Farming systems symposium set for...
 On the need for indigenous capacity...
 Improving a farming system through...
 FSR gains a foothold in the...
 Case study series marks joint venture:...

Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071908/00006
 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: VID00006
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
    Farming systems symposium set for '85
        Page 1
    On the need for indigenous capacity in Africa
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Improving a farming system through post-harvest technology: Diffused light potato stores in Sri Lanka
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    FSR gains a foothold in the Gambia
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Case study series marks joint venture: "Intra-household dynamics in farming systems research and extension"
        Page 11
        Page 12
Full Text


Farming Systems Support Project Newsletter

Farming Systems Symposium Set for '85

The Fifth Annual Farming Systems
Research and Extension Symposium
will be held at Kansas State Univer-
sity October 13-16, 1985, to be
followed by the annual meeting of
the Farming Systems Support Project
October 17-18. The theme will be
"Management and Methodology."
Simultaneous translation into French
and Spanish will be provided.
The goal of the symposium is
attempting to address major metho-
dological issues in FSR/E from the
point of view of management and
implementation in project and insti-
tutional settings. While KSU will con-
tinue to present a few case studies,
particularly those that focus on
management and methodological
issues, KSU will seek sessions that
use project experiences in a com-
parative fashion to evaluate manage-
ment and methodological techniques.
The majority of the formal sessions
will be focused around key issues,
with each presentation addressing
the issue comparatively, and the
presenters then discussing the results
of their findings with each other and
the audience. As a result, papers will
need to be submitted by September
1, 1985. The topics the sessions will
address tentatively include the fol-
1) Designing on-farm trials
2) In-country training of FSR
3) University level courses in FSR
4) Design strategies for subsis-

5) Inclusion of intra-family re-
source allocation issues in a
project design
6) Frameworks for integrating
agronomic and social scientists
7) The inclusion of nutritional
measures in project design and
8) Management issues in linking
research and extension
9) Management issues in linking
crop and animal research and
10) Integration of crops and ani-
mals in on-farm trials
11) Key data collection items for
establishing recommendation
12) Key data collection items for
on-farm trials in order to ensure
general inclusion of other areas
Other topics will be considered as
sessions are put together.
In addition to the formal sessions,
poster sessions will be encouraged.
Abstracts for consideration for
both the paper sessions and the poster
sessions are due May 15, 1985. They
should be sent to Cornelia Butler
Flora, Department of Sociology,
Waters Hall, Kansas State University,
Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.A.
Guidelines for paper sessions, slide
and overhead preparation and poster
sessions, including non-sexist and
non-racist language, will be sent to
each presenter. Kansas State Univer-
sity will aid overseas participants in
the preparation of visual aids, if
materials are submitted by September
1, 1985. E

Farming Systems Symposium Set
for 1985 ................. 1
An Invitation to Anthropologists .1
On the Need for Indigenous Capacity
in Africa ................. .2
Improving a Farming System Through
Post-Harvest Technology ..... .4
FSR Gains a Foothold in The
Gam bia .................. .. .9
Intra-Household Dynamics in
FSR ................... 11
Cooperating Farmer ....... 12
Graduate Program Assistance 12
1 J
An Invitation
to Anthropologists...
The Applied Anthropology Docu-
mentation Collection at the Univer-
sity of Kentucky Library invites
anthropologists working in farming
systems research to send copies of
their technical reports and other
fugitive literature to the collection.
The Collection includes about 1300
items produced by practicing anthro-
pologists working in various areas.
The work of a number of agricultural
anthropologists is already in the
collection. Some of these include
Bill DeWalt, Kathleen DeWalt, Robert
Tripp, Bob Werge, Victor Doherty,
Tim Frankenberger, Ed Reeves, and
Robert Rhoades. Materials produced
by researchers other than anthropol-
ogists are also welcome. Materials
submitted are made available through
interlibrary loan and on-site study.
Many of the items submitted are
annotated in the publication Prac-
ticing Anthropology. Send materials
to John van Willigen, Applied An-
thropology Documentation Project,
M. E. King Library, University of
Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506.1

Chris O. Andrew, Director, FSSP

On the Need for

Indigenous Capacity

in Africa

All countries have as a primary
goal the provision of adequate food
supplies to their citizens. This goal
usually implies improved agricultrual
production and productivity, within
the context of greater employment
and more equitable distribution. Un-
happily, achieving these goals seems
more elusive each day. Projections of
current trends in population growth,
resource use, and environmental
change depict a bleak situation for
many countries by the turn of this
century. As population doubles,
and as the arable land base remains
essentially static, environmental deg-
radation will become more severe,
diets more inadequate, and food
shortages more common. Though
these projections may prove inaccur-
ate, they represent the current and
the foreseeable future. They under-
score the current gap between gov-
ernment aspirations for agriculture
and realistic expectations for it.
In the last development decade,
increasing attention has been given
to the role of small producers in the
process of national development. The
rationale for this orientation is clear:
small producers will not decline in
number in the foreseeable future, and
they control a sizeable proportion of
each nation's foodstuffs. As a group,
these farmers have the potential to
increase national food supplies signi-
ficantly. That they have not done so
in many cases is due as much to the
orientation of national research and
extension agencies toward monocrop
agriculture as to operational difficul-
ties of serving numerous, scattered

small farmers. Thus, to increase
agricultural production while main-
taining rural employment and reduc-
ing rural to urban migration requires
programs adapted to small -farm pro-
duction. Moreover, providing more
appropriate technologies to small
farmers promises greater returns in
increased food production, more
efficient use of labor, higher rural
incomes, as well as improved soil
conservation and environmental pro-
tection-all of which are necessary if
the African nations are to increase
food supplies for their growing
populations while stimulating pri-
vate sector growth.
In order to assist small farmers
more effectively, agricultural re-
searchers must take careful account
of these farmers' production and
enterprise systems. Small farmers
are as economically responsive as
larger or better endowed farmers.
Yet their production systems are
qualitatively different: their agricul-
ture tends to be more polycultural,
and intertwined with livestock and
forestry. They are often dependent
on income from off-farm enterprises.
They operate under seasonal labor
surpluses and shortages, and most
have inadequate access to essential
support services. Therefore, research-
station-tested technologies which
may appear scale neutral, seldom are
once they leave the station. Improved
technologies must be adapted not
only to the agroecological environ-
ments of these farmers but also to
their particular socioeconomic

Farming Systems Research and
Extension (FSR/E), evolving in many
institutions in response to these con-
cerns, gives integrity to the research
and extension process. Operationally,
FSR/E is an approach to agricultural
technology generation that encour-
ages research on farmers' fields and
with farmers' participation along with
research and extension personnel.
FSR/E thus takes into account more
factors than those limited to the
field, or to a particular crop: it ex-
amines responses within the produc-
tion systems of the farm family,
rather than just biological responses
within the farm field. At the same
time, the consideration of resource-
use alternatives, from the perspec-
tive of the whole-farm operation,
entails many more concerns than
those of agronomy. It is these aspects
that make FSR/E effective in small-
farm development programs.
The farming system approach rep-
resents an adjustment in, or reorien-
tation of, prior efforts at agricultural
research and extension by comple-
menting and enhancing the efficiency
of on-station work in two major
ways. First, FSR/E addresses the
whole-farm system and the complex
series of agronomic, economic, and
social elements and interactions of
which it is composed. Such informa-
tion has proved valuable in the deter-
mination of station-based priorities
and in the orientation of on-station
work. Second, as seemingly appropri-
ate technologies are developed, FSR/E
provides a means to implement
adaptive research on farmers' fields

". small producers will not decline in numbers in the foreseeable future, and
they control a sizeable proportion of each nation's food stuffs. As a group, these
farmers have the potential to increase national food supplies significantly."

with farmer involvement. In other
words, the objectives of FSR/E are
the same as those of traditional
agricultural research and extension:
improved technology generation and
utilization. FSR/E builds collabora-
tively on basic discipline research,
and by focusing on farmer needs it
provides a complementary and effec-
tive means for defining and develop-
ing technology that is more immedi-
ately useful by small farmers. In-
volvement of extension in on-farm
research lays the groundwork for
multiplication of results from the
FSR/E on-farm research experience.
In a development perspective, farm
research may also imply some reor-
ganization of national, agricultural
research and extension agencies. In
implementing an FSR/E program,
extension agents assume some of the
functions of researchers, and FSR/E
researchers can at times act as exten-
sion agents, as, for example in their
field trials. This melding of research
and extension roles requires a wide
scope of action for the field person-
nel, most particularly in setting re-
search agenda that accord with local
needs. Yet the agricultural establish-
ment in many African countries today
is divided into separate agencies for
research, extension, livestock, water
management, marketing and so on.
Even where the proliferation of
separate agencies has been contained,
highly centralized bureaucracies find
it difficult to manage an essentially
decentralized program, such as FSR/E.
While these issues of organizational
management are important to the on-

farm research perspective of FSR/E,
they are crucial to the development
of viable, national research and ex-
tension programs.
The widespread recognition of the
imperative to address the needs of
small farmers in the context of many
different national arrangements has
given rise to a diversity of views about
farming systems research and exten-
sion on the African continent, by
various governments, international
donors, and in the international
agricultural research centers. The
various interpretations of FSR/E
perspective relate to different man-
dates, funding levels, staffing charac-
teristics, existing infrastructure and
the like. There is no one model, nor
should one be expected. There is,
however, a single aim: more effective
generation of technology for small-
farm operations which will stimulate
higher agrarian performance and in-
crease aggregate food supplies for the
benefit of all citizens in each country.
The urgent need for small-farm ag-
ricultural development underlies the
recent and rapid expansion in the
number of FSR/E programs and pro-
jects worldwide. In turn increased
utilization of various FSR/E ap-
proaches has created some problems
that require remedial action if the
various efforts are to achieve their
aims. Experienced practitioners in
the on-farm technology generation
process are relatively few. Many now
work in national.programs or are
based at international centers. On
the African continent this knowledge
base, from which we all must learn, is

especially thin. Often these experi-
enced practitioners have regional or
multi-country mandates. Consequent-
ly, a number of FSR/E projects have
been implemented without the assis-
tance of experienced personnel who
could offer guidance in direction and
problem resolution. There is a need
to assist in the process of learning
with nationals about the principals
and methods of FSR/E most suited
to their countries' needs. Ultimately
it is these professionals who are
charged with the responsibility of
fostering agricultural growth in their
countries. In short, rapid expansion
of farmer-involved research and
extension programs has created a
need for greater understanding of
production constraints, immediate
technical assistance, short-term ap-
plied FSR/E training and means to
methodically build national capac-

The United States Agency for
International Development
through the Science and Tech-
nology Bureau is prepared to
assist USAID missions in
strengthening this effort
through the Farming Systems
Support Project, or FSSP. The
project, designed primarily to
provide technical assistance
and training for national insti-
tutions, will respond to re-
quests by developing countries
through USAID missions for
assistance in farming systems
research and development.

Improving a Farming System

Through Post-Harvest Technology:

Diffused Light Potato Stores in Sri Lanka

Robert Rhoades1, W. D. Albert2 and Robert H. Booth3

Despite increasing worldwide attention give to post-
harvest research and development, little effort has
been made within FSR/E programs to deal with post-
production activities. This article, however, illustrates
how collaboration of an international agricultural
research center, a National Research Program, and
Extension is bringing about rapid improvement in
seed potato storage practices. This in turn is having
far-reaching effects on cropping patterns in Sri Lanka's
Badulla and Nuwara Eliya areas. Introduction of
diffuse light seed storage (DLS) helps farmers plant at
optimal times, increase yields, reduce storage losses,
and fit other crops into the rotation. The successful
DLS program also reduces dependence on imported
seed and boosts the prestige of local researchers and
English planters grew potatoes in home gardens in
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) as early as 1850, but only in the
mid-1950's were organized government attempts
made to promote potato production. Still, in the
mid-1960's most of the 60,000 tons of consumer
potatoes required to feed the nation were imported,
mainly from Europe.
A ban imposed on importation of consumer potatoes
in May 1967 to save foreign exchange resulted in
increased potato prices and returns to farmers. Pro-
duction expanded rapidly and potatoes became one
of the main commercial vegetable crops in highland
Since that time, potato production in Sri Lanka
has been strongly influenced by the interplay of two
countervailing factors: (1) the shortage of quality
domestic seed and (2) the Sri Lanka government's
desired to save foreign exchange by reducing seed
potato imports.

1. Robert E. Rhoades, Anthropologist, International Potato
Center, Lima, Peru.
2. W. D. Albert, Department of Agriculture, Farms and Horti-
culture Division, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
3. Robert H. Booth, Post-Harvest Specialist, International
Potato Center, Lima, Peru.

Diffused light technology was first tested in 1980 on the ex-
periment station in free-standing potato stores. Results were
positive. The basic model was the same tested in Peru and 25
other countries.

In the early 1970's, a CIP scientist visiting Sri Lanka
"The government of Sri Lanka has issued a 10
year warning that potato seed imports will be
gradually decreased from current levels of about
5,000 tons to near zero. This will be possible
only if the farm storage of seed has a sound
technological base."-John Niederhauser.
By 1980, the government had stepped up its efforts
to reduce imports by adopting a three point program:
1. Develop a national seed multiplication program.
2. Improve seed storage.
3. Introduce use of true potato seed.
Regarding the second point, CIP and potato spec-
ialists in Sri Lanka's Department of Agriculture have
collaborated since late 1979 to solve post-harvest
problems. As a result, as many as 1,500 Sri Lankan
farmers have begun storing their seed in diffused light.

Potato Production in Sri Lanka
Potatoes are grown during different months in
distinct agro-ecological zones of three main districts
in Sri Lanka: Jaffna, Badulla, and Nuwara Eliya.
Jaffna is at sea level on the northern coast. Badulla
and Nuwara Eliya are at approximately 1,300 and
1,900 meters above sea level in the "upcountry" zone
in southern Sri Lanka.
Badulla and Nuwara Eliya, which together account
for about 80% of the growing area and 90% of national
production, have two main production seasons:
yala referring to the southwest monsoon which
lasts from mid-May to mid-September, and in this
report is termed "early," and
maha, referring to the northeast monsoon which
lasts from October to mid-January, designated here
as "late."
In Badulla, late planting occurs mainly in an upland
zone while early planting is confined to the paddy
lowlands. The late planting mainly uses imported seed
which is multiplied for early planting in the paddy
zone. Nuwara Eliya is in a higher, cooler, and more
humid zone than Badulla. It is fundamentally a
vegetable production zone for the Colombo market
as well as the main seed potato production area.
Government seed farmers are in this district. In
addition to the major season crops, small amounts
of potatoes are grown throughout the year.
Until 1979, the government allowed importation
of foreign seed for both late and early seasons. The
seed for late season came mainly from the Netherlands,
although West Germany, Denmark, and Scotland also
exported seed to Sri Lanka. Approximately 1,300
tons of seed were imported annually from Australia
for the early season crop especially in Badulla District.
Due to difficulties in obtaining seed and government
targets of reducing imports, a decision was reached in
1979 to stop the Australian importation for the early
season. The only importation allowed now is for the
late season, thereby creating a serious shortage of
seed for the early season.

Introduction of Diffused Light Storage
The diffused light storage (DLS) technique is based
on using natural indirect light instead of low tempera-
tures to control excessive sprout growth and storage
A Sri Lankan scientist was trained in the DLS
technology and CIP's Farmer-Back-to-Farmer model
in a 1979 course in the Philippines. The Farmer-Back-
to-Farmer model posits that research should begin
and end with the farmer or other clients of agricul-
tural research. Four experimental stores were subse-
quently established on Sri Lankan government farms
in the main potato producing districts of Badulla and
Nuwara Eliya. These compared traditional practices
of dark storage with diffused light (Table 1).

The three agro-ecological zones in Badulla District are shown
here: 1) Chena (highlands); 2) Gangoda (homestead zone); 3)
Kumbura, which consists of the Goda Kumbura (drained
slopes of the paddy zone) and Mada Kumbura (paddy zone).

During a second storage course in 1981 a Sri
Lankan extensionist visited the Philippine's Mountain
Province where diffused light storage technology was
being rapidly adopted by farmers. Upon his return, he
assisted in setting up 16 experimental stores on farms
in Sri Lanka similar to those developed by CIP in Peru
and elsewhere. Extension workers also started farmer
training classes in seed production and storage.
As demand for potatoes expanded and seed imports
were curtailed, farmers had to fall back on their own
seed stored from earlier harvests or secure it from
other farmers or the government. Seed storage thus
became a crucial link between seasons, especially
when farmers produced their own seed. National

Table 1. Comparison of diffused light vs dark storage
of seed potatoes, Sri Lanka.

Storage System
Dark Diffused light
Variety D6sir6e D6sirde
Qnty. stored (kg) 500 500
Qnty. planted (kg) 355 446
% loss during storage 29 11
Total yield (kg) 2,665 4,899

seed potato production has gradually increased in
recent years, to more than 60% of total requirements
(Table 2).

(Table 2. Sri Lanka seed requirements and production.


(000 t)


Quantity produced
by local farmers
(000 t) %


Farmer Response
From 1979 to 1983 farmers built more than 500
diffused light stores in Badulla and Nuwara Eliya
Districts on the recommendation of thp Department
of Agriculutre. An additional estimated thousand
farmers modified their existing storage systems.
The pattern of adoption/adaptation in Sri Lanka is
strikingly similar to that observed in other countries,
such as Peru and the Philippines, where diffused light
storage technology has been introduced. Farmers
seldom copy demonstration models, but modify them
to meet their own needs and budgets. Many farmers
integrated diffused light storage principles into
existing sheds, garages, and rooms attached to their


Farmers often modified the interiors of their homes to accom-
modate the diffused light idea. Note that the building material
used for the store came from seed crates used formerly to im-
port from Europe.

This is an example of a free-standing store. Although a few farmers built free-standing stores, most inte-
grated the idea of using diffused light into the local architecture
for security arid privacy reasons. This store, for example, was
built under a cave overhang.

Adopting farmers note the following benefits of
D LS system:
sprouting is reduced,
stem density is greater,
losses are reduced,
field emergence is earlier,
tuber moth control is easier,
handling and diagnosis of storage problems are

In addition, farmers point out that seed tubers
stored in light sell for a higher price than tubers
stored in darkness.

Changes and Impact

The diffused light storage system was introduced
into Sri Lanka in early 1980. In only its third year of
diffusion there, some significant effects of adoption
of this technology were observable.
Alteration of Seed Flows
Seed flows and storage patterns in Badulla district
before introduction of DLS are illustrated in Figure 1.
Two importations of foreign seed were required: one
for late planting in the upland zone for seed produc-
tion, and, the second for early planting in the paddy
zone for consumer production. Due to the ban on
foreign seed importation for early season, farmers
were forced to expand production in the upland zone
to meet the need requirements of the paddy zone.
The situation after 1979, when importation of seed
was allowed only for late planting, is illustrated in
Figure 2. This led to creation of a new post-harvest
system and seed flows. Due to the possibility of
longer storage with diffused light storage, farmers
are now keeping seed from late season harvest (Febru-
ary-March) to the next late season planting October-
December. A new storage strategy is to hold seed
tubers harvested on well-drained paddy slopes (in
diffused light stores) for planting the next March.

Yield Increases
Farmers are especially interested in diffused light
storage because it allows them to plant when climatic
and/or market conditions are optimal. Instead of the
1 to 3 multiplication rate farmers report from im-
ported seed arriving late or in an improper physio-
logoical condition, farmers report a 1 to 7 multiplica-
tion rate. This reflects a 133% increase in yield due
to availability of seed in the proper planting condition.
Based on current average yields, this means increas-
ing production from 4.8 tons to 16.8 tons per hectare
by having seed available when planting conditions are
optimal. If all farmers opted for this strategy, it could
mean an increase in late season production from
around 20,000 metric tons to more than 38,000
metric tons, principally by taking advantage of proper
planting times.


See Colombo

Reduction of Losses
Traditional seed storage methods for smaller farm-
ers involve storage under the bed, or in baskets or
seed crates stacked in a room, sometimes near the
kitchen fire. Larger farmers who tend to store their
potatoes in multipurpose storage buildings, often
leave them in crates in dark areas. In two-story houses,
potatoes are sometimes stored in attics where temper-
atures are high. Farmers complain that potato losses
were high-especially due to rats-when seed is stored
in boxes. Additional losses result from excessive
sprouting, tuber moth, mealy bugs, and soft rot.
During storage periods for which diffused light
storage replaces existing practices, surveyed farmers
report a 20% reduction in storage losses. Farmers also
pointed out that excessive sprouting was reduced and
management became easier because insects could be
more easily monitored and rotting tubers could be
quickly discarded.

f Figure 1.

seed Badulla District


Figure 2.
Imported Badulla District
seed Post-1979

1 _

Interviewing farmers on their reasons for acceptance or rejec-
tion of the diffused light storage idea.

Changes in Cropping Patterns
Two changes have begun to occur as a result of
introducing diffused light storage. First, with early
availability of diffused light storage seed for an
October planting, the harvest can be completed by
January 25, leaving open a period of 8 to 9 months,
in the highlands for cultivating another crop such
as a rotation with potatoes. Second, use of diffused
light storage makes it possible for farmers to store
seed potatoes harvested from well-drained paddy
slopes for a new March planting.

Reduction in Seed Imports
Sri Lanka spends more than a million dollars
annually to import seed potatoes. Use of diffused
light storage and increased local seed production is
permitting a reduction in seed imports and savings in
foreign exchange.

Prestige for National Potato Program and Extension
A survey of extension workers from the potato
producing zones revealed that 75% feel that introduc-
tion of diffused light storage has been the most suc-
cessful research-extension effort with any crop in the
past 5 years. The government has officially recognized
the importance of post-harvest technology, and
government financing for building stores is expected
in 1984.

Conclusions and Future Research Directions
The Sri Lankan case illustrates that changes in seed
systems and storage can have marked and unexpected
consequences for production not only of potatoes
but other crops. It also shows that successful post-
harvest projects can bring other benefits in addition
to cutting losses.
The ultimate impact of DLS in Sri Lanka depends
on availability and consumption of potatoes. At this
early stage it is impossible to measure availability
and consumption changes resulting from use of new
storage methods. However, consider a few specula-
In Sri Lanka, the cost of seed in Nuwara Eliya and
Badulla is between 40% and 50% of the total cost of
production. Diffused light storage allows substitution
of own seed for purchased seed thereby reducing seed
cost per hectare. Furthermore, diffused light storage
allows planting at optimal times leading to increased
yields. These two effects should result in reduced costs
and prices per kilogram, and increased consumption.
In regard to the latter, Sri Lankan economists
believe that low-income potato consumers restrict
their consumption to those months when prices are
low, and estimate that the price elasticity of demand
for potatoes is 1.2. This implies that a 10% price
reduction would result in a 12% increase in con-
sumption. Thus it can be concluded that a decrease
in average prices (or leveling of prices) will stimulate
greater potato consumption, especially by low-income
Further research is needed to measure precisely the
impact on consumption made possible by lower pro-
duction costs. Monitoring of the technology is also
necessary to determine its consequences in terms of
welfare and nutrition.
As a link between season, production zones, farm-
ers, merchants, and consumers, seed storage plays
many roles in farming systems, and positive changes
can have far-reaching benefits. Finally, the Sri Lankan
case shows how international centers, national research
programs, and extension can coordinate in providing
practical solutions to farmers problems.E

This account which is adapted from Potatoes
for the Developing World: A Collaborative
Experience (CIP) is based on Rhoades, R.
1984). Changing a Post-Harvest System: Impact
of Diffused Light Potato Stores in Sri Lanka.
Social Science Department Working Paper
1984-1. International Potato Center, Aptdo.
5969, Lima, Peru. Copies of the detailed study
can be ordered free of charge from R. Rhoades
at the above address.

FSR Gains a Foothold in the Gambia

Sandra L. Russo1 and Neil A. Patrick2

In early February, 1981, a contract
was signed between The Consortium
for International Development, Tuc-
son, Arizona and the Government of
The Gambia, to institute the Mixed
Farming and Resource Management
Project in The Gambia. The purpose
of the project was stated, in the con-
tract, to be: "To promote the inten-
sification and integration of crop and
livestock production within existing
Gambian farming systems in order to
increase net rural family incomes on
an ecologically sound and sustained
yield basis". Expatriate staff began to
arrive in May 1981, Gambian counter-
parts were assigned and field work
began with the 1981 rainy season.
Early discussions focused the
project on large and small ruminants.
Efforts were to be aimed at improving
the nutrition and management of
cattle, sheep and goats. Management
systems and plant introductions were
tested to improve the productivity of
native range lands. Harvesting, storage
and selective feeding of crop residues
were tested to improve dry season
nutrition for cattle. Maize was intro-
duced as a field crop' to provide a
feed grain and harvestable stover for
By early 1984, several trials had
moved to the demonstration stage

1. Sandra L. Russo, Forage Agronomist
2. Neil A. Patrick, Agricultural Economist,
CSU/CID Mixed Farming Project, The

with the "maize package" indicating
the most significant progress. Maize
had caught on primarily due to its
acceptance for human consumption
in the form of maize flour. Maize
Growers Associations had been organ-
ized in three of Gambia's five political
divisions, and over 15,000 hectares
of maize was planned by farmers in
1984. On-farm trials were being plan-
ned by project staff which would in-
tegrate the several aspects of tested
interventions at two village sites.
It is noted that although the Mixed
Farming Project (MFP) was not
originally designed to employ the
Farming Systems Research metho-
dology, many aspects of FSR had
been utilized in carrying out the
activities. Due to efforts by USAID
staff and MFP project administra-
tors, an FSR workshop was conducted
in The Gambia by FSSP in mid-March,
1984 (See FSSP Newsletter, Vol. 2,
No. 2, Second Quarter 1984: Gam-
bia Workshop Highlights). Selected
individuals from several West African
countries participated in the work-
shop as well as expatriates working in
The Gambia and Gambian Ministry
of Agriculture staff. The general
reaction of workshop participants
was very positive. In fact, several
Gambian Ministry of Agriculture
staff were impressed to the point of
suggesting that agricultural research
in their country cbnvert to FSR as
soon as possible. The "Sondeo"
conducted in the village of Medina

Umfally was the subject of consid-
erable positive discussion. Most par-
ticipants were impressed by the
useful information that could be ob-
tained by an informal, but organized,
survey exercise. The content of the
workshop was an overview of the
entire FSR process including: the
evolution of FSR, the structure and
objectives of the FSR team, the
process of delineating a farming
system, principles for defining homo-
geneous groups of farmers, use of
secondary data to develop an infor-
mational base, conducting a"Sondeo"
establishing intervention/research
priorities, objectives, design and ex-
perimental methods of on-farm re-
search, dissemination of results and
policy and institutional implications.
One week of the workshop was held
up-country at a rural training center,
the last two day's meetings were held
in the capital.
The workshop experience had an
almost immediate impact on the
Mixed Farming and Resource Man-
agement Project. It was decided that
before the integrated program was
begun in the villages of Boiram and
Piniai2, an informal reconnaissance
survey would be made in each. The
purpose of this effort-would be to
SIt is noted that maize had been grown for some
time as a garden (or compound) crop and con-
sumed primarily in immature stages by people.
21n actuality, the Boiram site included the
villages of Boiram and Njoben and the Piniai
site, the villages of Piniai and Choya. Single
names are used for simplicity.

develop a more complete and up-to-
date informational base regarding the
two sites. Since research had been
accomplished in these villages by
individual scientists in past years,
considerable information was already
at hand. Meetings were held at the
project headquarters to share this
information with all who would be.
participating in the survey. Three
teams were identified each using
existing staff, as far as possible,
including an animal scientist, an
agronomist and a social scientist.
A list of questions was prepared to
be used as a guide for the teams
in conducting the interviews. Each
team included at least one Gambian
scientist and one of the project
enumerators was assigned to each
team to act as translator3.
The farmers to be interviewed
were selected at random from lists
provided by the village elders. Cer-
tain village leaders were also to be
interviewed for diplomatic reasons.
Four village leaders were identified
at Piniai and two at Boiram. A total
of five farmers and their wives in-
terviewed by each team in Piniai
and six in Boiram. The survey took
two days in each village. At the end
of the first day, in each village, a
staff meeting was held to discuss
and compare findings. At the con-
clusion each team was asked to
prepare a short written report con-
cerning each village.
Complete findings of the recon-
naissance survey will not be given
here. A few will be discussed since
they were determined to have direct
or potential impact on the integrated
1. It was determined that the past
three years of drought had depleted
the cash reserves of the farmers to
a point where the purchase of
fertilizer required by the maize
package was highly unlikely. This
was especially evident in Piniai
where credit was doubtful due to
the failure to repay past loans.
3 It was considered necessary to include a trans-
lator even though each team included a Gambian.
This would allow the Gambian Scientist to
participate in the interview without having the
added responsibility of translating.

Success of the maize component
of the integrated program without
fertilizer was in serious doubt.
2. The farmers at Boiram were involv-
ed in the first season of an irrigated
rice project. Due to some misun-
derstandings with the rice project
management, many of the farmers
had not planted their rice by the
time of the survey, but planned to
do so over the succeeding few
weeks. This would place rice har-
vest in late July and early August
when the rainfed cereals would
require weeding and the second
application of fertilizer. The possi-
bility existed that harvest of rice
would take precedence over timely
weeding and fertilization.
3. It became obvious that the major-
ity of cattle are owned by only a
few farmers. Most farmers owned
only one or two. On the other
hand, almost all farmers (male
and female) owned small rumi-
nants. Project activities over the
first three years had almost ex-
clusively dealt with cattle, and
with the Livestock Owners Associ-
ations, composed primarily of
large cattle owners.
4. Cropping practices at Boiram in-
clude very little land allocated to
fallow. One of the interventions
planned for the integrated pro-
gram was to plant fallow land to
an annual legume to provide
additional dry season forage and
improve soil fertility.
Obviously adjustments were neces-
sary in order to improve the probabil-
ity of success of the integrated pro-
1. The Food and Agricultural Organi-
zation (FAO) had been attempting
to institute a fertilizer credit pro-
gram based on groups of 10 farm-
ers, each planting 1 ha. of maize.
The program consisted of provid-
ing fertilizer on credit for the first
year with repayment over a five
year period, but requiring that the
succeeding years' fertilizer needs
be paid for in advance at harvest
time. For several reasons FAO had
experienced considerable opposi-

tion to this plan within the
Government. Through efforts of
project staff, working with FAO
and the Ministry of Agriculture
staff, agreement was reached to
test a modified plan on six groups
of 10 farmers each in the Piniai
and Boiram villages. Farmers were
found to be very receptive to the
concept. FAO, also in conjunction
with MFP staff, supplied fertilizer
for 100 women's societies to assist
in their maize growing projects.
2. Additional encouragement was
planned for those farmers who
were involved in late planted rice
and rainfed maize regarding timely
weeding and fertilization. A unit
of an improved design cultivator
previously planned for testing at
other villages sites, was placed in
each village of Piniai and Boiram.
One farmer in each village was
trained in its use for planting and
weeding, and was expected to
train other farmers in its use.
3. Plans were expedited to bring a
short-term consultant to Gambia
to develop a research program for
small ruminants, with emphasis on
women farmers, the primary own-
ers of sheep and goats. The con-
sultant arrived in late June, 1984.
4. At Boriam, three alternatives were
chosen as means for planting an
annual legume: In a protected
range area; in areas where animals
are bedded and the seed can be
trampled to cover; and as an inter-
crop with maize. Animals are
herded out of the area late in the
rainy season and not returned
until December or January, after
crops are harvested. By this time,
the legume should be established
and ready for grazing.
In summary, the Sondeo provided
the project with a more farmer-direct
focus for the village programs as well
as integrating individual staff efforts
toward a more cohesive program
effort. The value of quick, informal
reconnaissance survey was effectively
demonstrated in The Gambia and
could well become an integral part
of development strategy elsewhere.1

Case Study Series Marks Joint Venture:

"Intra-Household Dynamics in

Farming Systems Research and Extension"

The FSSP and the Population
Council have agreed to co-sponsor the
development of a series of case studies
in "Intra-Household Dynamics in
Farming Systems Research and Ex-
tension," assisted by a grant from
the Ford Foundation. The cases detail
several examples of agricultural pro-
duction under conditions of change
and demonstrate how and what data
on household systems and access to
resources, by different members of a
household, relates to various decision
points in FSR.
The case studies will be prepared
with several audiences in mind: prac-
titioners and administrators of FSR/E
projects receiving training in develop-
ing countries, technical advisors
receiving orientation before their
assignments, universities and con-
sulting firms doing teaching and
research and providing technical
assistance, rural and agricultural
development staffs of USAID and
other donor agencies.
A number of studies have shown
that the different roles of household
members in producing food income
and other household requirements
and the household stage in its life-
cycle directly affect the farming
system of which these are a part. An
assumption of a unitary household
with members having equal access to
resources and benefits without regard
for gender, lifecycle and seasons is
often an inaccurate basis for predict-
ing farm-level constraints and oppor-
tunities for improving agricultural
production. This may be particularly
true for resource-poor farm house-
holds which engage in multiple enter-

prises competing for labor and capital
over the course of the year. The
interaction of farming and household
systems is influenced by many factors,
O Male or female headed households.
What proportion of farming house-
holds are headed by women? Are
the female heads of households
de jure and fully responsible for
decision making or de facto, in
the temporary absence of males,
often with restricted decision mak-
ing ability?
O Access to land, labor, capital. For
example, in a given area fields may
be husband owned, wife owned,
communally owned, or a mixture
of these differing by purpose of
output e.g. different markets, cash,
home food requirements. This can
directly relate to commodities
grown and cropping patterns, soil
fertility, and labor requirements
and availability.
O Cultural assignment of specific
tasks in agricultural production
affecting the flexibility and ex-
changability of labor. For example,
the easing of labor demand and
increase in cropping area made
possible by mechanized plowing,
often done by men, may result in
a doubling of another task, such as
harvesting and storage, frequently
done by women. This may be
beyond the capacity of available
"female labor" and become a new
production constraint, or time for
increased harvesting may compete
with other important tasks. Season-
ality of respective tasks is an im-

portant consideration in predicting
labor availability. The impact of
male or female off-farm labor on
labor availability and cash resources
for the farm must also be examined.
O Incentive structures related to the
benefit flows from different enter-
prises. Dr. Christine Jones has
shown how the presumed available
household labor in a rice produc-
tion scheme in Cameroon did not
materialize as women chose to work
on own fields meeting home food
and own cash needs over rice fields
from which proceeds were retain-
ed by men.
O Access and use of other resources.
Examples include large and small
livestock and their products for
sale or home consumption, trees
for firewood or product, water for
domestic or agricultural use, ma-
nure for fuel or fertilizer.
There is little material available
for training or study which synthe-
sizes the insights provided by under-
standing household systems with the
data requirements and objectives of
farming systems research. A goal of
the case studies series is to contri-
bute to such a synthesis. In a tech-
nical paper directed to this project,
Dr. Cornelia Butler Flora hasdiscussed
the relationship of household sub-
systems and gender differences to
FSR/E. There are several decision
points in FSR/E: designation of
target areas or research domains,
problem identification and develop-
ment of a research base, planning of
on-farm trials, on-farm research and
analysis, extension of results, and
evaluation of farming systems research

and extension activity. At each point,
an understanding of household sub-
systems, particularly as they are
affected by gender and generation,
should provide wider alternatives and
clearer choices for introducing im-
proved agricultural technologies.
The demands on practitioners to
collect relevant data in farming
systems research are considerable.
The disaggregation of such data by
gender or life cycle stage is not in-
tended to produce solutions tailored
to each household, but to make clear
the choices and trade-offs faced by
all farmers at each step in the pro-
duction cycle and thereby improve
the targeting of research and agri-
cultural improvements. Another ob-

jective of the case studies series is
to help practitioners define the
minimum amount of information
required to contribute usefully to
such decisions.
A six-member Advisory Commit-
te, with exemplary credentials in
agronomic and social science research,
will determine the scope of the series,
criteria and routes for requesting
proposals, format and cases selected.
They will be seeking good documen-
tation of FSR/E projects coupled
with materials (dissertations, project
papers, etc.) providing data on intra-
household dynamics or specifically
exploring the roles of women and
men or stages of the household life
cycle in agricultural production. The

series managing editor and selected
members of the Advisory Committee
or other appropriate advisors will
provide editorial assistance for indi-
viduals to develop the case studies.
Managers of the case study series,
on behalf of their respective organi-
zations are Susan Poats of FSSP and
Judith Bruce of the Population
Council. Managing Editor is Hilary
Sims Feldstein who has been a pro-
gram officer with the Ford Founda-
tion, has worked in rural development
in the U.S. and Kenya and with case
studies at Harvard and the Population
Council. Hilary Feldstein may be
contacted for more details by mail:
RFD 1, Box 821, Hancock, NH
03449, or by phone: (603) 525-3772.1

The Cooperating Farmer

Lee Roy Gillespie

The cooperating farmers is a think-
ing human being. He knows the
characteristics of his land better than
the technician; he has worked it for
many years. He is proud, has self-
esteem. He is pragmatic: if he invests
in his land he expectstangible results,
so much the better if obtained in the
short-run. He keeps using "wrong"
practices in which he believes in
although it may be difficult to
determine the source of his beliefs.
He is sure to obtain better results
than the researcher if both use
limited resources. He interprets the
phases of the moon to perform
various activities in the course of the
cropping cycle. To be polite, he may

assert understanding what he has not
understood. He is interested, more
than anything else, in his current
crop or crops growing in the field.
He wants to show us how much he
knows, and he knows a lot. He likes
to ride in cars. He doesn't bother
talking about things that do not
related to agriculture. His income and
education are low, etc.
For these and other reasons:
1. Let us try not to be wrong
either in or beyond his pres-
2. We must not lie to him.
3. Let us be punctual.
4. We must respect his points of

Graduate Program Offers Assistance

The Department of Anthropology,
University of Kentucky, has available
research or teaching assistantships
for graduate students interested in
food policy, in either the domestic
or international arenas. Ph.D. level
training will consist of some combin-
ation of: nutritional anthropology,
human biology, agricultural anthro-
pology, development sociology, and
applied medical sociology or anthro-
pology. Research opportunities exist

in settings such as a teaching hos-
pital, state and local health depart-
ments, and on-going agricultural,
nutritional and food policy projects
in Kentucky, Latin America and
East Africa.
For further information and appli-
cation materials contact Dr. Billie
R. DeWalt, Director of Applied
Studies, Department of Anthropol-
ogy, University of Kentucky, Lex-
ington, Kentucky 40506. 1

5. Let us not take advantage of his
carelessness or ignorance.
6. We must talk less and prove
7. Let us make him a participant
in our activities and our plan-
8. We should repeat what he has
not understood. until he really
9. Let us treat him as a friend.
10. He has a great deal to teach. Let
us learn from him.E

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 $1,489.50, or 37.2
cents per copy, to provide information
on farming systems research, extension
and program administration.

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