Citation
Journal of farming systems research-extension

Material Information

Title:
Journal of farming systems research-extension
Running title:
Journal for farming systems research-extension
Abbreviated Title:
J. farming syst. res.-ext.
Creator:
Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension
Place of Publication:
Tucson Ariz. USA
Publisher:
Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ; 23 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Agricultural systems -- Periodicals -- Developing countries ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Research -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Sustainable agriculture -- Periodicals -- Developing countries ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )
periodical ( marcgt )

Notes

Dates or Sequential Designation:
Vol. 1, no. 1-
General Note:
Title varies slightly.
General Note:
Title from cover.
General Note:
Latest issue consulted: Vol. 1, no. 2, published in 1990.
Funding:
Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. This item may be protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact Digital Services (UFDC@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
22044949 ( OCLC )
sn 90001812 ( LCCN )
1051-6786 ( ISSN )

Full Text

Volume 4, Number 1



& 1993






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for Farming Systems Research- Extension













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Journal
for Farming Systems Research- Extension


Volume 4, Number 1, 1993


Published by
the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension

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Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension


Editor
Timothy R. Frankenberger Office of Arid Lands Studies The University of Arizona, Tucson

Associate Editors
Philip E. Coyle and Jennifer Manthei Office of Arid Lands Studies The University of Arizona, Tucson

Production and Layout
Philip E. Coyle, Jennifer Manthei, and Sonia Telesco Arid Lands Design, Office of Arid Lands Studies The University of Arizona, Tucson

Sponsors
Ford Foundation
The University of Arizona




The Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension is published by the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension (AFSRE), an international society organized to promote the development and dissemination of methods and results of participatory onfarm systems research and extension. The objectives of such research are the development and adoption through participation by farm household members of improved and appropriate technologies and management strategies to meet the socioeconomic and nutritional needs of farm families; to foster the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources; and to contribute toward meeting global requirements for food, feed, and fiber.
The purpose of the Journal is to present multidisciplinary reports of on-farm researchextension work completed in the field, and discussions on methodology and other issues of interest to farming systems practitioners, administrators, and trainers. The Journal serves as a proceedings for the annual international Farming Systems Symposium from which selected and refereed papers are included. It also welcomes contributed articles from members of the AFSRE who were unable to attend the symposium. Contributed articles will be judged by the same review process as invited articles.


ISSN: 1051-6786

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The papers collected together in this issue of the Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension were drawn from the invited presentations of the 1992 Farming Systems Research-Extension Symposium held at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan on September 13-19, 1992. They represent recent thinking about policy-making, farmer participation in planned agricultural change, household food security, and the future of Farming Systems Research in general, and the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension in particular. We hope that you find these papers of interest.
The Editors

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Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension Volume 4, Number 1, 1993


CONTENTS


1 Challenges of Farming Systems Research and Extension
J. A. Berdegui


11 A Participatory Experiment in Sustainable Agriculture
Clive Lightfoot and Reg Noble

35 Integrating Household Food Security into Farming
Systems Research-Extension
T.R. Frankenberger and P.E. Coyle

67 Inability of Farming Systems Research to Deal with
Agricultural Policy
Doyle Baker

87 Methods for Analysis by Farmers: The Professional Challenge
Robert Chambers

103 From Research to Innovation: Getting the Most from
Interaction with NGOs in FSRE
John Farrington and A.J. Bebbington

125 Structural Adjustment Policy Reform and the
Resource-Scarce Farm Family: The Waning Role of FSRE
T.J. Finan

139 Making the Farmer's Voice Count: Issues and
Opportunities for Promoting Farmer-Responsive Research
Deborah Merrill-Sands and Marie-Helene Collion

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Challenges of Farming Systems Research
and Extension'

J. A. Berdegu 2



ABSTRACT
This paper focuses on the question of present and future challenges of Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSRE) and the role that can be played byan organization such as the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension (AFSRE) in helping meet them. The basic premise of this paper is that, in a rapidly changing world economy, the development potential for small-scale agriculture in Third World nations is becoming narrower each day; as a consequence, FSRE must become more sharply focused in terms of the target populations with which we work and, at the same time, much more integrated with other agricultural
development instruments.


INTRODUCTION
The role of Farming SystemsResearch-Extension (FSRE), of course, has always been to promote agricultural change. We have known since the beginning--even if we have not always acted consequently-that the evolution of agriculture follows the influences and dynamics of the national and international economies and the corresponding social and political systems. At least in Latin America, agricultural research and extension have in the past been asked to support the national goal of promoting food self-sufficiency, a prerequisite for urban and industrial development. The role of agriculture was to substitute food imports within the framework of protected and heavily subsidized economies. This framework is rapidly fading out; what were originally structural adjustment measures in face of the major economic crisis of the 1980s have become permanent tenets, at least for the foreseeable future.
Competitiveness, productivity, and profitability are fundamental qualities in countries that are rapidly embracing the paradigms of the free market and the international integration of economies. These qualities run parallel with the downsizing of the role of the public sector and institutions that until now

1 Keynote presentation at the Twelfth Annual Association for Farming Systems ResearchExtension Symposium, Michigan State University, East Lansing, September 13-18, 1992.
2 RIMISP, Casila 244 34, Santiago, Chile.

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BERDEGUt


have had an indisputable and almost exclusive role in promoting agricultural development and the modernization of the small-scale, resource-poor farming sector. Agricultural researchers, extensionists, and development agents are now being asked to justify their work in terms of contributing to this process of agricultural modernization. Even when the public sector is willing to allocate resources to fighting rural poverty, it is made clear that this constitutes a separate effort from those aimed at agricultural development, involving different tools and approaches focused on different populations.
The performance criteria that today call the attention of policy-makers in our own countries and abroad are much harder to meet than those of the first 20 years of FSRE. Modest increments in productivity are no longer sufficient to justify the investment of scarce resources. We are being asked to reconvert agriculture, introduce for-export crops, generate foreign exchange, produce high-quality goods that can penetrate and preserve new international markets, and achieve levels of productivity and economic efficiency that permit the survival of the farming systems in the absence ofsubsidies, tariffs, or protection from imports.
FSRE came into existence to help small-scale farmers in the more marginal areas participate in the processes that had been implemented during the Green Revolution with resource-rich producers in the best agricultural regions. After two decades the goals have become more elusive, more complex, and more difficult to achieve. Even increasing the productivity of commercial agriculture is not enough; these systems are also facing serious problems. It is in this context that the development potential of small-scale farming has narrowed. FSRE will have a role to play only if it can prove itself an effective tool in promoting not the gradual and slow improvement of small-scale farming systems, but the rapid modernization of at least some sectors of peasant agriculture.
Are there reasons to believe that FSRE can play this role? If so, what are the steps that need to be taken in order to meet this challenge? How can an organization such as the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension (AFSRE) aid in the successful implementation of those measures?


THE IMPACT POTENTIAL OF FSRE
The basic principle on which FSRE is built is that the process of technology generation and adaptation should be responsive to the characteristics of the targeted farming systems, the farmers' objectives, and the conditions under which specific populations must practice agriculture. This principle and its derivations are perhaps the most significant contributions of the FSRE approach. From there, it follows that:
A systems approach is necessary because any given agricultural enterprise
is the final product of a complex and dynamic interplay of numerous


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CHALLENGES OF FSRE


components and processes that take place both within and outside the
farm;
The farmers' circumstances are location specific, and so should be the
research and extension process;
A diagnostic phase is required in the overall process of technology
generation and transfer in order to understand the set of conditions that will eventually determine the adoption rates and the final impact of the
whole effort;
On-farm adaptation and testing of technology would enhance the
probability of success of any given innovation; and
Farmer participation is indispensable if the improved technologies are to
be responsive to the farmers' priorities and objectives.
FSRE is such a logical and coherent proposition that one wonders why its success has been limited. Tripp (1991) explores two basic factors: the institutional context and the quality of on-farm research. In this paper I discuss the first of these factors.
The basic principles ofFSRE mentioned above have led to manyinteresting and positive methodological approaches. However, it has also induced most FSRE projects to work within the framework imposed by the constraints faced by the farmers without questioning whether such a framework allows any development potential at all. FSRE has been an approach used mainly in working with resource-poor farmers living in marginal areas. As a result, most projects have faced one or more of the following conditions: unfavorable soils, climate, and topography; lack of credit; underdeveloped or nonexistent markets for both inputs and agricultural products; weak or incipient farmers' organizations; economic policies that discriminate against agriculture as a whole and against poor farmers in particular; lack of interest on the part of national agricultural institutions that feel their scarce resources would obtain a better return if invested in more favorable areas; and the attitude of many farmers that, based on the experience of many generations, innovation is a highly risky business. FSRE has frequently attempted to untie this Gordian knot employing only two tools: the generation or adaptation of improved technologies and the transfer of innovations.
Even in those infrequent cases in which research and extension work handin-hand to solve the puzzle, it is very likely that the problem will remain. Generating an improved technology and informing the farmers about it only creates a potential for change. To materialize this potential, the farmers usually require credit to purchase inputs, markets that generate a stable demand for the additional produce, transportation and roads to take the inputs to the farm and products to the marketplace, timely information to adjust to changing environments, and, in general, a whole setup of support services and infrastructures on which the success of agriculture depends. A recent study (Low et al., 1991) reviewed the end result of 53 research initiatives in Southern


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BERDEGUt


Africa and concluded that 39 failed at least partly due to institutional and resource-availability factors.
This whole question of impact potential (from the point of view of the researcher or extensionist) or of development potential (from the farmers' perspective) will become increasingly important as each country struggles to keep its head above water within the rearrangement ofthe world economy that is currently taking place. It is no longer sufficient to talk about adoption rate. Instead, we will soon be asked: Can FSRE lead to the rapid modernization of small-scale, resource-poor agriculture?
The answer to this question has two parts. First, we should be more willing to say that many farmers in the more marginal areas of the world cannot make this transition in the short or even medium term. Second, we should acknowledge that FSRE is not a powerful enough tool in many instances and that the Green Revolution failed in those cases not because of its conceptual or methodological approach, but because the necessary conditions for agricultural development are simply not in place. Of course, there is still a role for agricultural research and extension in such cases. Many societies are willing to invest in the alleviation of extreme rural poverty, and even marginal improvements in agricultural production and productivity can make a contribution toward that very worthwhile goal. However, it should be clear that "development" is not at hand in those cases, regardless of the conceptual or methodological approach.
FSRE has an advantage under these conditions if only because its practitioners have shown that they are willing to work in these very marginal areas. We have accumulated vast experience over the past 20 years: we understand the farmers' logic better than others; we know how to elicit their participation; we have developed tools and methods; and we have built formal and informal networks of agricultural and social scientists through which information and experiences flow more or less effectively to other areas of the world. These are very valuable resources for a most difficult task.
On the other hand, there are many situations, involving hundreds of thousands of farming families in dozens of countries, in which there is a clear potential for impact. In those instances FSRE can help in bringing about a more rapid modernization of resource-poor agriculture. However, even here the "institutional context" needs to be reconsidered. In short, we cannot consider institutional factors as external parameters to our projects; we need to internalize them. This requires thinking more in terms of agricultural development efforts that include, but go beyond, technology research and extension. There is no reason why the basic methodology of FSRE could not be complemented with such tools as revolving credit funds, marketing support, in-depth training of local resource persons, development of microirrigation projects, and strengthening of the local organizations of farmers and of their leadership.


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CHALLENGES OF FSRE


There are at least two consequences of this idea. First, individual projects would be more complex and expensive; thus fewer farmers could be reached for the same amount of money and other resources. This is a question of breadth versus depth, and it is one that is likely to trouble policy-makers who want to see as many families benefit as possible. Second, because no single organization is likely to have the required competence and technical expertise in all of the components of a given project, success would necessarily rest on the ability to develop strong and efficient interinstitutional arrangements. If one considers the track record of FSRE in promoting effective linkages between researchers, extensionists, and farmers the difficulty of creating these arrangements becomes obvious. However, I refer to the Chilean experience in order to illustrate the feasibility of such interinstitutional linkages (Berdegu6, 1990).
In the early 1980s, Chile's extension service was privatized. Today, small firms made up of one or two agronomists and a few agricultural technicians compete with each other to be assigned the funds to provide technology transfer services to a group of peasant farmers. Several dozen NGOs, and even local or regional farmers' organizations such as cooperatives, operate as "private technology transfer consultant firms." The role of the national agricultural development agency (INDAP) is to define, supervise, and evaluate the work of these private firms-developing the guiding concepts, methodologies, and procedures, and, of course, providing the system's financial resources.
In 1992 an effort to strengthen this system involved the development of new technology transfer modalities. One of these is the "co-financed technology transfer program," which operates around microregional and integrated agricultural development projects, each of which is planned for a period of three to five years, and works with 100-300 peasant families. In this system, INDAP provides the funds (up to 80 percent of the total cost of the project) for the technology transfer component while the cooperating private agency funds other agricultural development tools such as farmers' training programs, revolving credit funds, marketing infrastructure and services, and so on. Making use ofa World Bank loan, INDAP has made available close to US$ 1 million to fund cofinanced projects that will be started during the 1992-93 agricultural year. The local and regional NGOs and farmers' organizations must come up with an additional US$ 200,000. Although the process is still not finished, it is expected that at least 50 projects to benefit at least 1,000 peasant families will be presented to the first national competition.
This new program is based on the assumption that more complex programs will be successful only if effective decentralization takes place, if each effort is kept to a manageable size, and if the key actors have a clear stake in the success of their project. The main role of the national agency is to define clear rules of the game, and then let the local actors operate as freely as possible to the best of their ability. In this way it is expected that each project will contribute


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BERDEGUt


to putting in place the necessary "institutional factors" that are required for technology adoption and agricultural development to take place.


THE QUALITY OF FSRE
As Tripp (1991:247) makes clear, institutional issues explain only in part "why, in spite of so much investment and interest. .[have] the tangible results been so modest." The quality of on-farm research,3 Tripp argues, is responsible for many of the shortcomings of FSRE projects. Many authors have analyzed this issue in general or with respect to specific stages of the FSRE methodology. Questions have been raised about how target areas and populations are selected and defined; how diagnostic studies can often lead to misleading and/or incomplete conclusions; how the' design or planning stage is very often confused with the diagnostic studies; and how little time is spent on propositive analysis of the field data. Questions have also been raised concerning the insufficient consideration of macroeconomic and policy determinants; the tendency to tackle an excessive number of problems and objectives simultaneously leading to poorly focused projects, particularly during the on-farm research stage; and the operational weakness of the feedback loops that are supposed to be a key component of the FSRE approach.
There is no need to document once more these well known problems. Instead, it is important to highlight one general argument: the methodology of FSRE has shown a tendency to become increasingly ill-defined. For many of us, an acceptable methodological protocol for conducting FSRE is no longer clear. This uncertainty is a product of a positive development; more people, with different backgrounds and interests, base their work on the overall idea of FSRE now than in the 1970s or early 1980s. As a result, the FSRE "movement" is today less monolithic than at its beginning. At the same time, as more experience is accumulated, it is natural and legitimate that different people raise new theoretical, methodological, and operational issues. This ability and willingness to criticize and question old notions is the basic engine that moves science and knowledge.
However, all disciplines need to be able to sort the useful from the nonuseful, the sound from the unsound, the true improvements from the background noise. It is not clear to me how this is done in the FSRE movement, with its unrivaled disposition to welcome all aboard. No new idea should be censored to begin with, but all proposals should be tested rigorously and, above all, new developments need to be integrated effectively into the nucleus of current thought. Otherwise, the new developments become simple appendices that are not internalized within the conceptual and methodolog3 This author distinguishes between FSR as a perspective on research and on-farm research as the
type of work done by FSR.


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CHALLENGES OF FSRE


ical framework of FSRE. This situation not only affects the questions of concepts and methods used to address old objectives of income, risk, productivity, and so on. It is also present in the new or emerging issues of gender and, more recently, of sustainability. These concepts reflect societal objectives that are here to stay and that need to be integrated into agricultural research and extension, just as they must be dealt with in all areas of contemporary life.
However, it is indispensable that these new issues be integrated effectively and not only in words. It is also necessary that they permeate FSRE in an efficient and synergistic manner. This has not been easy with gender issues and, if anything, it will be even more difficult with respect to the question of sustainability. Like farming systems themselves, FSRE needs to become not only more productive and profitable, but also more equitable both within and between generations. The question of sustainability, for example, inevitably raises the dimension of time on a large scale. I wonder if most FSRE teams are adequately equipped, conceptually, methodologically, and financially to deal with this complexity.


THE ROLE OF THE ASFRE
Because of the problems analyzed above, as well as other considerations that will be reviewed below, the ASFRE has reached a turning point. If we agree that, in order to continue its development as a useful approach for the promotion of agricultural change, FSRE must be able to tackle the old and new problems with fresh concepts and more powerful methods, the most important question of the Association is how it can promote this renewal. The following four ideas are useful in charting a new course.
The AFSRE must come out strongly and convincingly as aforum for change and renewal. IfFSRE is to survive as a dynamic and creative force, it must adapt to the new conditions that characterize our economies, and to the resulting new demands and objectives to be met by our countries' agriculture. The AFSRE's primary goal must be to promote and support this change and renewal. This can be done through different activities:
First, the membership must explicitly consider this issue and define a position on it. The efforts of the Board, symposia, journal, and newsletter, must reflect the position of the members of the Association. Until now, it is likely that an important proportion of the membership has seen the Association mainly as a provider of services organizing symposia, publishing a journal, or even providing the occasion to meet and stay in touch with friends. I wonder how many of us think of the Association as an active leadership forum in the development of new ideas. The members have to establish this forum if they expect the AFSRE to play such a role.


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BERDEGU,


Second, through the definition of the agenda of the symposia, the Association can influence the topics that will be debated and the ideas that will emerge in the future. Considering that the regional networks and associations are now conducting their own meetings, it is necessary to define a specific profile for the international symposia that is complementary and not competitive or reiterative with the regional events. In my opinion, the international symposia should be devoted to more global issues.
Third, the Journal of the AFSRE can also be seen as a vehicle for the promotion of in-depth debate about FSRE and its future contributions. The job done until now has been extraordinary, particularly if one considers the almost total lack of resources that has constrained this effort from the beginning. However, it is always possible to improve and, in particular, it would be ideal ifa strong and highly qualified Editorial Board could be formed to support the work of the Editor. If the AFSRE hopes to make a credible effort to establish itself as a leadership forum for change, it also needs to confront its own internal renewal.
The AFSRE must strive to integrate different currents of thought that apply systems concepts to the problems of agricultural development. Farming Systems Research and Extension is not really a movement on its own, but only a specific version of a wider current of thought within the field of agricultural development. Moreover, within FSRE one could well speak of a subsector that grew out of U.S.-supported, U.S. university-based projects and subsequently developed the symposia and other initiatives that eventually gave form to the AFSRE. The topics debated, articles published, and even the people that attend our meetings follow much too closely the evolution of the efforts, possibilities, and needs of the original nucleus that formed the AFSRE.
One option is to formalize this more particular nature of the AFSRE, making clear its U.S. affiliation and dependency. From there, it would even be possible to establish collaborative relationships with other groups, and it would also make it feasible to reduce the financial burden of publishing a journal for world-wide distribution or organizing meetings for people from all over the world. Not that this U.S.-based association would need to be closed to citizens, but those of us from other countries who want to participate would need to be able to meet the costs of doing so.
The francophone and other European schools have never been adequately represented in the AFSRE or its predecessors. Today, out of the FSRE sector, African, Asian, and Latin American organizations are emerging with distinctive characteristics and with the legitimate need to manage their own affairs with greater independence. In Latin America, for example, there arc at least five major farming systems networks, and the systems concept has become integrated in a number of national and regional institutions that are simply not part of the AFSRE. In Asia and Africa there are also regional networks that publish their own journals, promote their own research priorities, and hold their own regular meetings. The AFSRE should play a role in promoting


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CHALLENGES OF FSRE


initiatives to link these regional players formally, both within and without the FSRE matrix. This will not bear fruit if our attitude is one of inviting others to join us; rather, we must say that we are willing to think together with others about new forms of association. The meeting of the 1994 symposium in Europe would be an excellent opportunity to formalize these new links.
The AFSRE must become a truly international body. To begin with, the AFSRE should consider becoming an international body that can integrate the regional groups that recognize a common origin in the FSRE movement. This means that the authorities of the Association, journals, and newsletters, and organizing committees of its symposia should include people from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America in credible numbers and in decision-making capacities. It also means that the international symposium should sometimes be held in areas other than the U.S. and that its frequency should be restudied to accommodate regional events. An international AFSRE would need to be organized on the basis of a federation of regional initiatives because it is not likely that the former would agree to disband in order to become part of an international AFSRE.
The AFSRE must be able to obtain adequate resources. Farming Systems Research and Extension tells us that in designing an improved system one must consider the constraints imposed by the socioeconomic environment. This principle applies perfectly to the issue that we are now debating. To play a stronger role in the promotion of new ideas, to join with other people in this effort, to become an international forum, and to implement a specific plan organized around the goals and objectives defined by the entire membership, the AFSRE must obtain a minimum level of funding. Without this funding it is unlikely that the AFSRE can support an even modestly ambitious plan for change and renewal; but, without this plan, the whole question of the continued viability of the Association will need to be debated in a very serious and concrete manner.


REFERENCES
Berdcgu6, J. A. 1990. NGOs and farmers' organizations in research and extension in
Chile. Network Paper 19. Overseas Development Institute, Agricultural Administration (Research and Extension) Network, London.
Low, A.K, S.R. Waddington, and E.M. Shumba. 1991. On-farm research in southern
Africa: The prospects for achieving greater impact. Pages 257-272 in R. Tripp, ed.,
Planned change in farming systems: Progress in on-farm research. West Sussex,
England: John Wiley and Sons.
Tripp, R 1991. The limitations of on-farm research. Pages 247-256 in R. Tripp, ed.,
Planned change in farming systems: Progress in on-farm research. West Sussex,
England: John Wiley and Sons.


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A Participatory Experiment in Sustainable
Agriculture'

Clive Lightfoot and Reg Noble2



ABSTRACT
On-Farm Experimentation (OFE) requires rethinking if it is to contribute to our understanding of sustainability. More holistic and farmer-participatory approaches are essential to cope with the problems presented by the diverse and complex systems common to smallscale farming that the conventional OFE approach has not been able to address adequately. A new protocol for OFE must involve a resource-systems approach with the aim of improving the sustainability of the whole farming system through increased integration and
recycling of on-farm resources,
Farmer-participatory mapping and modeling form the major management tools for experiment and evaluation, providing a qualitative and quantitative measure of farming system status and transformation.
Preliminary evidence presented in this paper indicates that for integrated aquaculture-agriculture systems, these tools do enable farmers to develop a more holistic approach to management of their farms' resources. Data presented demonstrates that household cash income and food supply can be significantly increased if farmers' resource management skills are improved using mapping and modeling techniques combined with exposure to different systems that illustrate
possibilities for integration and recycling of farm resources.


INTRODUCTION
Over the past 10-15 years, On-Farm Experimentation (OFE) in Farming Systems Research (FSR) has concenxtrated on improving commodity yields and other aspects of agricultural performance. Although many experiments were conducted with a systems perspective, few tested hypotheses at the level

1 Keynote presentation at the Twelfth Annual Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension
Symposium, Michigan State University, East Lansing, September 13-18, 1992.
2 International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), MC P.O. Box
2631, Makati 0718, Metro Manila, Philippines.

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LIGHTFOOT AND NOBLE


of the whole farm system. Many of these experiments were conducted with farmers but few were designed and tested by them. Experiments of this nature are important and necessary for disciplinary and commodity pursuits; however, they have done little to further the concepts of farmer participation and holistic treatment of farming problems. Indeed, this imbalance of singleenterprise, researcher-managed, on-farm experiments versus whole farm, farmer-managed experiments has contributed to current disenchantment with FSR. Moreover, disenchantment has spread into our own ranks. Participatory Rural Appraisal, Participatory Technology Development, Low External Input Agriculture, and Agroecosystems Analysis all distance themselves from FSR.

Research Areas and Approaches
Enter sustainable agriculture, an object of study that interests agricultural researchers of all stripes. Economists, agronomists, and microbiologists are busy setting up new, exciting work (Batie, 1989; Edwards et al., 1990; Harrington, 1991).
Will FSR practitioners again mimic the research of disciplinary and commodity scientists or will they fashion programs that are uniquely participatory and holistic? Our formidable task involves lengthy farm system description, constraints analysis, design of interventions to overcome constraints, and onfarm experiments to evaluate interventions. Nevertheless, research agendas invariably break down into researcher-managed component technology research on varieties, fertilizers, green manures, etc. Indeed, we must avoid the fate of US sustainable agriculture research, in which "[w]hole-farm studies and studies combining crops and livestock were comparatively uncommon, so it usually would not be possible to analyze how production efficiencies might be increased through integrating all components of a farm or by combining crops and livestock" (Anderson and Lockeretz, 1992). Perhaps the new articulation of sustainable agriculture will inspire more farmer participation in our on-farm experiments and more holistic scope in our tests. Where in all the rhetoric of sustainability can we find help?

Definitions and Themes
Conventional goals of sustainable agriculture invariably seek to maintain or increase biological and economic productivity, enhance efficiency of inputs used, increase stability of production, increase resilience to environmental changes, minimize adverse environmental impacts, and ensure social compatibility. Although these goals offer broad scope for many disciplines, they provide scant operational guidance. Operational hints can be found in Conway's definition ofsustainability, which is couched in terms of the farming system's ability to "maintain its productivity when subject to stress or perturbation" (Conway, 1986). Conway and others, most notably Altieri


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A PARTICIPATORY EXPERIMENT


(1987), have gone on to suggest that sustainability is enhanced through system diversity of enterprises over space and time as well as the recycling of energy and nutrients, which reduces the need for external inputs. Fortunately, many farmer-participatory techniques exist for FSR practitioners to draw on in developing new farming systems that promote these characteristics (Chambers et al., 1989; Haverkort et al., 1991).
Our challenge is not only to fashion a type of OFE that will generate farming systems that enhance diversity and recycling, but also to develop ways to measure these characteristics. Even before this can be done, the "how do I improve enterprise performance" perspective of researchers and farmers will have to be changed. Sustainable farming systems are more likely to emerge from a "how do I regenerate my farm resource base" perspective. This paper attempts to contribute to this challenge in three ways. First, we present some ideas on protocols for on-farm experiments in sustainable resource management. Second, we look at strategies to assess the impact of these systems. Third, we look at methods of impact evaluation in terms of our definition of sustainability. We end the paper with a discussion of anticipated problems for the years ahead.


PROTOCOLS FOR ON-FARM EXPERIMENTS

Indigenous Categorization of Natural Resource Systems
Small-scale, low-resource farming systems are complex, diverse environments where agricultural production is risk-prone and very much dependent on the whim of the climate, particularly the availability of water. Such farming systems dominate the rainfed tropics, especially sub-Sahelian Africa. However, risk can be reduced and production increased by enhancing, exploiting, and combining the diverse elements that comprise such farming systems as well as by introducing elements that can aid this process (multipurpose trees, crop-fish systems, etc.).
Local knowledge is an essential prerequisite to understanding these complex systems and developing management practices that will stabilize and sustain agricultural production in such environments. Therefore, farmers are the most appropriate people to develop new management practices and experiment in manipulating their farming systems. Unfortunately, small-scale farmers are often under heavy pressure from research and extension personnel to accept management practices that are commodity-oriented and have as their goal enterprise profitability. Such practices often result in simplification of the environment, which invariably leads to reliance on expensive external and often nonrenewable inputs in order to maintain production. Under the fragile socioeconomic and environmental conditions of most small-scale farmers in sub-Sahclian Africa, external input farming is not sustainable and will increase rather than reduce risk.


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An alternative approach is to develop a protocol for enabling farmers to experiment in designing resource management systems that are appropriate to their local environments. Farmers have the expert knowledge of their local resources and the skills to initiate and manage a range of innovations concurrently. What is needed is a methodology that enhances these abilities and gives farmers a holistic appreciation of their environment and the potential to both integrate its elements and incorporate new ones that aid in this process.
The first step is to establish how farmers classify and perceive their natural resources and proceed in such a way that the farmers are able to visualize their whole farming system and the interrelationships of its elements. Local farming communities often classify their environment based on soil type, topography, and water resources. Such categorization recognizes the habitat diversity that provides a spectrum of potential for agricultural production and exploitation of natural resources. Participatory exercises involving several groups of 20 or so farmers are the most successful approach to understanding how rural communities classify their local natural resource systems. Most of the community should be involved in this activity. One such method is to encourage villagers to express the resource classification of their surrounding environment through simple maps and transects. This provides a mechanism for rapid



Africa









J
Fu 1



l I L~e





Figure 1. Research Study Area. "e' S,'


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rural assessment and an opportunity for farmers to re-examine their farming in terms of natural resource systems rather than commodities.
The most appropriate setting for resource mapping is in the village. Groups provide a better dynamic than individuals by allowing wider discussion and


Zomba Mountain Slope sl~da







-" ".\

Amd
Legend:r~ .a Kah ). liliii l~ ax.i Kell-I.




"" '-'Uno-ed i7
_I ouseJ us$ laba

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ollnd nn IO Fa oGleS

C~lonnaowatn Clay-bOsedso 50oly 0
TedfOtnoldn' Mundi Pal s wee 0

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ni neili-l / Ndaondo
Leaa yno a nie sandy 0Cal m o a h Li
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lond dlin ings
M d a).)
yDd a / Miac icetsndo





-'s 13 Wee Is I A0.-.a

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I l. FIl cA \ In

iu 2.Rs S p f nde Villagers
Leek.nb \y'"Th srd

Min e. t l-nnOOo a r ud






Road ~ n Ra

Figure ~ ~ ~ ~ A 2.RsucNytmMpRdanfo rgnlMpMd ylages


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consensus on the indigenous categorization of their local resources. Usually, the most successful approach is to allow villagers to first lead the researcher through their farming area and then afterwards draw maps illustrating the natural resource systems identified on the walk. Maps are usually drawn on the ground using whatever materials are available. Indigenous names for resource systems, soils, enterprises, etc. are used as much as possible. Local terms can be very descriptive and reveal information on the nature of the resource system, its use and importance. Also, drawing does not require literacy. Stones, plant and animal material, and etc. can be placed on the ground to symbolize different resources and aspects of topography and hydrology. Drawing also enables farmers to obtain a broad overview of their environment that they often have not visualized in its totality before (Lightfoot and Minnick, 1991).



Zo.nbe Plateau









44" ~ Ponds *







Litaka
Resource Mguluguluj Kaloado Minde Litaka Lyepliwu iLyeptiw Chilongo
System Miwe Phild Ya Kumusa Nd Lyeswera Web
Water Rain Rain Spi S'S
Resource Rain Raen

Soil Lalee Clay .eer Back dam Loam Sandy
Seljs So~l Loam
ma-z, pu .L l,.
Baanak beans. a e,
Dry Ne Ao e suarane, c rmber, cu be, banana .ce
ppPcrs., finger rilr, ish beans green
potatoes. poppers veoe)ables, tomatoes
Crops M. a, pure n,
Maze, easava, Peas, ma e, me, ssf= camcne, vsarie r, shower. pumpkn, pigeon peas, beans, irsh pol Caoa, Wet wshrooms resrhum. Irishenloeo, yrngr mille, inger mIe sae potaloes, pigeon peas. fllgoro milt, iIsh Wa t poes peppers lrigr iilul 5e. beans. pumpkin, ppsps eassaa, peppers

Planning No vops Nojn Ali year All yea, N-.- ,
time


woodland Pawpa


Anim~~lO --Gas, Canis. $nrnp--------------------Anfimls . . . t

Wet F,__-__"____L



Figure 3. Land Transect of Villagc in Chinseau area, Zomba District, Malawi. January 1990.

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Pilot work on farmer mapping has been carried out in Zomba District, Malawi (Figure 1). Figure 2 illustrates a map as drawn by a group of 10 men and women villagers from this district. The broad classification of natural resource systems is into mtunda (upland/sloping land), munda (flat cropland), dimba (low-lying gardens with high water table), and dambo (seasonally flooded areas that are uncultivated). Within these broad categories, more subtle distinctions are made based on soil type and water resources, as illustrated in the transect in Figure 3. Areas of similar soil type are used for different crops depending on whether they are rain- or springfed. The transect is a composite cross section of the farming area in Figure 2 showing all the resource system categories in relation to each other. Such mapping provides the researcher with a detailed picture of the diversity and distribution of land, soil, and water resources from the perspective of the rural community. Farmers will also have physically drawn, often for the first time, a complete representation of their own farm's relationship to the rural community and its agroecological environment.


Vi41e


Figure 3 (continued). Land Transect of Village in Chinseau Area, Zomba District, Malawi. January 1990. Vol. 4, No. 1, 1993

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Bioresource Flows and Resource Systems on Farms
Having established a map and transect showing the broad resource categories for a village and its locality, researchers then encourage interested farmers to make similar drawings for their own farms (Lightfoot and Tuan, 1990; Lightfoot et al., 1991). The majority of farmers should be interested. These drawings should follow a logical sequence to ensure that farmers do not simply draw enterprise maps. Natural resource systems are sketched in first, then their respective enterprises. Following this sequence helps farmers to change their thinking away from enterprise profitability to rehabilitation of the farming system's natural resource bases. Resource systems are not restricted to those within the boundaries of the farm. Common grazing land and water sources utilized by the farming household should be included. This provides a more accurate picture of the total resource base of the smallholding; it is often very different from a conventional idea of a farm. Finally, the farmer household members draw arrows on the diagram indicating movement ofonfarm biological materials (e.g., maize bran from the cropland to chicken house, manure from the chicken house to the vegetable garden, etc.). This provides a very clear picture of the level of integration between and within resource systems.
Farmers will often make drawings that cover all activities, enterprises, and bioresource flows that occur in an annual agricultural cycle. A more accurate picture of annual operations can be obtained if drawings are made at different times of the year to show the seasonal variations in farming activities and flows of resources.
Figure 4 shows a typical farmer's model from Ndoka village (Zomba District, Malawi). This drawing is by a woman who has just started to incorporate fish ponds on her farm. The picture shows qualitative outputs from resource systems to the household and market with some of their related cash flows. An interesting point to note on the drawing is that only the fish ponds have links with other resource systems and enterprises. Agricultural residues (e.g., maize bran, waste vegetable material, etc.) are beginning to be processed through the pond as feed and fertilizer. No other enterprises appear to create these types ofinterlinkages and material recycling within the farming system. Most of the arrows on the drawing are simply showing outputs from systems and occasional inputs (e.g., fertilizer) rather than bioresource recycling flows. The latter may increase with time if the farmer starts to recycle more on-farm materials.
Such a farm model can provide a basis for further research and be used to make suggestions about integration and improvement in recycling of bioresources. Farmers can also use drawings as a management tool for indicating areas they feel need change or further study. In this way, research agendas can be developed through mutual cooperation between farmer and researcher. So far, 10 farmers are using the model they have drawn both as a teaching aid on farm management for their family and as an experimental tool for planning


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new farming strategies. Frequently, drawings are displayed prominently in farm households as a focal point for family discussion.
Successful drawing and modeling by farmers is best achieved when 20 or so farmers work together, allowing all farmers to have an impact within the group. Such groups provide a valuable forum for exchange of ideas and exposure to a


Figure 4. A Typical Farm Model Showing Resource Flows,
Redrawn from Farmer's Original Drawings. Vol. 4, No. 1, 1993

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LIGHTFOOT AND NOBLE


diverse array of farm management options. Dynamic group work occurred largely because we linked with existing farmer clubs and not "project" created groups. A very useful approach is to have farmers model their current farming system and then possible future scenarios which include culturing fish. Group interaction often generates intense discussion and is more likely to lead to formulation of integrated farming strategies appropriate to local agricultural systems. The role of the researchers at the workshop is simply to facilitate and stimulate farmer discussions, and when necessary provide biotechnical information that farmers may not know.

Farmer Group Workshops on Integrated Crop-Fish Systems
Modeling workshops are also a useful precursor to exposing farmers to demonstrations of integrated aquaculture-agriculture systems and their related biotechnology. In Malawi, farmers that have been involved in modeling workshops on their farms have been invited to see demonstrations of integrated crop-fish systems at the National Aquaculture Research Station. In December 1990, 17 farmers, who were practicing aquaculture, were invited to see rice-fish systems at the station. At that time, no farmers in Malawi had been practicing rice-fish culture even though many had rice paddies adjacent to their ponds. The farmers were treating each enterprise in terms of strict commodity production and not as resource systems which could enhance each other if integrated.
The usual practice is to grow one crop of rice per year between December and June. The visiting farmers were seeing rice that had been grown during the period of the hottest, driest months of the year (August-December). This was possible because the rice was grown in ponds. Farmers were impressed by the arrangement whereby two crops (rice and fish) were gathered from the same pond and rice was grown during the dry season. After viewing the harvest, they led a workshop to discuss the demonstration and its relevance to their farming environment. The result was a series of drawings of farmerdesigned systems (Figures 5 and 6). Common to all of these designs were simple drainage arrangements for decoupling rice and fish. Prior exposure to farm mapping workshops of potential or actual integrated aquacultureagriculture systems enabled the farmers to design elegant and simple rice-fish arrangements appropriate to their rural environment.
Without further input or encouragement from the researchers, 11 of these farmers experimented and developed their own unique rice-fish systems over the succeeding 12 months. These systems all incorporate sloping pond bottoms and drainage, which allows easy withdrawal of water from the rice paddy and collection of fish in a deep water refuge. Now farmer-to-farmer technology transfer is occurring such that 40 farmers that had not attended the open day are practicing rice-fish culture. Furthermore, many farmers are now growing dry season crops of rice in their ponds. This new development in integrated resource management has been the result of a one-day modeling


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Outlet
Rice ridges only allow fish to move up and down paddy


Figure 5. Drawings By Two Farmers of a Possible Rice-Fish Arrangement
(source: Noble and Rashidi, 1990).


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workshop on farm in combination with a one-day demonstration of the technology on station. Further open days are now conducted partly on station and partly on farm so that farmers actively involved in the development of integrated systems incorporating vegetable-fish, rice-fish, etc. can relate their experiences to novices to the technology.
A valuable outcome of these workshops and demonstrations is that farmers do not consider ponds simply as fish production units, but also as water storage for irrigating crops, watering livestock, and household use. Farmers have also realized that agricultural residues recycled through ponds produce highly fertile mud that can be transferred to adjacent vegetable gardens and reduce the need to use chemical fertilizers. Thus the modeling and mapping workshops, together with the demonstrations, provide farmers with a forum for peer exchange and discussion about new ways to reallocate and integrate their resources and enterprises. Farmer experimentation resulting from this participatory process leads to increased efficiency in utilization and recycling of onfarm residues, rehabilitation of exhausted soils, and reclamation of marginal land for agricultural production.
Ricefield
Outlet .
/ Rice ridge
Low dike between pond and field
Figure 6. Sloping Ricefield Eases Driving of Fish Into Pond So Rice Can Be Harvested.
(Authors' Interpretation of Farmer's Drawing; Source: Noble and Rashidi, 1990).

Farmer Evaluation and Participatory Monitoring
As farmers experiment in manipulating resource systems and enterprises, the problem remains as to how and what should be measured as indicators of sustainable improvement on the farm. Any evaluation or monitoring program will require full participation of the farmers in its design if it is to be effective in capturing the evolution of small-scale farming systems. Farmer bioresource models illustrating in their totality resource systems, enterprises, and their interrelationships provide an effective format for developing a monitoring system. Farmers can update their models on a regular basis using the initial plan diagram of their farm. Changes in flows within and between resource systems, outputs from them and external inputs to them, can all be captured when farmers produce time-series models of their farming operations. Drawings will include the resource flows for the time period since the last diagram was drawn. Wherever possible, the amount of material, frequency of flow, and its monetary value are recorded. Quantities can be given in local terms and then converted into kilos or reasonable estimates attempted. This procedure enables both the farmer and researcher to monitor progress and change. Such a process also provides farmers with a tool for improving their decision making and skills in resource management.


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ASSESSMENT OF FARMING SYSTEMS
Integration of enterprises and improved recycling of on-farm bioresources should lead to increased efficiency of energy and nutrient utilization with concomitant rehabilitation of farming ecosystems. Greater stability in agricultural production should ensue with a corresponding reduction in vulnerability to environmental perturbations. Time-series modeling of farms as mentioned in section 2 provides one method for capturing some of these changes and assessing whether increased diversification of linkages between elements in the farm system really stabilizes and improves farm production.

Impact on Households
In Malawi, a joint research program with farmers has just started to assess the impact of integrated aquaculture-agriculture development on small-scale farming systems. Detailed results are not yet available but some preliminary work indicates that ponds linked to rice and vegetables may generate significant improvements for the farming household and its surrounding environment. Using methodology described in section 2, farmers have been exposed to various crop-fish integrations, particularly rice-fish, as described in Noble and Rashidi (1990). Interest in integration is intense and many farmers have altered their farming environment too quickly for researchers to capture the process.
To understand the full impact of these changes, as a preliminary sample, five farmers who are relatively new to aquaculture systems were asked to make drawings of their farms before and after incorporation of fish ponds (Figures 7 and 8). Significant alterations have taken place in farm management due to the incorporation of ponds. Farming systems now have increased linkages between their elements with the rice-fish ponds acting as the focus or flow of on-farm bioresources. Marginal land has been brought into production for rice and fish, and has increased the household income directly through sale of fish from the revitalized dambo resource system. These patterns were common to four of the farms sampled and each case involved bioresource linkages to adjacent dimba vegetable gardens with flows operating in both directions between the pond and dimba systems. Although these dambo and dimba wetlands are individually small, often less than 0.5 ha, added together they comprise 10-20 percent oftotal land area in African savannas (Scoones, 1991).
Table 1 summarizes the information obtained from the farm drawings. In every case, the presence of ponds results in the initiation of integration creating linkages through recycling of farm residues. The contribution such systems make to household nutrition has not yet been assessed, but all of the farmers indicated that significant output from both rice and fish goes to the household. Farmers commented that having ponds reduced their need to buy fish and the latter were often used for reciprocal exchange of goods and services provided by neighbors.


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In three sets of drawings, farmers provided detailed information on cash flows coming from each resource system before and after the introduction of fish ponds (Table 2). Rice-fish ponds' contribution to gross income varies widely, from 10 to 62 percent, reflecting differing levels of investment and length of time the aquaculture systems have been running.
Farm A. Three borrowed cropland areas (munda) were repossessed from the farmer by their owners. To offset this loss of productive lands, the farmer converted marginal dambo land into an integrated rice-fish system. Decline in income due to loss of productive munda is more than compensated by income from the rehabilitated dambo (Table 2) even though the dambo area is smaller in size than the original three munda areas that were lost. The farmer does incur expenses associated with the rice-fish enterprise of about US$23, giving a net income of US$148. However, the full value of rice and fish from the ponds is not reflected in Table 2. The household eats produce from the ponds and also provides free fish to relatives. The estimated market value of

Dambo
Unused


Maize
Rnc WeN smason


Mtnhel


Figure 7. Retrospective Resource )iagram Showing Farm B Prior to Having Fish Ponds.


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consumed fish alone is approximately US$43. Therefore, the total net value of produce from the ponds is around US$190.
Farm B. Rehabilitation of the dambo area for rice-fish ponds provides an additional income to the household equivalent to or even slightly more than the income from the munda, raising total gross family earnings from US$135 to US$155. Again, the total value of produce from the ponds is not reflected in the table. Consumption of rice and fish by the family was valued at approximately US$7, raising the total value of produce from the ponds to just over US$160/year. The farmer has only just started rice-fish and is still in the process of developing the system.
Farm C. Marginal dambo was rehabilitated and provided additional income and food for the household. This cash was used to purchase fertilizer for the munda, resulting in increased crop production and more than a doubling of income from the munda crops. Recycling of pond mud to the dimba raises the latter's income from US$46 to US$83, although as a


Mar~ei


Figure 8. Current Resource Flows on Farm B After Incorporation of Fish Ponds.


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percentage of total income it declines slightly. On all three farms, the presence of ponds seems to have altered the farm system and earning potential of the household. The average annual income of US$155 increased toUS $235 after the adoption of aquaculture. Experiment in International Living (1991) reported that the average annual income for rural households in Malawi was US$130. Although one cannot draw any firm conclusions from three farms, it would appear that integrated aquaculture systems may have the potential to significantly raise rural incomes.
Tables 3 and 4 provide more detailed data on production and income from 14 rice-fish systems in Malawi. The majority of farmers have 200m2 ponds of which half is planted with rice. Such systems have the potential to generate incomes ranging from approximately US$120 to US$250 per annum depending on whether farmers operate one or two cycles of rice and fish in their ponds. This income range is just for rice-fish and does not include earnings from other resource systems on the farm. This earning potential represents a mean annual production of about 50 to 100 kg of rice and 25 to 50 kg of fish. The average number of people per rural household is 4.3 (NSO, 1991, 1992b). Therefore, rice-fish systems potentially can provide 12-23 kg of rice and 6-12 kg of fish per person per annum. ICLARM-GTZ (1991) stated that the average daily protein requirement for an adult is 35-43 g or 12.8-15.7 kg/ capita/year. Rice-fish can produce almost the total protein requirement for a family of four.
Table 1. Comparison of Changes In Farming System Prior to and Following Integrated
Aquaculture Development, Based on Farmer's Drawings.


Before
Marginal wet land unutilized. No integration between resource systems or on-farm enterprises.

Crop residues not recycled.

Water shortage for vegetable garden in late dry season. Household reliant on uncertain water supplies. Reliant either on fertilizer for vegetable garden or overutilized exhausted soils.
Buy fish; rarely eat fish.

Marginal wetland does not provide food and income for household. Rice either not grown or only one crops of rice.


After
Marginal land brought into productive use. Ponds serve as a focal point for direct or indirect links between resource systems.

Crop residues such as maize bran and green leaf waste used as pond input. Ponds placed adjacent to gardens provide water for irrigating vegetables. Households use pond as water catchment for domestic use and watering livestock. Use pond as processing unit for converting low quality crop waste into fertile mud for transfer to garden; reduced fertilizer use. Ready supply of fish for household consumption; rarely buy fish. Conversion to ponds provides food and income.
Rice-fish ponds provide two crop per year; rice grown for first time.


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Table 2. Impact of Integrated Aquaculture Development on Gross Income of Three
Farms (in US$).
Contribution to cash income of each resource system (%).


Dimba
(vegetables) Farm A ($92)
43
Total earnings $134/year


Without ponds Munda
(crops) ($81) 38


Farm B ($83) ($32) ($20)
62 23 15
Total earnings $134/year Farm C ($71) ($46)
61 39
Total earnings $117/year
With ponds
Dimba Munda Rice-Fish
(vegetables) (crops) Livestock integration
Farm A ($100) ($5) ($171)
36 2 62
Total earnings $276/year Farm B ($69) ($34) ($24) ($28)
44 22 16 18
Total earnings $155/year Farm C ($166) ($83) ($28)


60 30 10
Total earnings $275/year
Note: All farmers above are classified by Malawi Government as in the low-income index bracket of less
than $30/month.
*Rice/Fish integration in Farm A replaces unprofitable off-farm business.



Impact on Resource Systems
There is only indirect on-station evidence that development of integrated crop-fish systems may have a beneficial impact on resource systems. Detailed on-farm analysis has yet to be done. Chimatiro (unpublished data) did carry out some on-farm studies coupled with on-station experiments that demonstrated that ponds act as efficient converters of low-quality vegetable waste into nutrient-rich pond mud. Chimatiro found that the ecological efficiency with which vegetable waste was converted into fish flesh in farm ponds was only 0.8 percent. He assumed that probably a large portion of plant material was being incorporated into the detritivore subsystem of the pond and accumulating in the sediments.
Chimatiro carried out a simple test of this hypothesis on-station. Sediments from ponds that had received grass inputs for six months were used as fertilizer


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Livestock


Off-Farn business ($40) 19

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to grow head cabbages on ordinary topsoil and compared with cabbages grown on topsoil without the addition of pond mud. Cabbages grown on soil receiving pond sediments had yields equivalent to 1.2 t/100/m2/year, a 50 percent increase over the 0.8 t/100/m2/year produced on ordinary dambo soil. Chikafumbwa (unpublished data) demonstrated that even higher yields of 2t/100m2/year could be achieved with Chinese cabbage. These two simple experiments indicate that soils adjacent to ponds can be rehabilitated by fertilization with pond mud and can produce vegetables crops.
From the Chinese cabbage experiment, approximately 0.7 t/100m2/year of leaf waste was produced that could be recycled back into the ponds as feed and fertilizer. This operation regenerated the pond mud, which could then be

Table 3. Average Production of Rice Grain and Straw from Rice-Fish Integrated
Ponds in Zomba District, Malawi, 1991/92.
Rice Harvest Weight
kg grain = 28 (15) [8-60]; straw = 97 (61) [26-197]
kg/100m2 grain = 26 (8) [13-42]; straw = 81 (37) [38-198]
kg/100m/
year grain = 55 (20) [35-96]; straw =190(115) [86-478]
*mean value of rice grain =41 K ($13)/100m2/year Pond Statistics
Total area = 259 (167) [42-751]
Rice area = 124 (91) [40-386]
% Rice = 56 (29) [16-100]
Mean growing
period (days) 164 (27) [1143-256] Number of ponds = 14
Legend: ( ) = standard deviation; [ ] = range; *Last harvests were sold in May 1992 (1 kg rice =
0.72 K); US$1 = 2.3 KMay 1992 (NSO 1992b).
recycled back on to the garden soils. Farmers have adopted these practices of recycling pond mud into the dimba garden system. In the case of Farm C, transfer of pond mud to the dimba garden has raised the income from the resource systems by almost 20 percent. Even building a pond on marginal land will improve the fertility of that land through the accumulation of rich pond sediments. Coupled with the recycling of those sediments to other adjacent marginal areas creates a real potential for system rehabilitation and possible stabilization of agricultural production from the dambo and dimba resource systems.

Sustainability Evaluation
Although the data from rice-fish ponds and farmers' models seem to indicate improvement in farm production through the adoption of integrated aquaculture-agriculture systems, there is no evidence as yet that these systems are necessarily sustainable.


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Defining sustainability is a complex issue. As Conway (1991) comments, definitions vary between disciplines and almost anything goes if it fits within the broad umbrella of self-sufficiency, integration, traditional farming, etc. Harrington (1991) cautions that approaches to evaluation and measurement will be strongly influenced by how sustainability is defined and interpreted.

Table 4. Average Fish Production and Harvest Values From Rice-Fish Ponds in Zomba District, Malawi, 1992.
Fish Production, Harvest Weight
(kg) 14 (7) [6-25]
Kg/200m2 13 (6) [5-22]
kg/200m2/yr = 27 (12) [24-44]
Fish Production, Harvest Values
Mean value of fish
/200m2/year = 82 K ($22.00) 1 harvest
165 K ($45.00) 2 harvests*
Mean price/kg 3.03 K ($00.82/kg)
Pond Statistics
Mean area m2 211 (19) [181-232]
Mean growing period
(mo.) for 1 harvest 5 (2) [3.4-9.4]
Number of ponds = 5
Legend: ( ) = standard deviation; [ ] range; *very common ($1 = 3.7 K August 1992). For small-scale farmers in Africa, the major problem is maintaining the integrity of the farming system in the face of rapidly degrading socioeconomic and ecological conditions. A reasonable measure of sustainability under these circumstances would be the resilience of a farming system to such environmental perturbations. Conway (1967) defines resilience as the ability of an agricultural system to "maintain its productivity when subject to stress or perturbation."
If one settles on resilience as the criterion of sustainability, how and what should be measured to evaluate whether a farming system is resilient? Harrington (1991) points out that assessing a system's resilience will depend on developing reliable, quantifiable, and easily measured indicators of resilience. Giampietro et al. (1992) emphasize that the stability or resilience of systems relative to internal or external fluctuations is an important parameter to assess. They take a strictly ecological approach and state that energy flow and storage are critical parameters to measure in assessing a system's stability and sustainability. They coin the term "biophysical capital": the ability of an ecosystem to use solar energy to run biophysical processes that stabilize system structure and functions (i.e., maintain resilience). Conway's definition of resilience is based on the premise that diversity within systems will enhance their ability to withstand perturbation. Diversity spreads risk so that if one enterprise fails, others will still operate and thus maintain productivity of the


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system. But diversity also implies links, integration, recycling, efficient use of nutrients, etc. in order to reduce risk. Therefore, a measure of these attributes and how they change over time may provide researchers with some guides as to the sustainability of a farming system.
In the context of the methodology described earlier, resilience may be measured through time-series modeling by farmers. Table I already provides some of the parameters that could be used. From farm models, change in number and type of enterprises can be monitored over time. Regular counts can be made of bioresource flows and the quantities of materials they represent. Outputs and inputs in terms of labor and fertilizer can be estimated from drawings with the farmer's help. The following criteria could be used to measure improvement in sustainability of farming systems:
1. Measure productive output of marginal lands. Increase in agricultural output will signify rehabilitation.
2. Measure increase in number of interlinkages between and within resource systems. Increase in linkages will indicate that more material is being recycled within the system and there is possibly less dependence on external inputs.
3. Measure quantities of bioresources flowing between resource systems. This will give an indication of allocation and efficiency of nutrient flow and/ or energy flow within the farming system.
4. Measure output from resource systems and see if combined outputs remain stable or increase.
5. Measure net cash income flows on farm diagrams. If they are increasing or maintaining their value relative to inflation, then sustainability of the farming system has probably increased
6. Measure net flows of produce to household as food. If these are stable or increasing, then changes in the farm system are having a significant impact on household nutrition.
7. Measure labor allocation relative to productive output and income generation from different resource systems and enterprises. If returns to limited labor are increasing, then system sustainability is probably increasing. Labor allocations may also provide some measure of equity changes.
8. Measure material output from resource systems relative to input. If output efficiency is greater in energy or nutrient terms, then integration is improving sustainability of the system.
9. Measure increase in flows and linkages of materials, labor, etc. between the farm household and those of neighbors and relatives. If linkages are not only improving the efficiency of nutrient, cash, and labor use on the farm implementing the changes but also benefiting other socially closely linked households, then sustainability of the system is probably increasing and equity is improving.
This is not an exhaustive list of possibilities, but an indication of what information could be gleaned from farmer diagrams when the farmer is an


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active participant in monitoring change and perceives a benefit in the process. Using time-series farmer models of their farm systems for evaluation of sustainability also addresses the problem of dealing with real world complexity. Quantification of sustainability is often rejected because researchers choose criteria that are quantifiable but not necessarily as crucial as conceptually more important "non-quantifiable" ones (Harrington, 1991). This situation is avoided with farmer models because the farmer can indicate on diagrams non-quantifiable changes such as increased social linkages and reciprocation with neighbors and relatives as people and/or materials and cash flow within and between farming systems.
Farmer drawings also alleviate some of the problems'associated with a total factor productivity approach (TFP) to measuring sustainability. TFP relates total outputs (0) to total inputs (I) as TFP = 0/I and assumes that sustainability is increasing if 0>1. This approach does not readily measure changes in quality of the resource base or change in diversity of components within the system, whether they be social, economic, or environmental. Timeseries models of farms, using a variety of drawings to indicate different component changes in the farming system, have the potential to capture and quantify many changes not picked up by a straight TFP approach.
Likewise, data collected from drawings can be converted into biomass and energy flows which will enable one to measure the "biophysical capital," as discussed by Giampietro et al (1992). They state that stability of living systems is related to their ability to maintain their structure and function by replacing the flow of energy and matter discarded by systems with new energy and matter. In a strict ecological sense, for a farming system to be stable or sustainable, these criteria are essential. The evaluation procedures indicated above have the potential to measure these criteria.


DISCUSSION
Although this research may be considered to be in its infancy, several positive signs have emerged that encourage further work. Like many others, we have witnessed an empowerment of farmers through participatory research. Given that farmers are the managers of natural resources, this can only be encouraging. We have seen farmers change decisions away from enterprise profitability to favor resource system rehabilitation. We have observed that managing water and living aquatic resources provides an entry point for sustainable farming system development. We have grasped the utility of quantifiable sustainability indicators for comparing performance of different farming systems. Through ICLARM's research in other countries in Africa and Asia we have uncovered the universality of resource systems. A vital output at this stage of our understanding of sustainable agriculture is to find commonalities using multiregional evaluations. Commonalities will lead to generalizations about


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sustainable agriculture that can then be tested empirically, and thus a set of principles for sustainable agriculture can emerge.
On-farm experiments for sustainable agriculture do not look like conventional experiments. Our experiments in resource management have a new sequence of (1) resource inventory and analysis, (2) exposure to alternative resource use techniques, and (3) monitoring farming system transformation. These experiments have the objective of changing resource management decisions in a favorable direction. Here, favorable means toward less reliance on nonrenewable resources, less environmental degradation, increased wholefarm profitability, reduced pollution, and reduced adverse social and economic effects. Researchers monitor indicators that we hypothesize will lead to sustainable farming systems, a hypothesis that still has to be tested. Nevertheless, we do know the impact of these experiments on households and resource systems. We do not know how long this kind of research must run for hypotheses to be tested. Thus, we share an idea in its early stages and not a finished product. Other shortcomings we anticipate follow.
We feel insufficient attention has been given to measurement of environmental effects. If resource systems are to be valued then we need to know more about biological and ecological processes that underlie their degradation and rehabilitation. Concomitant with this need is a failure to analyze off-farm social and economic effects. At some time we must work at hierarchies greater than the farm and the resource manager. Particularly important here will be studies of markets, policies, and equity. We do, however, appreciate that research cannot address all issues in the same test. Nevertheless, resource management experiments as we have envisioned them must open doors for other issues to be studied through collaborate research efforts. If what we have written is worth following up on, then technical issues will pale in comparison with the institutional hurdles that face us.
Experiments of the kind described need wide-scale farmer participation. Establishing a large population of farmers requires the skills of grassroots, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). We see little chance of this kind of work being done without partnerships between governmental organizations (GOs) and NGOs. Vital linkages within research institutions themselves include links between on-station researchers and on-farm researchers, links between social and biological science researchers working at higher and lower levels in the agricultural systems hierarchy. Links with policymakers are also vital if policies to protect and promote sustainable systems are to be formulated. Over and above all these institutional constraints we see the greatest hurdle as the reluctance of scientists to change research styles that they have used for years and that are reinforced by peers, journals, and professional societies.


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to ICLARM technical assistants Mr. A. Montjeza and Mr. R. Selemani and field assistant/driver Mr. W. McLorry for data gathering on rice-fish ponds. Thanks to Fredson Chikafumbwa for making available his material on vegetable-fish integration. Thanks also to Emma Mafuleka, Fredson Chikafumbwa of ICLARM and Mr. Kalumpha, Fisheries Department, for assistance in farmer modeling sessions and to Albert Contemprate of ICLARM for drawings and figures. Particular thanks should go to Nancy Axinn and Larry Harrington for their valuable comments on the drafts of this paper.


REFERENCES

Altieri, M. 1987. Agroecology: The scientific basis of alternative agriculture. Boulder,
Colorado: Westview Press.
Anderson, M.D., and W. Lockeretz. 1992. Sustainable agriculture research in the ideal
and in the field. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 47(1): 100-104.
Batie, S.S. 1989. Sustainable development: Challenges to the profession of agricultural
economics. Presidential address at the AAEA Summer Meeting, Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, July-August.
Chambers, R., A. Pacey, and L.A. Thrupp, eds. 1989. Farmer first: Farmer innovation
and agricultural research. London: Intermediate Technology Publications. Chikafumbwa, unpublished data
Chimatiro, unpublished data.
Conway, G.T. 1967. The properties ofagroecosystems. Agricultural Systems 24:95- 117. Conway, G.R. 1986. Agroecosystem analysis for research and development. Bangkok,
Winrock International.
Conway, G.R. 1991. Sustainability in agricultural development: Trade offs with productivity, stability and equitability. Paper presented at the 11th Annual Association for Farm Systems Research-Extension Symposium, Michigan State University, East
Lansing, October.
Edwards, C.A., R. Lal, P. Madden, R.H. Miller, and G. House, eds. 1990. Sustainable
agricultural systems. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny, Iowa.
Experiment in International Living. 1991. The roles of NGOs in promoting agricultural
development and natural resource management in Malawi. Proceedings of United
States Agency for International Develpment/SHARED Workshop, May.
Giampietro, M., G. Cerretelli, and D. Pimentel. 1992. Energy analysis of agricultural
ecosystem management: Human return and sustainability. Agriculture, Ecosystems
and Environment 38:219-244.
Harrington, L.W. 1991. Measuring sustainability: Issues and alternatives. Journal for
Farming Systems Research-Extension 3(1): 1-20.
Haverkort, B., J. van der Kamp, and A. Waters-Bayer, eds. 1991. Joining farmers'
experiments: Experiences in participatory technology development. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.
ICLARM-GTZ (International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management and
the Government of the Republic of Zambia). 1991. The context of small-scale


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integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems in Africa: A case study ofMalawi. ICLARM
Stud. Rev. 18. 302 pp.
Lightfoot, C., and N.A. Tuan. 1990. Drawing pictures of integrated farms helps
everyone: An example from Vietnam. Aquabyte 3(2):5-6.
Lightfoot, C., R. Noble, and R. Morales. 1991. Training resource book on a participatory
method for modelling bioresource flows. International Center for Living Aquatic
Resources Management (ICLARM) Educational Series 14, 30pp.
Lightfoot, C., and D. Minnick. 1991. Farmer-first qualitative methods: Farmers'
diagrams for improving methods of experimental design in integrated farming
systems. Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension 2( 1):57-71.
National Statistical Office (NSO). 1991. Malawi population and housing census 1987.
Malawi: Government Printer, 95 pp.
National Statistical Office (NSO). 1992a. Annual survey of agriculture 1982/83-1984/
85. Malawi: Government Printer, 146 pp.
National Statistical Office (NSO). 1992b. Monthly Statistical Bulletin May 1992.
Government Printer, 27 pp.
Noble, R., and B. Rashidi. 1990. Aquaculture technology transfer to smallholder farmers
in Malawi, Southern Africa. The ICLARM Quarterly 13(4):14-16.
Scoones, I. 1991. Wetlands in drylands: Key resources for agricultural and pastoral
production in Africa. Ambio 20(8):366-371.


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Integrating Household Food Security into Farming Systems Research-Extension'

T.R. Frankenberger and P.E. Coyle2



ABSTRACT
Agricultural development projects can aid low-resource farmers in coping with household food insecurity. The small-scale rainfed farming systems of such farmers, however, are extremely complex, and so researchers and extensionists need to take account ofmultiple production and consumption linkages, coping strategies, and environmental constraints in helping to ensure sustainable access to food for members of these farm households. To do this, a number ofindicators ofhousehold food security can be aggregated into vulnerability maps of food insecure populations, and these, in combination with rapid and participatory rural appraisals, can systematically identify households at risk of food shortage. But to effectively integrate household food security concerns into FSRE, itis also important to elicit the active participation of farmers in problem identification and technology development through collaborative research and
on-farm experimentation


INTRODUCTION
The importance of household food security (HFS) to agricultural development efforts has been drastically accentuated by the current severe drought now plaguing Southern Africa. The fact that nearly 18,000,000 people are food insecure and at risk of severe malnutrition (Green, 1992) justifies the priority households give to securing sufficient food supplies as a major production goal. The recurrent risks associated with fluctuating rainfall and unstable markets has led many farmers to diversify their food procurement strategies in order to secure a wide food base and sufficient supplies (Velarde, 1991). Farmers' pursuit of these diverse strategies to meet their food needs has significant implications for the types of interventions promoted through farming systems research-extension (FSRE).
1 Keynote presentation at the Twelfth Annual Association for Farming Systems ResearchExtension Symposium, Michigan State University, East Lansing, September 13-18, 1992. This paper was initially prepared for The Famine Mitigation Activity Support Project, USAID, Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, Washington, DC. It was previously published in Nutrition and household food security in farming systems research, Mansa, Zambia, August 10-14, 1992,
2 Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries, Adaptive Research Planning Team, Zambia.
Office of Arid Lands Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA 85719.

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This paper addresses a number of the key issues related to household food security that have a direct bearing on the work carried out by farming systems practitioners. It begins by summarizing a number of conceptual issues associated with HFS that need to be taken into account in agricultural research. This is followed by a brief discussion of the client group to which most FSRE activities are aimed, and how their participation in the research process is key to the promotion of HFS. This paper then concludes with a number of suggestions of how HFS considerations can be incorporated into the FSRE process.


CONCEPTUAL ISSUES


Household Food Security and Livelihood Security
Food security is defined by the World Bank (1986) as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active and healthy life." Operationalizing the concept at the national level is not the same as at the household level. At the national level, food security entails adequate food supplies through local production and food imports. However, adequate availability of food at the national level does not necessarily translate into even distribution across the country, nor equal access among all households.
In the past 15 years, much conceptual progress has been made in our understanding of the processes that lead to food insecure situations for households (Frankenberger, 1992). We have moved away from simplistic notions of food supply being the only cause of household food insecurity to assessing vulnerability of particular groups in terms of their access to food. Thus, food availability at the national and regional level and stable access are both keys to household food security (see Figure 1). Access to food is determined by food entitlements that may include viable means for procuring food (either produced or purchased), human and physical capital, assets and stores, access to common property resources, and a variety of social contracts at the household, community, and state level (Maxwell et al., 1992). The risk of entitlement failure determines the level of vulnerability of a household to food insecurity. The greater the share of resources devoted to food acquisition, the higher the vulnerability of the household to food insecurity.
However, household food security is but one dimension of livelihood security. Livelihood is defined by Chambers (1989) as adequate stocks and flows of food and cash to meet basic needs. Poor people balance competing needs for asset preservation, income generation, and present and future food supplies in complex ways (Maxwell et al., 1992). People may go hungry up to a point to meet another objective. For example, deWaal (1989) found during the 1984-85 famine in Darfur, Sudan that people chose to go hungry to preserve their assets and future livelihoods. People will put up with a


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z
Household ~Food Security




Availability Stable Access
0


'*ilStorage, 0
Conservation Processing T11

0 o 1
Sufficient Local Supply Viable
CL (production + gathering Household Envionmenta Soial
+ purchased + food aid) Procurement
- t
P

taNatural Natural Informal Sabe
Food Adequacy o o- aResource Resource Social Gove: p~set ucioninomeLre~t Fod Fod Conser- Conser- Mecha- merit
0-vation vaton sms




Cultural Food Nutritional
Acceptability Safety Adequacy

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FRANKENBERGER AND COYLE


considerable degree of hunger to preserve seed for planting, cultivate their own fields, or avoid selling animals (Maxwell et al., 1992). Similarly, Corbett (1988) found that in the sequential ordering of behavioral responses employed in periods of stress in a number of African and Asian countries, preservation of assets takes priority over meeting immediate food needs until the point of destitution. Given the importance of livelihood security to farmers in risk-prone areas, risk avoidance and entitlement protection must be builtin selection criteria for screening technology.

Production/Consumption Linkages
To promote HFS in ongoing FSRE efforts, it is important to understand the complex linkages that exist between production and food consumption. Changes in farm management and production technology have not always improved the food consumption status of producers (Frankenberger, 1990). Agricultural development project are not nutritionally neutral. Some important linkages are summarized below.
Crop diversity. As small farm households become integrated into a market economy, the production of nonfood cash crops often replaces traditional subsistence crops. This shift from subsistence to cash cropping may result in decreased crop diversity and a concomitant increased dependency on outside food sources. As a result, food consumption and nutritional status may be adversely affected. Some other consequences of a shift to cash cropping include: 1) less land available for food crop production; 2) a breakdown of traditional foodsharing networks; and 3) the elimination of important minor crops and wild plants that provide essential nutrients during the preharvest period when staple foods are often in short supply (DeWalt, 1983; Dewey, 1981; Fleuret and Fleuret, 1980; Frankenberger, 1985; Longhurst, 1983; Messer, 1989).
Income. Household income is a major determinant of family food consumption. Factors such as the control and form of income, and the regularity of its receipt, may be equally or more important than total income in understanding the nutritional effects of agricultural development initiatives. When women control household income, they are more likely to spend it on food and health care. Continual or periodic forms of income are more often spent on food than lump-sum income. In-kind (food) income is more likely used for family consumption than cash income. Increasing income is often associated with the increased consumption of purchased foods, especially foods of animal origin. Diets dependent on purchased foods, however, do not necessarily meet nutritional needs more adequately than diets that rely on agricultural products and wild foods (Dewey, 1981; Fleuret and Fleuret, 1980; Frankenberger, 1985; Hernandcz et al., 1974; Kennedy and Cogill, 1987; Longhurst, 1983; Pinstrup-Andersen, 1981; von Braun and Kennedy, 1986; Saenz de Tejada, 1989).


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Seasonality of production. In most areas of the world there is a seasonal dimension to agricultural production, food availability, and malnutrition. Many farm families must cope with a cyclical period of deprivation referred to as the "hungry season." This occurs in the weeks preceding harvest when food stocks are low and food prices are high. Such periods of stress have a negative impact on children's nutritional status and growth. Adults may lose as much as seven percent of their body weight during the hungry season. This tends to coincide with the agricultural cycle's peak labor period when a farmer's energy expenditure is at its highest. Food shortages before harvest also coincide with peaks in infection rates for diarrhea, malaria, and other debilitating diseases (Frankenberger, 1985; Longhurst, 1983; Maxwell, 1984; Pinstrup-Andersen, 1981).
Role of women in production. Women's participation in agricultural production has an effect on family consumption and nutritional status that is closely tied to the income earned and labor demanded by this activity. Most income earned by women from agricultural activities is used for food purchases. Children of working women are less likely to be malnourished than children of nonworking women. However, activities that increase the labor-demands on women's time may lead to changes in cooking habits, the preparation of less nutritious and/or fewer meals, the cultivation of less labor-intensive and less nutritious food crops, and less time devoted to breastfeeding and child care (Fleuret and Fleuret, 1980; Frankenberger, 1985; Kumar, 1977; Longhurst, 1983; Maxwell, 1984; Tripp, 1982; von Braun and Kennedy, 1986).
Crop labor requirements. The introduction of new cash crops may require more human energy than previously grown crops, and the added energy requirements may be greater than the value of the output. These increased energy demands could also have deleterious effects on intrahousehold food distribution if some members of the household require a higher food intake to meet labor demands (Fleuret and Fleuret 1980; Frankenberger 1985).
Food preferences. Improved crop varieties should have acceptable characteristics for successful adoption by farm families. They should satisfy local tastes in terms of flavor and texture, otherwise they are unlikely to be adopted for subsistence and may only be produced for commercial purposes. New varieties should also have acceptable cooking qualities. Varieties that take longer to cook may require more fuel, water, and labor than indigenous varieties. In addition, time- and resource-efficient preparation methods should be introduced concomitantly to better ensure the use of new crop varieties to meet consumption needs (Fleuret and Fleuret 1980; Frankenberger 1985; Tripp 1982).
Market prices. Market prices and market access can have a significant impact on the consumption patterns of small-farm households. For example, in most developing countries, high consumer prices coincide with food shortages in small-farm households. In addition, government price and trade policies may adversely affect domestic producer prices that, in turn, serve to keep the


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purchasing power of farmers low. Finally, market inefficiency and periodic market instability can place in a vulnerable position households that are dependent on purchased food to meet their food needs (Fleuret and Fleuret, 1980; Frankenberger, 1985; Longhurst, 1988; Malambo, 1987).
By understanding these linkages, farming systems researchers will be more cognizant of the unexpected effects that newly introduced production alternatives could have on consumption (Frankenberger, 1985). However, not all linkage will be important in every context. To determine which linkages are important, it is essential to understand the coping strategies farmers pursue to maintain HFS.

Coping Strategies
Households do not respond arbitrarily to variability in food supply. People who live in conditions that put their main source of income at recurrent risk will develop self-insurance coping strategies to minimize risks to their HFS and livelihoods (Longhurst, 1986; Corbett, 1988). Examples of such strategies are dispersed grazing, changes in cropping and planting practices, migration to towns in search of urban employment, increased petty commodity production, collection of wild foods, use of interhousehold transfers and loans, use of credit from merchants and money lenders, migration to other areas for employment, rationing of current food consumption, sale of possessions (e.g., jewelry), sale of firewood and charcoal, consumption of food distributed through relief programs, sale of productive assets, breakup of the household, and distress migration. In general, coping strategies are pursued by households to ensure future income-generating capacity (i.e., livelihood) rather than simply to maintain current levels of food consumption (Corbett, 1988; dcWaal, 1988; Haddad ct al., 1991). These strategies will vary by region, community, social class, ethnic group, household, gender, age, and season (Chambers, 1989; Thomas et al., 1989). The types of strategies employed by households will also vary depending upon the severity and duration of the potentially disruptive conditions (Thomas et al., 1989).
In analyzing varieties of coping strategies, it is important to distinguish two types of assets that farmers have at their disposal. Assets that represent stores of value for liquidation (liquid assets) are acquired during noncrisis years as a form of savings and self-insurance; these may include small livestock or personal possessions such as jewelry. A second set of assets are those that play a key role in generating income (productive assets). These are less liquid as stores of value and are much more costly to farm household in their disposal. Households will first dispose of assets held as stores of value before disposing of productive assets (Corbett, 1988; Frankenberger and Goldstein, 1991). A household's access to assets is often a good determinant of its vulnerability (Chambers, 1989; Swift, 1989a).
Swift has also identified claims as another type of asset used by households to assure their food security. Claims refer to the ability of households to


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activate community support mechanisms. Claims also may encompass governmcnt support mechanisms or the international donor community (Borton and Shoham, 1991).
Most initial responses to actual or potential food shortages are extension of practices conducted in some measure during normal years to adapt to rainfall variability (Longhurst, 1986; Watts, 1988). Traditional methods of handling risk can be divided into routine risk-minimizing practices and loss-management mechanisms (Walker and Jodha, 1986). Risk-minimizing practices arc adjustments to production and resource use before and during a production season. These involve such practices as diversification of resources and enterprises, and adjustments within cropping systems. Crop-centered diversification can include choice of crops with varying maturation periods, different sensitivities to environmental fluctuations, and flexible end use products. Farmers also will reduce production risks by exploiting vertical, horizontal, and temporal dimensions of the natural resource base. Vertical adjustments involve planting at different elevations in a topographical sequence. Spatial risk-adjustments include planting in different micro-environments or in tercropping. Temporal risk adjustments involve staggering planting times. Adjustments also may include extension of farming to marginal areas or overuse of a particular plot, practices that can have a destructive effect on the natural environment.
Loss management mechanisms include farmers' responses to lower-thanexpected crop production caused by natural hazards (Walker and Jodha, 1986). Reductions in crop production can be compensated for through nonfarm income, the sale of assets, the management of stocks and reserves, seasonal migration, and reciprocal obligations among households. Overexploitation of certain resources (forest reserves, for example) for market sale also may be part of this loss management strategy.
In communities marked by landholding and income inequalities, household responses occur differently along the lines of wealth and access to resources (Ionghurst, 1986; Tobert, 1985). Identical climatic conditions can affect households of varied economic levels to different degrees. Seasonal shortages for some families produce famine conditions for others. Poorer households, including many women-headed households, having smaller holdings and a weaker resource base, are more vulnerable to stress than are wealthier households, and begin to suffer earlier when food shortages hit (Frankenberger and Goldstein, 1990). The poor resort to early sales of livestock, pledge farms, incur debt, sell labor, and borrow grain at higher interest rates. In essence, crop failures and other shocks reveal rather than cause the fragile nature of HFS among vulnerable rural families. At the same time, prosperous households buy livestock at deflated prices in conditions of oversupply, sell or lend grain to needy farmers, purchase wage labor at depressed rates, and purchase land (Watts, 1988). Thus, during a food crisis,


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a cycle of accumulation and decapitalization can occur simultaneously within a single community, depending on the depth of the current crisis.
Patterns of coping strategies can be diagramed to show the sequence of responses farm households typically employ when faced with a food crisis (Figure 2). These sequences of response are most frequently divided in the literature into three distinct stages (Corbett, 1988). In the earliest stages of a food crisis (stage one), households employ the types of risk-minimizing and loss-management strategies discussed above. These typically involve a low commitment of domestic resources, enabling speedy recovery once the crisis has eased. As the crisis persists households are increasingly forced into greater commitment of resources just to meet subsistence needs (stage two). There may be a gradual disposal of key productive assets, making it harder to return to a precrisis state. At this stage, a household's vulnerability to food insecurity is extremely high. Stage three strategies are signs of failure to cope with the food crisis and usually involve destitution and distress migration (Corbett, 1988).
Recent studies have found that the range of coping strategies pursued by farm families in drought-prone areas may be changing over time (Downing, 1988; Thomas ct al., 1989). Three major trends appear to be developing. First, risk-minimizing agricultural strategies appear to be narrowing in some locations (e.g., in Kenya) as repeated sale and reacquisition have depleted domestic and productive asset levels (Frankenberger and Goldstein, 1991). In these areas, agricultural coping strategies are being replaced by strategies that diversify income sources through off-farm employment and nonagricultural production (Mead, 1988; Swinton, 1988). Some of these nonfarm strategies include practices that are known to be environmentally damaging, but that provide a last resort in crisis conditions. Second, strategies that relied on social support and reciprocity for overcoming food deficits are eroding due to the integration of individual households into the cash economy (Thomas et al., 1989). Third, a shift has been observed in the responsibility for coping with drought from the individual household and local community toward the national government through drought and famine relief programs (Frankenberger, 1990). This trend is due in large part to the reduction in response flexibility of small farm households (Frankenberger and Goldstein, 1991).

Household Food Security and Environmental Degradation
Although coping strategies may be seen in the short term as functional adaptations to uncertain conditions and hence beneficial, some commonly practiced strategies may have dire consequences for the natural environment in the long run (Frankenberger and Goldstein, 1991). Particularly for poorer farmers with limited resource endowments, the process of maintaining household viability may be exacted at the expense of the natural surroundings. Poor people often occupy ecologically vulnerable areas such as marginal


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drylands, tropical forests, and hilly areas. As drought conditions worsen and conditions of food insecurity persist, the range of options available to resource-poor farmers becomes more limited and inflexible. In'such situations, questions of long-term environmental sustainability become secondary. Day-to-day survival demands the use of any food procurement strategy available.
The exploitation of common property resources (CPRs) is particularly important to resource-poor farmers for meeting household food security needs. Wild leaves, roots, grains, bushmeat, and forest products provide additional food sources, buffer seasonal shortages, and provide alternative sources of income (Davis et al., 1991). These resources are relied upon heavily during times of stress (Jodha, 1986). Therefore, the degradation of CPR-s and loss through the encroachment ofprivatized agriculture has disproportionately affected the food security of the poor (Davis et al., 1991).


Earlier 'rime of Occurrence- Later

ligh Permanent Outmigration Low
Selling Land
Migrating for Aid
Pledging Land
Sale of Domestic Assets
Commitment Borrowing Grain or Cash from Merchant
of Domestic
Resources Selling Livestock Reversible
/ry Season Farming (Migration)
Migrating for Wage Work
Sell Labor Power
Using Stored Foods
Borrow Grain from Kin
Low lig
LUse of Famine Foods I igh

Figure 2. A Model of Responses to Food Shortage (Adapted from Watts, 1998).


Women are often more vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation than men because they are often more involved in the collection of common property resources (Davis ct al., 1991). Since women often make a greater contribution to household food security than men, a decline in


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women's access to resources may have a significant impact on the nutritional status of the household.
Coping strategies that may promote environmental degradation include cutting trees to make charcoal, overharvesting of wild foods, overgrazing of grasslands, and increased planting in marginal areas. All of these strategies may degrade soil conditions and augment problems of soil erosion (Norman, 1991). Farmers often realize the damage their actions have on the environment upon which their livelihood depends. However, as drought conditions worsen and food insecurity persists, the range of options becomes limited to such desperation strategies.
Thus, vulnerability to food insecurity usually means vulnerability to environmental degradation. However, development activities attempting to pursue both household food security and environmental objectives must consider the short- and long-term trade-offs associated with these dual objectives. Long-term sustainable natural resource management initiatives will not be successful if they ignore the short-term food security needs of the local population. Likewise, sustainability will be compromised if long-term environmental concerns are sacrificed for immediate food needs. For development goals to be achieved, a balance must be struck between these two objectives.

Indicators of Household Food Security
As stated earlier, food availability and stable access are both critical to HFS. For this reason, any particular monitoring system used for assessing HFS must incorporate both food supply/production data and access/entitlement data as part of its indicator set. Vulnerability to food insecurity is location specific, therefore, indicators arc needed that measure supply and food entitlement changes at the local level.
A number of different indicators can be used for delineating HFS. These can be divided into process indicators that reflect both food supply and food access, and outcome indicators which serve as proxies for food consumption (Frankenberger, 1992) (see Matrix 1). Indicators that reflect food supply include inputs and measures of agricultural production (agrometeorological data), access to natural resources, institutional development and market infrastructure (prices), and exposure to regional conflict and its consequences. Indicator that reflect food access are the various means or strategies used by households to meet their HFS needs. These strategies will vary by region, community, social class, ethnic group, household, gender, and season. Thus, their use as indicators is location-specific (see below). Outcome indicators can be grouped into direct and indirect indicators. Direct indicators of food consumption include those that are closest to actual food consumption rather than marketing channel information or medical status (e.g., household consumption surveys). Indirect indicators are generally used when direct indicators are either unavailable or too costly (in terms of time and money) to collect (e.g., storage estimates, nutritional status assessments).


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As indicators that reflect food access, the generalized patterns of coping strategies find practical application as tools for local food security monitoring (Frankenberger and Goldstein, 1991). Building upon the work of the World Food Program (WFP), there are three types of indicators that can be monitored for changing coping responses, thus suggesting worsening conditions and heightened food insecurity. Leading indicators (WFP refers to these as early indicators) are changes in condition and responses prior to the onset of decreased food access. Examples of such indicators are: 1) crop failures (due to inadequate rainfall, poor access to seed and other inputs, pest damage, etc.); 2) sudden deterioration of rangeland conditions or conditions of livestock (e.g., unusual migration movements, unusual number of animal deaths, large numbers of young female animals being offered for sale); 3) significant deterioration in local economic conditions (e.g., increases in the price of grain, unseasonal disappearance of essential food stuffs, increases in unemployment among laborers and artisans, unusual low levels of household foodstocks); and 4) significant accumulation of livestock by some households (due to depressed prices caused by oversupply). Leading indicators can provide signs of an impending problem and may call for a detailed situational analysis to determine the extent of the problem, causes, and need for monitoring. These indicators are a combination of process indicators dealing with both availability and access vulnerability (Frankenberger, 1992).
Concurrent indicators (WFP calls these stress indicators) occur simultaneously with decreased access to food. Examples of such indicators are: 1) larger than normal numbers of able-bodied family members in search for food or work; 2) appearance in the market of unusual amounts of personnel and capital goods, such as jewelry, farm implements, livestock (draft animals); 3) unusual increases in land sales or mortgages; 4) increases in the amount of people seeking credit; 5) increased dependence on wild foods; 6) reduction in the number of meals; and 7) increased reliance on interhousehold exchanges. Concurrent indicators can be assessed while carrying out a situational analysis using rapid rural appraisals. These indicators are primarily access/entitlement related. Once the nature and extent of the problems have been confirmed, interventions can be introduced that focus on the causes or mitigate the effects.
Trailing indicators (WFP calls these late outcome indicators) occur after food access has declined. They reflect the extent to which the well being of particular households and communities have been affected. In addition to signs of malnutrition and high rates of morbidity and mortality, trailing indicators include increased land degradation, land sales, consumption ofseed stocks and permanent outmigration. All of these indicators are signs that the household has failed to cope with the food crisis (Frankenberger and Goldstein 1991).
An understanding of farmer coping strategies can be essential in guiding the design and implementation of interventions to increase HFS. As Figure 3


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illustrates, the types of coping strategies employed by households not only indicate household vulnerability to food shortage, but also correspond to different types of government and donor responses. Household coping strategies that do not involve divestment normally indicate moderate vulnerability, and government/donor response is more appropriately oriented toward longer-term development efforts. Such responses can be targeted to enhance the long-term sustainability of HFS, especially in those areas where vulnerability is likely to increase. In regions where divestment is beginning to occur, household vulnerability becomes high and mitigation should be considered the appropriate response. Mitigative interventions are those that: 1) abate the impacts of the current emergency while reducing vulnerability to future emergencies; 2) target the conservation of productive assets at the household level; and 3) reinforce and build upon existing coping patterns (Hutchinson, 1991). In areas where productive asset sales and permanent outmigration have begun to occur, the population is extremely vulnerable to famine. Such indices would call for immediate relief action on the part of the government and donors. Thus, an appropriately designed HFS monitoring system could be flexible enough to serve all three purposes. Presently most Early Warning Systems operating in Africa are only used for food aid planning (i.e., the relief function).
Given their usefulness in identifying vulnerable households, it is important to also recognize the limitations of these food access indicators. First, socioeconomic variables mean different things in different contexts (Borton and York, 1987). Researchers and development practitioners should understand the locational specificity of socioeconomic variables so that they are not misinterpreted. Second, the raw data used as indicators can be misleading. Hesse (1987) demonstrated that regional livestock market data from Mali could easily be misunderstood because individuals were buying and selling the same stock repeatedly in the same day. Thus, the quality of the data needs to be properly validated before being incorporated into a monitoring system. Third, without a baseline for determining what is "normal" behavior for a given population, it is difficult to make valid interpretations of trends displayed by indicators (Borton and York, 1987). Fourth, given the locational specificity of socioeconomic indicators, it is difficult to make comparisons across, or to aggregate the data. This remains one of the critical areas of research to be addressed. Because of these limitations, numerous challenges lay ahead for those HFS monitoring systems that incorporate socioeconomic data (Haddad et al., 1991).
To minimize inaccuracies derived from the use of socioeconomic indicators, multiple indicators should be used whenever possible. The convergence of evidence will instill confidence in those agencies responsible for addressing food security problems. In addition, attempts should be made to pretest indicators to determine whether local factors may distort an indicator's validity and reliability (Haddad et al., 1991). Efforts also should be made to limit food access indicators to a manageable number.
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MATRIX 1
HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY INDICATORS


Indicator Availability Sources of Information Measurement Level of Limitation
and Collection Method Aggregation

Food Supply Indicators


Meteorological Data
(rainfall)


Information on Natural Resources
(includes grazing resources) Agricultural Production Data
(crops and animals) Agroecological Models Food Balance Sheets




Information on Pest Damage Market Information (prices)


Regional Conflict


readily government reports
available monitoring stations
satellite remote


readily available


periodic assessments government, NGOs satellite imagery government and donor studies


readily government reports
available crop cutting on sample plots
remote sensing farmer reports

not readily monitoring stations
available soil assessments

readily secondary sources
available government reports



moderately field assessments
available government reports

readily price data
available market surveys


not readily key informants
available NGOs


cumulative amount/average change from average onset

dekedal values dekadal value/previous dekadal dekadal average/long-term dekadal average

seasonal kg/capita departure from average kg/capita % change from past years


FAO Crop Specific Soil Water Balance Model

production-consumption requirements (opening stocks, production, imports, domestic per capita
requirements, exports and closing stocks)

seasonal kg/capita for crops % of change from last year

value of crop prices, livestock prices monthly value/average monthly value for previous year

# of incidents influx of refugees


national number of stations
regional timing of rains may be
district false indicator


national regional district


national regional district


national regional district national regional



national regional

national regional local


access to remote sensing




limited information on other crops besides staples


computer capability for analysis underestimate nontraded crops



frequency of assessment


interpretation of sales and price


regional collection of data
local in conflict zone

..









MATRIX 1
(continued)


Availability Sources of Information
and Collection Method


Measurement


Level of Limitation
Aggregation


Food Access (Effective Demand or Entitlement)

Risk Minimizing Strategies
land use practices limited

diversification of livestock limited


Loss Management Strategies
dietary change (both quantitative
and qualitative)

change of food source


diversification of income sources



access to loans/credit

livestock sales


seasonal migration

sale of production assets


distress migration


limited limited limited


RRA
formal surveys RRA
formal surveys


RRA
HH surveys in-depth interviews RRA
HH surveys

RRA
HH surveys


limited RRA
HH surveys available market surveys
secondary data

limited RRA
HH surveys limited RRA
HH surveys

limited RRA
HH surveys
government records
NGOs


changes in crop mix changes in time of planting changes in livestock mix early movement to alternative range # animal deaths

reduction in # of meals decreased dietary diversity shifts from preferred to lower status food increased dependence on wild foods # of HH dependent on reserves grain price increases changes in petty marketing patterns changes in wage rates increase # of HH seeking off-farm assistance from relatives assistance from relatives increase # of people seeking assistance from relatives # of people seeking credit increase sale of livestock/season decline of livestock prices

large # of people migrating for work

appearance in market of unusual amounts of personal and capital goods (jewelry, farm implements, draft animals) sale of young female animals # of whole families moving out of area


HH/village location specific

HI/village location specific



HH/village location specific


HH/village location specific


HH/village location specific


HH/village

national regional local village HH village HH

regional village HH


location specific location specific location specific location specific location specific


Indicator


-5


a' .~ o~
ci

'5 ~
~
~ SN)






05
5'
vs '5
vs

'5
vs
5'

..








MATRIX 1
(continued)


Indicator Availabilit


Outcome Indicators

Direct Indicators

household budget limited
and consumption surveys

"j household perception limited
P of food insecurity
n food frequency assessments limited




Indirect Indicators
storage estimates limited
t'J
subsistence potential ratio readily available


household food security card limited


nutritional status assessments readily available


y Sources of Information
and Collection Method


national surveys


RRA
in-depth interviews

HI surveys 24-hr recall




111 surveys RRA

1I1 surveys



HIt surveys


government health department formal surveys anthropometric measures


Measurement


Level of Limitation
Aggregation


price per unit of food or caloric per unit of food
conversion factors/capita

# of months of self provisioning from household production and receipt of in-kind as perceived by the household # of meals per day # and types of ingredients in meals # of times per day a nutrient-poor gruel was served as main meal


# of months food stores will last as perceived by the 1111


size of farm, expected yield and age and sex composition of household Amount of food produced/food required

food available from main crop compared to HI requirements on monthly basis

weight/age
height/age
weight/height
arm circumference


national high cost
regional
district z
village local population
1-111 may distort data 0

village difficult to aggregate at
11H regional/national level
limited level of precision,
culturally specific


village difficult to obtain due to
I-IH cultural beliefs
difficult to aggregate village difficult to aggregate
IIH assumes all farm
land used for
food production
village only useful in areas
HIH where most food is
household grown national nutritional status
regional influenced by sanitary
local conditions, care
age assessment question

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To date, few information systems are presently in place that adequately incorporate both supply/production data and access/entitlement data in the same indicator set. Early Warning Systems in most countries have had a food supply orientation focusing on production data and nutritional status primarily because these data arc easiest to obtain and are well suited to aggregate analysis (Buchanan-Smith et al., 1991). Few governments or donors are willing to commit the time or resources necessary to obtain information on socioeconomic indicators that are sensitive to the vulnerability of different groups. Decentralized HFS monitoring systems would be the best means of obtaining such information. Centralized HFS monitoring systems are likely to experience more difficulties in adequately assessing the HFS status of local populations (Frankenberger, 1992).
The information needs of different user groups will influence the selection of HFS indicators and data collection methods to be used. National governments and donors require quantitative information in a centralized system to help make informed planning and policy decisions regarding the sharing of limited resources across regions. Local governments, farming systems research teams, NGOs, and local communities require qualitative locationspecific information in a decentralized system to design appropriate interventions. A balance must be struck between the need for data for centralized decisions on the allocation of resources and a need for information appropriate for decentralized HFS monitoring and interventions.
HFS information systems can be designed to take both of these concerns into account. Using a staged process, vulnerability to food insecurity can be mapped for a country or region to assist national governments and donors in making decisions regarding the allocation of resources across regions. This information can then be used to determine where more location -specific HFS information is necessary to collect by farming systems teams. This information could then be used for targeting development initiatives and for setting up decentralized HFS monitoring systems.

Vulnerability Mapping
Pioneering efforts in vulnerability/risk mapping have been carried out in Bangladesh and Sudan under WFP support (Borton and Shoham, 1991). The USAI1)-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Project also has contributed significantly to this conceptual development (Downing, 1990). Vulnerability maps arc maps which identify the areas and sectors of the population that arc most vulnerable to food insecurity. These maps highlight the regions that need to be monitored more closely, and identify factors to take into consideration in designing interventions for vulnerable areas (Borton and Shoham, 1991). An earlier version of vulnerability mapping used in the 1970s was "functional classification" of undernourished populations as a basis for food and nutrition planning (Joy, 1973).


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INTEGRATING HFS INTO FSRE 51

Crop & Livestock Adjustments Diet change Famine food use!
-Grain loan from kin Lakor sales migrationn) Small animal sales Cash/cereal loan 0 !from merchants


E Productive asset sales
,)
0


Farmland pledging

Farmland sale __ _,__ Outmigration


Time ,, DONOR RESPONSES


Development Mitigation
Relief



HOUSEHOLD VULNERABILITY

Moderate






HOUSEHOLD STRATEGIES

Adaptation Divestment ;t

Diet change, borrowing, Liquid Productive'
seasonal labor migration assets assets



Figure 3. Responses to household food shortages (after Watts, 1983).
The types of coping strategies employed by households indicate household
vulnerability to food shortage, and correspond to different types of government
and donor responses. Office of Arid Lands Studies, The University of
Arizona,1991.


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Vulnerability to food insecurity is an aggregate measure for a given population of the risk of exposure to different types of shocks (e.g., drought) or disaster events (primarily supply indicators) and the ability to cope with these events (primarily access/entitlement indicators) (see Matrix 2). Mapping vulnerability involves assessing the baseline vulnerability (the contextual factors encompassing food insecurity events over the previous years), current vulnerability (the shocks overlying the baseline), and future vulnerability (trends associated with long-term food security risks (Frankenberger, 1992)).
A number of different approaches have been used in mapping food-related vulnerability (Frankenberger, 1992). These include: (1) desegregating existing data on socioeconomic groups; (2) surveys that collect information directly relevant to vulnerability; (3) using existing data on key indicators of vulnerability; and (4) conducting rapid rural appraisals (Borton and Shoham, 1991). Combining approaches may be necessary due to quality differences in the data. Geographic Information Systems are now being used for combining different data sets (Hutchinson et al., 1992).
The types of information that can be used as indicators of vulnerability to food insecurity will vary considerably between countries and regions within a country. Some indicators may be more important than others in determining vulnerability, so subjective weighting of indicators is often necessary (Borton and Shoham, 1991). If weighting must be done, it is important to rely on individuals who have local knowledge and experience in the areas to assign these weights.
Vulnerability maps drawn up for arid/or semi-arid regions should take into account the location of ecologically favorable areas that serve as refuge points during drought conditions (S. Davies, Personal Communication). The overutilization of the resources in such areas by multiple users during times ofstress can increase the vulnerability of the local population. Monitoring posts or sentinel sites (Mason et al., 1984) could be established in these areas of convergence to assess the regional impact of droughts.
Vulnerability maps have great potential for national governments and donors in assisting with decisions regarding the allocation of resources across regions. The development of such maps could ideally be a first step in identifying districts or subregions where it is necessary to collect more locational-specific HFS information for designing appropriate interventions. Decentralized HFS monitoring systems could then be developed in these designated areas.

A Systematic Approach to Identifying Food Insecure Households
In countries where national early warning systems already exist (e.g., crop forecasting, food balance sheets, nutrition surveillance), information supplied by these systems can help develop vulnerability maps for various regions. These vulnerability maps should be based as much as possible upon both


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supply-type indicators and access/entitlement indicators to avoid designating an area as vulnerable which may not be. Farming systems teams would not necessarily be responsible for creating these maps, but would use them to help target future activities. These maps would be fine-tuned as more information becomes available from the farming systems teams and other sources.
The vulnerability maps can then be used for designating areas where more location-specific HFS information can be gathered (Frankenberger, 1992). If such information does not already exist, farming systems teams can conduct RRAs to understand the local socioeconomic context and identify HFS constraints and key indicators to be used in decentralized food security monitoring systems.
The information gathered by the farming systems teams could feed directly into the development ofa district or sub-regional contingency plan, consisting of the HFS monitoring system and a set of predetermined responses that would be implemented if and when food security conditions change. These responses would be designed in noncrisis years, and would encompass development-type interventions that enhance the long-term sustainability of HFS, mitigation-type interventions that enable households to retain their productive assets and existing entitlements, and relief-type responses if immediate food aid distribution is warranted. Responsibilities for these various actions will be negotiated and assigned to government agencies, donors, and local NGOs prior to the onset of the food crisis to improve response timing (Frankenberger, 1992). Whenever possible, participation of local communities in information gathering and response should be encouraged.

Integrating HFS Considerations into Ongoing FSRE Projects and Programs
FSRE development projects and programs should be designed in such a way to take into account periodic shocks that may negatively impact the food security situation of households. To prevent households from selling off their assets and diminishing their ability to take advantage of project/program inputs, project designs should incorporate: (1) a monitoring system with indicators that can detect changes in entitlement and food supply; and (2) contingency plans that protect the asset base of the project beneficiaries during periods of stress through income transfers such as food-for-work/ cash-for-work. FSRE teams would not be responsible for implementing these programs, but could help in designing such interventions for the area in which they are working. Through local community participation, these contingency plans can be designed to focus on improvements in infrastructure and/or natural resource management that will enhance the long-term food security of the local area.
To effectively integrate HFS concerns into farming systems research and extension activities, it is important to first understand the nature of the client


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group, and then to elicit their participation in problem identification and technology development. The next section will address these issues.


THE CLIENTELE OF FSRE AND THEIR PARTICIPATION
The major clientele of FSRE arc low-resource farmers. Their small-scale rainfed farming systems tend to be more internally complex in comparison to industrial or green revolution systems, and are often more dynamic in exploiting unpredictable conditions. As Chambers (1991) points out, poor people in these areas seek to multiply their enterprises to raise their income and reduce risk. This diversity is the key component in the sustainability of their HFS and livelihoods. Thus, many low-resource farming systems are moving in the opposite direction to that of industrial or green revolution agriculture. Instead of becoming more simple and uniform, they are becoming more complex and diverse. Rather than intensifying external inputs, intensification is more internal.
Because of this complexity and diversity, many on-station researchers do not understand these systems well. Approaches for developing widely applicable technologies for relatively simple systems in uniform environments no longer are appropriate (Merrill-Sands ct al., 1991). New approaches are needed for identifying multiple products that can be tailored to the identified needs of diverse clientele and production systems. In addition, the dynamic nature of these systems requires that diagnostic updates are regularly carried out to ensure that farmer problems and needs arc taken into account.
Farming systems research has done a good job in eliciting farmer participation in the identification of the various strategies pursued to meet food security needs. However, low-resource farmer participation beyond the diagnostic phase has been limited. Such participation is critical in the search for sustainable HFS interventions that are locally acceptable. This has much to do with the fact that transfer of technology approaches arc still the dominant paradigm in most agricultural research systems (Chambers et al., 1989). Many have argued that farming systems research or on-farm clientoriented research (OFCOR) activities have enabled formal R&D systems to extend to the farm. That is, on-station researcher-managed experiments are now conducted on farmers' fields. Participatory approaches in technology generation arc limited because technology generation is still considered the domain of the biological scientists (Knipschcer, 1989).
To enhance the active involvement of farmers in the technology development process, participatory methodological innovations were derived under a number of labels such as farmer participatory research (Farrington and Martin, 1987) and farmer first (Chambers et al., 1989). Farmer-first models call for methodological reversals in agricultural research (Rhoades, 1989; Baker, 1991). This involves a shift away from a technology-supply orientation


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Matrix 2
HOUSEHOLD VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

Risk of an Event Ability to Cope

Shocks/rrends 11H Characteristics Access to Resources Production/Income Support Structures
Opportunities
Baseline Vulnerability
Crop Production andLivestockRisks composition access to land crop/livestock community support
drought episodes (age dependancy access to labor production mechanisms (claims)
soil conditions ratio) liquid assets other income sources NGOs
pest infestations education productive assets seasonal migration government policies
Market Risks health status credit access to social
market infrastructure out migration common property services
price fluctuations (assets, food, resources (for wild
cash crops, livestock) foods and other
food shortages products)
access to employment food stores
Political Risks
conflict/war


Current Vulnerability
Crop Production and Livestock Risks
current drought
pest attack
Market Risks
market infrastructure
price fluctuations (assets, food,
cash crops, livestock)
food shortages
access to employment
Political Risks
conflict/war


composition (age dependancy ratio)
education health status outmigration


access to land access to labor liquid assets productive assets credit
common property resources (wild foods and other products) food stores


crop/livestock production other income sources seasonal migration


community support mechanisms (claims) NGOs
govemmment policies access to social services


Future Vulnerability (trends)
Environmental
Degradation
Land Pressure Out Migration


demographic changes


land tenure changes


employment trends


support structure changes us
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FRANKENBERGER AND COYLE


Baker, 1991). This involves a shift away from a technology-supply orientation and hypothesis-deduction model to an emphasis on indigenous farmer knowledge, innovative behavior, and farmer experimentation. Many advocates of this model feel that farmer knowledge, inventiveness, and experimentation have long been undervalued, and that farmers and scientists should be partners in the research and extension process (Rhoades, 1989). Research should be based on the problem analysis and priorities of farmers, with farmers being the central experimenters (Chambers et al., 1989).
According to the farmer-first approach, farmers participate in the technology development process in three ways. First, farmers are involved in the diagnostic phase. The role of the researcher is to elicit, encourage, facilitate, and promote the analysis by farmers. Second, farmers are provided a range of choices of possible solutions to identified problems which they pick and choose to suit their conditions and enhance their adaptability. This translates into early involvement of farmers in the technology design process, especially in screening alternative solutions. Third, farmers must be encouraged to actively participate in experiments for site-specific technologies and adaptation. This may entail improving the farmers' own capacity to carry out on-farm trials and experimentation.
Although farmer-first approaches have provided excellent suggestions for ways to improve farmer participation in research aimed at improving HFS, caution must be exercised in adopting all of its recommendations in a wholesale manner (Baker, 1991). First, farmer articulated demands nearly always relate to short-term priorities. An exclusive focus on these priorities can lead to an underinvestment in sustainable HFS options. Second, there are differences in household priorities corresponding to gender roles, wealth, and village location. Whose priorities and interests should be taken into account? Third, quantitative measures are often needed to convince policy makers and extension services of the value of technology options. Thus, some experimental rigor may be necessary. Fourth, farmer-first reversals in the technology design process will be met with much resistance in national agricultural research systems that primarily use a transfer of technology model. Such differences in objectives and methods could reduce institutional acceptance and researcher collaboration with on-farm research teams. Compromises may have to be sought to gain acceptance of such new participatory approaches.


INCORPORATING HFS INTO THE FARMING SYSTEMS RESEARCH PROCESS
The previous sections have discussed a number of HFS issues that should be considered in the implementation of FSRE programs and projects. This section outlines a number of ways to incorporate these issues into ongoing research and development activities.


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Diagnosis
To improve the targeting of food-insecure households within a research area, FSRE teams can work with other government agencies, donors, and NGOs to derive vulnerability maps. The development of vulnerability maps could be the first step in identifying districts or sub-regions where it is necessary to collect more location-specific HFS information and target interventions. Early Warning Systems already exist in most southern African countries, so information supplied by these systems can help map vulnerability for various regions. For example, in Zambia the Central Statistics Office in collaboration with FAO and UNICEF is setting up a drought impact monitoring system for the country. In Malawi, national household food security surveys have been regularly carried out by the Food Nutrition and Monitoring Unit (Ministry of Agriculture) with UNICEF support. Existing data from these systems can be used to formulate maps to cut down on costs.
Once the vulnerability maps have been developed, areas can be targeted where more location-specific HFS information can be gathered. Two diagnostic tools that have been used extensively because of their timeliness and costeffectiveness are rapid rural appraisals (RRA) and participatory rural appraisals (PRA). Although these techniques are related, they are not the same and should not be considered interchangeable.

Rapid Rural Appraisals
RRAs have been employed in food security monitoring as a way to provide a systematic overview of the diet and strategies for acquiring food in the target area while using a minimum amount of survey time and resources (Frankenberger, 1990). They can be effectively used in carrying out prcharvest surveys and food systems inquiries in the initial stages of setting up an information system (Davies et al., 1991). Such surveys have helped identify the critical regional food resources that need to be sustained and managed (Velarde, 1991). These surveys can also help identify food-insecure groups in detail in order to plan food security interventions (Maxwell, 1989).
RRAs rely on multidisciplinary teams to carry out surveys and often use a topical outline derived from secondary sources and past surveys to help guide the interviews. Data collected may include information on food preferences, food marketing and purchases, meals and food preparation, food storage and depletion of food stocks, free food distribution, wild foods, seasonality of food supply, food prices, health related food issues such as weaning practices, specialty foods for child -bearing women, prevalent health problems, women's involvement in agriculture and other production activities, and consumption constraints facing households (Frankenberger 1990). Information generated from RRAs provides insights into interregional differences in consumption patterns rather than intravillage differences.


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Despite the multiple advantages derived from RRAs, it is important to recognize the limitations of such approaches. Researchers cannot be certain that households interviewed in the survey are representative of most households in the region. Time constraints usually do not allow for systematic sampling procedures to be followed. Thus, RRA techniques should be viewed as complementary to other research methodologies such as formal surveys and in-depth anthropological studies. RRAs can even be combined with the formal interview process to correct biases. For example, random sampling procedures could be introduced halfway through field visits once hypotheses have been identified (Molnar, 1991).
Given time constraints, RRAs may also have trouble targeting the least visible food-insecure target groups such as landless, rural poor, women, and isolated ethnic groups. To compensate for this, RRA teams can focus on degraded resource areas and smaller marginal farms while interviewing households (Molnar 1991).
The major intention of RRAs, from our perspective, is to allow to understand the diversity of farming systems and corresponding constraints that are distributed within a given target area. Once this diversity and complexity are understood, specific villages can be selected which are representative of a wider array of villages so that further diagnoses can be carried out. It is at this point that participatory rural appraisals should be conducted.

Participatory Rural Appraisal
PRAs also involve multidisciplinary teams that gather HFS information in a systematic, yet semi-structured way; however, they tend to focus on the village rather than the region, and community participation is considerably more active (WRI, 1989). PRA is intended to help communities mobilize their human and natural resources to define problems, consider successes, evaluate local capacities, prioritize opportunities, prepare a systematic and site-specific plan of action, and create a means for facilitating community selfhelp initiatives. It brings together the development needs as defined by the community with the resources and technical skills offered by the Government, donor agencies, and NGOs.
A number of techniques are used in PRA to elicit farmer involvement in identifying HFS problems and deriving possible solutions. One method involves open-ended group discussions used to enable farmers to analyze problems, identify research opportunities, and prioritize interventions. Such discussions are different from many of the group discussions carried out in RRAs because not only do they generate information, but they also allow farmers to synthesize information and draw conclusions (Ashby, 1991). Thus, the group's own understanding of the HFS problems is advanced.
Diagrams have also been used effectively to stimulate questions and responses, allowing the farmers' knowledge to be made more explicit (Con-


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way, 1989). Diagrams can simplify complex information, making it easier to communicate and analyze. Five different diagrams derived from agroecosystem analysis are often used. Maps are used to identify different parts of the farm or village and its relation to basic resources and land forms. Transects tend to be drawn by researchers who walk from the highest point to the lowest point in the immediate environment accompanied by the local people. Consulting people in each zone, transects can help identify major HFS problems and opportunities in the agroecosystem and where they are located. Calendars are used to indicate seasonal features and changes and are useful for allowing farmers to identify critical times in the crop production cycle with regard to changes in climate, cropping patterns, labor access, food procurement strategies, diet, and prices. The Adaptive Research Planning teams in Zambia have developed a number of such calendars for their respective research areas (Velarde, 1991). Flow diagrams are used to present events in a cycle of production, marketing, and consumption. Venn diagrams can be used to understand the institutional relationships within a village. Such information could be critical to understanding the informal social mechanisms (e.g., claims) that buffer households from periodic shocks.
Through the use of RRA and PRA techniques, FSRE researchers have begun to appreciate the complexity of the coping strategies and livelihood systems that farmers pursue. This has led many researchers to expand the enterprise coverage from a predominantly crop focus to a broader croplivestock off-farm mix. Linkages between systems at the field, farm, village, region, and wider political economy have been identified (Zandstra, 1991). Diagnostic techniques have also improved our understanding of the local classification systems for plants, soils, types of land, crops, and wild plants, facilitating better researcher-farmer communication on HFS issues. Anthropologists and sociologists have played a vital role in fostering this improved interaction with farmers.
However, it is the excessive concern of social scientists with diagnosis that has contributed to the limited participation of farmers in other phases of the research process. As Ashby rightly points out (1989), diagnostic research has become a hothouse of methodology development spawning sondeo teams, informal surveys, rapid appraisals, key informant surveys, etc. The farmer has become an object of investigation just as plants, soils, insects, and viruses are objects of study to be measured. Asking farmers questions has become an industry. Thus, to involve farmers in other phases of the research process, which is critical to HFS improvements, we must first involve the social scientists.

Design
A major assumption that many researchers make is that farmers will adopt the technologies that are generated by the research system once they have


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been tested and meet certain production criteria. However, farmers often take these recommendations and adapt them to suit their own resources and purposes (Ashby, 1991). This is why it makes sense to involve farmers early on in the testing phase so that technology aimed at improving HFS can be adapted to their circumstances. This could speed up the technology development process and reduce unnecessary costs for technologies that are inappropriate.
Collaborative farmer participation in technology design and testing is more likely to occur when researchers are willing to allow farmers to contribute to the conceptualization of an experimental program. For example, farmers can be brought in at early stages to help researchers select varieties for on-farm testing (Ashby, 1991). Such an approach was used in Uttar Pradesh, India for screening improved rainfcd rice varieties (Maurya et al., 1988). Such a menu approach was also used in Rwanda, where farmers were invited into the experiment station to participate in the seasonal selection ofpotatoes (Haugerud and Collinson, 1990). During this selection process, researchers found that they had ignored many important features of interest to farmers. HFS criteria should be incorporated into this screening process.
When choosing participants for early screening of technologies, care must be taken to include those members of the household with the most expertise for the given crop or livestock species. This is especially true for interventions that directly impact HFS. For example, since women are primarily involved with bean production in Rwanda, they were asked to take part in evaluating hundreds of advanced breeding lines in the national bean research program (Ashby, 1991).
One of the major obstacles to involving farmers more effectively in the design and early testing phases is that researchers are afraid that farmers will lose confidence in the research system if appropriate recommendations cannot be given. Ashby (1991) points out that farmers need to be given more responsibility for technology design, testing and adaptation, especially if research budgets are severely limited. In addition, farmers and private traders can be more involved with seed multiplication in order to increase the menu ofoptions made available to farmers. This will help cut down on the cost borne by the research station in multiplying seed.

On-farm Experimentation
The extent of farmer experimentation has often been underperceived by most researchers. Much more could be done to strengthen farmers' informal R&D systems. First, social scientists could be more actively involved in identifying the various topics upon which farmers are presently conducting their own experiments. Revelation of these experiments will help researchers understand which topics and HFS Problems farmers are most interested in and help to solve these problems.


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Second, researchers and extensionists can help improve farmers own capacity to carry out experiments. Nonformal education and training could be provided to farmers to enable them to understand and implement controlled comparisons, replications, and random assignments (Ashby, 1991; Bunch, 1989). Such approaches have been successfully adopted in Colombia, Guatemala, and the Gambia (Ashby, 1991). In all these cases, results have shown that farmers with primary schooling can master the major principles of experimentation.
The goals of such participatory approaches is to encourage a process where people develop their own agriculture and solve the HFS problems in a selfsustaining way (Bunch, 1989). We must get away from the idea of providing packages to farmers, and allow them to choose from a menu of options that fit more appropriately with the diversity of strategies they are pursuing to meet their food needs. Highly structured on-farm trials limit farmers' ability to experiment with and manipulate the new genetic material (Sumberg and Okole, 1989). It also precludes adjustments in other production practices or exploitation of production niches which could make the new variety more interesting.


SUMMARY
It is apparent that much intellectual progress has been made in our understanding of the processes that lead to food-insecurity situations for households. We have moved away from simplistic notions of food supply being the only cause of household food insecurity to assessing vulnerability of particular groups in terms of their access to food. For this reason, information should be collected on factors that play a role in limiting food availability and the options that households have for food access. The procurement strategies and social mechanisms used by households to obtain stable access to food are diverse and complex. FSRE diagnostic studies should attempt to understand this diversity by'documenting the production-consumption linkages and household coping strategies that characterize an area. With such information, HFS indicators can be identified that are location specific and can be monitored in ongoing development activities.
To aid in targeting FSRE activities aimed at HFS problems, vulnerability maps can be drawn up for a country or region to identify the areas and sectors of the population that are most vulnerable to food insecurity. The development of such maps would be the first step in identifying districts or subregions where it is necessary to collect more location-specific HFS information in order to design appropriate interventions.
Once a food-insecure area has been designated, diagnostic tools such as RRAs and PRAs can be used to understand the local socioeconomic context and identify HFS constraints and key indicators to be used in decentralized


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food security monitoring systems. Contingency plans would be drawn up to link information to response. Responses would encompass development-type interventions that enhance the long-term sustainability of HFS, mitigationtype interventions that enable households to retain their productive assets, and relief-type responses if immediate food and distribution is warranted. The FSRE teams would not be responsible for all of these responses, but would coordinate such activities with other government agencies, donors, and local NGOs.
To ensure that HFS interventions are appropriate, FSRE teams should encourage farmers to participate in all phases of the research process. Farmers participation in diagnosis, design, and experimentation will enable them to deal with their HFS problems in a self-sustaining way.


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Inability of Farming Systems Research to
Deal with Agricultural Policy'

Doyle Baker2



ABSTRACT
The premise of this paper is that lack of attention to agricultural policy and support systems has constrained the potential impact of farming systems research-extension (FSRE) and has been a factor contributing to its marginalization. The paper starts with a historical overview, stressing FSRE's failure to activate a policy dimension, and gives several reasons why FSRE practitioners can no longer ignore policies and support systems. The paper then turns to strategic priorities for FSRE in the 1990s. The top priorities identified are: (1) renewed commitment to indepth household and village studies, (2) design and evaluation research related to support systems and farmer programs, (3) increased attention to governmental and societal goals in research priority setting, and (4) taking greater responsibility for formulating research policy and ensuring research system sustainability. The paper ends with discussion of three crucial issues affecting prospects for operationalizing a policy dimension in FSRE: uncertain demand for policy research, research portfolio
opportunity costs, and implications for FSRE multidisciplinarity.


INTRODUCTION

A critical weakness of farming systems research-extension (FSRE) has been its inability to deal with agricultural policy. Policy and support system issues have not always been ignored but, for the most part, a passive approach has been followed, treating factors exogenous to farming systems as parameters for farming systems analysis. A passive approach toward policy and support systems might have been desirable during the early days of FSRE, in order to establish a niche within technical research institutes, define identifiable boundaries, and secure FSRE project funding. However, it was based on short-run thinking and reflected unfounded assumptions about technology supply options, severity of constraints imposed by inappropriate policies, and poorly performing support systems.
1 Keynote presentation at the Twelfth Annual Association for Farming Systems ResearchExtension Symposium, Michigan State University, East Lansing, September 13-18, 1992.
Agricultural economist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture; currently leading the
Economic Analysis Unit, Institute of Agronomic Research, Cameroon.

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BAKER


The premise of this paper is that retaining a self-imposed limitation to concentrate on adaptive research has reduced FSRE's potential impact and has been a factor contributing to its marginalization. In order to reestablish credibility, efforts to incorporate a policy dimension in FSRE will be required. This paper undertakes a review and reassessment of FSRE research priorities as a step toward this end. The paper starts with background information on the role of policy and institutional analysis in FSRE. The following section gives a critical appraisal of FSRE's passiveness with respect to policy-oriented research. The remainder of the paper turns to strategic considerations in revitalizing FSRE and increasing impact. The fourth section proposes priorities for FSRE in the 1990s. The fifth section identifies critical issues affecting prospects for adding a policy dimension to FSRE.


HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
This section shows that the importance of the policy and institutional environment was recognized during the early stages of farming systems research methodology development. However, a policy dimension was never operationalized as an integral component of FSRE. In fact, prospects for policy and institutional analysis declined in the late 1980s due to FSRE retrenchment. For the last several years, there has been increased emphasis on assessments of adoption and potential impact, and these studies have provided a weak policy linkage. Nevertheless, current thinking remains that FSRE should play a minimal role in policy analysis, largely restricted to provision of information.

Policy and Institutions in FSRE Methodology
Most FSRE analytical frameworks, such as those developed by David Norman and the CIMMYT economics program, included policies and institutions as important external or exogenous circumstances affecting farming systems. Norman (1980) identifies three sets of exogenous factors: external institutions; miscellaneous factors such as population density; and community structures, norms, and beliefs (Figure 1). Policy linkages enter primarily through the first factor. Norman emphasizes in particular the role of input and output markets. Gilbert, et al. (1980), presenting the same model, argue that farming systems research is a vehicle for linking micro and macro perspectives, and that modification of policies can be one of the most important factors in efforts to improve circumstances of small farmers. They mention policy and planning units as a potential institutional linkage for FSRE and observe that linkages with such units could enable FSRE to address improvements that are outside mandates of technical research institutes.
The CIMMYT manual (Bycrlec et al., 1980; CIMMYT, 1988) identifies markets and institutions as external economic circumstances affecting farming


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INABILITY OF FSR TO DEAL WITH AGRICULTURAL POLICY 69


systems (Figure 2). Policies, which they define as actions and rules of governments, shape the external and (presumably) internal economic environment in which farmers operate. Several direct and indirect linkages between policies and production decisions are described, as well as linkages between policy and research. The CIMMYT manual also points out that information from FSRE can be useful for stimulating changes in policy.
Although policies and institutions were prominently included in FSRE analytical models, the primary function of FSRE was to design and screen technologies.' Exogenous circumstances were universally characterized as parameters for technology development research rather than leverage points for the improvement of farming systems. These parameters might change during the planning stage of technical research, as was pointed out in the CIMMYT manual, but efforts to initiate change in the policy environment were not viewed as a core FSRE activity.
Aside from a predetermined focus on technical change, FSRE methodology had at least two additional defining features that made the activation of a policy dimension unlikely. The first was commitment to a strategy of modifying technologies rather than modifying farmer circumstances.4 A second was commitment to focused problem solving, minimum investments in data collection, reliance on rapid appraisal survey methods, and quick results.' Taken together, these features created a strong presumption against longer term investments in data generation for policy analysis and reform. Thus, a basic tension with respect to policies and institutions was inherent in

There were several reasons for FSRE emphasis on technical change research. The most important was the fact that early FSRE methodology development took place mainly in the International Agricultural Research (IARC) system. Not incidental, however, were interrelated beliefs in the need for technical change along with the promising prospects for this change. The former derived from a decade ofdisappointing experiences with community development and integrated rural development. There was a great deal of interest in identifying an engine of development (Eicher and Baker, 1982), and both Schultz (1964) and Mellor (1976) provided convincing arguments that technical change by small farmers is an important precondition for growth.
While dramatic yield increases immediately received much attention, it was only somewhat later that distributional and risk consequences were appreciated, and latter still that adequate
recognition was given to the important role of policies and support systems.
Disillusioned with technology transfer, FSRE pioneers were convinced that the problem was inappropriate technologies, not unresponsive farmers. Thus, the top FSRE priority was developing technologies corresponding to farmers' objectives, resources, and managerial capacities. This objective, however, implied a goal of ensuring that technologies be consistent with the external economic circumstances that determine farmers' opportunity sets and
incentives.
This emphasis had two major roots, among others. One was disappointment by agricultural development economists with long-term investments in data collection during the 1960s and 1970s (Eicher and Baker, 1982) and consequent interest in beginning to make "bread and butter" contributions (Collinson, 1981). Another was concern that donor agencies would find the approach too complex, long term, and costly (Gilbert, Norman, and Winch, 1980) because of references to holism and use of systems terminology. In the practical world of research, FSRE's quick turnaround orientation certainly was, to an extent, induced by USAID, which in
turn was operating under a congressional mandate to identify quick solutions.


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Human Technical

Chemical
Exogenous Endogenous Physical Bioligical
-I Mechanical


Figure 1. Adapted from Gilbert, Norman, and Winch (1980).


Internal


External


Cacic t
SClimate Biological


Soils/Topography


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Elements Factors













Inputs


Processes


Economic Circumstances












Farmers' Decisions





Natural Circumstances


Figure 2. Adapted from CIMMYT (1988).

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INABILITY OF FSR TO DEAL WITH AGRICULTURAL POLICY 71

FSRE methodology.6 Policies and institutions were recognized to have an important impact on farming systems, and the objective was to help farmers by using a systems perspective. Policy reform and institutional performance were written off as someone else's responsibility.

Broadening and Differentiation
During the early 1980s, when FSRE was initiated in many National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), the narrowly focused adaptive research model was dominant. This was primarily due to predetermined mandates and institutional location in technical research institutes.7 Soon, however, it became apparent that greater contributions were expected of FSRE in NARS than had been the case in IARCs.8 This led to a credibility dilemma, as characterized by Norman and Baker (1986). They argued that a growing group of "purists" worried that unacceptable compromises, made in pursuit of time- and cost-efficient research, could do more harm than good. Although Norman and Baker spoke critically of the gap between FSRE philosophy and practice, they said donors and technical scientists probably would react negatively to calls for broadening, longer term payoffs, and pursuit of an independent social science agenda. They concluded that FSRE practitioners must accept a narrow orientation toward technology screening and introduction, and modestly proposed inclusion of whole farm studies as a complement to rapid appraisal and baseline surveys.
A major consequence of the FSRE credibility dilemma was that FSRE's agenda was broadened only with respect to implementation of technical change research. Additional attention was given to noncrop production farming systems components and intra- and interhousehold dynamics.' Rural institutions and policy reform were not included as part of the expanded agenda. By the mid-1980s it was common practice to methodologically
Certain tensions and inconsistencies in FSRE methodology, including those related to policy, can be traced to the rapid spread of FSRE during the early 1980s. It was necessary to forge a consensus on defining features and guiding principles well in advance of adequate field testing and assessment ofalternative approaches. Limited experiences and insights, built on foundations no stronger than the experiences of any of hundreds of FSRE teams during the past decade, then carried great weight. Much early methodology development actually derived from logic, intuition, and reactions against negative past experiences as much as it did from positive new
7 experiences.
Two additional, practical reasons why policy reform did not receive more attention were: (1) widespread beliefthat policy reform was politically sensitive and driven by interests and pressures beyond the capability of FSRE teams to influence, and (2) most FSRE economists had farm
8 management and production economics backgrounds-not policy, trade, or marketing.
FSRE in national settings often was assigned the task of identifying options for marginal areas and resource-poor farmers. As Norman and Baker (1986) pointed out, this naturally led to consideration of many factors affecting rural welfare. Not incidentally, it soon became apparent that overly optimistic estimates had been made about technology supply options, and that
sustained efforts would be required.


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differentiate between FSRE and policy-oriented research using a farming systems perspective. Methodology manuals developed by the Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP), for example, used David Norman's (1980) distinction between FSRE and FSIP-Farming Systems Approach to Infrastructural Support and Policy-and stated, without explanation, that FSIP was beyond the scope of its manual on diagnosis in farming systems research (FSSP, 1987). Merrill-Sands (1986), in a frequently cited article, identified several types of farming systems research-all distinguished from farming systems adaptive research. The most directly concerned with policy input was Farming Systems Research and Agricultural Development (FSRAD).1
The key point is that despite substantial broadening in FSRE's agenda and methods during the early and the mid- 1980s, policy and institutional research was not activated. Instead, alternative, complementary approaches were defined into existence-such as FSIP and FSRAD. If anything, this had the effect of further diminishing prospects for activating a policy dimension in FSRE. No attention was paid to FSRAD, nor was consideration given to its potential value versus more narrowly focused FSRE.

Retrenchment and Impact Focus
Although a FSRE policy dimension was not activated on a large scale during the 1980s, there were isolated attempts at conducting farm-based policy research. Martinez (1986) discussed the concept of "farm-based policy research" at the 1986 farming systems symposium. Yates et al. (1988) illustrated use of farm-based policy in Haiti. One of the most extensive commitments to farm-based policy research was by the Agricultural Technology Improvement Project (ATIP,1986) in Botswana (from 1982 to 1990).11
During the second half of the 1980s, debate resurfaced about FSRE's failure to go farther in policy-oriented research. Davidson (1987), for example, proposed that FSRE include wider policy issues, while Herdt (1987)
9 Selection of different themes each year for the farming systems symposium gave a practical
stimulus to field researchers to broaden their approach. Indicative of growing interest in household studies was a Rockefeller-sponsored conference on intrahousehold dynamics held in Bellagio, Italy in 1985. Several of the papers at that conference, later published in Moock (1986), illustrated the complexity of farm-household systems. Competitive selection for the Intra-Household Dynamics and Farming Systems Research and Extension Case Studies Project
also made it clear that the ideal in FSRE was evolving during the mid-1980s.
10 In FSRAD, according to Merrill-Sands, farming systems are placed in a broad economic and
policy environment, and the objective is long-term development through institutional and economic reform, as well as technological change. Merrill-Sands notes that farming systems continue to be the main unit of analysis, but the boundaries of analysis are expanded so that linkages between the farming systems and its social, economic, and political environment receive
as much emphasis as technical change.
Several types of farm-based policy analysis were carried out: on tractor use, cart inclusion in a lending program, intervention in the local trading system, design and implementation of farmer assistance programs, and extension service performance (ATIP, 1986). Experimental data were used to develop arguments in favor of inclusion of double plowing, new donkey harness, and
a hand rotary injection planter in a farmer assistance program (Worman et al., 1991).


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warned against treating FSRE as a substitute for policy analysis. A question that will forever remain unanswered is what direction FSRE might have taken if financial support had continued for FSRE activities. By then, FSRE was under challenge. Interest in FSRE had declined among donor agencies and agricultural economists due to belief that FSRE was not generating sufficient returns to justify further investment. Lack of impact was attributed in part to weak extension linkages but also to a narrow focus that treated too many potential leverage points as fixed.
During the last five years, tremendous emphasis has been given to achieving and documenting short-run impact, both in FSRE projects and institutionalized programs. There has been a retrenchment with respect to investments in farming systems diagnosis, and a shift in emphasis to developing better extension linkages and participatory research methods. FSRE's retrenchment and concern with impact has had mixed implications for FSRE-policy linkages. On one side, there has been a decline in household and village studies that might have contributed insight for farm-based policy analysis. On the other, there has been a surge of interest in adoption and impact studies. As Norman (1991) pointed out, adoption studies do provide an opportunity to analyze institutional and policy constraints. Perhaps the best examples of this over the last several years have been a series of mathematical programing analyses carried out by various researchers currently or formerly affiliated with Purdue University.'2 Many adoption studies, however, have provided little input to policy because they have been based on ad hoc selection of a limited range of variables related to personal and technology characteristics.

Current Thinking
Despite growing concerns with FSRE impact, current thinking on FSREpolicy linkages is not substantially different now than it was in the mid-1980s. As reflected in Tripp ct al. (1990), the prevailing consensus among FSRE practitioners is that on-farm research can provide relevant data for policy analysis, but FSRE should not be a nucleus for agricultural development policy formulation, and-reviving Herdt's (1987) argument-should not try to substitute for conventional policy research. Tripp et al. do emphasize the need to develop better communication channels so policy formation processes take better advantage of data and insights generated by FSRE teams. This is not

12 Mathematical programming was used by Sanders and others in Burkina Faso, for example, to
assess impact of technology and, through sensitivity analysis, to incorporate resource access and pricing perspective (Sanders, 1989; Sanders et al., 1990). Ngambeki, Deuson, and LowenbergDcBoer (1990) used a programing model to evaluate potential impact of various technology packages in northern Cameroon, including a comparison ofan FSRE-developed package and an extension-recommended package-both versus existing farmer practices. Savadogo and Brandt (1988) is a good analysis showing linkages between income, food demand, and technologies in Burkina Faso. Lopez-Pereira et al. (1990) modeled new technologies and used sensitivity
analysis to assess effects of price changes.


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quite the passive role of the early 1980s, but stops well short of endorsing a FSRAD or FSIP orientation.


APPRAISAL
Some care is needed in appraising FSRE's passive attitude toward policies and support systems. FSRE was developed as an approach for adaptive research, not as a comprehensive development philosophy or strategy. In terms of the narrow goal of better research methods for screening technologies, FSRE accomplishments have been substantial, as a number of assessments have noted (e.g., Tripp etal., 1990). The fact that technical change and impact have been less than desired does not mean that FSRE has failed in its defined domain. Nevertheless, after more than a decade of substantial investment in FSRE activities, questions can legitimately be raised about the sufficiency of FSRE's scope and contributions-and about the continuing gap between farming systems analytical frameworks and FSRE in practice. This section identifies three reasons FSRE has had less impact than it might otherwise have had. All stem, to an extent, from lack of attention to policy and support systems. The reasons are: (1) restricted focus on incremental change, (2) failure to make any substantial input to policy reform, design or implementation, and (3) inadequate attention to changing development needs. The implication is that FSRE practitioners should no longer ignore policy and support systems even if they want to operate mainly in a restricted FSRE framework as opposed to a more comprehensive FSRAD framework.

Focus on Incremental Change
FSRE was motivated by belief that adaptive research focused on incremental technical change could in aggregate substantially contribute to agricultural sector output, employment generation, and farmer welfare. Both logic and empirical evidence suggest that FSRE's preoccupation with incremental technical change has represented a serious underestimation of the range and severity of policy and institutional constraints affecting development progress and farmer welfare."3 Even after it became apparent that constraints from inappropriate policies and support systems prevented significant impact, there was a failure to adjust strategic orientation and decrease resources devoted to "tinkering" (Tripp et al., 1990) with existing systems.
13 Timmer (1991), for example, says that most development analysts believe inappropriate policies
are the major constraint limiting the impact of agricultural development. Summarizing findings from an important conference on accelerating food production in Africa, held in Zimbabwe in 1983, Mellor, Delgado and Blackie (1987) say the evidence is clear that the extent to which food production growth can be increased depends on appropriate government policy. Several papers presented at the 1984 conference on crisis and recovery in Africa point to the importance of policy and structural constraints (Rose, 1985). Michael Lipton (1985) explicitly argued that the
reason returns to African agricultural research have been dismal is an inadequate policy


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Several negative consequences resulted because FSRE left too many factors fixed:
There has been an overemphasis on adaptive research relative to indepth diagnosis (Byerlee and Tripp, 1988).
Many teams have identified a relatively small number of trial themes and
then wasted scarce resources on minor trial variations over a number of years even when itwas apparent that ultimate adoption and impact was likely to be quite small. Long-term investments in fertilizer levels trials in high rainfall zones and tied ridging and double plowing in low rainfall
zones are examples of these.
Much FSRE data has not related to important decision issues and
consequently good use has not been made of FSRE investments in data
collection (Ellis, 1992).
Efforts at institutionalization have focused almost exclusively on requirements for adaptive research. There have been only a few isolated attempts to introduce institutional changes to better accommodate a policy linkage role. This has prevented effective feedback even in cases
when useful insight was generated through on-farm research.

When the full range of consequences are considered, FSRE's commitment to incremental change within existing constraints became a "slippery slope" to an inability to deal with policy.

Little Policy Input
As mentioned above, there is widespread agreement among leading FSRE practitioners that FSRE should be providing information for use in policymaking processes, even if FSRE teams are not in a position to actively participate in policy making. The research record is not good in this regard. Providing feedback on policies and support systems has not been treated as a core activity-even though a change in policy may easily have bigger impact than a minor change in technology. FSRE research papers based on baseline studies and rapid appraisal surveys often include descriptive findings that have implications for policy, but rarely have investments been made in empirical research specifically directed at improving policies, programs, and support system performance. Consequently, there have been several missed opportunities in which FSRE teams could have provided needed empirical information

framework. In another study, Lecaillon ct al. (1987) analyzed interrelations between economic policies, exogenous factors, and performance in six low- income countries over the period of 1960 to the early 1980s. They found substantial evidence that policies had a major effect on the pattern of development. They stated that if there is one lesson from their comparative study, it is that governments have to encourage agricultural development through appropriate institutions and policies. Another conclusion from the study was that individual policy measures-such as investing in adaptive technical research-need to be reinforced by complementary measures
and institutions if they are to be effective.


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and a farm-level perspective to policy design, implementation, and monitoring. Three key areas in which FSRE missed opportunities are the following:
Structural adjustment programs nearly allgo beyond market liberalization.
Adjustment programs often address other determinants of farmers' opportunities and incentives-such as land tenure systems, farmer organizations and cooperatives, and marketing boards-about which there is little agreement among policy analysts (Timmer, 1991). Empirical data are needed to assess possible outcomes of such structural changes, and FSRE teams are well placed to provide data and insights by virtue of already being in the field with close farm-household contacts.
Many food policy analyses and prescriptions are carried out at an aggregate level, with much reliance on assumptions or "stylized facts." As Michigan State University researchers have found in their food security research, microlevel consequences for particular subgroups of households often differ from aggregate effects, and various stylized facts often do not correspond well with reality (Weber et al., 1988). FSRE field level data and perspectives again could have provided valuable input into food policy debates.
Costs of many farmer assistance programs are higher than they need to be.
Appropriate targeting can greatly increase efficiency and effectiveness (Pinstrup-Andersen, 1985; Gittinger, et al., 1987), as can studies directed at reducing implementation errors (Mellor and Mudahar, 1992). Again, FSRE field teams with their on-farm research skills and farmer contacts are well placed to provide feedback on targeting and implementation guidelines.

Ignored Changing Development Needs
A reasonable argument can perhaps be made that FSRE need not assume responsibility for policy formulation. However, a key goal of FSRE has been to develop technologies consistent with external economic circumstances. Those circumstances have changed dramatically during the last 15 years, but FSRE for the most part has stayed with its initial focus on staple food production by resource-poor farmers. Several different criteria should have been taken into account when determining the research agenda.
During the past decade, a "silent revolution" (FAO, 1987) has been going on in the agricultural policies of most countries. As part of broader structural adjustment programs, agricultural prices have been freed, subsidies phased out, and parastatals disbanded. In consequence, farmers' incentives and opportunity sets have changed dramatically, putting tremendous pressure on managerial capacity to handle adjustments in farm-household strategies. Adaptive trials on staple food crop varieties have at best a minimal role in helping rural households cope with their new circumstances.
Facing financial crises, many governments have reassessed agricultural sector goals defined during the 1970s, which emphasized food self-sufficiency and concentration on resource-poor farmers. The standard goal of self-


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sufficiency now is often accompanied with goals related to foreign exchange generation, diversification, and employment stimulation-and occasionally sustainability. In response to changing goals, research systems have been asked to help reduce costs and raise profitability of exportable crops and to facilitate diversification. Again, FSRE has largely failed to respond.
Complex linkages between technical change, development, and farmer welfare have been identified in several agricultural development and food policy analytical models.14 These analytical models make it clear that different types of technologies have different distributional consequences and effects on risk depending on the policy and institutional environment. It seems likely that FSRE impact could have been increased, even in the face of severe support system constraints, if priorities had been adjusted to take into account various forward and backward linkages and multiplier effects-rather than only direct impact on farm productivity.


PRIORITIES FOR THE 1990s
Vernon Ruttan (1982) provides an appropriate guideline for determining research priorities. He proposed that research resources be directed toward releasing the physical and institutional constraints on production that are most inelastic. Ruttan, at another place in the same book, cautioned that the fact that research is conducted with skill and imagination is not evidence that it is worth doing. Taking both pieces of advice into consideration, it seems apparent that FSRE priorities for the 1990s need to be somewhat different than they were in the 1980s. This section points out four high priorities directed at improving policy linkages and hopefully increasing FSRE impact and credibility: (1) investing more in household and village studies; (2) initiating some research on farmer programs, support systems, and rural infrastructure; (3) paying more attention to governmental and societal goals in technical research priority setting; and (4) taking greater responsibility for research policy and research system sustainability. These priorities will have to be weighed against current and other prospective priorities in each research system.



14 Mellor (1976) and Hirschman (1977) have, for example, emphasized backward and to a lesser
extent forward linkages for employment generation. Mellor also has stressed multiplier effects of certain types of technologies. Timmer et al. (1983) give an excellent overview of economic theory on linkages between production and marketing. Analytical frameworks are also covered in Gittinger, Leslie, and Hoisington (1987) and Stevens and Jabara (1988). Eicher and Staatz (1990) includes a number of papers addressing linkages by leading development economists.
Theories and empirical evidence for Africa, Asia, and Latin America are covered in Martin
(1992).


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Household and Village Studies
Anthropological and microeconomic household studies provided substantial insight about development dynamics in the decades preceding the emergence of FSRE. Findings related to the efficiency of small farm units clearly played a role in reorienting agricultural policy. During the mid-1970s, as FSRE methodology was being developed, longer term investments in household and village studies fell out of favor. Major concerns were the time and cost involved, as well as the lack of practical results (Eicher and Baker, 1982). Despite the prominence of rapid appraisal diagnosis in FSRE methodology, there were some FSRE projects and programs that invested in multiplevisit, microeconomic and anthropological studies of farm households and village institutions (e.g., Moock, 1986; Poats et al., 1988; Feldstein and Poats, 1989). Many FSRE practitioners to this day feel that insight from such indepth studies form the real core of FSRE's potential contribution to development.
Tripp et al. (1990) justifiably warn that there is often limited capacity to take advantage of insights generated through in-depth household and village studies. Nevertheless, there is a need now for FSRE researchers to increase their own understanding of the complex set of factors affecting farmer welfare-even if there is little prospect that non-FSRE researchers and
planning units will take full advantage of results. The initial strategy of FSRE, focused on resource-poor farmers and incremental change, has not worked. There is an urgent need to end rigid prescriptions and stop focusing on shortrun issues stemming from predetermined mandates. Instead, as many development specialists have argued, there is a need for longer term vision and big-picture thinking.15 A strength of FSRE is its multidisciplinarity and systems perspective. Building on this, FSRE researchers can work on development paradigms that cut across neoclassical and political economic perspectives, integrating perspectives from social sciences other than economics. This can he a unique, identifying contribution that could help establish FSRE credibility in the long run. Making this contribution will require more substantial investment in household and village studies in order to establish a firm empirical basis for vision, strategic thinking, and development planning.

Programs and Support Systems
It is not entirely clear why FSRE has given so little attention to support systems. Isolation from policy formulation processes is only a partial excuse. In actual fact, FSRE teams are in a unique position to provide farm-level

15 For example, Eicher (1990) said there is a need to identify the "tough agrarian" problems that
need to be addressed by research. Timmer et al. (1983) also emphasized the need for long-run vis ,n of how food systems evolve under alternative policy environments. Even among FSRE spe. lists, there have been calls for "new realistic paradigms for agricultural development"
(Roling and Fernandez, 1990).


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insight into the performance of farmer assistance programs and support systems. If reasonable communication channels can be established with policy and planning units, it would certainly seem that FSRE teams could make substantial contributions by adding support system studies to their research portfolios, even as a minor component of overall programs. The major priority would appear to be performance of input and output markets and how these affect farmers' incentives to adopt technologies. Planning, policy, and statistical units often do not have institutional capacity to evaluate marketing margins, input availability, and price fluctuations. A second priority is research on extension service activities and performance. In countries where there are farmer assistance programs, monitoring of these would also be a fruitful possibility for FSRE contribution.
Research investments directed at improving farmer programs and support systems would not have to be large. Experiences in Botswana, for example, show that valuable insight can be generated through special subject surveys using both rapid appraisal techniques and single-visit formal questionnaires. There are three primary contributions farm-level surveys and farmer feedback can make to improve policies and programs related to support systems: (1) targeting, (2) implementation guidelines, and (3) evaluation of distributional consequences. FSRE already is committed to improving technical research through these same contributions. Policy formulation has need of similar input from FSRE field teams.

Governmental and Societal Research Goals
Farmer goals do not encompass or reflect all potential contributions research can make to social and economic development. During the 1990s, many countries will continue to face economic crises that will not be solved by increased food production. Agricultural research systems need to help improve the profitability of export crops and create options for diversification. As Davis, et al. (1987) argue, decisions about research resource allocations should be based on national priorities within the existing policy setting. FSRE teams are not an exception, and need to give increased attention to efforts needed to solve national problems and crises.
In practical terms, FSRE teams should shift some resources to work on industrial crops and perhaps specialty crops such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Post-harvest technologies would appear to be another long-neglected priority area. In making decisions from a larger, societal perspective, FSRE practitioners need to pay more attention to analyses of comparative advantage and research spillovers.16
16 Analyses using domestic resource cost (DRC) ratios, policy accounting matrices (Monke and
Pearson, 1989), and social accounting matrices (Pyatt and Round, 1985) are quite useful for evaluating research options from a societal perspective. Enterprise data generated byFSRE field teams can be valuable inputs into these analyses. An economic framework for evaluating research
spillovers is given in Davis, Oram, and Ryan (1987).


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Research Policy and Sustainability
Byerlee and Franzel (1990) argue that FSRE researchers do not have a comparative advantage for conventional policy research. This is true for the most part but almost certainly does not hold for research policy.7 FSRE teams have several unique advantages for research policy formulation. For example, they form a bridge among major actors in technology development and dissemination-commodity researchers, farmers, and extension services. Also, they have field insight and experiences based on surveys and on-farm tests, a systems perspective, and familiarity with the importance of problem solving and priority setting.
From a practical standpoint, economists are still a scarce resource in many NARS. Even if economists are concentrated in FSRE units, they should assume responsibility for providing economics input into research policy formulation. The main additional tasks to take on with respect to research policy are: (1) analyses of linkages between national development policies, farming systems dynamics, technical change requirements, and farmer welfare; (2) research budgeting and programing, taking into account ex ante assessment of research profitability; and (3) monitoring and impact evaluation of all programs, not just FSRE activities.
The most compelling reason for FSRE teams to take greater responsibility for research policy is self-preservation. At all times, success in farming systems research depends greatly on technology supply options, so FSRE teams have a strong incentive to help research systems work better. During times of economic crisis, agricultural research funding often suffers as is now the case, for example, in Cameroon. Scarce research resources often need to be directed at protecting genetic material and maintaining minimal progress in core commodity research programs. Thus, prospects for FSRE funding depend on sustainability of funding for research systems. Unless overall research policy is appropriate, it will not matter if correct priorities have been established for FSRE.


CRITICAL ISSUES
Several problems are likely to be encountered in attempts to reorient FSRE in the directions suggested above. Three stand out: (1) ensuring there is demand for policy input and developing a strategy for effectively making input; (2) projecting and assessing research portfolio opportunity costs; and (3) coping with effects on multidisciplinarity.


17 Research policy encompasses decisions and operating procedures governing research resource
allocation, structures, and activities.


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Demand for Policy Research
Client demand has always been an important issue in FSRE. Reorienting research so that farmers are viewed as clients was identified by Norman (1980) as a defining feature of FSRE. During the past decade, farmer demand did not always drive FSRE as much as it might have, but there still was demand for certain types of research derived from institutional mandates or project goals. Where is the demand for input to policy, farmer assistance programs, and programs to improve support systems?
On relatively rare occasions, policy and planning units turn to FSRE field teams to provide information and insight. This was the case, for example, in Botswana, when several farming systems teams were asked to collaborate on a field-level assessment of a major drought relief program. There was interest in improving targeting and implementation guidelines, and when results of the FSRE survey became available, several useful policy modifications were quickly implemented. That was the exception; in nearly all other cases farmbased policy research in Botswana ended up in research monographs. Insights and recommendations on support systems design and targeting had little impact largely because FSRE teams were isolated from on-going policy dialogues. The lesson from Botswana is that shifting FSRE resources into policy feedback will be of little benefit unless there is effective demand for research results.
Michigan State University food security researchers have identified lack of effective demand as a general problem in policy-oriented research (Weber et al., 1988). Drawing on nearly ten years of food security research in Africa, Weber et al. say that lack of demand was partly due to politics and ideology, but equally important was the failure of policy analysts to respond to perceived needs and to provide timely results. The Michigan State researchers concluded that achieving impact from policy research requires investment of resources in activities that increase demand for results. Two means of doing this are workshops and working papers.
FSRE teams have an added disadvantage relative to food security researchers-their isolated location. A key issue to be addressed before there is reallocation of resources to activate a policy dimension in FSRE is what are the viable institutional options for establishing linkages and entering dialogue with policy makers.

Research Portfolio Opportunity Costs
There is no doubt that household studies based on multiple-visit surveys or in-depth participation observation are expensive relative to farmer-managed trials. Special subject surveys directed at farmer programs and support systems are not expensive, but often have only short-run impact. Due to expense and uncertain impact of household and support systems studies, an important issue is the opportunity cost with respect to testing and liaison activities.


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Obviously, opportunity costs are less if there is a great deal of complementarity between technology assessment and policy feedback, as would hopefully be the case for household studies. Other factors also enter the equation. For example, Norman and Baker (1986) argued that opportunity costs for farmbased policy research are lower in areas with harsh climates because prospects for technical change are limited. In areas with equable conditions, opportunity costs could be quite high.
The key point is that priority setting and research resource allocation will be substantially more complex if an attempt is made to broaden the scope of FSRE. There is a weak empirical base for making assessments ofeither research costs or benefits. Research impact studies are needed for making informed decisions, as well as for justifying research and ensuring research system sustainability. Some attention needs to be given to cost-efficient methods for long-term household studies.

Multidisciplinarity and Skills
Multidisciplinarity has long been both a strength and problem of FSRE: a strength in the sense that multiple disciplinary perspectives have been used to address problems; a weakness because representatives of different disciplines often have not worked well and easily together. In cases in which there has been close collaboration, or even interdisciplinarity, this has usually been because of shared commitment to the goal of testing and disseminating technologies. Relations often have been less easy when social scientists have concentrated on survey diagnosis, leaving testing activities to their technical science colleagues. When considering an increased policy dimension in FSRE, two major problems are likely to be encountered with respect to multidisciplinarity.
1. Even the modest agenda of priorities proposed above will force FSRE social scientists to spend less time collaborating on on-farm tests, and perhaps even on extension liaison activities. The big question is whether the gains from new contributions will offset the costs of less interdisciplinarity.
2. Effective policy research requires reasonable knowledge of economic theory and analytical frameworks. Effective FSRE adaptive research requires some knowledge of several disciplines. Given limited human capacities and opportunities to gain needed experience, it is not certain that FSRE social scientists will be able to do policy-oriented research without substantial retooling in economics.


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CONCLUDING COMMENTS
Certain points made in this paper should encounter few objections. For example, it is hard to envision serious opposition to the importance assigned to agricultural policies and support systems. Similarly, the fact that FSRE has had only a modest impact on farmer welfare seems unquestionable. But should the two be linked? This is where reasonable doubts can be raised. FSRE staked out a domain and can not be held accountable for the multiplicity of factors that have constrained progress over the past 10-15 years. Therefore, making a call for activating a policy perspective in FSRE would be ludicrous if this were really just a way of saying we should have been putting our efforts into policy reform rather than FSRE. That is definitely not the intent of the paper.
To an extent, both "FSRE" and "policy dimension" are used as proxy terms. Criticisms of FSRE are mainly objections to predetermined mandates to investment in adaptive research, and to self-imposed limitations. The plea for a policy dimension is really a call for modifying existing FSRE portfolios in certain specific directions that hopefully will increase impact and credibility. Two of the proposed priorities have drawbacks that require caution. For household studies, it is cost and weak capacity to use the information generated. For research related to support systems, it is effective demand. Nevertheless, investments in developing better understanding of system dynamics and in identifying support system options for improving farmer welfare may be needed to re-establish credibility. The third and fourth priorities have few obvious negative elements and should receive immediate attention. FSRE is a public sector supported activity, so its portfolio needs to address societal goals besides food production by resource-poor farmers. In the light of economic crisis and competition for limited public resources, FSRE also needs to contribute all it can to research policy and research systems sustainability.
Any change in orientation has opportunity costs and uncertainty. If FSRE had an outstanding record of helping farmers and contributing to national development goals, then there might be a presumption against change. The record, however, is not outstanding, and it is time to explore additional options.


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Timmer, C.P., ed. 1991. Agriculture and the state: Growth, employment and poverty in
developing countries. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Timmer, C.P., et al. 1983. Food policy analysis. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University
Press.
Tripp, R., et al. 1990. Farming systems research revisited. Pages 384-99 in C. Eicher and
J. Staatz, eds., Agricultural development in the third world (second edition). Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Weber, M., et al. 1988. Informing food security decisions inAfrica: Empirical analysis and
policy dialogue. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 70:104-52.
Worman, F., G. Heinrich, and D. Norman. 1991. Some organizational considerations in
implementing FSRin a harsh environment: Increasing farmer involvement in Botswana. Journal for Farming systems Research-Extension 2:119-137.
Yates, M., et al. 1988. Fertilizer in Les Cayes, Haiti: Addressing market imperfection with
farm-based policy analysis. CIMMYT Economics Working Paper 88/01. CIMMYT,
Mexico, DF.


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Methods for Analysis by Farmers:

The Professional Challenge'

Robert Chambers2



ABSTRACT
Until recent years, professional attention has concentrated on improving analysis of farming systems. The challenge now is to document and explore the scope of methods for enhancing farmers' own analyses.
Scientists and extensionists have informally been developing and using such methods. Farmer participatory research (FPR) and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) are complementary and overlapping sources of experience. FPR methods are more verbal and observational, while PRA methods are more visual, including participatory mapping, analysis of aerial photographs, matrix scoring and ranking, flow and linkage diagraming, seasonal analysis, and trend diagraming. The strength of these visual methods is clear. Farmers have a greater capacity to diagram and analyze than most outsiders have supposed, and farmers are proving to be good facilitators of analysis. The professional challenge is further to develop, spread, test, and improve farmers' analysis through these and
other methods.


PERSPECTIVE
It has become a common belief that farmers know more, and know it better, than the agricultural professional community once thought. Farmers' knowledge does have limitations, and scientific methods and knowledge remain enormously powerful and effective in some domains; but it is evident that farmers have access to information that is available to scientists only at high cost. So as we emerge from a phase of professional arrogance, an increasing number of scientists and extensionists accept and seek to exploit the strengths of farmers' knowledge, and to learn from and with them. On-farm research has become common. Methods for on-farm research have been developed and published. Farmer-designed and farmer-managed trials are less rare. In many places, agricultural scientists and extensionists have been developing ap1 Keynote presentation at the Twelfth Annual Association for Farming Systems Research
Extension Symposium, Michigan State University, East Lansing, September 13-18, 1992.
2 Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 93E, UK.

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proaches and methods for working more closely with farmers. But where is this going? What is next?
Farmers' capabilities extend far beyond mere knowledge. They have always observed, experimented, adapted, improvised, and, in Paul Richards' (1989) word, "performed." In all these activities they also analyze. The theme of this paper is that one challenge now facing the agricultural professions is the development and dissemination of approaches and methods that farmers can use to enhance their own analysis.
This has been something ofa blind spot. On-farm and with-farmer research has spread and generated a substantial literature, but how much has been written on methods for analysis by farmers? With rather few exceptions, some of which are cited below, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has not recognized farmers' analysis as a relevant subject. A letter written about five years ago to all the Directors-General of the International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs) asking them for details of methods being used or developed for analysis by farmers drew a blank: as I recall, not one reply was received. Until recently, the almost universal assumption has been that "we" investigate, collect data, analyze and then prescribe, for "them"; the literature and training have focussed on improving "our" understanding and analysis rather than "theirs."
Enhancing farmers' own analysis has recently begun to receive more attention. No doubt the literature on farmer-designed and farmer-managed on-farm research is one source of this attention. Lightfoot et al. (1991), for example, present ways in which farmers can be enabled to choose between potential research topics. Additionally, Quiros et al. (1990:23) point out that "open-ended evaluation stimulates the farmer to think. It can be used to help the farmer marshal thoughts in a sequence, to recall past evaluation(s), and to

Table 1: Research and Extension: Some Dominant Beliefs and Modes, 1950-2000.
Explanation Prescription Key Socio- Methods Label
of Non- Activities Economic
Adoption Research
Focus
Farmers' Extension Teaching Diffusion, Question- Diffusion C C ignorance education adopters, naire surveys research
laggards, etc.
Farm-level Removal of Input Constraints, Question- Farming o o Constraints Constraints Supply Farming naire Surveys, Systems
Systems On-Farm Research
Research
Inappropriate Farmer Facilitation Participatory Discussion, Farmer
C\ Technology participation approaches observation, participatory
and diagraming research,
methods by and with FarmerFarmers First,
PRA etc.


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Table 2: Two Modes of Intervention.


Extractive Enabling

Outsiders' roles in diagnosis Obtain and analyze data Facilitate farmers' own analysis Outsider's role
with technology Prescribe and transfer Search and supply
Farmers are. Passive Active
Farmers. Provide data observe, analyze
Adopt Demand
Follow instructions Test, experiment
Analysis is by. Us Them

get into the swing of thinking critically about technology." Table 1 presents an interpretation of changes in professional views and norms-past, present, and future. A brief caricature such as this both simplifies and distorts. Readers will judge whether the shifts shown are significant and substantially true. The line for the 1990s in this table extrapolates hopefully from present trends.
In the context of analysis, two polarized modes of intervention can be distinguished: extractive and enabling. Their characteristics are suggested in Table 2. The dominant assumption has been that analysis is mainly by "us." The question now is how much future analysis should be by "them."
The thesis of this paper is that such analysis is desirable and can be enhanced. Its desirability is based on the folowing: the comparative advantages of farmers' knowledge; the complexity, diversity, and variability of farming systems; the scarcity of scientists and extensionists; and avoidable past wastefulness in agricultural research and extension. The hypothesis is that if farmers can be enabled to analyze their own farming systems, they will have a huge head-start in the range, intimacy, and accuracy of knowledge. They will filter out or ignore masses of irrelevant information, know and promote their own priorities, and be committed to action. That farmers' analysis is possible is self-evident. They do it all the time to survive. Whether and how this analysis can be enhanced is the subject of this paper.


TWO STREAMS OF INNOVATION: FPR AND PRA
Two streams of innovation that are contributing to methods for farmers' analysis can be noted: Farmer Participatory Research (FPR) (Farrington, 1988; Farrington and Martin, 1988; Amanor, 1989), also sometimes characterized as "farmer-first," and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) (RRA Notes, passim; Mascarenhas, 1992; Chambers, in press). These both overlap with, and have antecedents in, applied anthropology, Farming Systems


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Research (FSR), and Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA). PRA also owes much to agroecosystem analysis (Conway 1985). Both FPR and PRA are evolving and spreading methods for analysis by farmers. FPR methods have tended to be more verbal, with observations and discussions tending to take place over longer periods of time. PRA methods have tended to be more visual, with a tendency to concentrate on a shorter time period. Some contrasts between these approaches are summarized in Table 3.

Table 3: Contrasts Between Dominant Modes in FPR and PRA.
FPR PRA
Scope Agriculture only Natural resources, health,
community planning,
agriculture, poverty, programs, etc.
Main activities On-farm research Appraisal and diagnosis
and trails
Mode of interaction More verbal More visual
Analysis often through. Dialogue Diagraming
Assessments often using. Absolute measurement Relative comparisons


PRA methods have been used in an FPR context (e.g. Pretty, 1990; IIED and FARM Africa, 1991; Guijt and Pretty, 1992), so it makes no sense to strain at contrasts, but FPR and PRA could share more. The menu of methods that follows draws on both, but more on PRA; it invites comments and additions from other practitioners.


APPROACHES AND METHODS FOR FARMERS' OWN ANALYSIS
A new literature review to follow that of Kojo Amanor (1989) would elicit much more than can be presented here. In PRA, and perhaps also in FPR, there is currently an explosion of innovation, much of which passes unreported or exists in the greyest of grey literature. What follows has the limitations of a personal review of some evidence and experience. Let me request corrections and further information from readers. Most of these methods have been developed to enable rural people to present and share information with "us," rather than to enhance their own analysis. Only gradually has the extent to which these methods may provide farmers with analytical tools been recognized. Even when the outsider's objective is to extract information, people themselves learn in the process. However, the potential for farmers to use these methods entirely on their own is only just beginning to be explored.
For purposes of presentation, approaches and methods can be described as falling into two clusters, one more verbal and the other more visual. In the more verbal mode analysis and communication are through discussion, often


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supported by observation and demonstration. In the more visual mode analysis and communication are also based on participatory diagraming. A third cluster of approaches and methods will not be considered here. This approach enables farmers better to test, experiment, and evaluate, whether through on-farm research or through improvements to their own experimental practices (e.g., Bunch, 1989). This includes farmer-designed and farmermanaged on-farm research.

Verbal Analysis: Discussing and Observing
This cluster of approaches and methods is mentioned briefly for the sake of completeness and because of complementarities with visual diagraming, but is not considered in detail since it is the better known approach. Farmers' analysis through discussion and observation can be facilitated in several ways.
First, farmers' groups have long been used in agricultural extension, and have generated a substantial literature. In recent years there have been innovations in group management and gains in understanding (e.g., Knipscheer and Suradisastra, 1986; Norman, et al., 1989; Ashby et al., 1989; Ashby, 1990). Groups present both problems and opportunities that are well discussed in these sources. One special form of group is the innovator workshop (Abedin and Haque 1989) in which farmers who have been innovating come together, share experiences, and visit one anothers' farms. Analysis by groups rather than by individuals has also been a trend in PRA.
Second, sequences have been used in discussion and analysis. One example is crop biographies, where a long discussion covers the history of a crop in an area (Box, 1989). Another is a more general sequence as used by World Neighbors in West Africa, and described by Peter Gubbels (1988) as generating "an informative and analytical debate," starting by comparing past with present agriculture, and proceeding to ask about problems and difficulties, what has been tried to overcome them, and what the experience has been with these solutions. The power and utility of verbal participatory analyses such as this is not in question, especially when combined with experimentation and observation. Recent developments, however, suggest that they can be enhanced and accelerated through a repertoire of participatory diagraming.

Visual Analysis: Making and Discussing Diagrams
Participatory visual analysis, making and discussing diagrams, has developed rapidly in the past three years. Diagrams, it used to be thought, were for "us," or for "us" to use to explain things to "them." A recent review (Bradley, 1992) has found that almost all the literature concerns "our" communication with "them," not their communication with us or their analysis among themselves. Sets of participatory visual methods are outlined below. Others not covered here are walking transects and observation (Mascarenhas, 1991), well-being and wealth ranking (Guijt, 1992), and other methods that have not


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yet been fully written up. These include Judith Appleton's technique for women's daily time-use analysis, and Venn and "chapati" diagraming for institutional analysis.
Participatory mapping and modeling. Participatory mapping and modeling (Mascarenhas and Kumar, 1991) are perhaps the most widespread methods in PRA. In mapping, rural people, in groups or individually, make one or more maps on the ground or on paper. There are three main types: social maps, which typically show settlements, households, and people (with seeds, or with symbols on cards); resource maps, which show natural resources and (locally defined) ecological zones, often those of a village or community area; and farm and homegarden maps, in which a farmer draws her or his farm or home garden. In modeling, three-dimensional models are made of an area, using a mixture of materials, in India often including rangoli (colored) powders. Modeling has been used for participatory watershed and natural resource management planning especially in India, Nepal, and Vietnam.
Participatory mapping and modeling have increasingly been used to support and strengthen farmers' own analysis. With models, farmers plan by studying and discussing models, and then mark proposals for action directly on them. Models are made to show past, present, and future conditions. These can then be compared, contributing to awareness, analysis, and action. NGOs in India such as the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme-India (AKRSP) in Gujarat and MYRADA in Xarnataka have facilitated maps of farms and fields drawn by farmers that are then retained in the villages and used for planning and monitoring. Farmers near Chotila in Gujarat have made a complicated map that they retain and update of aquifers and wells below a percolation tank. Farmers have drawn maps of their farms and recorded yields in bushels shown by numbers of seeds stuck onto the paper. Progress with soil and water conservation has been recorded on village participatory maps.
Analysis of aerial photographs. This has deliberately been placed below farmers' mapping because it could be too attractive (for "us") as an alternative to the participatory mapping in which farmers are presenting their reality more freely. Nevertheless, the evidence to date is that farmers in different parts of the world have little difficulty, and take much pleasure, in interpreting aerial photographs. They have been used in a participatory mode in countries as diverse as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the USA, and Zimbabwe. In Papua New Guinea they have been used for the mapping of clan boundaries and as a focus for discussion and resolution of land right questions (Mearns, 1989). In Ethiopia aerial photography has been used for participatory planning of land use allocations (Sandford, 1989). 1:5,000 is a good scale for farm-level detail. Sandford (1989:18) found that settler farmers in Ethiopia:
immediately recognised that this was a photograph of their land.could without
difficulty indicate the boundaries of their land on the mosaic (correcting in the


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process some errors made by the consultants). .had no difficulty in recognising features such as ponds, swamps, woods, their own huts, thrashing floors, tracks,
areas under crop etc .could take one to any spot on their land shown to them on
the mosaic.could identify on the mosaic their position at any point of a walk
round the land.
Recently, experiments in India have found that villagers can be competent in interpreting remote sensing false-colour imagery (Sam Joseph, personal communication), but this has not yet to my knowledge been used in a truly participatory and empowering mode, and may be limited by scale and lack of detail.
Matrix scoring and ranking. Matrix scoring and ranking is a versatile cluster of methods applicable in many fields. A family of comparable items are chosen. In agriculture these have included types of crop, varieties of a crop, types of animal, varieties of an animal, vegetables, fruits, fodder plants and sources, trees, soil types, and individual fields. Criteria for assessing the items are identified through straight discussion and listing, through pairwise comparisons, or through asking what is good and what is bad about each. The resulting matrix is drawn on the ground or on paper. In scoring, seeds or other counters give values in each box; in ranking, the items are ranked ordinally. Matrix scoring is proving usually more powerful and popular than ranking. Scoring is usually either by free scoring, or by scoring out of a fixed number like 10, 5, or 3.
Two applications of matrix scoring and ranking deserve mention. The first is to enable farmers to decide on their preferred portfolio. In May 1990, Shyam Lal Arya of Nagargaon village near Nainital in India matrix ranked seven horticultural trees for four criteria, then indicated the number of each sort of tree he had, and then decided how many he would now like of each (Table 4). A similar method is used by AKRSP in social forestry; women and men in separate groups matrix score about a dozen trees each, using seeds on the ground, and then allocate 100 small stones to the different trees to show the proportions they would like in the nursery. The men's and women's proportions are then reconciled in discussion. As in these examples, making the matrix sharpens awareness and informs and improves decision-making.
The second application of matrix scoring may have wide application in agriculture, enabling farmers to analyze varieties and then communicate their priorities to scientists. The first farmer to do this was G.B. Ramana, Chikabanihatti Village, Jagalur Taluk, Chitradurgar District, Karnataka, India, with matrix scoring for locally known varieties of sorghum. He identified ten criteria (e.g., Table 5). He then used tamarind seeds to score the varieties against the criteria. When this was completed he was given 50 more seeds and asked to score the characteristics of a "wish" variety that he would like in addition to those varieties already available. The method has since been repeated in Nlaphkhane and Mapoka Villages near Francistown, Botswana. A


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male farmer in consultation with women matrix-scored varieties of sorghum. A senior scientist who jointly facilitated the analysis was surprised and impressed, and said that the farmer's preferences could be taken account of in the breeding program. A group doing the same for trees changed their scores four times before agreeing. In both cases the matrix scoring was taken with seriousness and deliberation.
It remains to be seen how widespread this, and similar methods, will become. They appear not only to enhance farmers' analysis, to provoke revealing debate, and to provide an agenda for discussion, but also to provide an accessible means for farmers to communicate their priorities to extensionists and scientists.
Farmers'flow, linkage, and causal diagraming. Perhaps the most striking development has been linkage diagrams. These are diagrams drawn on the ground or on paper that show flows, causal relationships, or other connections. Such diagrams, drawn by "us," are part of the toolbox ofagroecosystem analysis from which so much participatory diagraming comes. But it has been only gradually that we have come to realize the capacity that rural people have not just to understand, but to make and use linkage diagrams. A varied and impressive collection of such diagrams is to be found in the IIED report Participatory Rural Appraisal for Farmer Participatory Research in Punjab, Pakistan (Guijt and Pretty, 1992).
The classic case of participatory causal systems diagraming is the analysis of

Table 4. Matrix Ranking and Choice of Horticultural Trees.
Apple Khum- Peach Pear Plum Lemon Malta ani

Weather
resistance 7 3 6 2 4 1 5
Market
value 1 2 3 5 4 7 6
Disease
resistance 6 3 7 2 5 1 4
Use of
fodder 3 1 2
Number of
trees at present 50 15 50 50 20 30 5
Number of
trees desired 0 40 0 65 45 70 6
Preferences for
new plants 2 3 4 1 5


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Analyst: Shyram Lal Arya
Facilitators: Alok Kumar and Sukhbir S. Saudhu; May, 1990.

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Table 5. Matrix Scoring of Five Varieties of Sorghum Plus a New "Wish" Variety.
CH 59 Kesam Awalturi MHS 51 CHS-5 "Wish"

Taste 2 5 3 9 6 6
Yield 4 3 2 9 6 6
Good price 4 3 3 8 5 6
Fodder 3 5 5 3 5 5
Disease resistance 4 5 5 3 3 5
Ratooning 4 8 2 4
Many food uses 3 6 5 3 4
Good for health 4 5 2 5 3 4
Low input cost 2 3 4 3 2 3
Analyst: G.B. Ramama, Chikabanihatti Village, Jagalur Taluk, Chitradurgar District, Karnataka, India.

farmers' problems in Eastern Visayas in the Philippines, in which farmers were helped to develop and analyze systems diagrams for factors affecting the central problem of the cogon weed (Imperata cylindrica) (Lightfoot et al., 1989). Diagraming was used to indicate the relative importance of different factors, and to focus discussion on alternative actions. The participatory diagraming of bioresource flows has been pioneered by farmers and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, India, Malawi, and Vietnam (Lightfoot, 1990) and is the subject of an ICLARM video Pictorial modelling: a farmerparticipatory method for modelling bioresource flows in farming systems, starring farmers in Malawi (Lightfoot, Noble, and Morales, 1991).
Participatory causal diagraming can also show impacts of recent changes. In March 1991, Savasi Bhura, a farmer at Gadechi village, Surendranagar District, Gujarat, drew an impact diagram in a matter of about 25 minutes. This showed the effects of an irrigation scheme that had come to his village three years earlier. It included physical, biological, and social effects, and other important effects such as the scheme's impact on school enrollments. Linkage diagraming of farming systems (Lightfoot et al., 1991) also appears to have potential. The ability shown by farmers, whether literate or illiterate, to draw such diagrams has been remarkable (e.g., Guijt and Pretty, 1992).
In sum, forms of participatory linkage diagraming known to date include: bioresource flow modeling, especially for aquaculture; causal diagraming; impact diagraming; and farm profile and systems diagrams, including internal and external farm linkages.
Seasonal analysis. Seasonal diagraming has become a standard method in PRA. Analysts are invited to distinguish seasons or, more often, months, and


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