cattle owners often
group together and engage the services of hired labour on a shared-payment
basis. If the system of payment were to be in cash rather than in milk and other
non-cash items, this cooperative arrangement could achieve good results in
raising both the quality and numbers of cattle.
Government policy on livestock development
The preceding section has discussed traditional farming practices and their
associated problems. This part deals with the specific policies of the Govern-
ment and the strategy being used to effect change, taking into account the part
played by the change agent.
The major objective of agricultural policy in Ghana is to encourage
greater productivity in farming. In the field of animal production, the Animal
Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture has the task of
planning and giving leadership in the work of improving the various breeds of
livestock cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.
This policy is being pursued with the following aims:
To organize and operate livestock-breeding stations for the supply of
improved breeding stock for sale to farmers to upgrade the quality of their
e To supply professional and technical staff to give guidance to the
breeding programmes of individual and cooperative livestock groups;
A LIVESIU(CK IMI'KUVLMLNI *1'KUUKAMMtl UN tjIINA.
To organize the production of balanced rations for livestock and
To introduce correct methods of ranching and paddocking of livestock
to provide adequate feed, especially during the dry season;
To take active steps in the early establishment of cooperative livestock
groups to serve as a basis for the mass improvement of the production of cattle,
sheep and goats.
The agricultural extension programmes
The success of government agricultural policy depends largely on the activities
of the agricultural extension officer who comes face to face with the farmer and
who is able to identify opinion leaders as well as those farmers who have the
potential for development of their properties.
Agricultural information is disseminated throughout the country by the
use of mass media (leaflets, bulletins and radio sessions), group meetings,
demonstrations and individual farm visits. The use of mass media is limited in
the district because most of the people do not possess radios and only a small
section of the population is literate. The extension service has therefore con-
fined itself mostly to the use of group meetings, demonstrations and individual
Rural development work undertaken in accordance with government
policy involves the provision of services to the farmer in the form of advice and
supply of inputs. These services, though very effective, encounter a number of
Lack of sound roads and reliable transport facilities in the district;
Regular political interference in the programme of the Ministry of
Agriculture in the form of changes and re-organization;
Lack of coordination between the various departments under the
Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries and departments, such as the
Irrigation Department and the Ministry for Social Welfare and Community
Lack of adequate extension staff to reach the multitude of farmers
spread out over the remote areas.
In the field .of cattle improvement, the government supplies are in the
form of bulls and heifers for breeding. The humped exotic breeds, the White
Fulani, the Sokoto Gudali and the Sanga, which are bigger and heavier
animals than the humpless indigenous breeds, are sold to the farmers and used
to upgrade indigenous stock through crossing. The breeding animals are sold at
subsidized prices to farmers, who must satisfy certain conditions. After making
an application for breeding stock, the farmer's herd is examined by the exten-
A LIVESTOCK IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME IN GHANA 77
sion staff to ensure that the cattle are well managed and in good health and also
to determine the size of the herd. This inspection ensures that farmers who are
given improved cattle have the ability to take good care of them and that young
bulls are not either overtaxed or wasted.
The zebu breeds produce more milk than the small, humpless indigenous
cattle and can therefore raise heavier calves. Their most serious drawback is
their susceptibility to trypanosomiasis, a disease spread by the tsetse fly, which
is very common in the area and in the country as a whole. Indigenous cattle,
however, have a high degree of tolerance to this disease and the change to the
improved breeds tends to be resisted by small-scale farmers who have only a
few cattle. They do not want to risk purchasing improved breeding animals
only to witness their death after attack by common tsetse flies.
As a result, all purchases of improved breeds require follow-up by exten-
sion staff to direct management appropriately and to ensure that the animal
survives. Success in overcoming small-farmer resistance has often depended on
opinion leaders being identified and used as agents to promote adoption of the
Animal husbandry extension organization
Ghana, like any other developing country, has depended on the "top down"
approach to extension with instructions trickling down from Head Office to the
District Officer. The structure of the extension organization, which forms part
of the main body of the department, consists of the Director and his deputies at
Head Office, Assistant Directors at the Regional Office, Animal Husbandry
Officers at the District Office and Technical Officers at the sub-district level.
It is the staff in the districts and sub-districts who make direct contact with
the farmer. Information and instructions are passed down to the front-line
worker by the Director through the Regional Officer who in turn directs them
through the District Officers. The extension staff visit the farmers on their
farms and educate them on management, feeding, housing and disease control.
Meetings may also be arranged either to meet individual farmers or small
groups of farmers. It is by such contacts that opinion leaders and innovators are
identified. Identification of leaders has been much easier when extension staff
communicate in the local language spoken by the people. Feedback to the
Director from the front-line extension officers takes the form of monthly,
quarterly and annual reports which are sent through the Regional Office. This
is strengthened by monthly meetings at the Regional Office of all District and
The services of extension officers depend on appropriate and up-to-date
information from government research stations. In Ghana, research is orga-
nized in such a way that it forms a separate body from the Ministry of
Agriculture, where coordination is very weak. Since the Ministry of Agricul-
ture has no research facilities of its own, the link between extension and
research continues to create some weakness.
In order to establish better coordination between research and the Min-
istry of Agriculture, local demonstration plots could be set up on farmers'
farms. These field trials could include farmer participation in their establish-
ment and they could be used later by the extension officer as demonstration
material. Trials on pasture development, silage preparation and so on could be
prepared for this purpose. Research information should be translated to a
readable form so that farmers as well as extension staff receive up-to-date
information and documents to which they can refer.
Provision of facilities to the farmer
The breeding animals are well managed and looked after at the breeding
stations and it is expected that the farmer will continue the good management
while the animal is on his farm. Constraints such as inadequate finance, animal
diseases, water and feed shortages during the dry season, are often major
obstacles to small farmers in lifting their management to an acceptable level.
The success and proper utilization of breeding animals depend on the provi-
sion of year-round feeding and watering and the adoption of disease-preven-
tion techniques. Other measures to improve the natural environment include
the construction of dams and dugouts, adoption of communal grazing, sup-
plementary feeding to obtain a reduction of stock walking distances, preven-
tion of inbreeding, and measures to reduce calf mortality. All these are advised
on or supervised by extension officers.
The farmers' response to these initiatives has been negative. Normally
farmers, especially small-scale farmers, view changes as costly, complex,
time-consuming and as requiring new skill and extra knowledge. Fears are
also held that changes, if accepted, may conflict with traditions and
customs. Communal ranching/paddocking was rejected on the grounds that:
e Users might be taxed if they disclosed the size of their herds;
There could be spread of diseases from one herd to the other if stock
Personal quarrels and clan differences might increase;
Some individuals and clan heads were not prepared to let people know
the size of their herds and so expose their wealth to the public;
Specific times set for farmers to undertake communal stock supervi-
sion might conflict at times with the grazing of their own stock.
For these reasons, the communal paddocks constructed earlier quickly
became dilapidated within a short time of their being handed over to the
farmers. At the moment, extension personnel are using opinion leaders and
I' S. OFORI
innovators in an attempt to educate the people on the benefits of such projects
and so revive interest in them. Already some individuals are showing interest
after having seen evidence of the success of such ventures.
In addition to the rejection of communal grazing, herdsmen also refused
to patronize the dams and dugouts provided. This has been attributed to:
The regular use of the dams and dugouts resulted in disease infesta-
tions, such as worms and ticks, which cause high calf mortality, and tick-borne
Bacterial and viral infections spread rapidly among herds of cattle;
An increase in cattle fighting as large herds converged at the same
place to drink. Another effect was that the dugouts quickly became muddy;
Thickets and bushes that developed rapidly at the sites of dams and
dugouts provided good breeding grounds for disease vectors such as tsetse flies.
For the above reasons, herdsmen preferred to water their animals in
streams and in small rivers, especially during the wet season. In the dry season,
most of them continued to walk long distances to permanent streams and rivers
that were not used frequently by other herdsmen.
In order to rectify the situation, it would be necessary to rejuvenate the
dugouts and provide cattle-dipping tanks at selected places in the area. Ani-
mals could then be driven through prepared solutions of acaricides or insecti-
cides to cleanse them of ticks. This operation could be carried out twice weekly.
Once herdsmen became familiar with this routine and recognized its advan-
tages, they would continue to use the dips and so reduce the distances animals
have to walk to get water. A minimum fee could be charged, to be used for
The bulk of the population actively engaged in agricultural production in the
country is both old and illiterate. However, agricultural training in Ghana
concentrates on youth. The result is that few agriculturalists are being
educated each year because of the illiteracy problem and the opportunities
afforded by other fields of study. A further barrier is that the English language
is the medium of instruction in the country and this can only be learnt in
school. The farming population generally speaks only the local language and
this precludes them from attending most forms of training. For example, the
one-year farm institute courses in the country are designed to turn out farmers
by training those who have already had 10 years of basic general education.
The few who do participate are expected to set up their own farms on com-
pletion of the course.
A LIVESTOCK IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME IN GHANA 79
Institutions and organizations like the universities and banks usually
organize short courses for farmers, but the main attention is focused on literate
farmers. Further, banks tend to concentrate on those who have obtained loans
from them. Under such circumstances, illiterate farmers do not benefit. Even if
they were to be involved, the medium of instruction should be in their own
Agricultural training for farmers has become necessary in view of the new
techniques being introduced into agriculture for the purpose of increasing food
production. It would help if established farm institutes could be given financial
support to run short courses that all farmers would have equal opportunity to
attend. It would be necessary to run such courses at district level in the local
The distribution of agricultural inputs such as breeding stock, veterinary drugs,
pasture needs and fencing materials has depended on road transportation, but
their delivery has always been difficult because of the following problems:
The poor condition of roads. Feeder roads become flooded and im-
passable during the rainy season;
The complete inaccessibility of some villages by vehicles;
The high transport fares charged by transport owners because of the
poor condition of roads, high fuel cost and high cost of vehicle spare parts.
Regular inspection of farms, treatment of animals and vaccinations are
often delayed by a lack of transportation. These problems can be eased only
when the extension officer is able to live among the people and serve as a link
between his immediate officer and the people. In this case, staff of veterinary
services, animal husbandry units, banks, and social welfare and community
development organizations should cooperate and coordinate their activities to
help the rural farmers.
Credit and inputs
The Ghanaian small-scale farmer has a problem of land acquisition because
the lease of good, fertile land is expensive, a problem of finance and equip-
ment, and a problem of labour and materials. But then all these could be
overcome and considerable progress could be made in improving living con-
ditions for farmers if loans were made available. The Agricultural Develop-
ment Bank, the Cooperative Bank and the newly established Rural Bank are
concerned with giving loans to individual small-farmers as well as to coopera-
tive farm associations. The criteria for loan applications are being worked out
both by the field staff of the banks and the Ministry of Agriculture. It is only
when sufficient money is made available that farmers will be able to purchase
their inputs, such as breeding stock, fencing materials, roofing sheets, pasture
seeds and hand-operated spraying machines for cattle rearing.
The rejection of planned projects by rural communities indicates lack of
adequate information on their social and economic structure. An intensive
study of the communities should form part of the planning for them. Already
the participation at district levels in decision making by district agricultural
committees where chief farmers and clan heads are members is making head-
way. District extension officers are given a free hand in preparing their annual
estimates to be considered at the Regional Headquarters for approval at the
Credit and inputs being channelled through cooperative associations are
achieving some results because cooperative farmers are themselves using the
resources available to them to provide facilities like dams, dips and kraals for
their-common use. The joining of various herds of cattle under the care of
common herdsmen is becoming popular, with payment being made in cash
instead of milk.
Adequate and readable research information should be made available
so that extension officers can be better informed of changes. Both farmers
and extension officers should have access to information related to research
demonstrations in the country.
The agricultural training system should be intensified to embrace both
literates and illiterates so that services rendered can be easily understood and
If attention were given to the building of feeder roads, training, research,
and facilities for extension work, the farmer would be encouraged to increase
his productivity and enjoy a better income and a better life.
Approaches toward district development
models for multi-agency teamwork
A.P. Zainuddin and S.B. Teh
According to the beliefs of students of development such as Mosher
(1976), one of the major accelerators of rural development and other social
changes is the availability of trained and dedicated change agents. The im-
portance of these agents has been universally recognized by the developed as
well as the developing countries. For some of the developing countries, sig-
nificant budgetary allocations have been put aside to meet such manpower
These allocations are mainly used to support the pre-service and in-service
programmes in specific training institutions and "in-house" training pro-
grammes within each development agency.' Attempts have been made to en-
sure the attainment of the highest level of professionalism in these two types of
courses among those who have undergone training at University Pertanian
Malaysia (University of Agriculture, Malaysia). With limited past experience,
the design and the conduct of these training programmes, as well as develop-
ment strategies employed in the field, have relied heavily on experiences of
foreign-trained personnel and foreign-based literature, frequently without
It is essential to note that socio-economic development among the rural
populace is dependent upon two factors: an adequate amount of appropriate
technology, and sound approaches to bringing about the desired changes.
According to Jedlicka (1977), technological needs for development in a given
developing country could be satisfied through a balanced combination of
Dr Zainuddin is Head, Department of Extension Education, and Dr Teh is Head, Continuing
Education, at the Centre for Extension, University Pertanian Malaysia, Serdan, Selangor, Malay-
I For instance, Malaysia's third Five-Year Development Plan has allocated a significant amount
for the development of training facilities for agriculture and rural development as well as schol-
arship awards for promising young Malaysians and serving officers to pursue for higher education
locally and abroad. In addition, the operating budgets to support in-service training for serving
officers in the various development agencies have been increased tremendously each year, during
this development period. It is expected that the trend will be maintained in the Malaysian fourth
development programme, 1981-1985.
6_Z P. ZAINUDDIN AND S.B.TEH
locally generated technologies. However, one should be aware that there is a
need to verify whatever technology is imported into the country. Similarly,
many developing countries like Malaysia are utilizing approaches for devel-
opment and technological transfer that have been found to be successful
abroad with little or no adaptation. Since these approaches are very much
bounded by political, cultural, bureaucratic, social and economic environ-
ments, they may be found to be ineffective in other situations. Nevertheless,
the importation of foreign experiences, coupled with local methods, is neces-
sary to accelerate development in the country.
The views expressed thus far illustrate clearly the need for verification of
foreign technologies and approaches to suit the local environment. This article
discusses approaches used by the Centre for Extension and Continuing Edu-
cation (CECE) in its attempt to verify the principles and practices relating to
extension work and non-formal training in agriculture and rural development.
However, before such attempts are made, it is appropriate to give an overview
of the Centre's extension and development philosophy and the extension work
CECE extension and development philosophy
According to its Incorporation Order, University Pertanian is entrusted
with providing extension services to the community and with developing
higher education in agriculture and related fields, as well as providing for
research. In order to facilitate a systematic and sound approach to the exten-
sion function of the University, CECE was established in January 1976. Its
objectives are to enable the University:
To carry out its three functions: teaching, research and extension
simultaneously in accordance with its establishment policy;
To associate itself more closely with the rural people and all agencies
related to agriculture and rural development;
To play a more important role in the agricultural development in
Malaysia through its extension programmes conducted together with the
farmers or with the cooperation of the agricultural and rural development
To disseminate new research findings directly to the farmers or
through the various agricultural and rural development agencies; and
To conduct effective in-service training programmes for personnel of
the agricultural and rural development agencies.
A University Extension Services Committee was later established to
oversee the extension activities of the university. For this purpose, CECE was
charged with the responsibility to act as a clearing-house for an extension and
DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT MODELS FOR MULTI-AGENCY TEAMWORK 83
development programme designed for specific clientele on the basis of their
needs and problems.
The University extension programme focuses on the belief that the nu-
merous agriculture and rural development agencies operating in a given lo-
cality should operate as a team and attempt to bring about a comprehensive
development within that locality. It is only with the pooling of their limited
resources that the agencies can bring about socio-economic progress.
Extension work in Malaysia
At present the extension work in the country involves numerous agencies,
many of which have been recently established or reorganized. Traditionally,
the audience of each of the extension agencies has been delineated according
to specific enterprise areas; for instance, the Rubber Industry Smallholder's
Development Authority (RISDA) deals only with rubber smallholders, while
the Farmers' Organization Authority (FOA) serves members of the Farmers'
It has been a general pattern that these extension agencies are project-
oriented, largely confined to activities relative to their specific agricultural
enterprises or problem areas, despite the rapid progress in the.rural to physical
improvements such as increase of infrastructures, planting area, and so on. In
the third Malaysia Plan, the Government has realized that total development
can only be achieved through meaningful participation of the clientele. Such
participation can be realized if the development approach centres around the
farmer and his family.
In its effort to accelerate development, the Malaysian Government has
generously provided large amounts of finance to each of the development
agencies. Such allocations have been used for recruitment of additional staff,
expansion of subsidy schemes and other development assistance and, as stated
earlier, to fund the staff development and training programmes. The increase
in the staff size, especially at the front-line and supervisory levels, has enabled
the agencies to increase the agent:clientele ratio to a more realistic level.
Looking more on the positive side, the staff recruitment has tremendously
increased the agent:clientele ratio in a given unit area, and subsequently has
increased the total potential for more effective development work.
The existing agencies are gradually casting off their traditional function,
largely from being project-oriented within the confines of their specific enter-
prises to more diversified approaches.2 However, since each agency has been
2 For instance, RISDA is moving toward a comprehensive programme with the general aim of
improving the well-being of the families of rubber smallholders, instead of merely attempting to
increase their level of income. The activities that are channelled through its Modernization
Division illustrate such an approach.
84 P. ZAINUDDIN AND S.B. TEH
working almost on its own, not only has the effort to diversify resulted in
certain aspects of development going unattended, but also the expanded
spectrum of activities has led to an overlapping of services and programmes as
well as competition for limited local resources. This situation often creates
confusion, not only among the clientele, but also among the personnel of the
various agencies working in the locality. For instance, one source of confusion
lies in the provision of subsidies and development assistance. It has been
observed that these subsidies and assistance have not been effectively utilized
to benefit the clientele.
Attempts have been made to coordinate better the activities of the various
agencies in order to achieve comprehensive development. Unfortunately, since
the planning of programmes is performed by each of the agencies, this has
been a very difficult task to accomplish.
Encouragingly, the agencies, which were often not receptive to sugges-
tions regarding staff training in the past, are now eager to organize training
activities for their personnel. There are problems, however. The number of
training programmes has been increased significantly, but they are often or-
ganized on an ad hoc basis, not taking into consideration the actual needs and
problems of their personnel. Some of the valuable training experiences have
not been shared by other relevant agencies because each agency plans, orga-
nizes and carries out its own training programme.
The Centre's extension approaches
Since the role of the Centre is to generate ideas that could be used by extension
personnel of other agencies individually or as a group, it is apparent that the
Centre should initiate approaches that could provide maximum opportunity to
test the viability of the various change processes often utilized in extension,
community development or other forms of non-formal education work. In
addition to being innovative, the Centre also has the responsibility for local
verification of approaches found to be successful abroad. The assessments of
the viability of such approaches have to take into account that extension work
in Malaysia is rather complex, involving many autonomous agencies. These
agencies have full control of their budget and allocations of other resources as
well as programme decisions. It should be noted that, whatever approaches are
to be formulated and undertaken, they should focus on the ultimate goal of the
Centre: that is, drawing all relevant population and development agencies
together at the local level to work as a team. As a team, all members should
jointly plan and implement comprehensive development programmes for the
locality with maximum utilization of local resources as well as those available
from the member agencies.
In selecting the approaches that are now undertaken by the Centre,
deliberations had been made in the Malaysian context on the viability of
DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT MODELS FOR MULTI-AGENCY TEAMWORK 85
several well-publicized foreign approaches. For instance, it is the consensus of
the Centre's personnel that the Philippines' barrio-based technicians' (social
laboratory) approach is not practically consistent with the Malaysian situations
(Contado, 1978; Gomez and Juliano, 1978). While this approach has un-
doubtedly generated new knowledge and facilitated the testing of the various
extension and development processes, the results obtained are only of
academic significance until they are further validated in actual development
Further validation is of profound importance because the focus of au-
thority under the present social laboratory arrangement is with the university.
Under this arrangement, planning and implementation of programmes are in
the hands of the team of barrio-based technicians from the university who have
readily available technical back-up support of specialists from the University.
This ideal condition very seldom exists in a practical development situation.
These University personnel are "super-charged" individuals who have specific
and well-defined roles to play, and all the necessary equipment. On the con-
trary, personnel from development agencies in the field have various limita-
tions and constraints and very often the technical back-up support is a luxury.
This situation is critical because agencies are seldom able to work with one
another in a team. Each agency will individually strive for its own accounta-
bility, recognition and rewards.
The Republic of Korea's Saemul Undong (The New Community Move-
ment) development approach is another experience which was seriously con-
sidered by CECE staff in the process of identifying and selecting approaches
most appropriate to Malaysian conditions for verification and adaptation. This
particular approach has generated keen interest among developing countries
as it has successfully brought about phenomenal achievements in rural devel-
opment in the Republic of Korea. Unfortunately, while this approach illus-
trates the importance of concerted efforts in development, the situation is
difficult to simulate. If such an approach is to be adopted in a country like
Malaysia, to be fully functional, it requires a complete overhauling not only of
the existing bureaucratic system and the nature of political intervention but
also the planning and implementation of development programmes.
In selecting approaches for local verification, the Centre has to consider its
limitations in carrying out extension and other non-formal education activities.
The Centre, despite having adopted neighboring districts as the laboratory
areas for students' field extension training, has limited contacts with the Ma-
laysian farmers at large. As indicated earlier, extension in this country is legally
in the hands of line agencies of the Government that are responsible for
development, and this same legal base limits the University's direct involve-
ment with the rural communities. This limitation obliges the University to
work with these line agencies, which dearly wish to preserve their autonomy.
Thus, in this unique situation, the Centre is at present testing two general
approaches for multi-agency work for rural development. These approaches -
86 P. ZAINUDDIN AND S.B. TEH
a voluntary teamwork approach and a formal approach are the products of
our initial experience with the Extension Laboratory which was designed from
the Philippine social laboratory experience.3
Voluntary teamwork approach
Theoretically, this approach enables front-line workers in a given geographical
area to decide jointly on the selection of a village or villages where they can
assist one another in realizing the goals of their respective organizations. In
addition to the realization of such goals, the front-line workers, through group.
efforts, will attempt to bring about comprehensive development 4 of the local-
ity. The approach provides opportunities for extension workers from each of
the agencies to focus his or her attention on a specific enterprise area (or
project) with extension workers from other relevant agencies assisting in the
accomplishment of the task. This approach is illustrated in Figure 1.
Several factors contribute to the success of this system, namely the indi-
vidual's understanding of the overall purpose of the teamwork, the clear
role-definition of each individual involved, clear sense of direction for the
teamwork and personal commitment among the front-line workers. Currently,
a facilitator (a staff worker from the University) is used in the system. As a
leader, he is responsible for the development of team-spirit and provision of
Formal approach. At present, all community-developed efforts in a district are
to be coordinated by a civil service administrator from the district office,
designated as Assistant District Officer for Community Development
3 Unlike the social laboratory, the action programmes in the Extension Laboratory have to rely on
only one full-time staff worker employed by the University and one front-line worker from each of
the line agencies in the area. Since the personnel from these line agencies have other duties and
responsibilities outside the Extension Laboratory Area, their support for activities in the Labora-
tory area have been very limited. In addition, the majority of the personnel have negative attitudes
toward working in that selected laboratory area since they were not involved in the area selection.
4 The term "comprehensive development" refers to changes that embrace elements of education,
family living, economics as well as social and technical aspects. Essentially, all development efforts
of each line agency should take into account all these items. If all agencies are working toward
comprehensive development, there is no reason for them not to operate as a team.
5 From our observations, the facilitator becomes redundant soon after the individual front-line
worker understands his or her role as a change agent, and develops capability, authority and sense
of responsibility. We believe this could be achieved through a comprehensive, joint-training
programme ofthe front-line workers in the locality. A training model such as that employed by the
Philippine Training Centre for Rural Development is an excellent illustration. For further infor-
mation, see Gomez and Juliano (1978).
DISIKILI ULVtLLUrMLNI ivliJLL.,) >-< il l- ui- .,- .... ........
Agency's major project focus
- Direct and indirect support
4- Two-way communication between facilitator and
front-line workers and among front-line workers
Figure 1. Voluntary teamwork approach
(ADO-CD). At the district level, ADO-CD is directly involved in development
activities. As shown in Figure 2, ADO-CD has direct contact with all heads of
departments of line agencies, and is in a position to discuss, plan and imple-
ment integrated development activities. Each of the department heads will
transmit the decisions at district level to his/her immediate subordinates: the
front-line workers. It is up to the ingenuity of the front-line workers within the
community to implement the directives. This approach is an illustration of
"top-down" strategy for development, as it neglects the participation of the
clientele and the front-line workers in decision making.
The formal approach employed in the next case is a slight modification of
the above development procedure. In this approach (illustrated in Figure 3),
the project facilitator, a staff member of the University, is responsible for work
with ADO-CD in promoting the idea of integrated and comprehensive rural
development. These two officers jointly identify a pilot sub-district (mukim)
where efforts will be focused. Meetings between the front-line workers and
local leaders are organized to assess past performance and to decide future
lines of action where personnel from all relevant agencies and local leaders are
encouraged to work as a team. Members of the team form a Steering Committee
for Development that plans, implements and monitors all development activ-
Figure 2. Existing district development mechanism
Figure 3. Formal approach
ities. Resources available from each of the agencies and in the locality as well
as those from other external sources are pooled and mobilized to support the
development activities. Leadership in the conduct of specific projects is as-
signed to agencies as described in the first approach.
The success of this strategy has to depend a lot on the ability of ADO-CD
to use his/her position of authority and personal influence. ADO-CD's con-
] tinuous presence in the sub-district and interest in projects are the driving
forces toward achieving the goals jointly set by the parties concerned.
Although the innovative approaches presented in the preceding sections are
yet to be fully tested, the experiences obtained so far have been very useful for
future programmes. In the Malaysian context, these experiences are useful
particularly in the efforts to promote a meaningful, comprehensive develop-
ment of the rural areas where maximum participation of all parties concerned
is to be realized.
)The Centre is at the moment considering a variation of the formal ap-
proach. As it has been observed that people are politically inclined and that
much could be achieved through politics, it is imperative that the inputs of
elected representatives of the people be fully exploited. Politicians need to be
well informed and committed to support such programmes. If they were well
informed and made really to understand what was going on, their involve-
ment would be politically beneficial to them in the long run.
The Centre has also learned from this experience that in the attempt to
ensure agencies' involvement, any development approach undertaken should
provide all possible opportunities for personnel of all agencies to participate
right from the beginning. Inputs from all relevant personnel should be sought
and any decision for action should be the product of the group processes. The
psychological commitment of each individual to programme decisions is a
prerequisite to programme success.
The above observation clearly illustrates the need to establish a cohesive
team of front-line workers before any attempt is made to implement a com-
action committee prehensive development programme in a given area. Our experience indicates
that agreements reached at a higher level by senior officers, although being
necessary, do not guarantee a successful integrated programme at the ground
level. In addition, the team of front-line workers must experience satisfaction:
this is a necessary motivating force for future action.
It is hoped that the initial success of this pilot project will generate interest,
especially among heads of departments. It is envisaged that, through this pilot
project experience, development programmes based on concerted efforts of the
various line agencies and the clientele group would ultimately be instituted
with minimum opposition.
CONTADO, T.E. The social laboratory. In Rural development: the Philippine experience, p. 143-146,
1978 ed by A.A. Gorez and P.A. Juliano. Laguna, the Philippines, Philippine Training
Center for Rural Development.
GOMEZ, A.A. & JULIANO, P.A. Rural development: the Philippine experience. Laguna, the Philip-
1978 pines, Philippine Training Center for Rural Development. 174 p.
JEDLICKA, A.D. Organization for rural development: risk taking and Zippropriate technology. New
1977 York, Praeger. 170 p.
MOSHER, A.T. Thinking about rural development. Agriculture Development Council, New York
1976 350 p.
How feasible is a poverty-focused and
integrated approach to rural development?
In recent years, there has been considerable interest in elaborating and im-
plementing an approach to rural development whose distinctive feature is
claimed to be its direct focus on improving the living conditions of the weaker
sections of the society. This interest has been prominent among both national
and international agencies involved in rural development policy-making and
programming. The labels adopted have tended to vary from country to
country, from agency to agency and from time to time, but it is possible to
identify among the various versions the common theme of "alleviation of
poverty" as the central element of a "new" approach to rural development.
This article examines some of the implications of this approach and, with
reference to recent experience, raises questions regarding the extent of its
feasibility, in terms of policy making and operations by public agencies at
national and sub-national levels.
It may be argued that this approach has not been tested for a long enough
period to permit definitive observations to be made on these aspects. But then,
many of the elements underlying this philosophy turn out to be not all that
new, though the terminology employed has certainly been changing. It is, thus,
possible to offer at least some tentative observations based on an examination
of the factors at work in countries where this approach is now accepted policy
and where attempts have been made to translate it into action.
Within the poverty-focused and integrated approach itself, it is possible to
distinguish sub-approaches marking different emphases and priorities in dif-
ferent countries. A logical starting point in applying the approach would be a
definition of poverty that is conceptually sound and operationally manageable
for identifying the groups that require special attention. But, in practice, it is
extremely difficult to find a definition that is acceptable.
Dr Krishnaswamy is Coordinator, Inter-agency Task Force on Integrated Rural Development for
Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP, Bangkok.
The two commonly applied criteria for poverty classification relate to
levels of income and nutrition, in an absolute and/or relative sense. Even this
seemingly simple concept runs into problems of measurement and availability
of data. More sophisticated definitions that could take into account other
essential needs related to clothing, education, housing, drinking-water supply
and transport only add to the difficulties of defining and identifying the target
groups based on a composite definition of poverty or deprivation. It seems
clear, however, that to focus merely on nutritional levels to the exclusion of
other elements cannot be regarded as adequate. The specific goods and ser-
vices to be taken into account in this connection will no doubt vary from place
In general, what is involved is a package of goods and services rather than
any single commodity or facility. In a situation of limited availability of
development resources, the question also arises of priorities from within the
agreed list of essentials.
One neat solution is to advocate a "basic" or "minimum" package concept
and to insist that this package be provided in adequate measure to all, imme-
diately. The much-touted "integrated" approach to rural development (which
is closely allied to and occasionally subsumes the poverty-focus element also -
particularly when "integration" is interpreted in a socio-economic and not
merely a physical or administrative sense) draws inspiration from this philos-
ophy. However, experience shows that a systematic adoption of the principle of
"integration" poses numerous and severe difficulties in implementation.
Earlier hopes of achieving a breakthrough, in a matter of one or two
decades, in dealing with age-old problems of stagnation and inequities in rural
areas through the adoption of such an approach are no longer very widely
shared. But the issue itself is important enough to warrant more careful re-
search into what forces are at work so that policy makers may have a clearer
understanding of the implications of various options open to them and on that
basis be better equipped to draw appropriate conclusions. They might, thus,
avoid either pinning undue hopes on a single remedy to a complex situation or
falling victims to defeatism. For this purpose, it would be useful to look more
closely at what this "new" approach to rural development implies in practical
terms of policy, of planning and of implementation. In this short paper,
attention is drawn to three questions that have proved their particular rele-
vance and importance to the Asian region.
Implications for overall policy. A common feature in many developing coun-
tries in Asia that have declared their commitment to a poverty-focused and
integrated approach to rural development is a failure to examine, in an objec-
tive and thoroughgoing manner, the extent to which existing sets of policies are
in tune and consistent with this approach and to carry out changes that are
called for if the new objectives are to be met within a reasonable time.
Some of the policies that need examination are direct and fairly obvious.
POVERTY-FOCUSED APPROACH TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT 93
Policies touching on commitment of resources for construction or improve-
ment of facilities that can improve the quality of life in the villages through
higher production, better roads, more schools, dispensaries, houses, and so on
are examples. However, there are more basic policies that impinge on distri-
bution of income-yielding assets, on generation of skills in the country as a
whole, but that exert a profound influence on how incomes are earned and
enjoyed in the villages. There are questions of pricing and trade policies for
inputs and outputs for rural producers and terms of trade between the rich and
the poor within villages and between villages and towns.
Judging by the findings from studies undertaken by national and
international agencies (ILO, 1977) on trends in rural poverty, there is at least a
prima facie reason to assume that the policies pursued by governments so far
have had little or no impact on the problem of rural poverty and in some cases
have perhaps even contributed to its accentuation in the last two decades.
One would have thought therefore that as an essential first step there
would be attempts to examine critically existing policy measures and instru-
ments and assess their relevance for poverty amelioration in the rural areas,
and to change or recast those policies that seem to be working in the opposite
direction. But this can be a difficult exercise in the best of circumstances and
politically sensitive. If carried out objectively, it is likely to provoke many
vested interests, upset power relationships and generally "disrupt" planning
and development as practised during the past quarter century in many coun-
tries. The temptation to tread lightly on this exercise and even avoid it
altogether if possible can appear quite overwhelming. The attractiveness of
floating special schemes instead, as appendages to well-entrenched policies
and programmes, may prove stronger. The fact that these old policies and
programmes have demonstrably failed to alleviate poverty in the past and can
even be expected to run counter to the objectives of the "special" schemes
tends to be conveniently ignored. With some gearing up of the public relations
machinery, it is possible to present such special programmes as bold initiatives
that will usher in a bloodless revolution for the benefit of the poor.
If evaluation studies 5, 10, 15 or 20 years later bring out little concrete
evidence of a change for the better for the poorer sections of the community
through such special schemes, one can always look for handy alibis, from oil
price increases that have ruined the balance-of-payments situation to natural
calamities and indifference of the bureaucracy. One should as such be rather
sceptical of the "special schemes approach" to poverty amelioration by gov-
ernments that are unwilling or unable to embark on a thoroughgoing and
critical appraisal of the entire gamut of public policy measures and instruments
that impinge on the level, the growth and the distribution of rural incomes and
to initiate necessary corrective action in the interest of better growth and
International agencies with similar ringing proclamations of their com-
mitment to poverty-focused-rural development should also ask themselves to
94 P.B. KRISHNASWAMY
what extent they are in fact serving the cause of the poor through the provision
of ad hoc aid to special programmes that leaves untouched the rest of a policy
framework that is of proven disservice to the poor.
Interaction between public agencies and the poor. One of the elements that has
been rightly highlighted in this "new" approach to rural development relates to
people's participation. Stated rather naively, the argument is that the people
themselves should decide what direction their development should take, what
priorities are to be pursued, how the necessary resources are to be raised and
the role that should be assigned to themselves and to the governments,
respectively. In order for it to be effective, participation is expected to cover all
important aspects of the development process, namely, goal-setting, planning,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Allied to this concept of participation is the principle of decentralization.
It is commonly believed that participation tends to be more concrete and
effective, the more compact the group that is expected to participate. But
experience brings out something that a little analysis should make obvious:
namely, the setting up of a few people's councils at district and sub-district
levels does not by itself pave the way for meaningful participation by the poor
in the development process as long as the structures and processes of political
and economic decision making at other and higher levels in the country do not
give much scope for the poor to participate effectively in decision making.
In other words, participation by the poor in public affairs does not take
place in a selective and isolated fashion. Consultations of one sort or another
by traditional leaders and by officials with representatives of the people in
general, and with representatives of the poorer classes more specifically in
some cases, are no doubt possible. But involvement of the poor cannot become
the rule rather than the exceptional case until they are able to participate across
the board and make their voice heard at different levels. While it may not
be correct to present this as an "all-or-nothing" alternative in the adoption
of the participatory principle, one should at least be wary of claims about in-
volvement of the poor in decision making based on their membership in a
few local councils when the rest of the hierarchy effectively keeps them out.
Integration among departments within governments. This point may appear to
be a much less important issue when compared with the other two. But the fact
remains that many promising schemes have failed to reach even modest goals
owing, at least partly, to difficulties in ensuring coordinated planning and
implementation by all the departments and public agencies involved. The
position has been well documented and needs no special elaboration here.
What needs to be emphasized is that an integrated approach to rural devel-
opment in many ways runs counter to the manner in which government work
is traditionally structured and undertaken. Where the basic organizational
structure is itself compartmentalized at the planning and programming stages,
POVERTY-FOCUSED APPROACH TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT I-
what can be reasonably expected subsequently in the field in regard to mul-
ti-sectoral initiatives is a degree of coordination and avoidance of the more
blatant forms of duplication, but not much of mutually reinforcing action by
the agencies or integration in the real sense.
It is rather naive to think that, given these traditional constraints in the
bureaucracy, an integrated approach can be adopted in practice without fairly
basic changes of an administrative and managerial nature within governments,
which may or may not be acceptable to the system as a whole. International
development agencies have a responsibility to go into this question critically
when approached by governments for assistance to ad hoc integrated devel-
opment programmes that are not accompanied by needed structural and
A basic issue
The above observations, which are drawn largely from recent experience in
developing Asian countries with predominent rural sectors, should not be
interpreted to mean that a poverty-focused and integrated approach to rural
development is either a sham or is entirely beyond the capabilities of govern-
ments. The 1970s have witnessed a number of initiatives, some through efforts
of governments, some through efforts of private organizations and some
through joint efforts, that attest to concrete projects that have in fact contrib-
uted to the removal of disabilities of a socio-economic nature and promotion of
better growth and equity in particular places in these countries (ESCAP, 1981).
What these observations are meant to highlight is that an approach based
on poverty and integration is extremely difficult to adopt; it requires prior
action at the policy level, and it calls for reforms in organization and reorien-
tation among personnel that are not easy to bring about.
The above approach is not easily translated into action through ad hoc
special schemes that seek to ignore or by-pass the more basic issues involved. In
the ultimate analysis, what is involved can be posed as a simple question of
accountability. If, in fact, policy makers at the highest level feel themselves
accountable to the rural (or for that matter the urban) poor, the various issues
referred to can be dealt with. To the extent, however, that policy makers and
operating officials pursue a principle of accountability that explicitly or im-
plicitly is internalized, and any action to benefit the poor is regarded as a
personal good gesture on their part, one of the constraints is likely sooner or
later to impede and dilute, if not nullify, the total effort. A clearer under-
standing of this reality should go some way to avoid raising unwarranted hopes
and claims about the poverty-focused and integrated approach to rural devel-
977^ .Training for aquaculture enhancement in
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION. Poverty and landlessness in rural Asia. Geneva. O f i
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC. Case studies of the developing world
1981 socio-economic disabilities and accountability of public agencies to the rural poor in Asia
and the Pacfic. Bangkok.
Aquaculture is a very old industry, and, in its modem guise, a very new one.
Evidence of knowledge of fish culture methods is available from Chinese
pottery fragments from 2000 B.C., and references to fish ponds exist in a wide
range of ancient manuscripts. Fish ponds have played a significant role in the
rural economies of China, India, Indonesia and many other third world coun-
tries, but it is only recently that it has become feasible to change what was once
an extensive, ranging type of fish management to a highly productive, con-
trolled, fully developed culturing system, where high stocking levels provide
for cash-crop production way beyond the capability of natural waterways.
Advances have taken place in fully developed as well as developing
countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, farmed-fish production has
increased tenfold in the past decade. There are numerous reasons for this, but
all relate, in some degree, to the application of techniques of modern agri-
culture. The three main ones are: provision of fish food from agriculture;
disease control; and advanced breeding technology.
Provision of food for cultured fish is normally made in two ways: careful
fertilization of the ponds with organic fertilizers, or by use of specially formu-
lated fish pellets.
The use of organic fertilizers from animal-rearing enterprises such as
intensive poultry and piggery units is common in many countries. Specially
formulated fish pellets similar to poultry rations are, however, not readily
available in developing countries and their use tends to be limited to developed
Disease control is maintained by the use of the newly developed fish
vaccines, and the use of antibiotics and vitamin supplements.
Advanced breeding technology makes use of sophisticated veterinary
techniques borrowed from the higher animals.
Mr Roberts is Professor of Aquatic Pathobiology and Director of the Institute of Aquaculture,
University of Stirling, Scotland, UK.
98 RJ. ROBERTS
The potential for expanding fish supplies in the developing world is immense.
Already in countries such as the Philippines and Thailand, considerable
industries, producing in the region of 100 000 tons of catfish, tilapia or yel-
lowtail, have developed from nothing in 10 years.
Fish protein is acceptable to almost all cultures. Its high biological value
and relative ease of preservation by drying or smoking make it an ideal
supplement for the often entirely vegetable diet of many agrarian economies.
The farming of fish, however, has certain complexities. Provision of young fish
to stock the ponds, pond fertilization and food provision require considerable
sophistication. These services can, however, be provided by central support
and an extension service, so that day-to-day production and harvesting for
family consumption or sale can be readily managed by most village commu-
nities or individual families. Often, particularly in Southeast Asia, a highly
integrated fish culture and pig or poultry culture system is practised. This
method, using the faeces of the terrestrial animals to fertilize the ponds and
feed the fish can be a valuable means of recycling nitrates that might other-
wise be lost. Such systems, where sociological conditions allow, are very effi-
cient sources of food production and often the fertile water from the ponds is
also a valuable source of irrigation water.
Provision of trained personnel.
Provision of trained personnel to develop the burgeoning aquaculture industry
is necessary at three levels; national, district and extension worker.
National level. At the national level, agricultural policy must take account of
the potential for fish culture; such advice can only be provided by a national
fishery service of high calibre. This service must be capable of selecting the best
of the various types of technology available for utilization, possibly with
further local development, in national fish-farming programmes. Such admin-
istrative scientists will almost certainly have been trained overseas, at least at
postgraduate level, and will have a wide-ranging experience of the different
disciplinary inputs required by an aquaculture development programme. In
fact, aquaculture is very much an interdisciplinary exercise.
District level. At the next level, the training problems are not so acute because
. the components of the second level of expertise are the skilled, practically
oriented applied scientists. These are the operatives who have responsibility for
the central hatcheries, commercial or government. These hatcheries are re-
sponsible for production of mass supplies of fry or fingerlings, or for the
scientific compounding of pelleted diets or supplements for addition to locally
TRAINING FOR AQUACULTURE ENHANCEMENT YY
available trash fish or agricultural by-products. They also comprise the veter-
inary surgeons with specialist training in fish medicine who will staff the
central diagnostic services and import quarantine centres. Such individuals are
crucial to aquaculture development, but since their specializations are already
well defined, they can be provided with existing training in that applied
specialization relatively easily.
Extension worker level. The most difficult training level to. service, in our
experience, has been the extension worker level. The extension worker has a
particularly important contribution to make to the development of aquacul-
ture. He must be a generalist, with a wide-ranging, if somewhat superficial,
knowledge of all aspects of his subject, and he must have firmly defined goals
established by his programme. Much more importantly, he must have a per-
sonality that allows establishment of easy rapport with the farmers and po-
tential farmers, and he must be prepared to do the work he is extolling himself
-he must lead by example.
Such people are often hard to find. If they have the sort of abilities needed,
they are already likely to have been promoted beyond extension officer level
because of the shortage of skills at all levels.
Training of extension officers is best done in their own country. We have
found little difficulty in training the first two categories of staff in Stirling, but
all of our experience suggests that extension workers are best trained in their
own environment, in their own language and on an experimental and training
farm where they can acquire the practical expertise needed. The trainers and
central support staff for the extension officers may well be worth overseas
training, but such training staff should be recruited from among the extension
officers, and should be expected and able to play a teaching and extension role
when they return home. They should not be expected to become administra-
Training programmes at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling
The Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling has been providing
training for students of aquaculture from third-world countries for a decade.
Training is at the post-graduate level and it is expected that students will
already have a degree or national diploma in a subject relevant to aquaculture,
be it zoology, agriculture, agronomy or veterinary science.
All students, whether PhD, MSc. or diploma, are expected to take the
taught course in aquaculture, which provides the relevant basic information,
and practical training in fish anatomy, physiology, nutrition, breeding, diseases
and marketing, together with water engineering, resource management, statis-
tical analysis and project evaluation. Thereafter, diploma students undertake a
short period of applied technique training on species from their own country,
1UU RJ. ROBERTS
while MSc. and PhD students embark on their research training programmes
of three months and two years respectively. A particular feature of the PhD
system is the potential for "two-centre" PhDs, where a capable student is
allowed to undertake part or even all of his research project in his home
country. Supervision by a local supervisor is allowed once he has shown his
ability and acquired his research techniques at Stirling, and provided it is
possible for the Stirling supervisor to visit there at least twice during the study.
Strong research bias. The Stirling aquaculture programme is heavily research
oriented. Thus, there is a wide range of research programmes, in all disciplines,
into which the PhD and MSc. students can be slotted according to their special
interests or their job requirements when they return home. It is always impor-
tant that a clear understanding be maintained, by research supervisors, of the
limitations of facilities which will be available to the student on his return
home. It is equally important to beware of the degree of simplification of
techniques needed to allow practical success in an environment where the
sophistication of laboratory services and technical support is much less. Thus,
regular overseas assignments, associated with research and development
programmes, are held as obligatory for staff of the Institute involved in such
Overseas assignments. These may involve evaluation of support projects for
FAO/UNDP, Unesco, World Bank or International Development Research
Council of Canada programmes. Joint programmes are also developed with
overseas institutes such as the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok or
overseas universities. These are generally arranged under the auspices of
British Council or Overseas Development Administration. The Institfite does,
of course, also carry out straightforward contracts with companies involved in
Regardless of how such staff assignments are organized, it is considered
absolutely essential that all staff involved in training students from third world
countries have continuing exposure to the problems and potential of those
Fisheries training. For many years, fisheries students from third-world coun-
tries have come to the West for training, and have been provided with what has
been, no doubt, excellent training in their subject as it is practised in the West,
and on the species available in the West. Thus, one of my closest friends is a
Singaporean expert on the North Atlantic herring fishery. Another, a Sri-
Lankan, is an expert on the ecology and distribution of fish larvae on the west
coast of Scotland. This expertise is readily applied, in principle, to tropical
environments. Nevertheless, because of the difficulties of direct correlation, it
is of limited value compared with the type of training that might be acquired by
a student working on his own species in his own environment, but using
TRAINING FOR AQUACULTURE ENHANCEMENT IU1
developed-country techniques, equipment and supervision. It is impossible to
provide this ideal situation for tropical fisheries and such developments will
have to await the next generation of students, trained at home in the tropics by
Specific aquaculture training. With fish-farming technology training, the pro-
vision of tropical water temperatures is the main constraint provided by tem-
perate climates. This applies to both research and training on exotic species.
Such facilities are, however, readily supplied in the controlled-environment,
tropical food-fish culture facility at Stirling, where successful breeding, growth
and technical development programmes have been carried out for a wide
range of tropical species. Provision of these extensive facilities allows
third-world students to observe different types of model facility, to work in
hatchery management and technology, brood-fish nutrition, and disease
programmes very similar to those they will be working with on their return
home. Most importantly, they are working on the same species offish that they
have at home.
The production of fish and other aquatic products is a livestock industry with
great potential for many third-world countries.
Since the newer technologies are sophisticated and very recently devel-
oped, there has been a deficiency of trained individuals capable of initiating
development programmes at government and industrial level, and especially at
Experience gained through a decade of training at postgraduate level at
the Institute of Aquaculture of the University of Stirling, Scotland, has indi-
cated that, whereas training for higher level operatives is feasible and has many
advantages when carried out overseas, provided fish species and facilities are
available, training of extension officers is much more successful if carried out
in the area where the extension officer will work, and if the extension officers
are carefully chosen and goal oriented.
Communication in extension work
During professional training and afterwards in the exercise of his profession,
the extension agent receives training that emphasizes the technical-biological
aspects of crops, animal husbandry, soil management and similar subjects. In
the case of those whose work is production oriented, there is a continuous
opportunity to apply this knowledge and so keep abreast of current knowledge
and trends. This also applies to those who are engaged in research.
However, the professional whose job is connected with transfer of tech-
nology, training or teaching must know more than what is to be communicated
and the competence and skills connected with agricultural and livestock
methods. He must be technically competent as well as being highly skilled in
methods of communicating appropriate technology to other persons. In other
words, he needs training not only in what to communicate, but also how to
communicate. Therefore, knowledge of communication methodology, the
problems inherent in the communication process, and possible ways of
overcoming them become major components in the professional training of
The extension agent's task is basically one of communication with farmers
and agricultural producers. However, he is also involved in his daily activity in
a continuous sequence of communication processes with colleagues, chiefs,
subordinates and many other people with whom he interacts constantly. This
latter group of activities can take so much of his time that it is easy to overlook
the most import demands in his communication work with his real clients, the
farmers. The intent of this article is not to provide a lesson on communication
theory and techniques for experienced extension workers. It can, however, be
used by established extension agents as a useful reminder of some of the more
important points. At the same time, it provides an overview of the process of
communication between extension agents and clients.
With whom does the extension agent communicate?
Figure I gives an outline of the different "interlocutors": the persons or groups
with whom the extension agent communicates most frequently in his work. For
Ms Sica is a Communications Expert, FAO.
* 1I. SICA
purposes of analysis, three types of communication can be distinguished:
Institutional, in other words that which takes place between the ex-
tension agent and the different persons or groups of persons who constitute his
Inter-institutional, or that which takes place between the extension
agent and the members of other organizations in the process of executing joint
actions or exchanging experiences;
Extension communication directed to promoting the adoption of more
efficient production methods and the attainment of better living standards for
the rural population. Included in this category are interlocutors like tradesmen
Figure 1. Persons and groups with whom extension agent communicates
Purposes of communication
The communication in which the extension agent is involved can be analysed
in order to determine when it is most effective. In this regard, communication is
considered to be effective when the purposes or objectives for which messages
were issued and received have been attained.
In each of the many types of communication in which the extension agent
is engaged during his work, a number of different aims are pursued. They can
be summarized by discussion under the following headings.
Communication with the hierarchic levels ofthe institution: communication that
takes place among the different levels of the institution and is represented
COMMUNICATION IN EXTENSION WORK 105
graphically in its organizational chart is termed vertical communication. It is
descending when it stems from the hierarchical levels to those at operational
and auxiliary levels, and ascending when it flows in the reverse order.
From the extension agent's point of view, his main purpose in communi-
cation with the hierarchical or decision-making levels could be summed up as
To keep himself informed of organizational policy; actions that have
taken place and are to take place, and the decisions adopted at the higher
levels; how he is evaluated at those levels, in other words what concept do his
chiefs have of him and his work.
To become technically up to date. For this purpose he has recourse
both to specialists and to his supervisors and chiefs.
To report on his work: the problems he encounters, the successes
obtained and suggestions and opinions for decision making at a higher level.
The means that are, or should be, employed to ensure that organizational
communication flows to meet these objectives are varied: meetings, interviews,
telephone calls, supervision visits, reports, letters, memoranda, posters,
internal bulletins, etc.
The extension agent can contribute in some degree to the efficiency of this
communication within the hierarchical levels. However, the organization is
largely responsible for having such communication take place; to do this it
must establish and ensure the use of appropriate channels. The organization's
communication unit should play an active role in the process of ensuring that
such communication occurs. Lack of this type of communication is often a
source of conflict, discouragement, disagreement, disorientation, misunder-
standings and other problems that affect the attainment of the organization's
Communication at the operational level: this is communication between the
extension agent and other officers of the organization with whom he has
contact in performing his work. Because this involves persons or groups at the
same level in the organizational hierarchy, it is termed horizontal communica-
The purposes of communication at this level can be summed up as fol-
To know the work of one's colleagues and enable them to know one's
To exchange experiences and information on problems and solutions;
To coordinate actions;
To secure cooperation and social interaction.
1U0 I. SICA
At the horizontal level, communication such as the above depends to a
great extent on the extension agent. If he really believes it is important, he will
seek and use appropriate channels, the most frequent of which are interviews,
meetings, informal conversation and shared work.
Communication with the auxiliary and support levels. Frequently the extension
agent complains that the higher levels in the organization do not maintain with
him the communication needed to do his work well. Nevertheless, when he
finds himself in the position of chief, he usually acquires the same shortcom-
The main objectives of communication between extension agents and
their assistants and collaborators are:
To give instructions on the tasks to be performed;
To provide knowledge of problems affecting the work;
To provide knowledge of the general organizational policy and of its
application to the practical work of the extension agency;
To provide orientation and supervision;
To provide information and develop competence related to the tasks
to be performed;
To give recognition to the work done and make the necessary correc-
The means and methods to ensure that this communication takes place are
mainly in-service training, meetings, reports, interviews, memoranda and
Although a great deal has been said about the need for close communication
between different institutions at the various decision-making and operational
levels, in practice there are frequent breakdowns. If the extension agent has a
real desire to coordinate and integrate his actions with those of officers of other
institutions operating in his area of work, then the first step is to ensure that
such coordination actually takes place.
The second step is to see that these actions are expressed in all stages of the
work. This includes its planning, execution and evaluation.
The main objectives of inter-institutional communication are:
To know the work of the other officers and have them know one's own;
To know the organizational policies and objectives of the other orga-
nizations and see to it that their agents know those of the institutions to which
the extension agent belongs;
COMMUNICATION IN EXTENSION WORK 1_l
To exchange information and experiences;
To coordinate actions in the different areas of work;
To strengthen the will for cooperation.
The means and methods most frequently used to establish such commu-
nication are interviews, formal and informal meetings, letters, exchange of
publications, posters and shared work. Courses and other forms of training in
which the agents of different institutions participate simultaneously constitute
another effective method of attaining inter-institutional communication.
As already mentioned, this category of agricultural extension covers all the
forms, contents and circumstances of communication between the extension
agent and the rural population in his area of work. It is considerably more
complex than the technical assistance provided to the producer merely so that
he can obtain better crops or increased production from his animals.
Four major stages can be distinguished in the extension agent's work in a
rural area: analysis, decision making, implementation and evaluation.
Analysis stage. This is the stage in which the extension agent determines the
extent and type of the contribution he can make in enabling the people of the
area to identify and interpret the problems affecting them. Extension agents
often have a stronger technical than economic or social knowledge, so it may be
necessary to consult recognized experts to perform the analysis task ade-
quately. In cases where the subject matter is beyond the competence of the
extension agent, he should be able to suggest appropriate institutional chan-
nels through which assistance can be obtained.
In the analysis phase of extension work, the main objectives or purposes of
communication would be:
e To provide and obtain information and data that can help to identify
and analyse the most important agro-economic and social problems of the
To stimulate reflection and discussion through which better interpre-
tation can be obtained concerning the problems discovered and their possible
causes and relationships;
e To gather and contribute bases for judgement that can help to evaluate
the particular problems so as to establish priorities.
Decision-making stage. Technicians tend to think that, because of their pro-
fessionalism and level of knowledge, only they are fit to determine how the
problems of the producer and the rural family should be solved. We know of
many failures that have occurred when the farmers applied solutions coming
IUtJ I. SICA
from "outside", and equally numerous examples of rejection by the producers
of the solutions proposed or "imposed" by technicians. It may be that some
technical solutions that produce good results in the experimental field turn out
to be an economic or production failure at the rural farm level. Decision
making should therefore be based on the contribution of information and
experiences both by the technical agents and by the farmers involved in the
Thus, the main objectives or purposes of communication needed in the
decision-making stage will be the following:
To give and obtain information on possible alternatives for solutions to
the major problems detected.
To create appropriate situations for evaluation of those alternatives
from the standpoints of their feasibility, cost, risks, limitations, consequences,
compatibility with the production systems of the area, and so on. This will give
rise to the decision on the "best" or several "best" alternatives for solution from
a viewpoint in which technical knowledge and the empirical knowledge of the
It is possible, and recommended, that these decisions should be
adopted and applied at the group level and not on isolated individuals in order
to try to increase the efficiency and scope of the extension agent's work. With
this in mind, another purpose of communication at this stage is to promote and
support organization of the farmers and producers. The extent and type of
organization established depend on the circumstances. For example, an orga-
nization may be formed to obtain technical assistance, credit, or cooperative
buying or selling.
Whatever the type or degree of organization that is promoted or devel-
oped, it means that a communication objective must be to give information
and develop competence to execute, plan, develop and evaluate actions of an
Stage for implementation of the alternative solutions selected. This stage consists
basically of technical assistance or technological transfer through which the
extension agent contributes to the incorporation of new agricultural methods,
development of small industries, or any other innovative improvements that
could provide solutions for problems determined at the analysis stage.
The communication objectives of this third stage are:
To develop knowledge and competence related to the alternatives to
To assist or guide small-scale tests so that they can be evaluated. Such
tests make it possible to acquire information and skills that can later facilitate
the introduction of new methods on a larger scale.
COMMUNICATION IN EXTENSION WORK 1i37
To provide bases for judgement in order to interpret the results of the
To give guidance and training for adoption of the innovation as a new
form of behaviour in production or in the way of life of the producer or his
Stage for evaluating the consequences of application of the innovation. It is not
unusual to find cases in which the producers or families discontinue the
adoption of innovations, or in other words, after a certain time they go back to
traditional methods. Sometimes this return to custom is supported by irrefut-
able logic; for example, when the farmer adopts the method of fertilizing his
maize crop, but the costs of fertilization increase to a larger extent than the
market prices of the grain produced. This is an example of an economic
consequence causing discontinuance of an innovation.
In other cases, the adoption process has been accompanied by abundant
technical assistance and there has been a ready supply of inputs and credits.
When these conditions change and the farmer finds himself in a more gener-
alized situation where these resources are not offered to the same extent, the
innovative practice is discontinued. In these cases, there has been no real
dedication or apprenticeship on the part of the farmers. This is the fate of many
It can also happen that the adopting farmer obtains results different from
what he expected as the outcome of the innovation. The contribution that the
extension agent can make in helping the farmer to interpret the results is
important here. Were there problems in the application of the method? Were
there soil, climate, biological, or economic variables that influenced the ex-
pected results? In this evaluation stage, the main objectives of communication
To provide bases of judgement for the analysis or interpretation of the
To promote the acquisition of information (by both the producer and
the extension agent) on the methods used and the situation of their application.
This new information will be the basis for future recommendations on the
subject; it is extremely important that they be transmitted to the specialists and
researchers who work in the particular field of activity.
To stimulate the ability and willingness of the adopting producers so
that they can assume an active role in the diffusion of the new methods among
other people or groups with similar production conditions.
The above stages do not occur automatically, nor is the sequence rigidly
set. There are cases in which the problem and its solution are fairly clear, like
that of a livestock epidemic or an outbreak of rust-leaf disease on coffee
plantations; people may already be responsive to the problem, and what they
1 U I1. SICA
require is rapid technical assistance to apply the solutions. However, the more
general case is also possible, in that the solutions are not obvious either to the
population or to the extension agent himself. In such cases, he should start with
the stages of problem analysis and joint search for alternative solutions instead
of advocating the adoption of "formulae" coming from outside the commun-
Methods used in extension communication
Extension agents know that there are many methods or ways by which they
communicate with the farmers and rural families. But sometimes the range of
methods they really use is very small.
In several courses where extension agents from different institutions of the
El Salvador Agricultural Public Sector participated, they themselves admitted
that they devoted more than 50 percent of their field-work time to individual
visits. Meetings usually took about 25 percent or less of their time, and only
very occasionally did they mention the use of other work methods.
Faced with this situation, the question that arises is whether the selection
of the individual visit as a preferred method has come about because it is the
best method or whether it is just an established routine. It is necessary to
consider this point because the search for efficiency and effectiveness in ex-
tension work means selecting the methods of communication best suited to
achieve certain purposes or objectives within the limits of the available re-
Suggested means of communication for each of the four stages
Identification of the different stages of extension work and the purposes of
communication contained in each stage can help to determine more rationally
the most suitable methods to be employed. Some of the most suitable methods
Problems analysis stage. Considering the objectives primarily pursued in this
stage, the most appropriate communication methods would be those that
facilitate "two-way" reflection, analysis and communication. For example:
discussion meetings, interviews, a participatory survey, and debates.
Naturally this type of method, properly used, encourages the participation
of the rural population in the identification and analysis of their problems. As
for the extension agent, real communication with the people affected by the
problems, achieved through these methods, broadens his information on
individual situations and provides him with invaluable bases for diagnosis of
COMMUNICATION IN EXTENSION WORK'.
Decision-making stage. Because the basic aspect in this stage is analysis of the
different alternatives for solution, the most appropriate methods are those by
which information and bases of judgement for decision making are provided.
For example: information meetings, demonstrations of results, excursions and
visits to experimental stations and agricultural farms, information pamphlets,
radio programmes that include interviews where possible solutions are offered,
office consultations and projection and discussion of photo-documentaries,
films or rural television programmes.
Stage for implementation of alternative solutions. In general, at this stage,
producers need technical support to apply the new forms of behaviour. This is
the type of activity with which the extension agent is most familiar and that we
call technical assistance. Nevertheless, from the standpoint of communication,
we have observed that although technical assistance or technological transfer is
the most usual form of extension work, errors are sometimes committed that
have repercussions on the attainment of the objectives pursued at this stage.
For example, we mention the following errors:
e Tendency to paternalism or verticalism in the information process.
Some extension workers believe that all technically appropriate solutions
should come from fields of experimentation, books or specialized reviews.
While in many cases this may be true, in others the recommendations fail when
there is an attempt to apply them to the producer's real conditions. The causes
of such failures are varied.
Take, for example, the special cultivation and work conditions- in an
experimental field where all variables differing from those whose influence the
experiment attempts to measure are strictly controlled. Of course this does not
happen in normal production conditions. This explains the importance of close
integration between extension and research work.
Verticalism or paternalism is also expressed in the (mistaken) idea that the
producer or farmer is ignorant. A producer can be illiterate and nevertheless
possess a rich store of information on the nature and behaviour of the crops
and animals he raises. Real communication occurs when there is respect for the
information and experiences of each of the interlocutors. The integration of the
extension agent's and the producer's information through "two-way" com-
munication will give better results than one-way information.
Frequently the tendency is to place an exaggerated emphasis on
teaching how to do things and then to forget to teach why they should be done.
For example, the extension worker's effort is directed more to teaching how to
control a disease than to providing information on how the disease affects the
crop or the animal, how to determine its incidence, and the consequences of
lack of adequate control.
Tendency to provide individual assistance. Of course individual as-
sistance generally makes it possible to teach at the appropriate level, to foster
112 I. SICA
speedy apprenticeship, and to consider the particular situation of each person.
Nevertheless, there are many other effective teaching methods that can be
employed with the agent's group as long as an appropriate methodology is
employed. Variation in methodology increases with the efficiency of the work,
and in fact can broaden the scope of the agent's work. This is particularly so
when people are taught as groups and not as individuals. Group extension
work is certainly a more appropriate use of human and material resources.
Each extension agent should try to improve his approach to teaching in
order to determine accurately the methods that will enable him to reach his
communication objectives while still making the best possible use of available
Tendency to promote the use of methods that place more emphasis on
production results than on the economic results the producers can obtain. In
other words, the extension agent is frequently more interested in obtaining
higher production than in seeking greater profitability, although the latter
usually responds more to the interests and needs of the producers. This ten-
dency of the agent may arise because his professional training has been focused
primarily on production factors while his preparation in administration or
business management aspects has been neglected.
The methods that can be adapted best to the type of communication
objectives sought in the alternative solutions stage are: method demonstration
meetings, visits to farms and homes, projection of rural photo-documentaries,
films or television programmes followed by practical sessions, teaching
pamphlets, practical-theoretical short courses, office consultations.
Evaluation stage. Keeping in mind the communication objectives necessary at
this stage, the most appropriate methods would be: analysis and discussion
meetings, surveys, visits to farms and homes, office consultations.
Figure 2 summarizes the communication objectives and the methods
considered appropriate to attain them in each stage of extension work.
Application of these communication concepts
How can the extension agent use the ideas described in this article?
We know from the experience accumulated through different courses in
which agricultural extension agents have participated that the way they plan
their work is based above all on the attainment of production targets and the
number of producers to be reached. The ideas advanced here could help
extension agents to some extent in trying to harmonize these targets by selec-
tion of those communication methods that are best suited to the aims being
pursued in the different stages of their work with farmers. At the start of each
COMMUNICATION IN EXTENSION WORK 113
The extension agent
Determine and Adopt Obtain Perform
analyse problems decisions action evaluation
Reflection Information Data Analysis
Discussion Data Skills Evaluation
Interpretation Evaluation of alternatives Technical assistance Re-adlustment
Priorities Tests Diffusion
Discussion meetings Information meetings Demonstration of methods Discussion meetings
Interviews Demonstration of results Visits to farms Surveys
Surveys Excursions and visits Photo-documentaries Visits to farms
Debates Pamphlets Video Office consultations
Radio Short courses
Television Office consultations
Figure 2. Communication objectives and methods to attain them in the four stages
week, when the extension agent schedules his activities for the coming days,
instead of thinking about which farmers he will visit, it might be better for him
to try to determine "on the basis of what I know about this area, what are the
targets I am pursuing in trying to communicate with the local farmers?"
Clarification of these purposes will guide him in the methods to be used. If
he thinks that the individual visit is the most appropriate method, he must
decide which farmer he should visit and with what objectives. However, if he
believes that the way to reach people is through a meeting, he must decide
whether it is to be of the information or discussion type. If the organizational
goals indicate that he must reach an even larger number of producers than he
could by dealing with groups, he must decide what method of mass commu-
nication is most appropriate.
Traditional extension work planning mechanisms are not the most ap-
propriate to use in organizing communication along the lines proposed here.
However, we believe it may be worthwhile to review and modify the mecha-
nisms that exist, in the hope that, by so doing, real participation of the rural
population can be achieved by identifying problems and formulating solutions
Extension in subsistence agriculture -
experiences in the Sudan
Subsistence or near-subsistence economies have adapted to their environment
through the experience of many generations. But to survive in this changing
world, such economies as those in the southern Sudan have found that there is
need for the adoption of modern technology from outside sources. Improved
communications and transport have penetrated the shell of isolation that was
once their greatest protection and pressures for increased production are now
being felt both from within and outside.
To the casual observer, this situation may appear to require only a low-key
extension approach, with even modest inputs of modem technology proving
their worth almost immediately. But deeper examination of the situation
indicates that extension approaches that are suitable for market-oriented
societies are not at all suited to subsistence economies. This is particularly so
where extension initiatives are directed toward the introduction of changes
related to traditional food crops. It is here that the extension agent who has
been trained according to traditional extension models for use in market-
oriented economies can find that these approaches are not at all suitable. A
reoriented approach is necessary.
The nature of extension is such that it is basically a process of dealing with
people. In a subsistence economy, the population has a very different percep-
tion of such things as increased production, improved varieties and the appli-
cation of modern science in the food-producing cycle. Attempts to introduce
change in subsistence situations that have been working perfectly well for
generations are understandably met with resistance. In fact, extension agents
in these situations may be seen as a threat rather than as providers of services
and advice. What to the extension agent may appear to be resistance is often
seen by the farmer as a logical rejection of an inappropriate idea.
Much of the conservatism exhibited in subsistence societies is due to the
high priority given to the risk factor in food production. Subsistence societies
are self-reliant and depend for their existence on a situation with as little risk as
possible. There is also the aspect of labour input to consider. Where land is not
Mr Sharland is an Agricultural Project Officer with ACROSS at Yeri, the Sudan.
116 R. SHARLAND
a limiting factor, the emphasis is more toward the yield per unit of labour than
toward the yield per unit area.
These considerations of risk taking and labour are, of course, only two of
many social and economic factors that govern production in subsistence agri-
culture. Many more insights into the regulation of production can be obtained
by closer examination of the subsistence situation of the Moru tribe in the
southern Sudan. This tribe is currently responding to needs from both within
and outside to increase production and adopt some of the values normally
associated with market-oriented economies.
A brief background
The Moru tribe are almost exclusively cultivators with few livestock, although
historical studies suggest that less than a century ago cattle played a central
part in the life of the tribe. Many of the food crops have been grown in the area
for indeterminate periods, but others have been introduced within the last 50 to
100 years. The techniques used for cultivation of these crops are not the same
as those used by the neighboring tribes through whom they were introduced.
Although there has been very little directed extension effort, the present
cultivation methods of even the old crops differ significantly from those of 30
years ago. This indicates a high capacity for internal change in response to a
changing situation. The changes that have been made are only those that can
be adapted easily to fit the local conditions.
The agricultural system of the Moru is complex, with the main crops
grown in specialized ecological environments. A detailed study of the practices,
both past and present, reveals a system adapted to the prevailing conditions
through an appreciable understanding of the environment and its variation
and limitations. For the present purpose, it suffices to concentrate on certain
aspects of the system and the way in which they relate to the extension process.
The staple crop is sorghum, which is grown in association with sesame, beans
and millet. All may be broadcast together. This association is complementary,
with sesame acting as a cover crop under the tall sorghum. Both crops benefit
from the nitrogen-fixing properties of the beans. Within the Moru tribe, five
major varieties of sorghum can be identified. Each has its own relevance to the
system, being grown in different field types at different times.
Second-year land can easily be prepared early in the season, because
preparations involve only clearing of stubble and weed growth that has re-
sulted from one season, so this type of land is used for early broadcasting. The
two varieties of sorghum grown here are 'Diri' and 'Moro'. Mbro is harvested
SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE IN THE SUDAN Ill
before any other variety during the rains to give the first early yield. It is more
resistant to rain damage at maturity than Diri, but is not a high yielder. Diri,
which is a long-term variety that gives reasonable yields considering the rela-
tively low fertility of the area, is grown on second-year land as the main crop.
New land that has been left for some years as a bush fallow cannot be
cleared in time for early planting. Nyarango, the other main crop variety, is
grown here. This variety gives a good yield in a shorter period than Diri, but
would be damaged by rain if grown early. Accordingly, it can neither replace
Moro nor be replaced by Diri.
Land not cleared in time for the main crop varieties can be cleared late for
the very short-term variety, Bari. This is a low yielder, very susceptible to smut
damage, but is useful for extra late planting, especially if it can be seen that
conditions are bad for the earlier varieties.
The fifth main variety, Gbunuri, is grown in association with maize on
land of higher fertility. The area of this type of land is limited to areas of
compost and close to the household compound where land gets human and
household waste. It is of interest to note that the widespread use of latrines
would reduce this important high-fertility area.
Each variety has its place in the system and thrives under different con-
ditions. Each is so specialized that it will not flourish if planted in the wrong
field type. But what is of utmost importance in a situation where risk is of
higher priority than maximum production in any one year is that, if one variety
fails because of the vagaries of the weather, others take on more importance,
especially when the added factor of association is taken into account. This
considerably reduces the risk of complete crop failure, which is an essential
element in any subsistence system.
If development of the Moru tribal areas were to involve introduction of
higher yielding varieties that could not compensate for changes in the growing
conditions, particularly rainfall, total production might rise in good years, but
it would undoubtedly increase the risk for those who depend on producing
their own food.. Hence, any extension package that is proposed should consider
the vital factor of risk in relation to the local conditions.
Past introductions such as cassava have been accepted because they help
to reduce the risk factor further and benefit both the rural population and
those who depend on the surplus. Such an example should be a guide for trying
to raise sorghum yields by breeding. In the selection of new varieties, those that
have the potential for higher yields must also be suited to the low fertility in this
area, where fertilizers are unobtainable. They must also have the same desir-
able range of characteristics as the traditional varieties of sorghum if they are to
be suggested with any likelihood of adoption.
In contrast to sorghum, ground-nuts are a much newer introduction, and
the best varieties for particular conditions have not yet been stabilized. There is
therefore much diversity in what is grown. The crop is grown in relatively pure
stand although occasionally cassava is planted with it. The methods of culti-
118 R. SHARLAND
vation used differ significantly from those adopted by the neighboring tribes
through whom the crop was introduced. There is reason to believe that this
difference is in response to the different conditions of soil, water, fertility and
so on that exist between the two tribal areas. The initial introduction of an
extension package designed according to the requirements of an area some
distance away met with little success because, among other things, the plant
spacing was too wide. Widespread rosette damage occurred when this spacing
was used. The much closer spacing that evolved locally allowed a greater
density of small plants, which provided mutual protection from rain and other
Another flaw in the extension package related to ground-nuts was in the
recommendation that they be grown in rows instead of the traditional random
manner, which made weeding laborious. Trials had shown the high yield
advantage of early weeding, so attempts were made to introduce line planting.
The idea that it could aid weed control had not been communicated to the
farmers. This may be partly because it is the women who do the weeding. But
with row planting, the destruction of plants by vermin continued and possibly
increased. It was thought that with random planting vermin could not dig out
the seeds by just following the line as they could with row planting. Whatever
the truth in this matter, it became clear that vermin were seen to be a far more
important local factor influencing yield than weed control.
Given the two major flaws that were readily identified in the extension
package by the locals, it is astounding that the tribal people continued with
ground-nuts. Even more astounding is that the extension agent could hope to
operate with the lowered credibility that he suffered.
The role of women
In the traditional sector, the social relationships associated with the means of
production are equally as important as the practices. The various duties of
cultivation, in common with much of Africa, are differentiated between the
sexes. Traditionally, each woman has her own complete set of field types, and
so ensures that her own production has a low risk of failure, and a man will
work on each of his dependent women's land in turn. Now that there is
significant employment outside the agricultural sector in the Moru economy,
there are changes, but if anything it means men are less involved in the family
cultivation and women have even more control of food production. It is yet
another failing of extension in the past that efforts have been directed to the
males rather than toward the females who are the ones who decide on what is
grown and how.
Associated with the role of the female is a resistance to adopt practices that
mean an increase in production for monetary gain. Each wife is responsible for
her own store of food and may even sell without her husband's consent. There
SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE IN THE SUDAN 119
is a deep-rooted pride that every woman should provide all that is needed for
feeding her family. She will not give up production to buy in what she could
grow herself. This means that there is no long tradition of markets, and even
now they are only at a few centres where there are many wage earners -
especially those of other tribes. This may be a frustrating viewpoint for a
market economy where specialization in production is seen as more efficient
than diverse production. It is, however, a highly commendable virtue for
ensuring that people are fed.
Once agriculture becomes tied up with a cash economy, men in Africa do
become more involved in the production process. But, on the basis of expe-
rience with the Moru tribe and many other similar experiences in Africa, it has
been shown that women often have a deeper understanding than men of the
agricultural capabilities of the environment and of the need for the specialized
knowledge necessary to exploit the production potential responsibly. Conduct
of a thorough situation analysis before the extension package was designed for
the Moru tribe would have identified the audience to which it should have
been more properly directed.
The farmer always has knowledge and experience to contribute to the design of
extension programmes, particularly in subsistence or near-subsistence agri-
culture. The process of extension may be viewed in terms of relationships
between people and joint interaction with other societies in order to be better
equipped in a changing situation. Both the scientific knowledge emanating
from research and the local knowledge of the farmer can then be seen to be
interdependent in the face of change. Further, when working with the tradi-
tional sector many agricultural problems are not confined within one disci-
pline, but relate to other disciplines such as health and water resources.
The essence of this article is that knowledge of local practices and conditions is
essential in the design of appropriate extension packages for particular areas.
Innovative practices on new crop varieties must be seen to be substantially
better than those in current use or they will have no chance of adoption. It also
identifies some of the characteristics of subsistence or near-subsistence agri-
cultural systems that need to be given careful consideration before extension
approaches are attempted. The attitude to risk and to increased production by
women is one of the best examples of this. Only a few of the many possible
differences that could exist between subsistence and market-oriented econo-
mies have been discussed. Those that have been discussed, however, give a
12U R. SHARLAND
clear indication of why the extension approaches that would be used with Video for farmer training
market-oriented economies are largely unsuitable when dealing with subsis-
tence agricultural societies.
Video has an intrinsic fascination, as anyone who has ever worked with it well
knows. No other audio-visual system allows you to record both sound and
moving image and play them back immediately. For the benefit of those
unfamiliar with it, it might be appropriate to begin with a brief outline of the
main features of video technology.
When first developed, in the 1960s, video-tape recording (VTR) involved
cumbersome and very expensive equipment, and this confined its use to tele-
vision stations that wanted to record programmes for subsequent broadcasting,
or for archival purposes. In those early days, the width of the magnetic tape
used was almost invariably 2 inches, for only such broad tape could provide the
picture quality needed for broadcast television. But the technology improved
at a startling pace. VTR systems using I-inch, 3/4-inch, 1/2-inch and even
1/4-inch tape, were developed; colour cameras were introduced; the equip-
ment became smaller and lighter; fully portable systems powered by batteries
became commonplace; picture quality was constantly improved on the smal-
ler-gauge systems; and, most significantly of all, concurrent with all this tech-
nological improvement, the cost of the equipment was progressively reduced.
Today, there is a wide range of small-gauge video equipment available.
The majority uses 1/2- or 3/4-inch tape, in cassettes rather than on the open
reels of only a few years ago. The basic equipment for video-tape recording
consists of a video camera (now almost always colour), which is connected to
the recorder by means of a cable. A microphone for recording sound is built
into the camera. To play back the recorded image and sound, the recorder is
plugged into a television receiver or a monitor, which is identical in appearance
to a television but it cannot receive broadcast signals. There are VTR systems
that are lightweight and powered by rechargeable batteries for field use when
recording, and there are also units that can be used for playback utilizing an
automobile battery to power the recorder and monitor.
However, just as with film, in order to make good programmes on video,
one needs a system for editing the material. There are, therefore, special VTRs
with an editing facility incorporated. In order to make good educational
Mr Fraser is Chief, Development Support Communications Branch, FAO, Rome.
ILL COLIN FRASER
programmes on video, one often requires special effects, such as the superim-
posing of arrows, split images, and for this purpose special-effects generators
It is important, therefore, to realize that good video production requires
certain studio facilities to turn the raw material recorded in the field into good
programmes and to make copies of those programmes. However, this is a far
quicker process with video tape than the developing and editing of film; and
video has another major advantage over film in that, when recording on
location, the material can be viewed immediately and erased and re-recorded if
it is not satisfactory. Film crews cannot know whether the material shot in the
field is satisfactory until they receive the "rushes" from the laboratory, days or
even weeks later.
From this thumbnail sketch of video technology, it will be clear that it has
great potential as a training medium. And indeed this potential has not been
ignored in the industrialized world where video is used for the training of
pilots, policemen, sportsmen (in such fields as tennis, golf and skiing) and for
training in activities such as public speaking. In most cases, trainees are re-
corded as they perform and the replay is used to help the trainee identify his
errors. Similar use of video as a "mirror" could be useful in training extension
workers and agricultural teachers. Another use for video when training exten-
sion workers would be to make recordings in the field, with farmers talking
about their problems, and to use these recordings as a basis for orientation and
discussion with new recruits to an extension service. Video could in this way be
a channel for bringing the reality of the field into the classroom.
However, it is in the field of training and extension at the grass-roots level
that the needs are the greatest, and it is here that video is proving itself to be of
invaluable assistance. The basic problems inherent in grass-roots-level training
will be well known to readers of this publication, but some of them bear
repeating here in order to clarify the relevance of video-based training. First, in
most rural areas of Third World countries, illiteracy levels are high, and the
audio-visual nature of video overcomes this problem at one stroke. A second
problem is that in most countries, extension workers and rural trainers them-
selves lack training and knowledge; training programmes recorded on video,
produced in conjunction with good subject-matter specialists, will upgrade and
standardize the quality of the information being transmitted to farmers. A
third problem is the shortage of extension and training staff in rural areas. Use
of video can help maximize the effectiveness of their training activities with
farmers and enables them to present, in one audio-visual course, a complete
agricultural operation or crop-growing cycle. Certainly, the ideal form of
farmer training is practical demonstrations at each and every stage of, say,
growing a crop, but how many Third World countries can aspire to an exten-
sion system that would have sufficient resources to guarantee regular visits to
farmers at short intervals throughout the growing season? An audio-visual
presentation is the next best alternative, allowing a whole growing season to be
VIDEO FOR FARMER IRAININ G, 1
compressed into one course and, by eliminating most seasonal constraints,
allowing training to be delivered to many more farmers throughout the year.
FAO's first attempts to use video for training go back to the early 1970s in
Chile, when there was an urgent need for accelerated and massive training of
farmers in the context of Allende's agrarian reform programme. An
FAO/UNDP project was to assist that programme, and within it the idea of
using video was developed mainly by Manuel Calvelo Rios, a Spaniard who
had spent most of his life in Latin America and who had worked extensively
with closed-circuit television for university science teaching and with educa-
tional broadcast television.
The strategy developed for the use of video in Chile was imaginative and
audacious. It was to be used for training in the very broadest sense of the word.
For example, programmes were to be made on a wide range of topics, such as
the history of Chile, the agrarian reform programme and agriculture in the
national economy. It was intended that these programmes would sensitize the
campesinos to the importance of their role and, by creating this self-awareness,
help them toward a frame of mind in which they could rise to the opportunities
and challenges presented by agrarian reform. Thus, they would be helped to
make the emotional and intellectual transition required to pass from being
farm labourers, with little if any say in decision making, to being independent
agricultural producers, or members of cooperatives where their voices and
minds, as well as their sweat and toil, would make important contributions.
Video was to be used for technical training too, of course. For it would be
useless to elevate the campesinos'level of awareness and dignity, and raise their
spirits to meet the new opportunities, without at the same time upgrading their
knowledge in such areas as agricultural production techniques, simple farm
book-keeping and the many other subjects of day-to-day importance in rural
Finally, the idea was to use Video in Chile as an open channel of com-
munication between the authorities and rural people. The term "shuttle circuit
TV" was coined to cover this particular use of video. In essence, the principle is
that messages can emanate from three sources: the video production-centre
staff, who generate documentary and information messages; the national au-
thorities, who put forward ideas, plans and messages about national priorities
and needs; and finally the rural people who put forward their own points of
view. A feature of the system is that the communication process may begin at
any one of the three points of this triangle. For example, video communication
to help launch the development of a sugar-beet industry in one part of a
country could begin in several ways: there could be a video-recorded message
putting forward the government's idea that the development of a sugar-beet
industry would be beneficial for all concerned. This message could be taken to
the area in question, and the people's reaction elicited and recorded as feed-
back and as a basis for future planning. Alternatively, video recording could
begin among the people of the area to establish their own assessment of their
124 COLIN FRASER
needs and aspirations as a basis for helping government planners decide
whether a sugar industry proposal would be appropriate to the human envi-
ronment. The government's reaction could be recorded for feedback to the
people. Finally, the communication process could begin with a documentary
production about sugar-production potential, national needs, etc., and com-
ments of the government and of the people could be added as a basis for debate
and for progress toward a democratic decision and toward participatory
planning. The toing and froing of the video between the parties involved in
such a communication programme led to the phrase "shuttle-circuit TV".
The Chile project encountered serious problems in specifying and pro-
curing suitable video equipment, for it was still early days in portable VTR; and
1/2-inch systems, though on the market, could not be delivered in time to meet
certain deadlines. One-inch equipment was therefore specified and the video
production unit was finally established and made functional. The first field
operation was a VTR sortie to the south of the country to record local reactions
to the idea of establishing a sugar-beet industry. The vehicles were returning to
Santiago when the political situation changed abruptly.
Thus the video experiment in Chile was terminated before it was possible
to draw any conclusions regarding its effectiveness, but nevertheless the idea
and the strategy were so appealing that the Government of Peru requested
FAO assistance to establish a video-based training system as part of its
sweeping agrarian reform programme in force in the early 1970s. Manuel
Calvelo Rios was the obvious person to whom to entrust the task of technical
The Peruvian project, with financial support at various times from UNDP,
FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme, Netherlands bilateral assistance
and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany, has
undergone stormy periods, but in 1980 it finally broke through into the warm
sunshine of recognition and acceptance. The Peruvian project has spun off
similar but so far smaller projects in Mexico, Honduras and Brazil, and
has also provided consultant advice in Paraguay, Argentina, Ecuador, the
Dominican Republic and Bolivia. But most important of all, perhaps, is that, at
a meeting of extension directors from Latin America and the Caribbean held in
Santo Domingo in April 1981, a Peruvian video presentation and a debate
resulted in a resolution that FAO be called on to promote video-based farmer
training methodology throughout the region.
The Peruvian project has so far made more than 500 video lessons of
about 20 minutes each, trained over 120 Peruvian video producers and reached
some 70 000 campesinos with video-based training. With national finance, the
activities are now being expanded nationwide. Approximately 120 extension
units are being equipped with video playback units and extra production
equipment is being purchased, so that what has hitherto been partly experi-
mental activity (with only 34 playback units) can be stepped up to provide
massive and intensive video-based training throughout the country.
VIDEO FOR I-ARMER IKAININU Il.)
All FAO-sponsored activities for training by video have emanated from
the Peruvian experience, so it seems appropriate to examine it in more detail,
and to draw some conclusions from it.
The first problems to be tackled in Peru were those concerned with the
video technology to be used. Several types of VTR, camera and monitor were
tried before arriving at the decision to use, in the main, 3/4" cassette Umatic
equipment for programme production and 1/2" cassette Betamax for playback
in rural areas colour in both cases. It is very significant, however, that all the
equipment, some of it purchased about six years ago, is still in working order
and giving good service, albeit with a slight drop in picture quality caused by
The second main activity to be tackled by the project was that of training
national staff in programme production and use. There was considerable
debate as to whether staff should be trained as specialist scriptwriters, came-
ramen, and editors, but in the end the concept of "non-specialist training" won
the day. Thus the pedagogos audiovisuales (audio-visual trainers) have all been
trained to be capable of tackling any part of the video-training process, from
research and scriptwriting, to field recording, editing the material into final
course format, and using the courses with farmers. Some loss in programme
quality results from this non-specialization approach, but much is gained in
terms of speedy, flexible programme production.
Most of the pedagogos audiovisuales came from a social science back-
ground. The project has trained .them in video techniques during extremely in-
tensive 90-day courses. They frequently work 12-hour days during the course,
and this has a natural selection effect in that about 10 percent drop out
during the. first week or so, refusing to work such long hours. Those who
complete the course cram in a vast amount of knowledge and of practical
experience with video; and it can safely be assumed that, once in the field, they
will be ready to work any hours that the situation calls for.
The trainees begin production of courses on video as soon as they have
completed their own 90-day training period. For this reason, many of the early
courses lacked in quality, but the level is improving constantly. The pedagogos
audiovisuales work in pairs and, since they are not agricultural technicians, they
rely on the staff of universities and research institutions for the technical
content of the courses. A course on any subject, such as irrigation, citrus
production, children's health and so on, is broken down into 20-minute lessons.
On average, there are about nine such lessons in a course on a given subject,
but they range from a minimum of three or four to a maximum of about 20.
The video lessons are backed up by simple printed material, which is handed
out to the farmers to keep as a reminder of what they have learned.
One of the fundamental problems in Peru is that it has three distinct
ecological zones: the Costa, the coastal plain inhabited mainly by people of
European descent, where most of the area is so arid that little grows without
irrigation; the Sierra, the highlands where Andean Indians struggle to eke out a
IO COLIN FRASER
subsistence livelihood in the harsh conditions; and the Selva, the tropical
rain-forest area of the upper Amazon basin. Clearly, the video training courses
had to take into account these differences and had actually to be produced in
these different zones if they were to be of relevance to the people. They had to
be "area specific", as communication specialists say. For this reason, the
project established not only a video production centre in Lima, but also five
other sub-centres in various parts of the country. The Lima centre, now known
as the Centro de Servicios de Pedagogia Audiovisual para la Capacitaci6n
(CESPAC), produced some video programmes of a general nature and acted as
a mother unit to its regional offspring; but it has become clear that keeping the
regional units functioning presents numerous problems of a logistic nature. It is
therefore easier in the main to send teams of pedagogos audiovisuales out from
CESPAC to produce courses in the different ecological zones. However, the
project's respect for "area specificity" remains intact. Most of the courses are in
Spanish, though some have been translated into Indian languages such as
Quechua and Aymara; others have actually been produced originally in these
local languages. Most video systems have provision for two audio tracks, so a
given tape can have two different languages recorded on it.
Most of the use of video training courses to date has been in the context of
the agricultural cooperatives established by the agrarian reform programme.
Typically, the cooperative members decide on what courses) would be useful
and the video playback unit is then brought to the cooperarative. One lesson is
presented per day, usually very early in the morning before the campesinos go
to the field, or in the afternoon when they return. In this way, little if any
productive working time is lost, in contrast with systems that take farmers into
a training centre for a period of time. A lesson begins with the 20-minute video
presentation. This is followed by a discussion, a distribution of printed material
and a period of practical work, if the subject lends itself to it. A complete lesson
usually takes about two hours. An extension worker or technician is always.
present to lead the discussion and answer queries. Originally, the idea was that
thepedagogos audiovisuales would both produce the programmes and use them
with farmers. However, this proved difficult to organize and the present system
is thatpedagogos audiovisuales produce a course and then use it for a few weeks
on an experimental basis. With the campesinos, they note any weakness in the
course and modify it accordingly at the end of this trial period. The course is
then handed over to other field agents for widespread use.
The Peruvian video project began to arouse interest in other countries
around 1977 and 1978 and FAO received requests for assistance to promote
similar activities elsewhere. Before responding to such requests, however, we
considered that it would be ethical and wise to carry out an independent
evaluation of the Peruvian experience in order to determine whether or not it
represented an appropriate approach to farmer training. The findings of that
evaluation were described in an article published by Ceres, FAO's review on
agriculture and development, in January-February 1980.
VIDEO FOR FARMER TRAINING 11
The most important positive findings were that 80 percent of farmers
appreciated training by video and wanted more of it. The equipment was
standing up very well to field use. The maintenance and repair unit of CES-
PAC, staffed entirely by Peruvians, was not only able to look after the equip-
ment but was also able to modify it and, if necessary, manufacture accessories
(in particular, inverters to take 12-volt DC current from a car battery and
convert it to the 130-volt AC current required by some of the equipment). Most
of the spare parts required were available on the local television repair market.
Thus, the accusation frequently levelled at the project that it was "creating
long-term technological dependence on foreign expertise and equipment" was
rebutted. Overall, video was found by the evaluation to be an appropriate and
useful means of training at the farm level.
Some interesting criticisms did emerge from the evaluation, however.
Most of these concerned the way in which video courses were being used for
training rather than the medium itself. For example, in too many cases, coop-
erative managers chose the subjects of courses to be received, without refer-
ence to the members, and then compelled members to attend. More serious,
however, was that in more than 'a few cases the courses were given without
there being a framework of a development activity or programme. Thus, a
course on dairy-cattle husbandry might be given to a cooperative, but there
would be no follow-up dairy development programme to provide further
assistance and inputs. There were also criticisms about lack of campesino
participation in planning and producing video courses.
At the time of the evaluation, the project came under the aegis of the
national agrarian reform agency Centro Nacional de Capacitaci6n e Investi-
gaci6n para la Reforma Agraria (CENCIRA). Quite recently, CESPAC has
been granted the status of a special project within the Ministry of Agriculture
and it will work intimately with the extension network being established by the
Institute Nacional de Investigaci6n y Promoci6n Agraria (INIPA). This new
status, and its closer link with field extension activities, will, it is believed, allow
CESPAC to overcome most of the problems revealed by the evaluation.
Finally, in describing the Peruvian experience, a few words about costs are
necessary. Latest figures show that, assuming a total audience of 1 000 campe-
sinos for a given course, the cost of producing and presenting a typical course is
about US$12 per campesino. This calculation takes into account all costs,
including the depreciation of equipment, and international expert costs in
CESPAC to date. As a basis for some comparison, it is interesting to note that it
costs US$8 per day to keep a farmer in a farmer training centre in Honduras,
but this figure does not take into account his loss of productive work while he is
away from his farm. It is also interesting to note that, despite the idea often held
as to the complexity and expense of video, the portion of total costs attributable
to the equipment component is only about 10 percent.
What conclusions can be drawn about the usefulness of video in extension
and training? From examining FAO's experience in helping Peru, Mexico and
120 COLIN FRASER
Honduras to use video, and comparing them with other attempts that, sad to
say, have often ended with perfectly good video equipment gathering dust in
cupboards, several guiding principles seem to emerge.
It must be realized that, even if video is potentially an extremely useful
and powerful medium, it will be worthless without a carefully worked out
strategy for its use in a given context.
Production of good training programmes on video requires skill and
time as does the production of all media presentations and therefore
institutional arrangements must be made that will provide staff and resources
to the activity on a full-time basis. Nothing will ever be achieved by purchasing
video equipment hoping that someone will have time to use it in some pur-
There must be intensive training of video producers and users if best
use is to be made of the medium and if equipment failures are to be kept to a
There should be a reasonably good level of electronics capability in the
environment where video is to be introduced. For example, where broadcast
television exists, there is bound to be a television repair industry; hence, spare
parts and electronics technicians will also be available.
The video training should be integrated into a development program-
me or linked with a field extension system in order to ensure that the vi-
deo-based training has relevance and receives appropriate follow-up.
Provided that the above principles are observed, it is our conviction that
video can play a vital role in partnership with extension and training. It can
also be used as a channel of two-way communication between communities in
rural areas and between rural people and government authorities, as well as for
promoting self-awareness and self-reliance. However, the use of video for these
purposes can be very sensitive and lead to problems of a political nature; for, as
rural people emerge from fatalism and silence, begin to articulate their needs
and aspirations and take action to improve their lot, the status quo will perforce
be put in question.
In conclusion, there can be no doubt that video will be the audio-visual
medium of the future for rural development. It has already proved itself with
the existing video technology. Yet, at the time of writing, there are a number of
new technological developments on the horizon that will make it even more
convenient and inexpensive to use.
Foto-Tlpo-llto SAGRAF Napoll
Germany, Fed. Rep. of
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