Front Cover
 A review of activities prepared...
 Training and personnel develop...
 Interaction with national and international...
 Concluding comments
 Specific recommendations

Group Title: A review : the Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology of Guatemala (ICTA)
Title: A review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073352/00001
 Material Information
Title: A review the Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology of Guatemala (ICTA)
Physical Description: 31 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cummings, Ralph Waldo
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: s.l
Publication Date: 1975
Subject: Agricultural systems -- Research -- Guatemala   ( lcsh )
Agricultural extension work -- Research -- Guatemala   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Guatemala
Statement of Responsibility: Ralph W. Cummings, Jr., ... et al..
General Note: Spiral bound.
General Note: "October 1975."
General Note: Typescript.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073352
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 78624192

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    A review of activities prepared at the request of ICTA and its supporting institutions
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Training and personnel development
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Interaction with national and international agencies
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Concluding comments
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Specific recommendations
        Page A-1
        Page A-2
        Page A-3
        Page A-4
        Page A-5
        Page A-6
Full Text


October 1975



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

be built.

ICTA has established unique and forward looking new programs.

-ij -

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.

IV. Administration

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.

Concluding Comments

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.


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

developing nations.

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
Foundation, Mexico.

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

international research.


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

five years.


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.

Seed Program

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

selective basis.

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

certification program.


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

professional leadership.

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

new technology.

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

group courses.


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


Publications Policy

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
1 2
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

ICTA mandate.

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

effective collaboration.

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.

IV. Administration

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.

Five-Year Plan

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.
Fernando Fernandez
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

agencies collaborate.

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

of farmers.

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.

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