Should extension get involved in...
 Annual evaluations and workplans...
 Women and cassava production
 Gambia workshop highlights
 From design to possible interventions:...
 Small farming systems in the...

Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071908/00005
 Material Information
Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Alternate Title: FSSP newsletter
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Farming Systems Support Project
University of Florida -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: The Project
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1983-
Frequency: quarterly
Subject: Agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- International cooperation -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1 (spring 1983)-
Issuing Body: Issued by: Farming Systems Support Project, which is administered by: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
General Note: Title from caption.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071908
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 10387162
lccn - sn 84011294

Table of Contents
    Should extension get involved in research? - MSTAT pilots with Malawi, Senegal, Equador
        Page 1
    Annual evaluations and workplans at ICTA
        Page 2
    Women and cassava production
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Gambia workshop highlights
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    From design to possible interventions: the turning point in the design sequence
        Page 11
    Small farming systems in the Caribbean
        Page 12
Full Text


Project Newsletter

Should Extension Get
Yes, according to FSSP experiences
in Paraguay. In this country, an AID
funded project was designed to de-
velop adaptive research with farmer
participation in the extension service.
Multidisciplinary teams of "especia-
listas" provide back-up for extension
agents in specific geographical regions.
Having adaptive research in the ex-
tension service was a novel approach
to defining and carrying out high
priority research in each region.
The PTPA (the Project for Tech-
nology for Small-Farmers) works in
eight different regions where there
are large numbers of small farmers.
Each of the regions is affiliated with
the national Agricultural Extension
Office. In each of the eight pilot
regions, a regional head coordinates
extension and adaptive research
activities. Adaptive research is the
responsibility of the small staff of
"especialistas" that includes an
agronomist, an agricultural econo-
mist, an animal husbandry specialist,
and a home economist. This team
shares offices and works closely with
15 to 20 extensionists in each region.
Each region defines its own activities
according to its specific needs and
each region has a project coordinator
and technical advisers.
The FSSP has been involved on
three separate occasions in Paraguay.
The first involved an evaluation that
was carried out June 13 to July 2,
1983. The approach as it is being
implemented was first discussed at a
workshop with FSSP participation in
December 1983, which was attended
by decision markers. That course was
then followed with a three week
practitioners course in January 1984,
at which the technical directors and

Involved in Research?
"especialistas" participated. During
the January course, a sondeo was
conducted in one of the eight regions
and a work plan for the year was
developed. This work plan included
the number of trials to be conducted,
the kinds of trials and their design.
Besides the extension personnel in
that workshop, research personnel
also attended. One of the instructors,
Ing. Mario Ozaeta, a Farming Systems
Specialist with eight years of experi-
ence in ICTA, Guatemala, was con-
tracted by AID to remain in Paraguay
as a full-time consultant to organize
and implement the farming systems
CIMMYT personnel collaborated
in the initial evaluation and in the
January workshop. CIMMYT is work-
ing with the research organization in
Paraguay and in this manner the
collaboration of CIMMYT and FSSP
is helping to bring together research
and extension in Paraguay. In April
1984, CIMMYT personnel offered
a course on economic interpretation
of field data that was attended by
research and extension specialists.
At the present time, work plans
have been prepared for each of the
eight pilot regional projects on the
basis of sondeos conducted in each
region. In each of these sondeos
there was as much participation as
possible from the research special-
ists in the region as well as the ex-
tension people. At least 20 on-farm
research trials are now designed for
each region. These are underway and
will be evaluated near the end of
1984. Evaluations will take place
first in individual regions and then
on a project basis. At that time
activities for 1985 will be planned.

Michigan Statistics (MSTAT) software
offers a variety of programs to assist in
farming research.

MSTAT Pilots With
Malawi, Senegal, Equador
Michigan State University held an
MSTAT workshop from March 19-30,
1984 with 12 researchers from
Malawi, Ecuador, Senegal, Turkey,
Egypt, and the U.S. attending. The
objectives of the workshop were (1)
to train participants to use MSTAT,
a microcomputer program, in farm-
ing systems research, (2) to review
important principles in the design,
management and analysis of agri-
cultural research, and (3) to examine
other microcomputer programs which
could be used in farming systems
research programs. This was the first
of four workshops planned in the
contract between MSU and the
University of Florida with funding
from the FSSP. The second workshop
was held in Malawi May 28-June 8.
The third and fourth workshops are
planned with Equador and Senegal
for later in the year. These three
countries will be the pilot program
for using MSTAT in their research
MSTAT is a microcomputer pro-

gram developed by agricultural scien-
tists to help design, manage and
analyze agricultural experiments.
MSTAT has 47 programs which will
do the following operations: (1) de-
sign randomized block, factorial (up
to five factors), and lattice experi-
ments, (2) print field books, labels,
and field maps, (3) perform data
transformations, remove extreme
values, group data, (4) print histo-
grams, one-way and two-way fre-
quency tables, and (5) calculate
one-way and two-way analyses of
variance (ANOVA) .with missing
values, up to five factor factorial,
lattice, hierarchical (six levels) and
non-orthogonal ANOVA's, correla-
tion, regression and multiple regres-
The economic program (ECON)
computes a marginal return analysis,
risk benefit table and net benefit
analysis. The program follows the
example presented by the CIMMYT
information bulletin 27, "From
Agronomic Data to Farmer Recom-
mendations-An Economics Train-
ing Manual" by R. K. Perrin et al.
This program provides agronomists
with a powerful tool which will give
them another perspective of their
experimental results. ECON will
show that the highest biological
yield is generally not the best result
to recommend to farmers.
MSTAT has a plant breeding pro-
gram which records pedigree, gener-
ation and row numbers. By entering

the number of rows to be planted
each season, the program will auto-
matically upgrade the generation and
print fieldbooks.
Dr. Russell Freed, MSTAT Director,
opened the Michigan State workshop
with an overview of the role of micro-
computers in research. Dr. Mike Weber
also discussed the role of microcom-
puters and agricultural economics in
research. Dr. Tom Stilwell reviewed
agricultural statistical packages before
the group started to "play" with
their computers (10 IBMs, one
Apple and one Columbia).
The workshop included instruction
on how to use MSTAT in designing
experiments, printing fieldbooks,
labels and maps. The participants ran
the different data management and
analysis routines. The non-orthogonal
ANOVA allows researchers to analyze
experimental data across locations
and years. Interspersed with the
hands-on computer experience were
discussions on data collection with
farmers, experimental design of on-
farm testing, principals of experimen-
tation and other farming systems
issues. A short presentation of trouble
shooting with computer hardware
provided valuable tips relating to
computer maintenance.
Information concerning MSTAT
can be obtained by writing MSTAT,
324 Agriculture Hall, Crop and Soil
Sciences Department, Michigan State
University, East Lansing, Michigan

Annual Evaluations
and Workplans at ICTA
The National Institute of Agricul-
tural Science and Technology, ICTA,
in Guatemala began the review of its
1983 on-farm and on-station research
activities in one of the highland
regions on February 7, 1984. This is
an annual process that is conducted
in each of the regions where ICTA
has Farming Systems teams and is
a practice that has been followed
since 1975. The institutionalization
of this review activity provides ICTA
the opportunity not only to plan its
following year's activities but also to
make recommendations for farmers
in each region. It also allows the
institute to establish policies and
strategies for promotion of the
technology generated in order to
benefit the clientele of the institute:
small and medium size farmers.
In his opening comments, the
Regional Director, Ing. Ricardo Del
Valle, said, "we are taking part in
a historical occasion that will have
significant impact on the agriculture
of our country. The presentations
that we will be making at this review
will result in specific recommenda-
tions that the farmers will be able to
utilize to improve their productivity
and their income." The Technical
Director of ICTA, Ing. Horacio
Juarez, reminded the group that this
session marked the 10th year of
regional reviews of the work of
ICTA's technicians and the small
farmers in the areas where they live.
The 1984 Work Plan will include
greater attention to cropping systems
in which maize is the principal com-
ponent. In this manner, without
reducing the production of this basic
cereal, horticultural crops such as
cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and
squashes can be produced as well as
more potatoes which have virtually
unlimited possibilities for export.

Is the theme and title for the 1984 Kansas State University Farming
System Symposium, to be held October 7-10, 1984 at Kansas State
University in Manhattan, Kansas. Papers, poster sessions and case
studies will look at FSR/E projects which have had an impact on the
total farming systems of the small farmer, which have integrated
extension procedures with on-farm research and/or which deal with
problems and successes of institutionalizing FSR/E. The Symposium
has become a major event since its inception in 1981, drawing re-
searchers and practitioners from all regions of the world. Preliminary
programs have been mailed to past registrants and others who have
expressed an interest in participating in or attending this year's Sym-
posium. If you have not received this announcement or would like
more information about the 1984 Symposium, contact:
Conference Office/Division of Continuing Education
Wareham Building/Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas 66506
Phone: (913) 532-5575




an approach to improving agricultural
productivity in rural Zaire

Louise Fresco*
Summarized by Phylo Evangelou**
Two related UNDP/FAO projects conducted in the
Kwango-Kwilu subregions of Zaire demonstrate the
effectiveness of an applied research approach to
understanding an area's existing farming conditions and
determining feasible activities for increasing agricultural
production. The first project (ZAI/78/001) consisted
of a large-scale survey of producers in the region and
led to the identification of principal agricultural pro-
duction constraints. It was found that nearly all food
production is in the hands of women and that any
effort to improve the traditional agricultural sector
needed to focus on women and the predominant crop,
cassava. The objective of the follow-up project (ZAI/
81/017) was to build upon these findings by testing
ways of improving the traditional methods of cassava
Characteristics of the Region
and the Traditional Farming System
The Kwango-Kwilu subregions encompass contrast-
ing physical settings: rolling table lands, devoid of trees
and having poor, sandy soils, and forested valleys of
richer, loamy sands. The landscape has been and con-
tinues to be profoundly modified by human activity.
The plateaus were once covered by deciduous forests,
and secondary forests, which still stand in the valleys,
diminish in size each year.
A rural population of more than two million lives in
the 90,000 km2 region, mostly in small, isolated villages.
Population densities vary greatly, with the average
density for the subregions (23 persons/km2) signifi-
cantly greater than Zaire's national average (10
persons/km2). The ratio of 88 males to 100 females
reflects the widespread outmigration of men to urban
areas, and has resulted in women heading nearly 20
percent of the households. Nuclear households averag-

*Research Fellow, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The
**University of Florida, PhD, Animal Science.

ing five to six people are the norm. About 45 percent
of the population is under 15 years of age.
The staple food is cassava porridge (luku), which is
sometimes mixed with a little maize or millet and
accounts for 75 percent of daily caloric intake. Diets
are protein deficient, since sources of animal protein
are very limited and pulses are not cultivated on a
regular basis (with the exception of groundnuts grown
mostly for the market). Protein malnutrition among
children is common.
The distinctive characteristics of the farming system
is the nearly exclusive reliance upon female labor. The
only related activity of men in the valley areas is the
clearing of forests during the dry season, while in the
savanna men essentially perform no traditional agri-
cultural tasks. Instead, they spend their time hunting
and fishing, neither of which contributes very much
to the household's food supply. Sixty-two percent
of agricultural labor is performed by women, and 91
percent by women and children. Only in the occasional
instance of nontraditional crops (for example, rice,
tobacco, and coffee) do men share some of the work
Choice of crops and size of fields under cultivation
vary, according to household needs and the system of
cultures imposes, which requires compulsory produc-
tion of certain crops on a certain number of hectares,
as determined by the Government and enforced by the
extension service. This system is currently being abol-
Cassava is the principal crop, and dominates all crop-
ping patterns and sequences. Households plant two
fields each year, which together average about 1.1 ha,
and with the two fields from the previous year the
total number is usually four (harvesting of cassava
tubers is a process that extends over a period of 18-30

The mainstay of diets in the Kwango-Kwilu is cassava porridge.
This staple is sometimes mixed with a little maize or millet, and
accounts for 75 percent of daily caloric intake.

As a risk avoidance strategy, women always plant a mixture of
varieties in the same field so that some varieties will always
yield sufficient tubers. Both early and late varieties are planted
to extend the length of the harvest period.

months for a given field). After cropping, fields are
abandoned and left fallow. Traditionally the period of
fallow lasted as long as 15 years, but current periods of
no more than four years are common. In the valleys,
cutting and burning of trees and vegetation precedes
crop cultivation. In the savanna, grass is burned and
that which is left is dug-in, to form mounds or ridges
for planting.
Cassava yields (fresh tubers) vary between 16 T/ha
under the best forest conditions and 0.5-2.Q T/ha on
frequently burned savanna. The 60-80 percent, and
annual per capital consumption, including losses during
processing, is estimated to be 220 kg of dried tubers. In
addition, cassava leaves constitute the principal green
vegetable in diets and are usually eaten daily.
The sale of agricultural products accounts for more
than one-half of average household income. The sale of
cassava alone contributes 43 percent of total income
and 85 percent of income from agricultural sources.
Women are usually responsible for the marketing
(carrying and sale) of crops, with most of the income
then given to the husband.

Constraints to Cassava Production
Average cassava yields per hectare have dropped from
12 T in 1958 to less than 5.5 T in 1981. The research
suggested that the following cassava (and other agricul-
tural) production:
1. Decline in soil fertility. Given increasing popu-
lation densities, patterns of shifting cultivation
have resulted in the systematic disappearance of
forests and ever shorter fallow periods. The short-
age of firewood has necessitated the use of old
cassava stalks as fuel for cooking.

2. The system of cultures imposes. Requiring a
particular number of hectares for each major crop
has resulted in inefficient allocation of labor and
land resources, including insufficient hoeing and
weeding, inadequate selection and rotation of
plots, and the creation of large monoculture fields.
3. Increased incidence of disease and pests. A clear
link exists between the spread of disease and
insect pest attacks with such factors as decline of
soil fertility and changes in cultivation techniques,
especially monoculture of crops.
4. Unfavorable agricultural prices. Relatively low
agricultural prices together with declining yields
have upset the traditional cropping calendar.
Cassava is harvested even earlier for market
income which has only served to reduce overall
yields. The increasing need, which is related to
the working terms of trade between agriculture
and consumer goods, for cash leads to premature
harvesting and reduces overall yields.
5. Absence of purchased inputs. Manfactured tools,
fertilizers, and improved cassava varieties are gen-
erally unfavorable, and could not be afforded by
producers even if they were readily available.
6. Lack of knowledge of alternative cropping
systems for sandy soils. Current national research
efforts focus on the improvement of particular
crops and do not usually take into account tradi-
tional farming systems.
7. Ineffective extension services. Extension agents,
male without exception, are concerned with
ensuring application of the cultures imposes,
recording statistics on prices and volumes of crops
markets, and even tax collection and other
political and administrative matters. Counselling
farmers and transmitting technical knowledge are
duties hardly ever performed by extension agents
in the Kwango-Kwilu region.
8. Low degree of farmer organization. Mutual
assistance between women is limited, since the
women in a village do not usually belong to
the same clan or family.
9. Absence of male involvement in agriculture.
Growing cassava is considered women's work.
Livestock husbandry, traditionally the concern
of men, has a very minor role in the present
farming system.
Given these and other insights into production con-
straints, basic improvements in cassava cultivation
techniques became the focus of a follow-up research
project. This general objective has turned out to be
more complex and challenging than originally expected.

Testing and Institutionalizing Development
An inventory of past and present research on cassava
production provided little guidance in devising activities

for increasing production, since most cassava trials had
been conducted on research stations under management
very different from that in the project area. The yields
on research stations could not be meaningfully compar-
ed to local varieties grown under traditional techniques.
Thus, a first step in improving cultivation techniques
has been to identify and compare variations in existing
farming patterns. Careful observation revealed "success-
ful" practices, most of which are potentially transfer-
able to other women. Among these practices are:
-location of fields at the bottom of slopes and
in depressions, after long fallow,
-planting in the first part of the wet season,
-use of shorter cuttings and the selection of
cuttings from healthy older plants,
-thinning of young plants,
-preparing the soil at the beginning of the dry
season by digging in grasses and forming
mounds or ridges,
-spacing cuttings 1-2 meters apart,
-timely weeding, especially during the first
months, and
-planting in association with pulses.
The research project also has been effective in de-
terming the criteria used by the women in selecting
among local varieties of cassava. Characteristics well
beyond researchers' standard criterion of tuber yield
are significant to producers, such as leaf yield, starch
content, rate of leaf canopy formation, taste of leaves
and tubers, height, time of flowering, shape of tubers,
and drought and disease/pest tolerance. More than 30
local varieties are distinguished and used in combina-
tions which exploit their particular characteristics.
Importantly, a mixture of early maturing and late
maturing varieties is highly desired to assure a continu-
ous tuber supply and to spread the risks of infestation.
Guided by these preferred product characteristics,
two areas of experimentation have been undertaken:
1) developing and introducing new technology, and 2)
testing new forms of organization for the diffusion of
knowledge and technology. The new technology com-
prises a package of the most successful local techniques
for growing cassava, "best" local varieties as well as
varieties developed by the Programme National Manioc,
new hoes for soil preparation, simple maize sellers,
and firewood species in combination with anti-erosion
measures. On the organizational side, attempts have
been made to introduce a network of "animatrices"
(women chosen for their farming and personal skills
who assist the others in applying new technologies),
to work through existing NGO's (especially the Roman
Catholic missions), and to train extension agents in
cassava growing and preservation of natural resources.
The creation of linkages with existing institutions has
been a principal goal, given the projects' limited re-

The standard criteria of researchers-that of high tuber yield-
does not fully take into account the priorities and preferences
of farmers. The station variety (showing great height here)
deprives women of leaf harvest.

Concluding Remarks
One may ask whether in the case of the Kwango-
Kwilu it would have been more suitable to formulate
a separate women's project or component next to a
general applied research program on food crops. The
answer should be negative since: 1) women need to be
involved in all stages of the applied research, 2) an
exclusive women's project would discriminate against
the few men farmers who try to help their wives in
crop production and would have had much less leverage
with the Agricultural Department, and 3) it would over-
look the integration of livestock and food production
which seems to be the only viable long-term solution
for the area. But the question which cannot be answer-
ed yet is, Can men be persuaded to assist women in the
intensification of their cultivation techniques, such as
ridging, mulching, and better land management, with-
out negative side effects for women (loss of status,
income or control over resources)?
Secondly, the issue of replicability should be raised.
To what extent should and could these improved
cultivation techniques be applied in other cassava
growing areas? The approach has been closely linked
to the staff of the projects and in particular to the
combination of an interest in small farmer agriculture
with a focus on women. On the other hand, replicabil-
ity may not always be desirable, because the develop-
ment of new cultivation techniques starting from
existing variations is in itself a necessary step in the
change process. This work illustrates the importance
to the process of both a thorough understanding of
the existing system and the involvement of producers,
themselves, in developing feasible forms of interven-
tion for increasing production.

Gambia Workshop Highlights

Editor's note: The Gambia/West African Farming Systems
Workshop was privileged to have had an opening address pre-
sented by Dr. Lamin K. Sahor, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry
of Agriculture, Gambia. It was a thought provoking and inspiring
statement that set the stage for the workshop and is reprinted


Mr. Chairman,
Dear participants,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of my Minister, the entire Ministry of
Agriculture and on my own behalf, I like to welcome
to Banjul our brothers and sisters from Sierra Leone,
Cameron, Senegal, Ghana and the Ivory Coast who are
here to attend this important sub-regional workshop.
We bid you all a warm and hearty welcome and hope
that your stay with us will be a happy, rewarding and
memorable one.
Mr. Chairman, it is for me a singular honor and
privilege to be invited to address the opening session
of this workshop on Farming Systems Research. I am
sure that the choice of The Gambia as the venue for
the workshop is not coincidental. It is no doubt a
reflection on the commitment of Gambia Government
to agricultural development in the sub-region and the
great importance it attaches to regional and interna-
tional cooperation and understanding. For the honor
and confidence bestowed on us, we are immensely
proud and pleased to be your hosts.
Mr. Chairman, the theme of your workshop is
"Farming Systems Research." While I have no desire
to be drawn into your world of scientific and technical
jargon and would not for that reason attempt a defini-
tion of farming systems research, I would like to
underscore the importance of research to agriculture
development. The peoples and nations of our sub-region
in particular, and of Africa in general, depend upon
agriculture now and will do so for the foreseeable
future. Our agricultural production has to expand if
we are to survive; it has to expand faster if we are to
lift ourselves out of our present poverty and provide
for all people the basic requirements of food, shelter
and clothing which are essential to human dignity and
real freedom. If we must transform our traditional
agricultural systems and production techniques and
if we are to develop the necessary technology to meet

here in its entirety out of respect for the earnest support and
gracious consideration of the Gambian Ministry of Agriculture.
The text of the article following Dr. Sahor's address was written
by Dr. Susan Poats, Associate Director, FSSP who was one of
the organizers and conductors of the workshop.

that challenge, then I am convinced, like everyone of
you here, that agricultural research has a vital and
leading role to play. Indeed, Mr. Chairman, research
must be on the forefront of our unremitting fight
against rural poverty, hunger, malnutrition and desti-
tution. Research is a good thing; it is the key to
progress and development; it is an insurance against
waste; it must be fostered and supported morally
and materially.
Mr. Chairman, while the necessity for research
cannot be challenged, the question to ask ourselves
is what kind of research do we need? For far too
long, much of the agriculture research undertaken in
most developing countries of Africa has been based
on the classical or conventional approach-what you
otherwise call basic research. Such research is largely
based on the thinking and orientation of the highly
developed western world; rarely is it directed towards
meeting the development needs and objectives of our
Third-World countries. The dearth of local data on
methods, possibilities and potentials makes difficult
the planning of investment in agricultural development
in our countries. Our natural and biological scientists
i.e. the geneticists (breeders), agronomists, soil scien-
tists, entomologists, pathologists, agricultural chemists,
etc. have tended to work in isolation and in an ivory-
tower fashion with each one zealously preoccupied in
his own narrow area of specialization. More seriously,
there has been relatively little or no involvement of, or
input from, the social scientists-the sociologists, social
anthropologists, economists, home economists, etc. in
such research. One consequence of this individualistic,
uncoordinated, hotch-potch approach to research
planning has been the designing of technological pack-
ages which have proved unacceptable to the farmer
because they do not match his social-economic needs
and circumstances. We have heard of farmers rejecting
a high yielding variety of cereal because it fails to con-
form to their particular preferences of taste, cooking
quality, storage quality, processing quality, susceptibil-
ity to bird damage or some other reason. We are also
accustomed to seeing or hearing them reject input
packages, developed by research at enormous expense,
on account of the high cost of adoption and hence the
inappropriateness of such technology to them. We in
the developing world cannot therefore afford the luxury
of the pursuit of research for the intrinsic value of the

knowledge it generates. It is time that our agricultural
research is based on an effective partnership between
economics technology and sociology.
Mr. Chairman, this brings me back to the subject of
this workshop, namely farming systems research. I un-
derstand this approach to be a relativley new concept
which is designed to respond to the needs and problems
of small farmers with limited resources. Small farmers
constitute the majority of the populations of our
countries; they produce the bulk of the food we eat as
well as the crops we export or process internally. They
therefore play a pivotal role in the economic growth
and development of our societies. They must therefore
be the thrust and focus of our farming systems approach
to research. But we need to know the peasant farmer,
his physical environment and socio-economic situation
in all their details first, if we must be able to help him.
This, I understand is what the farming systems approach
is all about. It is a reasonable axiom that to be able to
improve a system one must first understand how that
system functions, what its constituent elements are,
what variables come into play and how they interact.
Implicit and explicit in farming systems research is
recognition and acceptance of the fact that our know-
ledge and understanding of the peasant farmer and his
ways are far from complete. This means that we have
to move with great care, just as he has learned over the
generations to move cautiously. Some of the questions
participants should be asking themselves are: Why does
the farmer behave the way he does? Why does he resist
change? Why does he not adopt what we believe and
recommend to be good for him? Do we know or
appreciate well enough his means and circumstances,
or do we recognize as we ought to his needs and
priorities? We cannot and must not base our research
on the premise that the farmer knows nothing and that
we have all the knowledge and answers to his farm
problems. Such assumption is not only professionally
arrogant, but obviously fallacious and misleading.
The majority of our farmers may be unable to read or
write. But they have intelligence, acumen and certain
manual skills. They have been pitting their abilities
and talents against an ever-increasing fragile and
hostile environment to eke out a bare subsistence. The
fact that they have survived shows what sound intellec-
tual resources they posess. We must, Mr. Chairman,
stop looking upon the farmer as lazy, ignorant, con-
servative and what not else. What we should at all
times seek to know is: what motivates or demotivates
him in a given situation demanding change? The African
farmer, I submit, is more cautious than conservative
and he has cause to be. His so-called conservatism is
often little more than a realization from experience
that technological innovations have costs as well as
benefits. His farming methods and practices may strike
us as unsophisticated and even down-right primitive.
But they have been tested and nurtured over and have
been found to work. It is therefore naive and perhaps
folly and presumptious on our part as researchers,
trainers, extensionists and development practitioners

to assume that he should readily substitute them with
untried ones with uncertain results. Herein lies the
challenge to farming systems researchers and extension
agents, namely a willingness to learn from the farmer
alongside the desire to induce change and improvement
in his practices. This is an essential input in any agricul-
tural research.
Mr. Chairman, it has become fashionable in develop-
ment circles to talk about integration. Thus we hear a
lot these days about integrated agricultural develop-
ment projects; integrated rural development projects;
integrated pest management projects; integrated
training programs, etc. The grand design behind this
relatively new concept and approach to development
in the rural and agricultural sectors, I believe, is to pool
and harness scarce resources of finance, materials and
skills in a rational, coordinated and concerted fashion
which seeks to avoid wasteful duplication and overlap-
ping of efforts. Farming Systems Research represents,
if you like, an integrated approach to agricultural
research in a developing situation. It focuses on an
interdisciplinary team approach, drawing upon the
talents of natural and social scientists to provide quick
and practical solutions to the problems of the small
farmer. I wish to sound a note of caution here, Mr.
Chairman, that in their fervent desire to know the
farmer and his situation, our research scientists must
not become so engrossed with admiring the system
that they overlook the need to improve it. Traditional
farming systems are in dire need for improvement in
many dimensions. Plant breeding is one fertile area
for such improvement: control of plant pests and
diseases on the African continent is urgent and requires
immediate attention.
Mr. Chairman, your workshop is taking place against
a gloomy background of falling food production and
generally low agricultural output, unemployment,
inflation and economic recession in many of our
countries. These problems are further compounded
by the rapidly rising population with all its attendant
social, economic and political consequences. Over the
coming years, competition for available land for arable
farming, livestock rearing, human settlements and
forestry development will intensify. The challenge to
increase food and agricultural production will require
all our resourcefulness and ingenuity. I hope that as
research scientists, you will rise up to this challenge
with a sense of mission and accomplishment befitting
your profession.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank
the United States Agency for international Develop-
ment (U.S.A.I.D) for organizing and sponsoring this
workshop and for choosing Banjul as the venue. This is
yet another testimony to the commitment of this great
agency to international peace and development. My
thanks also go to all those who have contributed
towards the planning of the workshop.
Mr. Chairman, dear participants, I wish your work-
shop every success.
I thank you all for your attention.

The Gambia/West African Farming
Systems Workshop was held March
12-20, 1984. This was the second
Farming Systems Workshop sponsor-
ed by the FSSP in the West African
Region. The first was held in Upper
Volta in September 1983, in French,
for participants from Upper Volta,
Maili, Togo, Niger, Mauritania, Ivory
Coast, WARDA, and INSAH. The
many insightful comments, observa-
tions and suggestions about the Upper
Volta Workshop served to guide
planning and development of the
Gambia workshop.
The Gambia USAID mission and
the Mixed Farming Project (CID/CSU
-Consortium for International De-
velopment/Colorado State University,
manager and lead entity) co-hosted
the workshop and provided logistical
support for the workshop activities.
John Caldwell, Horticulturalist (Vir-
ginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, USA), Steve Franzel,
Agricultural Economist (Development
Alternatives, Inc., Washington, DC,
USA) and Susan Poats, Anthropolo-
gist (FSSP, University of Florida,
USA) planned and conducted the
workshop. Mulumba Kamuanga
(Michigan State University), Agricul-
tural Economist with the Basse
Casamance FSR Project, Senegal,
gave a special case study presentation
at the workshop. Mr. Malik Sabally
provided administrative and logis-
tical assistance throughout the course
of the workshop.
Thirty researchers, administrators
and extensionists participated in the
workshop. The majority came from
the Gambia; representatives from
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ivory
Coast and Cameroon were also
There are two simultaneous ob-
jectives for the workshop:
1) Training objectives: Reaching a
consensus on FSR...having bet-
ter knowledge of what it is and
how to do it.
2) Networking objectives: Bringing
people together to exchange
experiences. In a sense this
meant setting aside a week of
time for participants to read,
think and interact with each
other about farming systems.
The opening day's session was held

at the Atlantic Hotel, Banjul, and the
last two days were conducted at the
Yundum Training Center near Banjul.
In order to provide an opportunity
for field level exercises during the
workshop, to isolate participants
from the duties and responsibilities
of their jobs, as well as further in-
formal participant interactions, four
of the seven workshop days were
held at the Jenoi Training Center,
approximately 180 km east of

DAY ONE. The workshop offici-
ally opened with a speech by Dr.
Lamin K. Sehor, Parliamentary
Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture,
Gambia. John Caldwell then gave
an overview presentation on the
history, concepts and philosophy
of Farming Systems Research.
Steve Franzel presented a case study
of CIMMYT's approach to FSR in
East Africa. Mulumba Kamuanga
concluded the session with a case
study presentation on the Casamance
FSR project. Lively discussion fol-
lowed these presentations and set
the stage for further interactions and
debates throughout the workshop.
Following the morning session, a
break was taken for last minute
preparations, and participants then
departed for Jenoi, arriving in time
for dinner. After dinner, participants
introduced themselves to the group
and provided background, information
on their current jobs and previous
experience with FSR. The trainers
used this information to formulate
interdisciplinary teams that would
meet and work together in small
groups for discussions and field
activities during a number of work-
shop sessions.
DAY TWO. The morning session
was devoted to methods of modeling
the farming system. Caldwell and
Franzel made presentations on struc-
tural and process models. The inter-
disciplinary teams were then assigned
the task of selecting and modelling a
small farm system, based on back-
ground information provided in
selected readings on Gambian agric-
culture and personal knowledge of
the Gambian members of each team.
A rapporteur presented the results
from each team's discussion. Franzel

Wilbur Scarborough (USAID/Sierra Leone)
presents a structural model of a farming
system, developed during a small group
discussion on Day Two.

followed with a presentation on
identifying recommendation domains
and determining leverage points for
FSR interventions. Teams then anal-
yzed their farming systems models
from the morning's discussions in
order to hypothesize recommenda-
tion domains and suggest leverage
points. In the evening, an FSSP
slide module on land tenure and
farming systems research in Upper
Volta was presented and discussed.
DAY THREE. This day's activities
were devoted to learning and practic-
ing the techniques and methods of
doing a "sondeo" or interdisciplinary
informal survey. Susan Poats began
with a discussion on the concept of
interdisciplinarity, methodological
tools, and types of surveys. John
Caldwell then lead a discussion on
the "sondeo." Following these pre-
sentations and discussions, 12 enum-
erators from the Mixed Farming
Project (MFP) were brought to
Jenoi to "play" roles as Gambian
farmers. Each team determined the
kinds of information they wanted to
obtain in a series of two interviews
with the same "Gambian Farmer,"
spaced over a fictitious period of

- 14

time. Since there were roughly six
persons on each team, they were
sub-divided for the interviews, making
it possible for each whole team to
interview four farmers during the
exercise. A separate women's team
(of three members) was formed to
interview a woman farmer in order
to focus on the specific activities of
Gambian female farmers. Trainers
suggested that the teams try to gain
an overview of the farmer's farming
system during the first interview and
then focus on specific problem areas
during the second. Teams regrouped
following each interview for self-
critique and evaluation of results.
Team members identified problem
areas in interview techniques and team
dynamics before proceeding to the
second interviews. Following the
practice sondeo, teams presented
their results to the group. The enu-
merators then evaluated each team's
approach and made suggestions for
improvements. In the afternoon,
teams made plans for an actual
sondeo scheduled for the following
day in the village of Madina Umfally,
near Sapu Research Station, east of
Jenoi. In the evening, we viewed
FSSP's new slide module on the
ILCA Highlands Animal Traction
Project. This was the first viewing of
the module in a training setting, and
participant evaluations were very
DAY FOUR. An early departure
for Madina Umfally brought partici-
pants there to begin their one-day
sondeo at 10:00 a.m. Workshop
participants were greeted by the
village leaders and introduced to the
villagers who had volunteered to
participate in the sondeo interviews.
MFP enumerators, in collaboration
with the village leaders and John
Caldwell, had developed a plan for
the sondeo process and each team
had a map indicating designated com-
pounds and meeting points. When
necessary, MFP enumerators accom-
panied teams to provide translation
for the Serahule language spoken by
many of the villagers. Alhaji Doro
Sillah and other village leaders
provided a much-welcomed lunch
following the sondeo. Once back at
Jenoi, each team discussed the results
of the interviews and planned their

A7& -2i
ij 1^1

During small group discussions on issues in on-farm research and extension (Day Six),
Duncan Boughton (left), Thomas Senghore (center) and John Caldwell (right) try to use
the modified stability analysis methods to analyze data from Gambian on-farm trials.

presentations for the following day.
The day ended by viewing and dis-
cussing FSSP's module "The Design
and Analysis of On-Farm Trials."

DAY FIVE. During the morning,
each team made a presentation of
the results from their sondeo of the
previous day and indicated potential
leverage points for FSR activities.
These were recorded in order to
prepare a complete report on the
sondeo for use by researchers work-

-- __

Gambian participant Marie Sambou, a home
extension agent, listens to a presentation
on on-farm trials.

ing in the area. Each sub-team also
submitted a write-up of their notes
from each household interview con-
ducted. In the afternoon, the trainers
began to make use of the flexibilities
built into the original workshop
schedule. John Caldwell lead a dis-
cussion on the design and use of on-
farm trials. This was followed by an
informal presentation by Dr. Moham-
med Dahniya about his experiences
in conducting on-farm trials in Sierra
Leone. Mr. Sana Jabang followed
with a presentation on the Gambia
Extension Service. Neither presenta-
tion was scheduled prior to the
workshop, but was added once
participant experiences were assessed
for their possible input to the group
as a whole. The day's activities con-
cluded with a discussion of the on-
farm research process and the
necessary linkages between research
and extension. Workshop participants
then returned to Banjul for the
DAY SIX. The day began with two
outside presentations and one from a
workshop participant. Len Malcynski,
an economist with the Gambia River
Basin Project (University of Michigan/
CRED), spoke to the group about the
design and management of farming
systems research for data analysis.
This was followed by a presentation
concerning on-farm research with
livestock in Kenya by Sandra Russo,
forage agronomist with the Gambia


Gambia/West Africa Farming Systems Workshop participants and support staff at Jenoi Training Center.

Mixed Farming Project and formerly
with a Winrock International Project
in Kenya. Scotty Deffendol, Gambia
Mixed Farming Project, concluded
the presentation with a talk on the
livestock component of the Mixed
Farming Project. The latter part of
the morning and early afternoon
were devoted to small group discus-
sions of issues in on-farm trials and
extension. Each group was given a
different topic for discussion, and
the trainers had reformulated the
teams to reflect the various interests
demonstrated during the previous
week's discussion groups. Group
reports and discussions continued
to the end of the day.

DAY SEVEN. The final day of the
Gambia Workshop was devoted to
presentations and discussions on the
issue of how to institutionalize FSR
within national agriculture programs.
Ken Swanberg (USAID) gave a case
study presentation comparing the
institutionalization process of the
Caqueza Project in Columbia with
another project in Kenya. Seth
Vordzorgbe followed with a case
study from Ghana. Susan Poats con-
cluded by presenting a typology of
institutionalization models and a brief
discussion on thedifficultiesof moving
from FSR projects to FSR national

programs. Participants then broke
into small groups for a work session
using "Agrilandia," an exercise in
institutional reorganization and man-
agement for FSR programs. Each
group had slightly different instruc-
tions concerning the constraints
which had to be followed in reorgan-
ization. The day concluded with
presentations from each group and
a written and oral evaluation of the


Overall, the workshop was quite
successful in achieving its stated
objectives and participants were
positive about the experience. As
with each new training experience,
suggestions and comments for im-
provements were made.These will
be incorporated into future FSSP
training activities. More importantly,
however, are the contacts established
between participants. For many of
the Gambians, it was the first time
researchers sat down with extension-
ists to discuss common problems.
Hopefully these contacts will grow
into useful lines of communication
across departments and disciplines.
Equally important are the contacts
made across countries within the
West African region. These will

hopefully grow into networks where
research results and problem solving
mechanisms can be compared and
exchanged. We hope that FSR
activities will be stimulated by the
Gambia Workshop, and that the
FSSP can continue to provide
support to this process.

Jacob Allen
Duncan Boughton
Mohammed A. Cole
Albert H. A. Cox
Mohammed T. Dahniya
Scotty Deffendol
Thomas Eponou
Adama Faye
Janko Fofana
Thomas A. Fretz
John Haydu
Thomas Hobgood
Sana M. Jabang
Amadou M. Jallow
Alieu B. Joof
Kalamanlie (Kal) Juwara
Dibril M'Baye
Manuel Alers Montalvo
Dikongue Matam Njo-Lea
Rosalie H. Norem
Solomon J. E. Owens
Neil Patrick
Marie M. Sambou
Wilbur E. Scarborough

Thomas G. Senghore
William P. Spencer
Ken Swanberg
Saihou Taal
Jean Francois Tourrand
Seth Vordzorgbe

Ivory Coast
Sierra Leone


From Design to Possible Interventions:

the Turning Point in the Design Sequence
Michael P. Collinson*

In the course of the Informal Sur-
vey stage of the diagnostic sequence
the change is made from Diagnosis
to Design. It is a vital part of the
sequence, often difficult for new-
comers to the Farming System
Perspective to manage. Five steps
are followed in the CIMMYT training
programmes, setting them out here
may help in understanding this vital
turning point.
The steps are based on the experi-
ence that technical and social
scientists have somewhat different
perspectives and approaches in the
Informal Survey. While there is the
important interdisciplinary learning
process, each discipline has a role to
play and inevitably bases the role on
the "'equipment"' provided by his
own discipline. While all parties in
the On-Farm Research team need to
understand the system, the social
scientist is better equipped for the
task. His background in farm econom-
ics or anthropology equips him with
the means to examine what the
farmers are doing, why they are
doing it that way and how their
decisions were made. The technical
scientist, whether agronomist or
animal production man, has a
knowledge, both from learning and
experience, of how biological poten-
tial is best exploited under different
natural environments. They will have
a pre-determined idea of what
farmers should be doing to get the
best out of climate, soils and biology
of the area. The two disciplines then
come to their diagnosis of the system
from different perspectives. The
technical scientist readily identifies
shortcomings in husbandry resulting
in underutilization of potential. The
social scientist progressively under-
stands more about why the farmer
does things the way he does. Bring-
ing these two perspectives together
creates the openings for interventions.

*Agricultural Economist, CIMMYT East
African Farming Systems Research Pro-

The following steps bring the two
together in an interdisciplinary inter-
1. Technical scientists in the team,
or in the class if it is a training exer-
cise, specify as wide a range as possi-
ble of technical problems identified
in the farm situation under investiga-
tion. The technical scientists should
make clear the reference points they
are using as they identify a problem,
the biological principle or experience
they are using as a basis for seeing
the existing practice as a problem.
They should try to quantify the
benefits of solving the problem.
2. Each identified problem is
related back to a system context to
define the cause of the problem or
technical shortcoming. There are
three types of cause:
a. Farmer's priorities: Farmers see
an opportunity to achieve their
objectives by an allocation of
resources which represent a
technical compromise. Late
planting maize to exploit a green
maize market when prices are
high, is one example.
b. The need to manage external
circumstances to satisfy objec-
tives: Farmers, understanding
that a mid-season drought occurs
once every three years, make
two plantings of maize, one
early, one late. If the mid-season
drought occurs, while it catches
the early planting at flowering,
reducing the yield, the later
planting, at a less critical stage
of growth, survives it well.
c. Limitations of farmer resources:
Farmers with plenty of land but
limited amounts of labor con-
tinues to plant late because
although later plantings give a
lower yield they increase total
production. Identifying the
cause is clearly vital. In each of
these three cases there is a
technical compromise which
the agronomist on the team
would see as a shortcoming,

late planting, but the cause is
very difficult and gives rise to
very different thrusts in the
search for solutions, (or, in the
case of the late green maize
market, to improve the ex-
ploitation of the opportunity).
3. The team then identifies as wide
a range of apparent solutions to each
identified problem and cause as pos-
sible. Often a very narrow approach
is taken here and the importance of
broad thinking must be stressed. Di-
rect solutions are of course important,
but indirect solutions using system
interactions should be explored just
as fully. For example, we can solve
a weeding problem on maize, caused
by labor scarcity in December,
directly-by hiring labor, by the use
of maize herbicide, less directly-by
changing the method of tillage to get
better initial control, and indirectly-
by examining what other operations
are absorbing most labor at that
time and seeking alternatives to
those. For example, introducing a
herbicide on the cotton crop may
solve our maize weeding problem.
The more options are identified the
more likely the problem will be
4. The team pre-screens the solu-
tions identified for each problem.
Some can be thrown out immediately
on common sense grounds, many of
these may not even be put on the
list. For example, a tractor can solve
the delayed planting problem for
the farmer short of labor, but is
clearly out of the question as a
practical solution for small farmers.
There is both technical and economic
a. Technical. The question is asked:
Do we have the know-how and
can it be effectively transferred
to the local situation? At this
stage the technical scientists on
the OFR team may seek help
from commodity or disciplin-
ary specialists on the detailed
nature of the problem and the

feasibility of different possible
solutions. Two important con-
clusions must be reached for
each possible solution:
i. Will the physical relationship
found in the research hold
when transferred to the local
situation in which the team
is working?
ii. What are the detailed man-
agement requirements for
solution; the timing and levels
of the inputs and outputs
required? The confidence the
specialists and the OFR tech-
nical scientists have that the
relationships will transfer
without distortion will help
decide the type of experiment
to be done locally. Strong
confidence may allow an
immediate farmer-managed
verification trial, low confi-
dence implies researcher-
managed trials to re-establish
relationships under local con-
ditions. The detailed manage-
ment requirements for solu-
tions are basis for the eco-
nomic pre-screening.

b. Economic. The social scientist
asks four questions:

i. Is the solution likely to get
the infrastructural support it
will need in terms of input
supply and credit and exten-
sion? This question may pro-
vide significant policy spin-
off if it is found to be crucial
to the solution of the problem.
ii. Is the solution within the
reach of the resource endow-
ment of the local farmers?
In particular is the cash or
capital required likely to be
available to them?
iii. Is the solution system com-
patible? Will the demand it
makes on farmers' resources
compete with current de-
mands or merely take up
seasonally slack resources?
iv. If it competes with present
activities for resources in the
system will it use those re-
sources more profitably and
sufficiently more profitably
to attract farmers to change
to the new practice?

Small Farming Systems in the Caribbean
The 20th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Food Crops Society will
be held from October 21-26, 1984 on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin
Islands, West Indies. The society brings together scientists, officials,
producers, industry representatives, and others interested in research
and education concerning food production, processing and distribution
from at least 25 nations or island groups in the Caribbean region and
The program will reflect the theme of "Small Farming Systems in the
Caribbean," and will comprise technical papers sessions (no more than
two concurrently), with invited and submitted papers; poster display
sessions; symposium and/or panel discussion sessions; a plenary session;
informal conferences of special interest groups; an organized field trip;
a diverse assembly of exhibits, and a participants' guest program.
All papers presented will be considered for publication in the Proceed-
ings. Abstracts are to follow specific guidelines. Papers are to follow
style prescribed in Tropical Agriculture. Authors are asked to make a
limited number of prepublication copies available at the meeting.
For further information,
contact: Walter I. Knausenberger
Chairman of the Organizing Committee
Caribbean Food Crops Society
c/o V.I. Cooperative Extension Service
College of the Virgin Islands
P.O. Box 'L', Kingshill
St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 00850
Phone: (809) 778-0246
\ ^_____________ ^

5. The final step is to prioritize
those options which filter through
the pre-screening process. The size
of any On-Farm Experimental Pro-
gramme will be limited by the logis-
tics and supervision required to get
good results. Experimental thrusts
coming out of the diagnosis are
prioritized on the basis of:
a. Potential contribution to the
b. Ease of absorption by the
farmers operating the system.
c. Ease of research effort.
Many of the assessments in this
prioritization, and indeed in the
design phase as a whole, will be
"back of the envelope" estimates. It
is, however, better to do them than
ignore them. At all times in the
process common sense should be
allowed full play in discarding both
problems and solutions.
This design sequence takes place
towards the end but not at the end
of the Informal Survey. Before
priorities are finally set it is valuable
to go back to Target Group farmers
and discuss the problems, to see how
closely they identify with them, and
also offer possible solutions for
farmer assessment. Group interviews
in which farmers talk among them-
selves about the issues brought up
are often very valuable at this point.

The FSSP newsletter is published
quarterly by the Farming Systems
Support Project (FSSP), which is
funded by AID Contract No. DAN-40
99-A-00-2083-00 and administered by
the Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida,
Gainesville, Fla. 32611. IFAS is an
Equal Employment Opportunity
Affirmative Action Employer.

The FSSP Newsletter encourages
the contribution of stories, pictures
and ideas, which should be sent to
FSSP Editor, 3028 MCCarty Hall, Uni-
versity of Florida, Gainesville, FL

This public document was promul-
gated at a cost of $601.93, or 17.2
cents per copy, to provide information
on farming systems research, extension
andprogram administration.

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