Agricultural research and extension...
 Call for papers - 1986 farming...
 Rapid rural appraisal and...
 On-farm research: Organized community...
 Agronomic and sociological interaction...
 Useful publications available

Title: Farming Systems Support Project newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071908/00011
 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: VID00011
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
    Agricultural research and extension in francophone West Africa
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Call for papers - 1986 farming systems symposium
        Page 3
    Rapid rural appraisal and FSR/E
        Page 4
        Page 5
    On-farm research: Organized community adaptation learning and diffusion for efficient agricultural technology innovation
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Agronomic and sociological interaction in field research
        Page 10
    Useful publications available
        Page 11
        Page 12
Full Text

MMNO.r Fowr
)Uwtw. 1985

S-rm Faming Systems Support Project Newletto

Agricultural Research and Extension in
Francophone West Africa'
Donald C. Pickering"

Clearly a gap exists in communica-
tions between researchers, developers
and farmers. This is a common prob-
lem in many countries and one that
is increasingly being recognized. It
formed the central theme of regional
workshops organized primarily for
senior research and extension man-
agers by the World Bank.in Indonesia
in 1984, and in Ivory Coast earlier
'this year. Their findings, which are
0o be published shortly, included a
broad consensus on four major points
and a number of key specific common
issues upon which I propose to dwell
briefly. The four points are:
First, in order to develop genuinely
substantive linkages between agricul-
tural research and extension, there
must be increased emphasis upon
on-farm research, with special atten-
tion to feedback from extension staff
and farmers. Such feedback is essential
to complement more conventional
programs of experimentation in agri-
cultural research stations which, in
the past, have been confined separ-
ately to individual crops and live.
stock, and which have taken too little
account of the economic, social and
cultural conditions of the people.
For without the support and under-
standing of the people who do the
farming, the recommendations of
Adapted and excerpted from the author's die-
cussion of a paper on Agricultural Re earh and
"xtemnion in Francophone West Africa, The
-Jnegal Experience, presented at the Farming
Systamn Research Symposium, Kansa State
University, October 14. 198.
"*Assstnt Director, Agriculture and Rural
development, The World Bank, Wahington,

such programs are unlikely to be
Second, this increased emphasis
must, if it is to be effective, be
accompanied by greater interdisci-
plinary collaboration among resear-
chers and between the researchers,
farmers and extension staff working
in the field. The participation in
on-farm research of extensionists-
whether they are at the village or
district level, or work as subject
matter specialists-and of the man-
agers of research units at all levels,
is a sine qua non.
Third, it follows that all agricul-
tural institutions, policies and pro-
cedures must be more responsive
to the interests and needs of all
farmers, and particularly to the vast
majority of small farmers, whilst
being at the same time responsive
to national economic development
goals. I am convinced that these
two requirements can be mutually
Finally, managementofthe linking
processes is of the essence. Whether
of research or extension, it must be
alert, dynamic, to responsive local
and national needs, and above all,
aware of the interdependence that
surely exists between the farming
population, the staff of the exten-
sion system, and the researchers
who support them, and who depend
to a large extent on farmers and
extension staff for guidance as to
what needs to be done.
These are only four points, but
a wider range of specific issues is

involved, of varying importance in
different country and agroecological
situations. Such key specific but
common issues, upon which it is
possible to generalize include:
O The role of farming systems
research (FSR) and diagnostic
surveys in improving the iden-
tification of the problems faced
by farmers in their search for
enhanced productivity.
O The development of farmer
participation at all stages so as
to promote continuous back
and forth communication in
the system.
O The need to take full account
of technical, economic socio-
cultural, farm management, and
institutional/policy considera-
tions in the design and imple-
mentation of both research and
extension programs.
I have selected these issues, from
many others, because of their per-
ceived pivotal impact on the success
or failure of research and extension
programs and because of their rele-
vance to the topic under discussion.

Role of Farming Systems Research
The ultimate objective of farming
systems research, indeed that of any
adaptive agricultural research that
seeks to generate new technologies
is to increase farm and farmer pro-
ductivity and thereby farm and
farmer income. Because production
problems are manifold in any farm-

ng systems wherever it is practised,
chey must be prioritized according
to their consequences on constrain-
ing productivity in the particular
system. They must also be prioritized
according to their potential for
solution, and a judgment has then
to be made on the basis of these two
criteria for the allocation of resources
for addressing them. Such prioriti-
zation can only be developed real-
istically by a systematic approach to
determining and defining the prob-
lems as they affect the farmer and
his farming system. A first step
therefore is to develop and subse-
quently to apply a methodology
that will meet these needs. While
farming systems research-can mean
different things to different people,
if it is to be relevant it must generate
findings that when applied, wig result
in increased productivity on, and
increased income from, the farm.
Such findings depend at the outset
on an accurate assessment of the
problems to be investigated. In other
words, before any agro-technical
research is contemplated, the farming
systems extant in particular ecological
and socio-economic situations must
be identified. It means that a diagnosis
must be made of the particular
characteristics of the systems, of the
inter-relations between key factors
that shape them, and of the con-
straints that prevent them from
optimizing their potential benefits.
Such diagnostic surveys must be
concerned therefore not only with
technical considerations but also,
and often more importantly, with
the impact of socio-cultural and
economic factors on the system
as practised at the farm level. It
follows then that a multi-disciplinary
approach, comprising agronomic, and
possibly animal production research
skills, together with the skills of a
socially oriented farm economist, is
essential if the survey is to be mean-
ingful. The farm economist in partic-
ular must investigate and evaluate
how and why the farmer takes the
decision to allocate his land, labor and
other resources to different crops,
livestock and off-farm activities in
order to satisfy family priorities by
his management of the major factors

of production in the ecological and
economic environments of his hold-
ings. In this regard, a correct percep-
tion of the sociology of the farm
family is imperative, and the analysis
of the sociological as well as the
economic characteristics of the farm
unit must be part and parcel of FSR
Having established the technical
problems and apparently poor tech-
nical practices that characterize the
system, the team must establish
their causes and decide the extent
to which they are susceptible to solu-
tion. Thereafter, the inventory of
existing technical and socio-economic
interventions must be studied to
establish the extent to which possibly
relevant technology, already develop-
ed on research station exists for
subsequent testing on-farm. The
primary function of such on-farm
trials, carried out with assistance
from the extension service and with
active participation by the farmers
themselves, is to validate the appli-
cability of research station results to
farmers' conditions and to feed back
to the research station information
on the relevance of the technology.
Where the technology is not relevant
there will be need for minor, or
perhaps major, adjustments to meet
the conditions of the client farmers
in the system. Thus, a two-way
mechanism is established to enable
the research system, effectivley linked
with the farmer via the extension
system, to be continuously and
adequately responsive to the circum-
stances on the farm.
In situations where no apparently
relevant technology exists but where
there are prospects for its develop-
ment, it is incumbent on researchers
to design programs aimed at solving
the problems identified for initial
investigation under the tightly con-
trolled conditions of the research
station, and subsequently to verify
their results on farmers' fields as
described earlier.
Development of Farmer
There is no question that farmer
participation is essential if two-way
lines of communication between

research and agricultural practice ar
to be established and maintained. A
the present time in most countries
farmers' participation in the identi
fiction and subsequent follow-up'
production problems is inadequate
to a greater or lesser extent And,
because agricultural production, an
therefore its problems, is dynamic
for any one of a number of reasons
such participation must perforce b
an iterative process.
Farmer participation is important
at all phases: prior to generating ne
technology; during the .diagnostic
phase of on-farm research, during tl
testing process on-farm, and perhaps
even on the research station itself;
certainly in the demonstration phase
and in evaluating acceptability, wh(
taking account of technical, social,
economic, cultural and institutions
Farmers selected as contacts for
extension agents obviously need tc
be willing and active participants bt
they must also represent the differer
major strata within the farming por
ulation of the area. Depending on
the nature of local social organization.
and other conditions such contact
may be either individuals or groups.
provided they fulfill the criterion o,'
willingness and are representative o*
the farming population to which the
belong. Nor should it be forgotten
that in many countries women play
an active if not a major role in farm
ing operations and therefore have
much to contribute in feedback or
all phases of the research and exten
sion process.
Farmer participation is so impoi
tantto the successful implementatic
of research and extension program
that care must be taken to ensure thi
those selected recognize the impoi
tance of their task. Accountability
their constituents should be realize
and fostered, as for example by the
use aryl dissemination of records o
their contributions at meetings the
attend with research and extension
workers. From the other perspective
that of responsiveness of research
and extension workers to problem
posed by farmers-there is much\,
be said for the maintenance of record
of such problems, to enable farmer

i draw attention to outstanding
sues that continue to require re-
,arch or extension action.
In my opinion, attention must be
wn to the need, where research
id extension systems are operating
ith a reasonable degree of harmony
id even more where this desirable
ate of affairs has yetto be achieved,
)r all concerned to recognize that
conditions are dynamic, subject to
Jite rapid change and that systems
lust be responsive to both internal
id external stimuli.
In general terms, this is nowhere
lore apparent than the need to move
*om consideration of primarily tech-
ical problems of single commodities
)wards concurrent considerations of
le entire farm enterprise and the
interaction of its components. At the
ime time, and almost by definition,
)cus on the entire farm enterprise
ails for significantly increased atten-
on to both economic and sociolog-
:al aspects in the design and imple-
ientation of research and extension
systems and their intimate linkages.

This broadening of perspectives
requires that constraints in funding,
manpower, and facilities for planning
and implementation of both research
and extension systems call for a
recognition of the need for a strict
ordering of priorities. Such priorities
must take account of national devel-
opment goals just as realistic national
development goals must take account
of what is technically, economically
and socially feasible in the agricul-
tural sector.
It mustbe recognized that complex
policy and administrative steps often
with far reaching implications outside
the agricultural sector, may well be
needed to effect even simple pro-
cedural and institutional changes. In
many countries there are apparently
contradictory policies, such as the
tendency for budget allocations for
research or extension to be cut
despite apparent broad national
agreement about the importance of
agricultural development as a national
goal. Similarly there are often ad-
minsitrative difficulties in ensuring

that there is no conflict between
national goals and local or regional
development efforts in executing
research and extension strategies.
Finally, and to return to my
earlier point, there are grounds for
promoting and improving under-
standing at the highest levels of
government of the role of extension
and research and their relationships
in national agricultural policy for-
mulations. Such understanding re-
quires among other things the
recognition that universities and
other centers of learning have a
much wider set of functions than
the mere granting of degrees and
diplomas and that the performance
of these functions is of pivotal im-
portance to improved institutional
linkages and hence performance of
research and extension in meeting
national development goals.l

The views presented in this paper represent
those of the author and not necessarily
those of the World Bank.

Call for Papers 1986 Farming Systems Symposium

The Sixth Annual Farming System
research and Extension Symposium
'ill be held at Kansas State Univer-
ty in Manhattan, Kansas October
-8, 1986. The Symposium is spon-
)red by International Agricultural
programs, Kansas State University
nd the Farming.Systems Support
project. (It will be followed by the
annual Meeting of the Farming Sys-
2ms Support Project, October 9-10).
he theme for the Symposium is
Farming Systems Rsearch and
extension: Food and Feed". Simul-
sneous translation into French and
panish will be provided.
The goal of the Symposium isto
eal with practitioner field problems
nd emerging issues in farming sys-
mns research and extension, re-
:onding to major issues that have
een identified in past symposia and
-ough contact with practitioners
round the world. Sessions will be
organized around crop-animal link-
ges in farming systems research and

extension, and commodity research
linkages to FSR. Within these two
basic themes, sessions will be organ-
ized around a) the farming system
research-extension linkage, b) farmer
participation at all the stages of
farming systems research and exten-
sion; and c) consumption/nutrition
Special consideration will be given
to papers with address experimental
designs that include a growing recog-
nition of the different constraints in
farming systems (sometimes referred
to as sequential experimental designs)
in an FSR/E field situation. It is
hoped that the papers will be based
on concrete field experience around
the world. (In reporting on-farm
trials, authors should attempt to
include the minimum data set
identified by the FSSP). Other
topics may be considered as the
sessions develop. Both oral and poster
sessions will be encouraged. Poster
sessions will be organized by topic

with discussants. Poster and oral
presenters both may submit papers
to be considered for the referred
volume to be published from the

Abstracts for consideration for
both the paper session and the
poster session are due May 5,
1986. They should be sent to:
Dr. Cornelia Butler Flora,
Department of Sociology,
Waters Hall, Kansas State
University, Manhattan, Kansas
66506 U.S.A. Papers are due
September 1, 1986.

Guidelines for paper sessions, includ-
ing non-sexist and non-racist language,
and suggestions for slide, overhead and
poster session preparation will be sent
to each presenter. Limited funding for
travel for overseas participants will be
available on a competitive basis; par-
ticipants are urged to seek their own

Rapid Rural Appraisal and FSR/E

An Opportunity for Comment

and Contribution

Khon Keen University in Khon Kaen, Thailand,
hosted a 4-day workshop between September 2-5
on the uses and status of rapid rural appraisal (RRA).
The workshop was funded by the Ford Foundation,
and Drs. Terry and Somluckrat Grandstaff are to be
commended for the outstanding organization of the
workshop. As always in Thailand, participant needs
were fully met by the sponsor, the organizers, the
facilitators and the support staff of Khon Kaen
University and the Khon Keen Hotel.
Some 15 resource persons joined more than 50
participants in the workshop. The workshop con-
sisted of presentations, small workshops, informal
discussions, and concurrent afternoon field trips.
Workshop Highlights
Major presentations were given by the Grandstaffs,
Drs. Robert Chambers, Gordon Conway, Robert
Rhoades, Chris Gibbs and Neil Jamieson. In addition,
the use of RRA in the FSR/E approach was addres-
ed by Drs. James Beebe and Dan Gait. The Jamieson
presentation addressed paradigm shifts in socio-
economic diagnostic research. The Chambers and
Rhoades presentations were rich in personal experi-
ences, containing many examples of the advantages
of RRA over traditional survey-based diagnosis. The
Conway presentation on synthesis of secondary
data accumulation, while using RRA to identify
key constraints at the village level with explicit
villager participation, was very enlightening.
In addition, workgroups were arranged around
many topics. Some of the topics discussed were (1)
guidelines for users of RRA, (2) use of RRA in
FSR/E and agroecosystems research, and (3) training
in the use of RRA. Emphasis throughout the week
was.on farmer participation in all phases of RRA.
This tone was set initially by Chambers, and rein-
forced by Rhoades' presentation of "farmer-back-
to-farmer" research based on CIP experience with
worldwide potato storage.
In terms of FSR/E it was pointed out that RRA, or
a sondeo, is the key initial activity of any research
team (following the gathering of available, relevant
secondary data and selection of a geographic area of
focus). The FSR/E approach focuses on resource-poor
farmers (small to medium sized holdings) and later
synthesizes the predominant farmer-identified prob-
lems and constraints on their farm systems.

Lessons Learned
By the end of the workshop, the small work group
on RRA in FSR/E had identified several possible
additional entry points for RRA activities in the
overall FSR/E process. The method was to identify
the current stages of FSR/E, then list the current
diagnostic or monitoring tools used at each stage.
Since time was viewed as the dominant constraint
of field practitioners of FSR/E, the next question
was, "is a short-cut tool needed"? If the answer was
"yes", the key concept which guided the small work
group was the identification of short-cut measures
of equal reliability with those in current common
use. After listing current diagnostic and monitoring
tools, the group graded them as follows: (1) satisfac-
tory as is, (2) underemphasized, or (3) either having
not been developed or not having been applied in the
FSR/E process. A summary of this activity of the
small work group is provided (Table 1).
The work group also posed several questions for
1. Is the range of diagnostic and monitoring tools
used in FSR/E adequately represented by the
work group (refer to Table 1)?
2. If not, which tool, at what stage, has been left
out of the process?
3. Is there experience directly comparing results
from two or more different tools listed in Table
1 for any given stage of the FSR/E process?
4. If so, which tool was preferred and why?
5. Can this experience contribute to the develop-
ment of short guidelines to assist FSR/E prac-
titioners with one of the new uses of R RA in
the FSR process?
6. If so, which one?
Let us hear from you. Address your comments or
replys to the Summary of the work group on RRA in
FSR/E, and to the above questions for practitioners,
Dan Gait
IFAS/International Programs
RRA Comments
3028 McCarty Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611

Table 1


Year in
FSR Process

FSR Stag

Tool(s) in
Current Use

Short-cut Short-cut Tools Identified or
Needed Suggestons for Improvement

Prn-design and
site description

Identify relevant
indigenous technical
Continue site


Testing (Explor-
atory trials)

a) production
b) economic

c) social
(Refinement trials)
Testing (Valida-
tion trial

Preproduction test-
ing (dilbmination)
Production testing

1) Secondary information
2) RRA
3) Formal survey
1) Core studWe based
on RRA

1) Formal monitoring
2) Follow up surveys
3) Household records

4) Informal observation
1) Team discussions and

1) Monitoring (plot level

2) Modified stability
analysis (MSA)
1) Marginal benefit/cost

2) MSA
3) Whole farm LP
1) Informal observation

See "Design"
Sea "Testing"

1) Monitor
a) agronomic & social
acceptability of
b) ecological am adapta-
bilty (appropriateness)
of technology
1) Monitoring of feasibility
of technology forarea
1) Monitoring of feasibility
of technology and sup-
porting infrastructure/



Too and suggestom: Use RRA to..
"fine tune" survey and shorten

Tool: RRA
Tool: RRA
Suggestion: Examine inputs-
outputs in selected crop/livestock
Tool: RRA

No Suggestion: more emphasis on
objectives and documenting tam
trial design process
Tool: RRA may be useful
Suggestion: short-cuts in field plot
monitoring are always welcome
Yes Tool: use MSA
No Suggesdon: more approaches
should use MSA
? Suggestion: more use should be
made of forthcoming revised
CIMMYT manual (Perrin, at al.)
No Suggastion: more approach
should use MSA
S Suggstion: too complex and
time-consuming for most
Yes Tool: use RRA
Suggestion: formalize farmnners
evaluation criteria

Place more emphasis on farmers'
evaluation criteria





Tool: RRA for farmer reaction
included yield comparison
Tool: develop RRA based on
larger region needs

Tool: develop RRA to addressall
production imues in area
Tool: develop R RA for final eval-
uation and diffusion assessment

(This Summry list is th joint product of RRA workshop prticipats N. Bhasyavan, P.
A. Patanotht and S. Subhadhira)

1-2-3, et.
2,3, etc.


Chkelpong, D. Gelt N. Lavak K. McKay,

On-Farm Research: Organized Community Adaptation
Learning and Diffusion for Efficient Agricultural
Technology Innovation'

Peter E. Hildebrand2

Thirty years ago rural sociologists in the United
States talked about innovators, early adopters, late
adopters, and non-adopters of improved agricultural
technology (Bohlen and Beal, 1957; Rogers, 1962).
Innovators were the ones who adapted technology
to community conditions and they, along with early
adopters, tended to be the primary beneficiaries of
this technology. Late adopters benefited very little
while non-adopters usually were affected negatively
and were considered as laggards who failed to recog-
nize the benefits of modernizing by adopting im-
proved technology. Researchers and extension agents
studied the characteristics of the innovators and early
adopters, and tended to translate these characteristics
into model users of the products and services of agri-
cultural research and extension institutions. This
philosophy has directed technology development
more and more toward innovators and early adopters.
At the same time, many who were late adopters and
non-adopters have left farming and been absorbed
into industrial and urban life.
The environment for agricultural development in
the United States in the 1950s and 1960s created the
"pro-innovation bias" (Rogers, 1983). This bias was
based on the thought that new technology is good
and should be adopted. The fact that new technology
might not be adoptable by all farmers was seldom
considered. That even the "better" farmers might
need to adapt the new technologies to their specific
conditions was given some consideration. But em-
phasis was placed on developing "improved" tech-
nology and then selling or diffusing the technology
to "enlightened", "successful" or "good" farmers.
The purpose of this paper is to argue that the
methodologies of agricultural technology develop-
ment and dissemination through on-farm research
have now advanced to the point that they can be
blended into a highly efficient process that serves
most farming systems in a community simultaneously.
These methologies can improve the social distribution
of the benefits from public investment in agricultural
research and extension and at the same time improve
the efficiency of these activities.

'Adapted from a paper presented at the International Multiple Crop-
ping Systems Conference, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences,
Cosponsored by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science,
October 8-11, 1985, Nanjing, Peoples' Republic of China.
2Professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Floridr32611 USA.

Community adaptation, the adaptation or adjust-
ment of a new technology to the agro-socioeconomic
conditions of a community, is what Roger (1983)
calls "reinvention". In the past, adaptation of tech-
nology depended upon those farmers with better re-
sources and management skills. This process resulted
in technology better adapted to the resource and
management conditions found on the farms of those
innovators and early adopters. Late adopters, those
farmers who had management and other resources
somewhat different from the innovators and early
adopters, were forced into additional adaptation of
the technology to make it suitable for their less
favorable situations Non-adopters were comprised
of those whose management and other resources were
sufficiently different that the technology could not
be adapted to meet their conditions. Many high
yielding varieties (HYVs) of the Green Revolution of
the 1960s and 1970s, which produce superior yields
on good soils with abundant moisture, have been
disappointing, or even produce less than traditional
varieties on infertile or arid soils Modification of farm
conditions to meet the requirements of the HYVs
could not be achieved on many farms and hence
those farmers became the non-adopters and did not
benefit from his new technology.
At the same time that community adaptation of
technology is in progress, the community is also be-
coming familiar with or learning about the new
technology. This learning takes two forms One is
the hands-on or experiential learning of the innova-
tors or others using the technology. The second is
observational learning through information gained by
observation and other forms of study by those who
are not involved actively in the use of the technology
(Wake, 1984). A learning curve, as illustrated in
Figure 1, relates achievements toward reaching
potential results (such as potential yield from a new
technology) with numbers of attempts at using, or
experience with, the technology.
During the process of community adaptation,
adjustments in the technology (such as choosing a
subset of components, modifying levels of inputs
or making the technology more nearly conform to
community traditions) have the effect of facilitating
learning. Facilitated learning, making a new tech-

0 I 2 3 4 5 6

nology more familiar, simpler, or easier to learn to
use, shifts the learning curve to the left, Fig. 1. The
ultimate potential of the technology so adapted may
be lower than for the "maximum yield" or full
technological package as shown in the figure. The
opposite can also be true, but probably in fewer
Movement along the learning curve occurs with ex-
perience, but comparable movement can occur through
learning by observation. If a farmer begins to use the
technology after having learned about it first through
observation, it is also equivalent to a shift of the learn-
ing curve to the left, Fig. 2. If the potential of the
technology is unchanged, similar results are achieved
in a shorter period of time. The learning curve on the
right in Figure 2 could represent an earlier adopter
while the curve on the left could be that of a later
adopter who learned through observation, the equi-
valent of what the early adopter learned with one
attempt at using the technology.


The Farming Systems Research and Extension
(FSR/E) approach to technology development (see,
for example: Gilbert et al., 1980; Shaner et al., 1982;
Hildebrand and Waugh, 1983) is a means of formaliz-
ing community learning and adaptation. To a com-
munity, FSR/E brings the additional resources of out-
side scientific knowledge and expertise. By combining
the efforts of scientists from several disciplines with
those of the farmers in the community, adaptation to


0 I 2 3 4 5 6


0 I 2 3 4 5 6

local conditions is accelereeted and dissemination is
more rapid.
In the FSR/E approach, much of the research re-
quired for technology adaptation is conducted on
farms, under real farm conditions, and with farmer
collaboration. In the process, some farmers are help-
ing adapt the technology while they obtain experience
with it, Fig. 1. Others, those not directly involved in
on-farm testing, have the opportunity to learn by
observation, Fig. 2. Particularly relevant to the
efficiency inherent in FSR/E is that shifts to the left
in the experiential learning curve from adaptation
(Fig. 1) and from learning by observation (Fig. 2)
can be cumulative, Fig. 3.

Plmtiaafoad- _

SLearning curve for
/ / later adopters


~/ f ing curve for
e/ earlier odopters
todapted technology)

(Figure 2)

In farming systems literature, recommendation
domains (Byerlee et al., 1982) are comprised of farms
and/or farmers with roughly homogeneous farming
systems (Hildebrand, 1982). Reconnaissance surveys
or sondeos are conducted to help define and delimit
such recommendation domains. Refining or partition-
ing recommendation domains, as data from on-farm
research is gathered and analyzed, has also been dis-
cussed (Hildebrand and Poey, 1985).
It is more meaningful and more useful to consider
the concept of a biophysical research domain which is
comprised of one or more agro-socioeconomic recom-
mendation domains. The research domain may also be
comprised of one or more diffusion domains which
may or may not coincide with the recommendation
domain or domains.
Research Domains
A research domain, similar to what Byerlee et al.
(1980) call a "homogeneous target region", is an
ex-ante designation of a roughly homogeneous bio-
physical or agro-climatic zone which spans an environ-
mental range throughout which it could be expected
that selected technologies have potential applicability.
For most technologies "the same experimental
program may be implemented over the whole region"
(Byerlee et al., 1980, p. 61). In many cases all, or
nearly all farms in the target region area will pertain
to the research domain. An example is a new disease
resistant variety of a crop which would be expected
to demonstrate resistance throughout the area. An
exception would be with a new implement for large
tractors in an area where some farmers have large
tractors and other farmers have no tractors. In this
case the research domain for the implement would
include only those farmers in the area with large
Recommendation Domains
In a research domain, alternative new technologies
evolve into treatments to be included in experiments
and trials for station research and/or on-farm experi-
mentation. If research conducted in the research
domain involves several locations and is designed to
take advantage of modified stability analysis (Hilde-
brand, 1984), then the biological research can result
in the definition within the research domain of one or
more recommendation domains based on the biologi-
cal response of the treatments to the agro-socio-
economic conditions of individual farmers, Fig. 4. A
recommendation domain, then, can be defined as a
group of farms or farmers with roughly homogeneous
farming systems for which an improved technology
meets their biophysical and socioencomic require-
ments for adoption.,
Other agro-socioeconomic research conducted
simultaneously with the biological research in the
research domain (for example, directed agro-socio-

economic surveys, soil surveys, or farm enterprise
budgets) provides information needed to characterize
the farms in each recommendation domain, so they
can be identified for further research and/or to iden-
tify diffusion domains. These data are also valuable
for second generation research into cause-effect
relationships which will help to explain results of
first generation research (Swanberg).
Diffusion Domains
Diffusion domains are interpersonal communi-
cation networks through which newly acquired
knowledge of agricultural technologies would nat-
urally flow. They are probably similar to what
Rogers (1983) would call groups of homophilous
individuals. In the technology adaptation sequence,
the use of diffusion domains can aid in the location
of validation trials. These farmer-managed trials,
which are used to confirm the acceptability of
the technology to farmers, will be more efficient
in promoting observational learning and dissemina-
tion, strategically located within relevant diffusion
domains across the recommendation domain.





(Figure 4)


To the extent that a community falls within a
research domain, or that a research domain can be
considered as a community, FSR/E becomes an
organized and structured community learning and
adaptation system for agricultural technology inno-
vation. As an organized system and using the meth-
odology described above, FSR/E is highly efficient in
enhancing technology innovation in agriculture. First,
because modified stability analysis benefits from the
utilization of a wide range of environments, farmers
who were formerly thought of as "innovators", "early
adopters", "late adopters" and "non-adopters" can,
and should all be included in on-farm research. Im-
proved regression estimates of the response of tech-
nologies to environments in modified stability analysis
result from including a wide range of farmers. This

3n improve the efficiency of technology innovation
)r the superior environments (environments of the
inovators) while at the same time providing adapted
.chnology for late adopters and non-adopters in
arer environments. Hence, community adaptation
taking place simultaneously for all strata of the
immunity. In contrast to results of adaptation only
y innovators, learning curve shifts resulting from
iaptation in an FSR/E approach will benefit farmers
i both favorable and unfavorable environments.
Both experiential learning and learning from
observation are also distributed more widely in the
immunity from an FSR/E approach than from
)ontaneous community adaptation of centrally
developed technology. When adaptive research or
inovator, poorer farmers in the community may well
a reluctant to obtain information from the innova-
)r. By conducting on-farm trials over a wide range of
ivironments and in all diffusion domains in a com-
iunity, FSR/E facilitates the process of obtaining
formation and of receiving hands-on experience
ith a technology. While a farmer is gaining infor-
iation about a technology, the technology can also
a in the process of adaptation to community condi-
ons. If on-farm research is conducted in all diffusion
omains in a community as well as in all environ-
lents, the social distribution of research and extension
benefits will be more equitable and rapid. In summary,
.R/E complements, and makes more efficient, a
.~urally occurring technology innovation process in
rriculture -community adaptation, learning and

The book, El Sorgo en Sistemas de
,oducci6n en Amdrica Latina edited
/ Compton L Paul and Billie R.
eWalt has been published by the
international Sorghum and Millet
'ogram (INTSORMIL). The book is
ie result of a workshop held in
lexicoat CIMMYT in October 1984.
I addition to INTSORMIL and
IMMYT, sponsors included the
arming Systems Support Program
:SSP), the International Crops
research Institute for the Semi-Arid
ropics (ICR ISAT), the Centro Agro-
5mico Tropical de Investigaci6n y
nsefnanza (CATIE), and the Instituto
acional de Investigaciones Agrfcolas
3 Mexico (INIA). The book was
inted in the Centro de Tecnolog(a
rfcola (CENTA) in El Salvador.
'Copies (in Spanish only) may be
stained by writing: Dr. Compton
3ul, ICRISATAgronomist, CIMMYT,

Apartado Postal
D.F. 06600


Bohlen, J. M. and Beal, G. M. 1957. The diffusion process.
Special Report No. 18. Agricultural Extension Service,
Iowa State College. Ames.
Byerlee, D.; M. Collinson et al. 1980. Planning technologies
appropriate to farmers-concepts and procedures. CIMMYT.
Byerlee, D., L. Harrington and D. L. Winkleman. 1982. Farm-
ing systems research: issues in research strategy and tech-
nology design. American Journal of Agricultural Economics,
Vol. 64, No. 5, pp 897-904.
Gilbert, E. H.; D. W. Norman and F. E. Winch. 1980. Farming
systems research: a critical appraisal. Michigan State Univer-
sity Rural Development Papers, No. 6. East Lansing.
Hildebrand, P.E. 1982. Combining disciplines in rapid appraisal:
the sondeo approach. Agric. Adm. 8, pp 423-432.
Hildebrand, P.E. and R. K. Waugh. 1983. Farming systems
research and development. Farming Systems Support
Project Newsletter, Vol. 1., No. 1. Gainesville.
Hildebrand, P.E. 1984. Modified stability analysis of farmer
managed, on-farm trials. Agron. J. 76:272-274.
Hildebrand, P.E. and F. Poey. 1985. On-farm agronomic trials
in farming systems research. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc.,
Boulder, Colorado.
Rogers, Everett M. 1962. Diffusion of innovations. The Free
Press. New York.
Rogers, Everett M. 1983. Diffusion of innovations. The Free
Press. New York.
Shaner, W.W., P.F. Philipp and W.R. Schmehl. 1982. Farming
systems research and development: guidelines for develop-
ing countries. Westview Press. Boulder, Colorado.
Swanberg, K.G. 1984. An economic justification for the farm-
ing systems approach. AID Economist Conference, Annap-
olis, Maryland (Draft for discussion).
Wake, J.L. 1984. The cost of learning by doing effect on tech-
nology adoption. Unpublished MS. Thesis. University of
Florida. Gainesville.

6-642, M6xico,

FSSP has prepared a Research and
Extension Project Handbodk which
is aimed to help integrate FSR/E into
the total research and extension pro-
cess. The Handbook addresses issues
of project management from the
project developmentstage on through
project evaluation. It has seven sec-
tions-Introduction, Project Develop-
ment, Project Design, Project Imple-
mentation, Project Evaluation, Ap-
pendices, and Literature Annotations.
The Handbook is a synthesis of
experience. The current version is
Working Draft No. 3.
Copies are available from FSSP,
International Programs, Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Florida, 3028 McCarty
Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.

Human Organization, the Journal
of the Society for Applied Anthro-
pology has begun a special section of
the journal dedicated to Farming
Systems Research. The first such
issue was published in the summer
of 1985 and contained an introduc-
tion to the section by Billie R. DeWalt
entitled "Anthropology, Sociology
and Farming Systems Research" and
articles by Robert Tripp on "Anthro-
pology and On-Farm Research" and
Harvey Blustain on his work with a
soil conservation project in Jamaica.
The most recent issue contains arti-
cles by Robert Rhoades on "Informal
Survey Methods for Farming Systems
Research" and Edmund Oasa on
"Farming Systems Research: A
Change in Form but not in Content."
The journal will continue to pub-
lish the special section as long as it
ContnuJd on pe 1r

Agronomic and Sociological Interaction in Field Researcl

Wesley Kline*

Combined agronomic and socio-
logical interaction is essential in
farming systems research to under-
stand the farming system that exists,
to determine if changes can be made
in the system and if so, how they
can be made, and to evaluate if and
how new technologies are being
accepted by the farmers Over the
last three years the INIAP/Cornell
CRSP project has been working to
develop a strategy where both dis-
ciplines work closely for better
understanding of farming systems.
At times, this is not an easy process
because both disciplines have differ-
ent backgrounds, viewpoints, termin-
ology and objectives.
The INIAP/Comell group has
developed close coordination among
agronomists, economists and soci-
ologists to better understand how
farming systems work in our project
areas. These steps have been followed
in our project:
RAPID SURVEY: This consists of
visiting the area to obtain a visual idea
of the project site. It is important
to have representatives of all dis-
ciplines involved from the onset to
develop a more cohesive group and a
better understanding of the total
project. In addition, this provides an
opportunity for the members of the
different disciplines to interact and
become familiar with each other.
Notes from the survey should be
written up as a preliminary report
for use when planning later work.
TION. This is a process, based on the
collection of pertinent published and
unpublished articles and data (ag.
census data, soil maps, climatic maps,
theses, prior agronomic or sociolog-
ical research, etc.). The secondary
data can be gathered on the basis of
a province, county, township, or
community, depending on the avail-
*Dr. Wesley Kline is agronomist, INIAP/Cornell
CRSP project, Casilla 2600, Quito, Ecuador.

ability of the information and the size
of the project area. This collection
should be started and the initial part
completed as soon as possible so
field surveys can begin.
The purpose of th-secondary-ata
collection isto learn what has already\
been done in the project area. Avoid-
ing the duplication of data gathering
saves the time and labor, and serves
as a guide for the development of
questions in a structured interview or
a formal survey. For agronomists,
this phase of the work can seem long
and tedious, but it is important for
the direction of information collec-
tion and to help ascertain research
Data collection does not necessar-
ily stop just because a report has been
written. New information may be-
come available each year, especially
if a census has been completed. If
possible, the secondary data should
be up-dated each year to keep the in-
formation current. A report needs to
be written each time a revision is
made so the information will be
available. Often one person does all
the work, then leaves the organiza-
tion because of salary, politics, etc.,
thus a written report is essential.
SONDEO: The purpose of the
sondeo is to help understand how
the growers farm, why they farm the
way they do, what their problems
are and what are the constraints to
resolving these problems. After the
initial questions are developed by the
research team, the questionnaire
should be distributed to researchers
of different disciplines for their com-
ments. We accomplished this by send-
ing the questionnaire to researchers
at the local experiment station two
to three weeks before holding a
meeting to discuss the survey. At this
time, questions are examined for
needed form changes, additions or de-
letions. This meeting helps improve
the quality of the information col-

elected and involves the station re-
searchers in the process.
A second meeting is held in the
project area with researchers and
field staff to discuss the interview
guide, solicit opinions and check for
needed changes in wording. Knowin!
the local vocabulary and terminolog'
for cultural practices, land forms,
varieties, pests, etc., helps the survey
team gain the confidence of growers
and improves communication. After
this meeting, the questionnaire should
be checked by the sondeo teams for
clarity and length by interviewing a
few growers.
Questions are grouped by topics
such as agronomic practices, labor
availability, marketing, family food
consumption, etc. There may be
areas not considered important by
agronomic standards, but which.;
reflect the family and community,"
These help provide an understanding
of the whole farming system and I
what changes can or should be made
Interviewers ask what are the prac-
tices/customs of the area. Using this
approach, the interviewee is more
willing to discuss in detail what people
in the community do. If the individual
is asked about his operation, he may
be reluctant to give complete answers
This approach also facilitates infor-
mation collection for the community
as a whole.
The sondeo teams should be com-
prised of researchers and field staff
representing the different disciplines
with each covering his/her area of e>
pertise during the interview. Ideally,
there should be one woman per teen
to cover those areas relating to women
The presence of a female team mem
ber enhances the collection of detail
ed information of women's involve
ment in the system and subtly im-
proves the image of women and th
importance of their roles not only ii
the farming system but also in the
research effort.

The amount of time needed for
the sondeo depends on the size of
the area to cover and how many
;urvey teams are involved. Each
am interviews in a specific area
Nith all teams meeting during the
process to discuss possible problems
Nith questions, logistics, etc. No set
lumber of interviews is required to
completee the sondeo. This decision
s made by the sondeo teams when
:he information received becomes
After the sondeo teams have col-
ected the information from their
irea of study, a preliminary report
shouldd be written before the team
)reaks up. Many times people are
broughtt in from different regions
)f the country and return home
beforee a report is written. If this
happens, it takes months to complete
vork that could be done at the site
n a few days. Generally for agrono-
nists, field work needs to commence
is soon as possible after the sondeo.
Jnless the reports are written with
recommendationss immediately, they
.ay never be completed"
., Each step described to this point
-Amportant and is a building block
~n the whole process of developing
jood agronomic on-farm research.
Agronomists should not think that
iny one of these steps is a waste of
ime. There is always room for im-
)rovement in any one step, but all
ire needed. Agronomists can do field
vork without doing the preliminary
late collection and surveys, but will
t be relevant to the problems of the
lo you need a sociologist after the
survey work is completed? This is a
sentiment that has been expressed
iften. Research is an ongoing pro-
ess which should involve the differ-
nt disciplines of the project. There
re several examples that can be
mentioned in our case to address this
question. In one of our project areas,
ome personnel have expressed a
desire to introduce herbicides for
leed control in dry beans. It is neces-
/y to predict as far as possible the
rfect of a technological change be-
ore it is implemented when doing
arming systems research. In our ex-

ample, we need to determine whether
there is a labor shortage at weeding
time. If no labor shortage exists,
what would the introduction of
herbicides (a labor saving technology)
do to the farming system, the labor
source and the community? A soci-
ologist has the training and tools to
help the agronomist predict the effect
of an anticipated technological change.
Experimental design should be a
continuing concern of agronomists
doing on-farm trials. The designs
used should provide information to
the researcher yet be easy for the
farmers to understand. Agronomists
sometimes think that the trial is so
clear that anyone could understand
it, but the farmers may use different
criteria in evaluating the trial and
may come to a different conclusion
from the researcher. Sociologists
are better equipped, that is they
have the tools, to determine other
criteria farmers may use in evalu-
ating a trial (or a technology) besides
a straight agronomic criterion. The
sociologist can provide the additional
information needed to combine the
two criteria so both the farmer and
the agronomic researcher can benefit
from the trial.
In conclusion, the interaction be-
tween agronomists and social scien-
tists is an aspect of farming systems
that has not received sufficient
attention. However, it is essential in
farming systems research for effec-
tively bringing about technological
change that enhances the system as
a whole. Developing an approach
which is scientifically sound to both
disciplines and sensitive to the con-
cers and interests of each discipline
is a long process which necessitates
learning on the part of all involved.
However the result is a greater un-
derstanding of farming systems in
the project area and more relevant
research for identifying solutions to
problems in that system.EW
Contrw9 r frm pw 9
receives suitable manuscripts. Manu-
scripts go through the same review
process as any other submission.
Papers should be sent to: Dr. John
Poggie, Human Organization, Soci-
ology and Anthropology, University
of Rohode Island, Kingston, RI 02881




Newsletters and periodical publi-
cations not only provide a forum for
exchange of ideas but also a means
for keeping abreast of the networks
which support them. The following
publications are available free to
nationals working in developing
Development Forum
United Nations
Division for Economic and Social
1 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
(Development Forum is bimonthly, printed
in tabloid newspaper format, and carries
topical information on development).

Reading Rural Development
Communications Bulletin
Agricultural Extension and Rural
Development Centre
London Road
Reading RG-1 5AQ
United Kingdom
(Contains excellent material on recent
developments and thinking in rural
The Overseas Development Insti-
tute supports a number of networks,
each issuing newsletters and selected
papers during the course of a year.
Each is a separate network; most
people belong only to one. The net-
works are:
Irrigation Management Network
Pastoral Development Network
Social Forestry Network
Agricultural Administration
There is no subscription cost to
receive network newsletters. Specify
which network you are interested in
when writing to:
Overseas Development Institute
10 Percy Street

During the recent FSR Sympos-
ium at KSU, a great deal of interest
was generated for more information
on approaches which are utilizing
non-traditional farm-level trial de-
signs. Designs may be based on
farmer suggested innovations, non-
ANOVA designs and analyses, etc.
The Technical Committee of the
FSSP is requesting projects or pro-
grams which are using non-conven-
tional design and analysis techniques,
especially those based on spontan-
eous farmer experimentation, to
provide information on their work. If
your project or program is interested
in sharing spontaneous and non-con-
ventional design and/or analyses with
the FSSP, with the goal of following
up on this area of interest from the
KSU meetings of 1985 by sharing
experiences with other FSR/E prac-
titioners, please send information to
the head of the Technical Committee:
Dr. John Caldwell
301 E Saunders
Department of Horticulture
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Blacksburg, VA 24060.

Many fine journals and other pub-
lications accept and publish articles
dealing with farming systems research
and extension. Some of these are
listed below along with a contact
address. The list was drawn from
articles referenced in the Bibliog-
raphy of Readings in Farming
Systems, and is intended to show
the variety of publications offer-
ing an opportunity for practitioners
to publish their work.
Agricultural Administration
ads. John Pearce and G.E. Jones
Elsevier Applied Science
Publishers, Ltd.,
Crown House, Linton Road
Barking, Essex IG11 8JU, ENGLAND
Agricultural Systems
ed. C.R.W. Spedding
Elsevier Applied Science
Publishers Ltd.,
Crown House, Linton Road
Barking, Essex, IG11 8JU, ENGLAND

Agroforestry Systems
Editorial Office
P.O. Box 163
3300 AD Dordrecht
Agronomy Journal
ed. G.A. Peterson
Department of Agronomy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523 USA
American Journal of Agricultural
ads Rechard E. Just and Gordon
C. Rausser
207 Giannini Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
Australian Journal of Agricultural
ed. G.A. Forster
314 Albert St.
East Melbourne, Victorial 3002
Benchmark Soil News
University of Hawaii
College of Tropical Agriculture and
Human Resources
2500 Dole St
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
Bulletin d'lnformation du Reseau
Secretariat du Researcher-Developpe-
30, Rue de Charonne
75011 Paris, FRANCE
Cahiers de II Recherche Developpe-
Secretariat de redaction
Avenue du VIa de Montferrand
B.P. 5035
34032 Montpellier Cedex FRANCE
Culture and Agriculture
Rutgers, The State University
Department of Human Ecology
Cook College
P.O. Box 231
New Brunswick, NJ 08903 USA
Development and Change
Sage Publications Ltd.
28 Banner St.
London, EC1Y

Economic and Political Weekly
ed. Krishna Raj
Sameeksha Trust, Skylark Bldg.
284 Shahid Bhagatsingh Road
Bombay 400 038, INDIA
Experimental Agriculture
ed. F.G.H. Lupton
Cambridge University Press
The Pitt Building, Trumpington St
Cambridge CB2 1 RP ENGLAND
32 E. 57th St.
New York, NY 10022 USA
Farming Systems Newsltter
CIMMYT East Africa Economics
International Maize and Wheat
Improvement Centre (CIMMYT)
P.O. Box 25171 Nairobi, KENYA
Journal of Tropical Ecology
ed. Adrian G. Marshall
Cambridge University Press
32 E. 57th St
New York NY 10022 USA
Public Administration and
ed. Brian Smith
Royal Institute of Public
Hamilton House, Mabledon Place
Social and Economic Studies
ed. J.E. Greene
University of the West Indies
Institute of Social and Economic
Mona, Kingston 7, JAMAICA
Tropical Agriculture
ed. F.W. Cope
Department of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Agriculture
University of the West Indies
St Augustine, TRINIDAD
ed. Alfredo Alvarado
Interamericano de Cooperacion pan
la Agriculture
Apartado 55
2200 Coronado
Human Organization
ed. John J. Poggie, Jr.
Society for Applied Anthropology
P.O. Box 24083
Oklahoma City, OK 73124 USA

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