FA k~iiG YSIEMS RESEARCH
CHITEDZE. P.O. BOX 158
MON T H L Y P.R OG R E S S R E P OR T
DR A HA N S.E N J U N. E 1 9 8 1
This is the first monthly report turned out by the University
of Florida faculty attached to the USAID contract with the Depart-
ment of Agricultural Research (DAR), Ministry of Agriculture,
Malawi. We hope that these short frequent reports will help
people keep up-to-date on our activities, needs and projections.
This first report is slightly longer to include a brief summary
of earlier work.
1. In early June Dr. Hansen organized and led a three day
rapid reconnaissance survey of. the farming systems and
problems in the Bulambia Plain area of.Chitipa District,
Karonga Agricultural Development Division (KRADD), Chitipa
is the for northwest of Malawi. Nine staff members from
agricultural research, evaluation and development partici-
pated in the survey., Afterwards, these and other KRADD
staff spent two days reviewing and discussing evaluation
data for KRADD and :the results of the survey. After return-
ing to Chitedze Research Station, the survey data was
written up and the report begun.
This makes the third rapWd forming systems survey
organized and led by Dr. Hansen this year. The other two
were in the Lilongwe.Land Development Program (LLDP) area
of Lilongwe ADD (Central Region). in late April and in the
south central are:.of Phalomb.e project of Blantyre ADD
(Southern Region 'just south of Lekq Chilwa) in mid May.
These farming systems surveys axe a way to: 1) rapidly
learn the basic.features of local agricultural systems dnd
farmer-extension*'rplationship's, 2). provide Ministry of
Agriculture staff with field experience of smallholder
problems and problem-solving strategies, and 3) rapidly
establish hypotheses about high priority topics for further
research and extension work.
No more surveys will be conducted until next cropping
season. The dry season (June-November) will be spent
following up on the three surveyed areas. Recommendations
from the surveys for further research trials, for on-farm
trials, for special evaluation and extension studies, and
for changes in research and development (especially
concerning extension and credit) policies will be discuss-
ed and acted upon.
2. Dr. Hansen spent another week in Chitipa after the
survey identifying and interviewing a sample of farm
families for a long-term study of farmer innovativeness
and decision-making. These families will be observed and
interviewed over a period of years to learn how they
decide to try alternative production technologies, how
research and extension affect them, and the effects on
their lives and livelihoods of changes in agriculture.
The approximately 50 households are adjacent to each other
so inter-household and intra-household relationships may
Two more samples of farm families will be. identified
and interviewed 4n the Lilongw4 area, and another in the
Phalombe area in-the'.next fewi'months, Each will consist
of approximately'50. adjacent ,households and will be observed
and interviewed for .several years:.
In early June a mixed team of, agricultural research (DAR
agronomists), evaluQtion and development staff were given
in-service train n in Chitip -nn how to organize, conduct
and analyze a far'inh ystemssurvy, As Malawi staff join
the social research. component., they willfreceive intensive
tutoring in social science, iterviewing and survey techniques
before leaving f9r post-grd#ote' training,
For approximately ten dey.s in ',June Dr. Hansen was
acting Chief of Party for the project until Dr. McCloud
returned from Florida. Aside,from.the normal matters that
flow across the desk, he focused on two administrative
matters: getting more Malawi staff positions approved for
the project and getting clearance for the complementary
social research project proposed by Dr. Spring of the
University of Florida.
-1 I *
For the month of June approximately 75% of the time
was spent on research and 25% on administration. The
training was concurrent with the research.
The most important needs are for professional and office
staff. The one technical officer assigned to the
farming systems unit has been unable to travel away
from the Lilongwe area. There are no professional
officers assigned now to the unit, so Dr. Hansen has to
do all of the work and cannot start intensive staff
training. He has already recruited and selected two
fine candidates for professional officer positions, but
the Ministry of the Treasury has failed so far to approve
2. The entire office staff for the project consists of one
accountant and a semi-skilled typist, which means
tremendous delays and inefficiency in procuring needed
materials and in typing, copying and distributing reports
and interviews and survey data-, Adding a good typist/
secretary ,owbhioh Do. Hoansen,-bass.partia~~-ccess is a
fundamebtal necessity, whileLaddipg.onegood typist/
secretary assigned to Dr. Hansen would increase his
production by probably one hundred percent.
3. A visit by Dr. Russell Bernard, the backstop professional,
is another necessity, although it must be delayed now
because of clearance problems. This on-site visit by
Dr. Bernard is important to ensure that the research
program receives independent critical feedback.
4. Relatively minor, although still important, needs include
not having a permanent office nor a functioning telephone.