A Review: THE INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF
A review: THE INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY OF GUATEMALA (ICTA)
ICTA was organized for an expressed purpose of developing and testing
agricultural production technology and to foster the application of useful
technology in selected target areas. The review brought to light the
effectiveness of these programs which have been carried out by a dedicated
staff supported by a committed institutional base from both within and
outside of the country. The institutional relationships, and interactions
made functional through ICTA gives it the potential of being among the most
effective and significant agricultural programs in developing nations.
I. Technology Development and Implementation
Great concern is expressed relative to the ability of a new
and diverse organization to maintain the technical momentum
achieved under earlier programs with more limited objectives.
Staff development will remain as a critical problem which will be
further complicated by the need to recognize equitable relation-
ships between staff with varing levels of training and experience.
The maize programs must be expanded and redirected to meet the
national needs. Bean production must receive the benefits of new
technological inputs. The soils program must be refocused to serve
in a problem solving role. A national seed production program must
ICTA has established unique and forward looking new programs.
Its focus upon the on-farm testing of technology and the applied
agricultural economics systems are most significant. These pro-
grams would benefit from a standardization of methodology.
II. Training and'Personnel Development
A special need exists for the development of a plan to replace
non-Guatemalan staff presently in ICTA. Promotion and training
of national staff must proceed at an accelerated rate. Effective
use of training opportunities has been achieved especially at CIAT
and CIMMYT. In the future more of the training for the beginning
staff can take place within the country.
Advanced and specialized training to fill key positions in
both technical programs and administration will have to be sought
outside of Guatemala. Initially special emphasis must be placed
on the "Masters" program.
Communications within the staff and among programs must be
expanded and formalized. Present informal systems could lose
effectiveness and workability as ICTA increases in size and complexity.
III. Interactions with National and International Agencies
ICTA has excelled at providing "technology leadership"
within the agriculture sector of Guatemala. However, its impact
relative to the total national need is presently limited by its
size. The need for carefully developed programs which will enable
ICTA to function jointly with other national programs in a mutually
beneficial program is clearly apparent.- These needs will require
new measures of statesmanship and purpose if they are to become
effective programs which can function in harmony with the
objectives and purposes of ICTA.
Relationships with development programs outside of Guatemala
are strong and should become stronger as ICTA increases its mutually
beneficial partnership roles with these institutions.
This review clearly indicated that the strength of ICTA
resides in the in-the-field and on-the-farm foci of its programs.
Concern is expressed that these foci continue to be emphasized in
the future as ICTA seeks to expand its programs by direct and
indirect means. Any technical organization exists to develop and
apply new technology. Administration per se has the single function
of making this contribution happen most effectively. Size of the
administrative staff and methods used for decision making should be
made the subject of continuous review and scrutiny in order to
achieve this objective.
Facilities and experiment stations must be kept as flexible as
possible and should not be developed at the expense of on-the-
farm programs or in ways which would become monopoloistic relative
to private enterprise.
Long range planning is essential. ICTA should not be diverted from
its basic objectives of technology development and its application.
Working relationships with other national programs which focus upon the
respective organizational strengthsshould be pursued aggressively. A
leadership role in these efforts has already fallen to ICTA.
THE INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY OF GUATEMALA (ICTA)
A review of activities prepared at the request
of ICTA and its supporting institutions.
ICTA's objectives are aimed at generating technology and providing
assistance in increasing the production, income, and general welfare of the
small-scale farmer of Guatemala. In this task, ICTA's philosophies,
approaches, and procedures are unsurpassed in the developing world.
Emphasis is presently on accelerating the production from the soils
and of the basic food commodities: maize, beans, wheat, rice, sorghum,
potatoes, soybeans, swine, and certain horticultural crops coupled with the
associated economic and management practices. Initial efforts are located
in the high plateau, the southern coastal area, and the eastern provinces.
Work with wheat and potatoes is focused mainly in the high plateau, sorghum
in the eastern region and southern coastal plains and rice in the northeastern
humid lowlands. Work with corn is being promoted in all three regions.
The leadership of ICTA has been cautious but forward-moving in developing
its program. Well trained, experienced researchers staff the key technical
positions. ICTA makes maximum use of the materials and information available
from CIAT1 and CIMMYT2. The socio-economic unit identifies the production
problems faced by the farmers. A large proportion of the research activity
is carried out in farmer's fields, away from the experiment stations and
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Call, Colombia.
2International Center for Corn and Wheat Improvement, El Baton, Mexico.
the capital city. In such an environment the staff are freed from the usual
restrictive disciplinary bounds. Thus far, ICTA has resisted the pressures
generally prevailing in developing countries where friendships or politics
dictate appointments or policies. ICTA is expected to have a significant
impact on the agricultural development of Guatemala and may also provide a
model to guide the agricultural research and production programs of other
The Review Procedure
In view of the urgency in increasing food production and the general
welfare of the rural communities it is essential that ICTA develop and
expand its activities as rapidly and effectively as possible. In this con-
text, the following people, each having spent a large part of their pro-
fessional career working in agriculture in developing countries, some in
Central America, were asked by The Rockefeller Foundation to review ICTA's
Dr. Dale D. Harpstead, Chairman, Department of Crop and Soil
Sciences, College of Agriculture, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, Michigan.
Dr. Ralph W. Cummings, Jr., Agricultural Economist, The
Rockefeller Foundation, New York, New York.
Dr. Fernando Fernandez, Leader of Training and Conferences
Program, CIAT, Cali, Colombia.
Dr. J. Kenneth McDermott, Associate Director, Office of
Agricul.ture, Technical Assist;.nce Bureau, AID, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Edwin J. Wellhausen, Special Representative, The Rockefeller
The review lasted ten days, October 1-10, 1975, a period as long as
could be made available by the team members. Five of these days were spent
in the countryside visiting field activities. Numerous discussions were
held with persons directly and indirectly involved in the ICTA program.
ICTA itself made its own resources freely available.
Nature of this Report
This report intends to accomplish two purposes. First, it evaluates
ICTA as a newly conceived project. Since the organization is only two and
a half years old, the evaluation is of necessity qualitative and tentative
in nature. Second, it suggests, in some cases fairly specifically, some
measures ICTA could take to improve its current operation and long-run
chances of success. It does not provide either a description of the history
or of the general operations of ICTA, very ably covered in "ICTA: Four
Years of History" written by Dr. Robert K. Waugh, September 1975.
It is important to note these two functions and also that it takes
more space to suggest an action for improvement than to acknowledge a good
point. Thus the reader will note that our suggestions for improvement are
written in a positive tone and that we have devoted significant space to
the aspect of what we hope will be helpful.
The serious reader should also understand that we view ICTA as a very
new organization with an extremely bright promise. That we do not dwell at
length on the real accomplishments to date should not be interpreted other-
wise. However, we are all experienced in many of the risks and dangers that
ICTA will probably face during its career. We feel that the real test of
success is yet ahead.
With this background, we offer the following observations divided into
four main sections.
I. Technology Development and Implementation
The Contributions of Previous Programs
ICTA has been very successful as a technical institution. A part of
this success can be traced to sound technological programs which existed
prior to the formation of ICTA. These programs were limited in scope and
addressed only a small part of the total production problem. A major
accomplishment under ICTA has been the broadening of the application of
technology and the use of existing technology gathered from both national and
The wheat program,,which traces its history through more than 20 years,
is an excellent example of a contributing program. Improved varieties had
been developed. Production practices had been established and a seed dis-
tribution system was in operation. Under ICTA an immediate expansion and
application of this technology was both possible and effective.
The challenge in the wheat program is how to maintain the momentum
developed over many years prior to the formation of ICTA. Lost momentum
can be regained only at great cost. Careful attention must be given to the
staffing and technical level of the personnel in the wheat program. While
its pr-cscnL accomplishments can be viewed as a model, the failure to develop
the technical personnel at the same level as in other programs could become
the source of future difficulties.
Maize programs, both local and international, have made available
excellent varieties for the Guatemalan lowlands while the local maize pro-
gram has produced good varieties for use in the highlands. While in
some cases these varieties may not represent the best possible genotypes, they
are superior to those in common use by the local farmer. While the expanded
maize breeding and selection programs are being put into operation,
Gautemala can profit from the existing technology.
It is the opinion of the review team that the projected increase in
technical input in the maize program should be accomplished at the earliest
possible date. To effectively reorganize and refocus major portions of the
maize breeding and production efforts, new staff not presently encumbered by
existing philosophies should be brought into the program. Two additional
technically qualified scientists will be required for at least three to
New sorghum varieties have already been introduced on a large scale to
farmers in the Juitiapa region by 1975. The presence of these high yielding,
adapted, early maturing varieties underscores the rapidity with which
acceptable technology can be moved into selected agricultural systems. The
review team wishes to take special note of the benefits that can be achieved
through development and application of sound technology.
Beans, next to maize, are the most important commodity within the ICTA
program. The initial screening of 3,000 lines of black beans in the world
collection made available by CIAT gave disappointing results. It appears
that ICTA must work with the locally selected materials already available
even though these are not greatly superior to the existing farmer varieties.
The staff on the bean project is capable and is backed up by a large and
diverse staff at CIAT. Improved agronomic practices may provide the first
substantial payoffs. Improving the position of beans in multiple cropping
schemes also appears to be a rewarding endeavor. Breeding work will be
difficult and slow. In the longer run, it seems advisable to encourage
ICTA to take the lead in seeking the acceleration of the bean breeding
within CIAT with the objective of producing lines adapted to Guatemalan
Policy decisions need to be clarified relative to the production
zones in which the major bean production programs will be supported. The
present location of the bean program in the Eastern region may be a reasonable
place to begin work, but does not satisfy the requirement to concentrate
research in the areas of greatest production. The production and distri-
bution of high quality, disease free seed also needs considerably more attention.
The rice program was judged to be well staffed, using the best available
materials and working in close cooperation with CIAT. Locally tested and
increased rice varieties are being grown widely and the national need for this
cereal is being satisfied. The staff member at CIAT who has had primary
responsibility for this program has left and ICTA should make sure that
continuity of its program does not suffer in the process.
The existence of a small potato program is noted. It is not recommended
that the present efforts be expanded greatly. Production of high quality
"seed" stocks should receive high priority. Storage and transportation
problems will continue to limit the usefulness of the potato as a basic food
outside of its area of production.
Imported soybean varieties are being grown on an experimental basis.
The swine program benefits from excellent leadership. The.value of the
pig as a source of savings is recognized. However, the review team questions
the priority given to the particular thrust being undertaken. In particular,
the shortages of water and the high price of feedgrains, both essential
ingredients to the particular system being tested, appear to limit its
extension to a wide range of farmers. The question remains whether a
different system of raising swine should be sought or whether research on
other animal systems would be of greater value to the country.
The soils program exhibits primarily a laboratory point of view of
soil fertility. The review team was furnished a copy of the "Informe Anual,
1974, Programa de Nutricion Vegetal". A careful study of this document
reveals primarily an application of temperate zone technology with very
little if any attention being given to the applicability of this technology
to soils of volcanic origin or of grossly differing mineralogical charac-
A question of priorities is involved, i.e., what is most important and
how to accomplish the desired goals? General recommendations for fertilizer
applications must be developed for the various commodities in the major pro-
duction zones. Conservation of available water requires much more attention.
These together with other priorities need to be more clearly established.
A direct in-the-field involvement needs to be built into the soils program.
And, a broader view of the technological procedures employed in the laboratory
needs to be achieved. No direct benefits from the existing soils program
were apparent to the review team.
Criteria of Success for ICTA
The development and application of technology is and must remain the
foremost goal of ICTA. Not all programs will deliver easily identified and
measurable technology. Nevertheless, each technical program should make
significant contributions to the basic production goals even in the absence
of the spectacular. Each unit within ICTA including administration and
support programs must finally be measured by their contributions to the
production of food. Neither organization nor hiring policies should com-
promise these principles.
Unique Characteristics of ICTA
The organization of technological development and its application has
evolved some unique characteristics within ICTA. Most notable among these
are (1) the concerted efforts to come to terms with the actual farmer
problems in technology application and (2) the team approach used in the
production units. These are to be commended.
The entire approach of the socio-economic program has been developed as
an on-the-farm research activity. This is providing new insights into
areas previously ignored such as multiple cropping and net returns from small
plot farming systems. The activities conducted in this program have the
potential of positively influencing other decisions of a technical nature.
The program for on-farm testing of technology is especially effective
when the data are collected and reported in full view of and in cooperation
with the participating farmers and their neighbors. An interesting innova-
tion in this activity is the on-site economic evaluation and discussion of
the research results. This should add greatly to the credibility of the field
work and to the confidence of the farmers.
The new inputs to technological development being made through the
programs of applied Agricultural Economics and the subsistence-farmer systems
programs are classical examples of innovative production research. These
will need to be expanded as rapidly as their success can be established and
when adequate experimental and evaluation techniques are available.
Future of On-farm Experimentation
In spite of the excellent approaches being used, certain dangers can
be noted. There is great need to standardize both terminology and testing
procedures and steps must be taken to clarify what is meant by experimenta-
tion, testing and demonstration. Failure to do so will result in misunder-
standing of both goals and results from within and from outside of ICTA.
This is an appropriate time to establish research and testing goals relative
to target user groups. Since much of the technology will be user-specific,
failure to take this step will result in unnecessary confusion when other
agencies seek to use the information generated. A combination of clearly
established testing goals and a simple manual of procedures would probably
go a long way toward solving this problem.
Some of the procedures used by ICTA, such as farmer surveys and the
standardized farm test plots are likely to be useful to other entities.
If ICTA's procedures are written down, it will facilitate agreement among
the agencies on some degree of standardization. If procedures of the various
agencies can be standardized or made compatible, then results of farmer
surveys can be additive and results from farm plots can be compared
directly. ICTA has done some useful work in standardization of farm test
plots that has made research analysis rapid, meaningful, and efficient. It
would be useful if this concept were sector wide.
Two major philosophical problems in technology development were
recognized in (1) the distribution of staff time between commodity programs
and production programs and (2) the fixing of priorities among the commodity
programs. The need to maintain program flexibility cannot be overemphasized.
Whenever technical staff are brought into ICTA, they must be aware of and
willing to accept the dual roles or expectations of technology development
and the application of technology to applied production. In an idealistic
sense, each program should seek to work itself out of a job even if this goal
can never be achieved in a dynamic biological system. It must be further
recognized that a common level of technology among programs cannot be
maintained. The commodities most important to the well-being of Guatemala,
maize and beans for example, must receive the highest possible priorities
especially in the geographic areas of greatest need. This may have to be
done at the expense of other programs. Over diversification into new programs
or the failure to concentrate available resources will remain an ever
present source of danger.
The need for new technology development within Guatemala is nowhere
more evident than in the need for a dynamic national seed production program.
The goals of this program should be simple and straightforward, i.e., to
make ava-lable in Guatemala adequate quantities of proven and usable seed
stocks. Certification per se is only one means to this end. The primary
quality standards for seed sold to the public should be accuracy of seed
identification and correct labeling of quality relative to purity and
germination. It would be counter-productive for Guatemala to demand seed
quality standards not commensurate with the production practices normally
achieved in the environments where the seed must be grown. Standards used
in temperate zones may not be attainable or realistic when seed is produced
in tropical climates.
Providing an adequate supply of good quality seed will demand the
combined resources of both the public and the private sector. Steps should
be taken to develop a new national seed policy board which would operate
under the Minister of Agriculture and include representation from both public
agencies and private industry. Seed production and distribution policy
matters would be determined by this board.
Jointly sponsored programs should be developed immediately between ICTA
and DIGESA1 to assure the functioning of: (1) maintenance of basic seed stocks,
(2) production of seed by the public sector, and (3) public sector cooperation
with the private seed industry.
While public sector seed production facilities will need to be developed,
great care must be exercised to prevent the formation of a national seed monopoly
which would suppress the development of private industry. The public sector
facilities established should be used to: (1) initiate seed production where
needed, (2) maintain basic seed stocks, (3) serve as a training facility,
(4) serve as a seed resource base to private industry, and (5) seek to
stimulate demand for high quality, improved seeds.
1 General Agricultural, Ministry of Agriculture, Services.
II. Training and Personnel Development
The key to the success of any organization is the quality and competence
of its staff. The review team was impressed by the intellectual prominence,
the motivation, and the sense of urgency that characterizes ICTA's professional
Considerable effort has.already been made to increase the level of
competency of its members. Personnel development, however, must be a
continuous process in a dynamic institution. It encompasses numerous levels
and areas of aptitude ranging from leadership to service and from scientific
to administrative functions. Furthermore, it has to be commensurate with
both the immediate and the long-term objectives of the organization. Finally,
the financial support necessary to achieve these goals must be made an
integral part of the institution's budget.
Developing National Leadership Within ICTA
ICTA as a young organization has chosen to use expatriate human scientific
resources to assist in the initial stages of program development. This
decision is largely justified by the shortage of highly trained and experienced
Guatemalan scientists in agriculture.
It is encouraging to note, however, that local leadership in the technical
areas is beginning to emerge. A conscientious effort to accelerate the rate
of development of this leadership should be made, with the objective of
bringing nationals to the top levels of responsibility in the programs, and
as soon as appropriate, replacing expatriate colleagues who now occupy
leadership roles. A five-year target program should be established and a
definite plan developed for the orderly transfer of responsibilities.
A program in which junior staff would periodically serve in understudy roles
in different areas would provide a mechanism for the training of replacement
staff at all levels of operation.
Once the plan is established and operational, technical assistance from
the international community could be effectively utilized within ICTA on a
In-service Training for Production-Oriented Research
A substantial amount of training has already occurred in this area,
all of it outside the country. Thirty-two young scientists have been sent
abroad for post-graduate internships averaging six months each; twenty-two
have trained at CIAT and ten at CIMMYT. These men constitute a strong
scientific personnel base and are now filling present staff needs of the
commodity research and production programs.
Experiences to date suggest that specialized training in production
research will have to continue, but probably at a slower rate than has been
required in the initial stages of development. This program, however,
should be maintained with sensitivity to changes as present technical programs
are expanded, new programs are created, and new personnel are hired because
of attrition and administrative shifts.
Special attention in the future will need to be given to training managers
for the experiment stations and staff for the proposed seed production and
Upgrading the Academic Level of Scientific and Technical Staff
Four academic levels are evident among the staff: "Perito Agronimo,"
"Ingeniero Agronomo," Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy
(Ph.D.). Presently only one member of the Guatemalan staff and five of the
international staff hold Ph.D.'s. Ten of the staff hold the Master's degree
while fifty are university graduates, most holding the "Ingeniero Agronomo"
degree. Approximately thirty additional staff members are "Peritos Agronomos."
Four staff members have been sent abroad for graduate study leading to
advanced degrees since the formation of ICTA.
Personal motivation and high work spirit have in a large part sub-
stituted for advanced degrees. However, for the future, more emphasis should
be placed on graduate academic training primarily at the Master of Science
level. Whenever possible, the thesis research should be conducted in
Guatemala on a project of local importance or at least under environments
and on commodities consistent with ICTA's responsibilities. While the
principal emphasis should be at the M.S. level, opportunities should be
kept open for sponsorship of Ph.D. level study for a few highly selected
scientists in areas of research requiring this level of competency, and/or
A special problem arises in connection with many of the promising
younger staff as well as a few older ones who have a "Perito Agronomo"
degree, but have through experience and self study become highly proficient
at research and field testing work. Developing countries generally have a
strong degree consciousness and Guatemala is no exception. The professional
reputation, position, and salary ceiling for the "Perito Agronomo" is
discouragingly low. Unless this situation is improved, many of these
technical staff will move to jobs in private industry or to other positions
in the public agriculture sector. The wheat program is particularly vul-
nerable in this respect. In the long run, new "Ingeniero Agronomos,"
graduating from San Carlos, will replace the departing "Peritos" in a normal
pattern of personnel development. ICTA should take advantage of its
flexibility and provide professional and financial incentives to the "Perito"
group whenever possible. It would also be worthwhile to determine if more
can be done to assist the superior "Perito Agronomos" to enter a university
to obtain a full professional degree.
In-country Training: Pre-service and In-service
The training for field production, adaptive experimentation, and transfer
diffusion of technology may be best given in Guatemala because of the ad-
vantages of working within the local environment, both agro-climatically as
well as institutionally. This type of training will be needed both to
develop new personnel and to satisfy the demands of expanding production
programs. In all instances the practical production training offered must:
(1) be based upon applied field experimentation and/or on-farm testing
of technology, (2) be conducted concurrently with and as part of an on-going
field pirogr.;(1j of technology tcstLing, or val.Lidation, and (3) include an
integrated production system overview of technology, socio-economic relation-
ships, and communication.
ICTA's approach to adaptive research is particularly applicable to this
type of training. Pre-service and in-service training will be most effective
if appropriately planned and executed as part of an on-going program rather
than conducted haphazardly. The expertise for organizing and implementing
training programs is already present at ICTA in staff professionally trained
previously at CIAT. Additional assistance in this regard, however, will
undoubtedly be required from CIAT before it can be considered fully operational.
In-country Training for Personnel from Other National Institutions
As will be discussed in more length in the next section, one of the
critical responsibilities that ICTA must recognize and accept as its own is
that of establishing strong relationships with national institutions such as
DIGESA which is in charge of transferring agricultural technology to the
farmers on a nationwide basis. Effective mechanisms and channels for this
transfer and diffusion are paramount to attain the objectives of utilization
of ICTA-generated new technology to the farmers. The review team feels that
an effective way to promote the needed relationships is to collaborate with
these institutions in the in-service training of "Ingenieros Agronomos"
and "Peritos Agronomos" who work with farmers in transferring existing and
The training must be very similar to that received by ICTA's personnel
for production projects, i e., be based on applied field experimentation
conducted :in on-going projects. Considering the numbers of agronomists and
aniimal scicuL sLs tliaL ImusL be triLned, iL may be advisable to organize
Selected "egresados" of the University of San Carlos (students who have
completed course requirements, but have their thesis or final examination
pending) should also benefit from these instructional events as well as from
an opportunity to do their thesis research under-the supervision of ICTA's
scientists. The Supervised Professional Practice (EPS) program and the
thesis requirements are particularly suited to this purpose.
While the importance of the above activities cannot be overemphasized,
caution should be exercised to avoid involving ICTA excessively in the training
of others to the extent that this activity may conflict with the research
function. The key to success in both research and training rests upon
seeking the appropriate balance that would effectively lead to the development
of the necessary human resources for transfer of the new technology that
ICTA will generate. The initial training activity of this nature to be
undertaken by ICTA should be vigorously, but cautiously carried out as an
experimental pilot project.
Other Personnel-development Related Functions
Relevant to personnel development within ICTA is the two-way exchange
and diffusion of both routine and critical information among and between
scientists, field technicians, and administrators. This communication phenomena
must be continuously and consistently integrated with the daily activities
of the institute's personnel. Moreover, it is desirable to reinforce this
communication with seminar programs in the regions as well as in Guatemala,
which would include open discussions, including both panel and round table
types, and other imaginative ways to provoke group dynamics.
ICTA lacks a good research library. It will take considerable time and
money to develop an adequate one. Given the high costs involved, it is
doubtful that a substantial effort should be made to accumulate back issues
of periodicals or reference materials at this time. Nevertheless, steps
should be taken to systematically accumulate and have available for use
current materials, especially selected periodicals and technical abstracts.
ICTA should also make arrangements with INCAP, ICAITI, The Bank of Guatemala
and the international centers to make use of their libraries and documentation
ICTA is already generating information which should be disseminated
widely. The review team recommends that a "publication policy and norms" be
developed to guide the printing and distribution of ICTA publications including
technical reports, informative bulletins, and possibly a newsletter.
III. Interaction with National and International Agencies
ICTA's success will be measured by the improvement of production and
income of Guatemala's small farmers. Achieving this improvement requires an
adequate performance by the total agricultural support system of which ICTA
is a single, although very important, component.
ICTA has had to concentrate its attentions on internal matters during
its initial phases. Relationships with some international agencies are
well established. On the national scene, the relationships appear to be
more ad hoc in nature and without long tradition.
With a workable philosophy and a growing technical competence, ICTA
needs to give careful attention to its role in the agricultural support
system and to the relationships it develops with other components in the
national system. Several actions are needed. 'First, ICTA needs to define
its own role in the system, a role consistent with its objectives and
relative competencies. Second, it needs to identify other components
in the system that have particular relevance to ICTA. A realistic evalu-
ation must be made of the current and projected potential capacities of
the other entities. Finally a systematic means of working with each of
the most relevant entities must be designed and implemented. In some cases,
the types of relationship will be specific to an agency. In other
cases generalized activities will serve several agencies.
ICTA's Role in the Agricultural Sector
As relationships with other entities are developed, the concept of
"transaction" needs to be kept in mind. In a transaction, each party
trades something it has or can do in return for something else which it
does not have or cannot do as easily. No linkage will endure unless
the self-interest, i.e., the mutual benefit, of-each party is served.
Thus ICTA needs to define what it can contribute and what it needs from
others to achieve the objective of improving production and income of
Guatemala's small farmers.
ICTA's main stock in trade, for which it has been assigned major
responsibility in the agricultural sector is science and technology. It
produces some in its own programs. It also has access to the world's
stock of science and technology through its linkages with the international
research centers. This is a significant resource.
ICTA has done an exceptionally good job of defining its philosophy
of relating to the small producer and determining what it can provide
to the other agencies that would help them improve their performance.
This would constitute what could be regarded as "technology leadership"
for the agricultural sector.
ICTA should develop a five-year plan. in collaboration with other
selected entities, not for and by itself alone. Personnel and operating
needs should be coordinated with certain other very carefully selected
entities such as DIGESA, BANDESA and INDECA The review team wishes to
caution that we do not have a complete agricultural development plan in
mind; we are confining the scope of action to the development and diffu-
sion, of improved agricultural technology or the development of a "tech-
nology strategy" for Guatemalan agriculture which falls clearly within the
Linkages with Diffusion Agencies
ICTA does not have the capacity to deliver technology to all farmers
on a national scale. It must rely on other agencies for the massive delivery
ICTA should not regard these cooperating agencies only as delivery
agencies, i.e., one-way channels. They can also provide valuable feed-
back functions through which information of farmer needs and problems flow
back to JCTA. They will also serve as a source of information on tire
1 National Bank for Agricultural Development
2National Institute for Agricultural Marketing
applicability of ICTA's technology. This two-way movement will be facilitated
if the cooperating agencies plan activities jointly with ICTA. However,
the feedback through cooperating agencies, irregardless of its effectiveness,
should never keep ICTA from its quest of developing technology for the farmer.
Several diffusion entities could be important to ICTA. The team
recommends that ICTA should carefully examine all alternatives for
Currently, DIGESA appears to be the single most logical agency with
which strong linkages need to be forged. DIGESA is a large organization
with significant problems.
The Ministry of Education also appears to have several activities
which may provide efficient channels to the farmer. One of the more prom-
ising is the Basic Rural Education (BRE), an innovative experimental pro-
gram which aims to make highly efficient the work of professional diffusion
personnel by providing systematic support through radio, publication, and
non-professional personnel. BRE specializes in communication; the technical
information must come from other sources, presumably ICTA. The Ministry
of Education has also organized an inter-ministry program in non-formal
or out-of-school education that may be useful.
Cooperative federations, producer associations,private industry, and
other agencies are other potential partners in production development.
These possibilities have not been explored generally, however, they do have
polentiial of becoming cefrective pIartmne'r in low cost operations.
Specific cooperation might be best developed by beginning with the
pilot projects on an experimental basis. They should be on problems and
in locations where the probability of success is relatively high. The
lessons learned from these mutually beneficial experiences can be built on
for future expansion of cooperative activities.
Some general arrangements can be developed through such media as
publications and in-country in-service training. This topic was discussed
in more detail previously. The attitudes developed and improved under-
standing may be even more valuable benefits of training than the communi-
cation of skills and knowledge.
Cooperation with other Agencies
ICTA depends on many agencies, both national and international for
inputs. It received funds from the Government of Guatemala, The Rockefeller
Foundation, USAID and perhaps others. San Carlos, Barcena, The Rockefeller
Foundation and institutions in other countries supply personnel. Inter-
national agencies (CIAT and CIMMYT) and other country national institutions
provide personnel training. International agencies and national entities
in other countries provide technological and scientific knowledge. In some
cases linkages present few problems; in other cases, more attention may be
needed to improve their effectiveness.
Linkages with international organizations such as CIAT, CINMYT and
INCAP2 are apparently good. In wheat, for example, they are exceptionally
good and have become two-way flows between ICTA and CIMMYT. ICTA can play
United States Agency for International Development
2 Institute of Nutrition for Central America and Panama
an important role in selecting varieties resistant to Septoria a disease
not serious in Mexico. In other cases, beans for example, strong signals
are being sent to the international system to provide specific assistance.
CIAT will have to do much of the basic breeding work to provide lines which
perform better than local varieties under Guatemalan conditions. Corrective
action by ICTA should follow situations where a need for scientific and
technological knowledge are not being responded to by the international system.
Some attention has been given to strengthening cooperation with San
Carlos through a thesis scholarship program forgraduating students. This
effort is an excellent first step towards improved relationships between
San Carlos and ICTA. However, much more could be done to improve the
mutual benefit from exchanges between these two institutions. For example,
San Carlos professors might provide scientific input to ICTA programs.
In turn, ICTA could make an important contribution to San Carlos through
its application of advances in agricultural sciences. ICTA does have a
vested interest in the programs at San Carlos and Barcena since these two
institutions are a principal source of ICTA personnel.
ICTA has adequate support from the Guatemalan government. In order
to assure continued support, greater efforts to explain ICTA's role in
agriculture may be useful. The review team understands that the Board of
Directors of ICTA has not had the advantage of seeing the full scope of
ICTA activities encountered on the field trip we took. The team feels that
in-the-field observations are essential for a thorough understanding of
the ICTA program. The Board and other national leaders and ICTA -
would benefit from similar trips.
Most components of a complete technology innovation chain are present
in Guatemala. ICTA holds the promise of being an outstanding technology
development agency, an important link in that chain. Other national and
international agencies play equally important roles in the chain.
A start has been made to articulate these components in a productive
fashion, but much more can be done. In some cases, ICTA may need to consider
strengthening the cooperating agencies in addition to linking with them.
Strong mutually beneficial arrangements are essential if ICTA is to realize
its potential in Guatemalan agricultural development.
The primary role of the administrative structure is to make sure that
sound and rapid technological development is promoted. In this respect, ICTA
should be given much credit. It was initiated with this philosophy of ad-
ministration clearly in mind and, it has made substantial progress in im-
plementing this philosophy. Nevertheless, administrative arrangements
could be profitably reviewed under the present level of operation. It
becomes even more important to review administrative procedures now to
insure that ICTA continues to function effectively and make appropriate
changes in the future at the larger level of activity which is contemplated.
Technical Inputs in Policy Decision-Making
The Director General must have easy access to the important decisions
of the institute. lHe must create and promote an organization that provides
both information and analysis needed for the decisions. Since ICTA is a
technology-oriented institution, most decisions will require a relatively
large technical input and many will be completely technical. As ICTA becomes
a more complex organization this functional interchange on a regular basis
between final decision-making and the technical base of the institute will
become more critical. The team hopes that the Director General will con-
tinue to take the initiative necessary to assure that the views of the
technical leadership of the institute are reflected in the policy decisions
of the institute.
Quality of Staff
In its two and a half years of operation, ICTA has established a
reputation of maintaining very high standards of work for which it can
be justifiably proud. This has been due to the efforts of a staff with
good training and high motivation. Organizations which achieve success
become attractive targets for politicians or others who wish to find good
jobs for their friends. Until now ICTA has been successful in avoiding
these pressures. The pressures can be expected to intensify in the future.
If ICTA does not maintain its selectivity in staff appointments in the
future, its reputation for high work standard will be compromised.
Therefore, we would hope that staff selection at all levels would go
through a screening process in which professionals, with appropriate
representation from the technical base of the institute, would have the
opportunity to review qualifications and to make their recommendations
Role of the Supporting Administrative Units
As now conceptualized, the Programming Unit and the Service Unit
stand parallel with the Technical Production Unit in the line organization
of ICTA. Basically, they are service units to the Technical Production
Unit, in particular, and ICTA, in general.
Contradictory philosophies can prevail in service organizations. On
the one hand, they can exercise a control function protecting their counter-
parts by telling them what they cannot do. On the other hand, they can,
once they know the task that must be accomplished, use every effort within
the limits of law and decorum to help their counterparts achieve the de-
sired objectives. We certainly hope that this latter philosophy will prevail
in ICTA. In fact, if it does not prevail, then ICTA's effectiveness can
be expected to decline rapidly.
a. The programming function is that of providing staff assistance to
a decision maker who has to allocate funds among diparate programs. Since
the main purpose of ICTA is to develop agricultural technology, the Technical
Unit is best equipped to plan what is required to develop that technology,
i.e., what expenditures for staff and equipment are required in the various
programs. Therefore, we believe that the Programming Unit should
accept the judgments of the Technical Unit in respect to the content of
program and do its best to be supportive in assuring that the requests are
fulfilled. Only a small staff is required for this function.
b. The Service Unit provides administrative and bookkeeping support.
The expressed intention of ICTA is to carry out these areas of support in
ways that take full advantage of flexibility of operation. Laws govern
some areas of operation. In other cases, interpretations of law govern
the actions. When the latter situation prevails, the basis for decision
can be arbitrary and conservatism can be interjected to protect the
individuals involved, but possibly to the detriment of the effectiveness
of the programs involved.
We realize that ICTA wishes to experiment during its initial phases
to discover the rules which fit its conditions best. We understand the
reasons for this. However, we also hope that at an early date, clarification
can be made regarding which rules are law and which are interpretations
of law, subject to other interpretations within certain limits. We think
that this process would permit the technical personnel to enter into dis-
cussions of these interpretations and provide advice to the Service Unit
in its effort to evolve workable regulations which permit ICTA to take
full advantage of its potential flexibility of operation.
Decentralization of Staff and Functions
If the objective of ICTA is to develop technology which will be used
by the farmer, it follows that activities must be carried out, to the great-
est degree possible, at the level of the farmer. Decentralization of both
staff and activities will permit more time for ICTA technicians to be
devoted to this function. In particular we hope that:
a. The proportion of ICTA staff assigned to the regional offices
be maintained at maximum levels with only the smallest possible staff
assigned to Guatemala City offices.
b. Certain functions, i.e., purchasing up to reasonable limits, be
delegated to the regional staffs along with the necessary service support
to carry out these functions.
The review team wishes to caution against the ever present danger
of letting the administrative staff grow relative to the technical staff.
Experiment Station Development
Experiment stations play a vital role in the development of technology.
Certain functions must be carried out under reasonably controlled'conditions.
Screening of the technical materials assembled by the international institutes
is an example of this. It is important that the facilities at these stations
be completed as soon as possible to permit such functions. Substantial
progress in station development is already evident. The ,stations generally
are very well maintained and more work in this area is scheduled.
Experiment stations can become ends in ,themselves. They can provide
conditions which are disincentives to work under actual farm conditions,
one of the unique positive aspects of the ICTA program. ICTA is .to be
commended for limiting the size of its experiment stations which in turn
provides a limit to the amount of work which can be carried out there.
We hope that the balance between work on experiment stations and that on
the farmers' fields can be kept in proper perspective in the future by
providing adequate, but not excessive experiment station facilities.
ICTA is in the process of writing a plan to guide its development over
the next five years. It is to be commended for this action explicit
recognition of the course ahead will permit thorough review and input by the
primary participants and therefore more expertise in the planning and
higher motivation in the implementation.
The review team has not had the opportunity to review the plan in
detail; it was not far enough along so that agreement had been reached
among the ICTA leadership regarding these details. Since the five-year
plan document has not been completed, it can take into consideration the
views of the review team. Our views have been expressed in the proceeding
pages of this document. The final five-year plan document will be read
with a great deal of interest.
V. Concluding Comments
It is the opinion of this review team that Guatemala must seek new
and imaginative ways of effecting the transfer of technology to its total
production systems for basic food sources. ICTA has established the
validity of much of the existing technology and is dedicated to further
development. ICTA has developed through experimentation effective means to
transfer its technology to farmers in its pilot zone studies. These
studies have opened many new possibilities for effective action programs
which far exceed the capacities of a technical institute such as ICTA. We
believe that a national plan should be developed with appropriate agencies,
both public and private, for the orderly application of existing food pro-
duction technology to new geographic areas and on a scale not presently
On a national scale, widespread assistance programs must be developed
which can rnech all farmers with superior and workable technology. The
farmers must be given access to economical production inputs and an
equitable market advantage.
To achieve the orderly application of technology a step-wise plan
must be developed. It will be necessary to continue concentrated efforts
to achieve a "critical mass" effect. Qualified personnel will have to be
identified and trained and a responsive support administration,will have
to be put in place. It is our opinion that ICTA should be a part of
these team efforts, but that ICTA should not deviate from its primary
roles of technology development, technology application leadership and
the evaluation of technology under applied farm conditions.
Ralph W. Cummings, Jr.
J. Kenneth McDermott
Edwin J. Wellhausen
Dale D. Harpstead, Chairman
Appendix: The following comments were prepared by Dr. E. J. Wellhausen
a member of this team and are reproduced in their entirety rather than to
attempt an abbreviated incorporation into the body of the report.
The Mission believes that the Government of Guatemala's (GOG) desire
to accelerate the production, income and general welfare of the rural sector,
with primary emphasis on the small farmer, cannot be realized without special
programs of dynamic, well-coordinated, concentrated action on a regional
and micro-regional basis. To do this job will require the well-coordinated
and concentrated effort of various institutions, but the degree of success
in the realization of the overall objectives of the GOG will depend primarily
on the joint and harmonious efforts of two institutions, ICTA and DIGESA -
one responsible for the development of the necessary production technology
and the other for gaining its widespread application. In view of the above,
it is recommended:
I. That ICTA make every effort possible to strengthen the "pilot" re-
gional production programs currently underway in the Altiplano, Oriente and
Southern lowlands (La'Maquina), converting them, as soon as possible, to
joint concentrated action programs with DIGESA for the following five-fold
purposes: a) define and test the methodologies most indicated for the rapid
development and application of economic technological packages or production
systems; b) determine and test strategies most effective in gaining wide-
spread application of new technology and in the promotion of other desirable
social changes or services; c) inspire, orient and train a special cadre of
agronomos and social workers who can establish and guide similar activities
in other areas; d) demonstrate how ICTA'can help DIGESA successfully improve
the production, income and general welfare of small farmers by providing the
materials and information needed; e) demonstrate how the joint activities
can pave the way for greater success of BANDESA and INDECA in their opera-
tions; and f) develop and demonstrate a methodology for the effective eval-
uation of progress.
II. That, since the rapidity with which the kinds of programs required
can be spread throughout the initial regions and to other regions will de-
pend on the availability of well-prepared and well-oriented leaders, major
emphasis in the pilot programs be given to the organization and execution
of a joint training program to provide training: (1) in the identification
of problems, technical and otherwise; (2) in how to solve them; and (3) in
the strategies most indicated for gaining rapid, wide-spread application
of the solutions.
III. That a joint five-year plan be developed with DIGESA (if possible)
for the systematic, step-wise extension of the joint activities on a regional
and micro-regional basis. Goals to be reached should be realistically estab-
lished on the basis that the joint programs be extended as .fast as possible,
yet no faster than competent leaders can be prepared to guide the various
activities to be carried out in new areas.
- 2 -
IV. That ICTA collaborate with DIGESA in the systematic establishment
and harmonious operation of new programs, with the understanding that its
main function is to identify the kinds of material and agronomic practices
most indicated and assist DIGESA personnel in every way possible in gaining
their rapid diffusion.
V. That ICTA, in addition to the development of a joint plan with
DIGESA, develop its own 5 year plan, indicating how it plans to proceed in
strengthening its own organization and capabilities in the development of
the materials and technological packages as may be required, to bring about
the desired production and social changes in each region.
VI. That, in the development of its 5-year plan, ICTA gives particular
attention to the following aspects:
1) Maintain a strong focus on the identification and development of the
kinds of materials and agronomic, cropping systems, etc., needed to
accelerate the production and income of small farmers on a step-wise
basis, in harmony with DIGESA and in line with the needs of Guatemala.
2) Emphasize the immediate utilization of technology available, perfect-
ing it as may be indicated, as time moves on.
3) Continue to concentrate on the most important commodities in spite
of pressures for expansion to include others. Commodities which are
most important to the well-being of Guatemala, such as maize and beans,
mIust receive the highest possible priorLties.
4) Strengthen the soils and crop production program to promote field
research designed to evaluate varieties and determine fertilizer
requirements and production systems most indicated for each region
- !i -
and micro-region. A strong field research team should be developed
to determine the above on a systematic micro-regional basis, in close
collaboration with DIGESA and with farmers. The commodity program
teams would be expected to collaborate fully with this endeavor.
5) Standardize procedures in the evaluation of varieties and production
practices (of all agencies involved) to avoid confusion in the in-
terpretation of research results. A standardization of cooperative
farm test plots would make research analyses more rapid, meaning-
ful and efficient for the user groups.
6) Promote the development of a dynamic national seed production pro-
gram, keeping in mind that the best seed production systems in the
developing countries are those in which governmental and private
7) Emphasize training to increase the level of competency, both in
research and in gaining the rapid adoption of the technology as
identified. The latter is as important, if not more than the farmer.
In the latter, a great number of competent individuals are needed.
8) Emphasize the development of national experienced research and crop
production leaders, not only to build ICTA's own staff, but also to
supply competent personnel to other agencies having a bearing on
agricultural production. The latter is extremely important. The
training for field production, adaptive experimentation and diffusion
of tlie technology, can be best: given In Guatemala. To give tlie kind
of training needed, one must know what to teach. There is no better
way to learn what to teach, and concurrently teach it, than through
the systematic development and operation of a highly successful field
program a program in which the objectives are rapidly being realized.
It is extremely important that the 3 on-going pilot programs be
strengthened and converted into training "bases," as mentioned in
I. The success of ICTA (and DIGESA) will depend upon their capabili-
ties in generating the technology required, and in gaining its rapid
adoption. Training only in the development of technology is not good
enough. The more difficult job is in getting it adopted by all kinds
9) Develop a program which will provide opportunities for experienced
and "tested" individuals to obtain graduate academic training
leading to an MS degree or a Ph.D. degree. Keep in mind that an equal
amount of money invested in MS degrees will probably pay higher
immediate dividends than if invested in Ph.D. degrees.
10) Find a way to reward the outstanding "Perito Agronomo" who has
demonstrated special capabilities. ICTA (and DIGESA) should recog-
nize and reward capabilities without special attention to degrees.
There is no substitute for practical experience and competence
gained through this experience.
11) Enhance the two-way exchange and diffusion of both routine and
critical information, among and between research workers, diffusion
specialists and administrators.
12) Establish a publication policy and norms to guide the printing and
distribution of ICTA publications including technical reports, in-
formative bulletins, etc. The publication system should give special
attention to the promotion of cooperative DIGESA-ICTA publications,
to enhance their team effort.
13) Define the components of a "complete systems" approach in the ac-
celeration of the production, income and welfare of the rural people
in Guatemala. Define its own role and capacities in the system;
evaluate the role of other agencies (national and international)
and their current and projected potential capacities in carrying
out these roles; define the strengths and weaknesses of the various
entities involved, and determine not only what it needs from others
to strengthen its own role, but also (and perhaps more important)
what it can contribute to others in helping them (primarily national
institutions) to do their job better. ICTA is an autonomous
institution and through carefully thought-out linkages should be
able to strengthen its own efforts and provide "leadership" in the
catalization of increased effectiveness of other entities in the
14) Review administrative arrangements anr procedures to determine what
modifications are needed to guarantee its continued growth in
strength and effectiveness, in line with Section IV of the report.