CDIE WORKING PAPERS
CDIE WORKING PAPER NO. 112
Case Studies of
A.I.D. Farming Systems Research & Extension (FSR/E) Projects
Case Study '. 2
Gambia Mixed Farmina and Resource Management Project (635-0203)'
Kerry J. Byrnes2
Center for Development Information and Evaluation
Agency for International Development
Washington, DC 20523
1This CDIE Working Paper is one of the case studies prepared
for a cross-cutting analysis of A.I.D. FSR/E projects, A Review of
A.I.D. Experience with Farming Systems Research and Extension
Projects (A.I.D. Evaluation Special Study, forthcoming). The 12
FSR/E projects reviewed in this series are:
Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement (633-0221)
Gambia Mixed Farming and Resource Management (635-0203)
Lesotho Farming Systems Research (632-0065)
Malawi Agricultural Research (612-0202)
Senegal Agricultural Research and Planning (685-0223)
Tanzania Farming Systems Research (621-0156)
Zambia Agricultural Development Research & Extension (611-0201)
Nepal Agricultural Research and Production (367-0149)
Philippines Farming Systems Development-Eastern Visayas (492-0356)
Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutritional Improvement (520-0232)
Honduras Agricultural Research (522-0139)
ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems (596-0083)
Information on how to order any of the CDIE Working Papers this
series is provided on the last page of this report.
2Senior Social Science Analyst, Program and Policy Evaluation
Division, CDIE. This case study, prepared under a CDIE contract
with Labat-Anderson Incorporated, is based on a review of project
evaluation documentation. Interpretation of the data reported is
that of the author and should not be attributed to A.I.D. or Labat-
Gambia Mixed Farming and Resource Management Project (635-0203)
The Cambia Mixed Farming and Resource Management Project
(MFP) was authorized, as a four year project, in 1979, for
$6,000,00u. The Project Grant Agreement was signed with the
Government of The Gambia (GOTG) in August 1979. MFP was
implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources
(MANR), while technical assistance (TA) to the project was
provided by the Consortium for International Development (CID),
with Colorado State University (CSU) as lead university. The TA
contract, signed in February 1981, provided five TA positions,
including agricultural economist (Chief of Party), rural
sociologist, maize agronomist, forage agronomist, and range
ecologist. With the TA contract not being signed until February
1981, the TA team did not begin arriving in country until spring
1981. After the second evaluation of the project, an agricul-
tural marketing specialist was added to the TA team.
The MFP was evaluated two times: an early mid-term evalua-
tion in April 1983 (Osburn, et al., 1983); and a final evaluation
in March 1986 (Corty, et al., 1986). The first evaluation found
that the authorized funds and duration were not sufficient to
meet the project's objectives. OAR/Banjul amended the project,
extending its original PACD from September 30, 1983, to March 31,
1986, and increasing its funding from $6,000,000 to $9,000,000.
The present case study is based on information drawn from
Concept What was the basic technical idea underlying the
The Gambia is a small (10,690 square kilometers), densely
populated country having a predominantly agricultural economy, in
which groundnut is the major crop and the most important source
of expert earnings and government revenue. The MFP was designed
during a period when the GOTG was undertaking efforts to cope
with the Sahelian drought, to slow and reverse environmental
degradation, and to improve agricultural production. During the
1970s, stagnant production and declining terms of trade led to a
progressive deterioration in the country's balance of payments.
Increasing population and declining food grain output led to an
increase in food imports. As a result, increasing diversifica-
tion and production of crops and livestock became major national
goals (Corty, et al., 1986:2). To move toward these goals,
donors assisted the GOTG in launching several major agriculture
and resource management projects.
As stated in the PP, the goal of the MFP was "to increase
the economic well-being of the rural people of The Gambia." The
purpose was "to foster intensification and integration of crop
and livestock enterprises within existing Gambian farming systems
so as to contribute to increasing net ruial family incomes on an
ecologically sound sustained yield basis." Following the first
evaluation, the project was amended to include a sharpened state-
ment of purpose, as follows: "to foster intensification and
integration of maize, forage and range management (livestock)
enterprises to demonstrate feasibility of increasing farm incomes
through...agricultural diversification" (Corty, et al., 1986:v).
The basic technical idea underlying the project was to
devise and field test technological packages for maize, forage,
and range management, with this research being carried out by a
team of TA personnel and MANR counterparts. The second evalua-
tion recognized that:
This is a high risk and, in terms of discernable rate of
return, expensive business. It was undertaken after
exploring alternative approaches and investments which ,ere
found wanting, and bet on the eventual pay-off of investment
in applied agricultural research by university scientists
and extension of innovations on the historical American
model (Corty, et al., 1986:2).
It is important to note here that MFP was not conceived,
designed, or initially implemented as a FSR/E project. Indeed,
the objective of MFP's fifth component (Socio-Econonic Unit) was
to plan and evaluate projects, not to participate in and support
the development of FSR/E. However, during project implementa-
tion, MFP began, albeit only slowly and to a limited extent, to
engage in FSR/E-type activities.
Design How was this basic technical idea translated into a
MFP's initial design had foreseen that the project would
need at least five years of field activities and $9,000,000 to
achieve the project's purpose. However, as the second evaluation
noted, AID had seen
fit to retain the full design but perm .t only four years of
project life (the clock running before the contracting proc-
ess had even begun) and $6 million. Thus it was known from
the beginning, and especially after the...TA...contract was
negotiated...that the project would have to be adjusted soon
into its actual implementation (Corty, et al., 1986:3).
As early as the first evaluation, design problems were seen
as having hampered implementation. MFP's designers intended "to
promote the integration of crop and livestock production and...
support national resource planning" (Osburn, et al., 1983:1).
The PP identified six components: (1) land resource and use
evaluation, classification, and cartography; (2) grazing areas
development and management; (3) improved crop (maize) and forage
production and management; (4) improved rural technology (credit
for purchase of farm carts); :5) strengthening MANR evaluation
and planning capacity (data collection and analysis by a socio-
economic unit); and (6) agricultural skills training and communi-
cations (largely participant training).
While the PP provided considerable detail on these compo-
nents, the first evaluation found that the PP had failed to
define "a guiding, integrating concept" (Osburn, et al., 1983:7).
Overall, the design was found to be "overly complex and diffuse"
(Osburn, et al., 1983:1), and the project's components (except
training) "unwieldy and over-ambitious" (Osburn, et al., 1983:7).
Further, the PP provided "virtually no implementation plan"
(Osburn, et al., 1983:4). Indeed, the "Implementation Plan" pro-
vided was judged to have "a specious specificity" (Osburn, et
al., 1983:7). In one place, the plan listed a detailed, six page
budget for supplies (e.g., Gooch-type crucibles @ $5!. Yet the
plan provided no breakdown of use of time among activities by the
TA team members, "nor a planned sequence of events -- even within
components, much less as integrating across compc.-ents" (Osburn,
et al., 1983:7). What was the result'
When it came time to contract If]or services, ...practical
netters...arose, centered around the technical assistance
team and the team's composition and duration. This resulted
in a changed (and improved; project from tnat outlined in
the PP -- but one that is, while more pointed, also more
expensive (Osburn, et al., 1983:4).
By the time contracting had been completed, the TA had been
increased from 18 to 25 person years and field operations from
four to five years. With the redesign of the project, the
"changed" project's scope of work required
five rather than the four years envisioned in the project's
budget, at a cost of $4,987,693 instead of the...$2,711,878
indicated in the Project Paper.... This implied a total
project cost of $9 10 million, which conforms to the
original estimate before the project was reduced in cost
thoughh not in substantive scope) to $6,000,000 during AID/W
review in 1979 (Osburn, et al., 1983:1).
V-hile the authorized funding level ($E,000,000) was for four
years, the TA funding requirement was 84% higher in the "changed"
project than in the PP, a $2,711,878 shortfall.
Viewing the difficulties in the project's original design
(e.g., there were six separate Logical Frameworks in the PP) and
the "changed" project that evolved during project contracting and
early implementation, the first evaluation proposed a revised
Logical Framework that recognized the project's major thrusts as
improving maize, forage, and range production through research,
trials, and demonstrations with farmers and Livestock Owners
Associations (LOAs), supported by participant training and socio-
economic (SE) data collection and analysis.
The project's SE data collection and analysis component was
to be implemented by a Socio-Economic Unit (SEU). The SEU was to
establish a capability within the MANR to do ex ante project
planning and ex post evaluation. Its functions were to include
providing quantitative and qualitative information describing and
analyzing livestock and land use systems; field testing project-
developed technological packages to assess their relevance to
farmers; monitoring changes in farming systems to ascertain if
project interventions (packages and/or strategies) proceeded as
anticipated; and building up a core of trained Gambians with a
micro SE orientation.
The SEU's planned activities were to include, in project
years one and five, a baseline survey to determine the character-
istics of farming systems incorporating livestock as well as the
constraints faced by livestock producers in each farming system.
Commencing in project year two, the SEU was to conduct a survey
of livestock and crop enterprises, to obtain a thorough under-
standing of the main farming systems incorporating these enter-
prises, inputs and outputs for each enterprise, estimates of
productivity and income derived from these enterprises, detailed
information on cash flow, decision-making and management prac-
tices, and quantitative technical information requested by other
project scientists. Commencing in project year two, special
surveys were to be conducted to evaluate technologies being tried
in other project components.
The SEU was also to provide training of counterparts in
conducting and analyzing field surveys, with opportunities for
advanced degree training in overseas institutions. To ensure
that the SEU's activities would be coordinated and relevant vis-
a-vis other project components, the unit was aslo to conduct an
extended planning session every six months to discuss and agree
on an annual work plan, and short meetings every two months to
discuss progress (Osburn, et al., 1983:65-66).
The SEU's senior core staff members were zo be comprised of
three agricultural economists (two Gambian and one expatriate)
and two rural sociologists (one Gambian and one expatriate). The
project designers envisaged that the agricultural economist
(Chief of Party) would provide leadership and guidance to the SEU
in carrying cut its mandate.
Implementation How was the project managed by the host-cou:ntry
implementing agency, the TA team, and USAID?
Approximately two years passed between project authorization
in 1979 and the TA team's arrival in country in spring 1981, two
and one-half years before the original PACD. Early field imple-
mentation was disrupted by an attempted coup d'etat in mid 1981.
Despite the increased size and duration of the project's TA
component, there was a growing realization that the project was
"toc ambitious and cumbersome" (Osburn, et al., 1983:5). This
led OAR/Banjul to reduce the project's scope by limiting the
natural resources management activity to production of land-use
maps, eliminating the farm carts credit component, and reducing
long- and short-tern. training.
The second evaluation reported that the MFP's major problem
revolved around a three year separation of the project's Socio-
Economic Unit (SEU) from the project's other technical thrusts, a
gap which was only partially closed during the project's last two
years (Corty, et al., 1986:30). The discussion now explores this
gap, focusing on two of MFP's technical thrusts: (1) maize
improvement and (2) the Socic-Economic Unit (SEU).
1. Maize Inmrovement
The PP assumed that two years of TA would be required to
develop a maize production improvement package. But the project
began to recognize, during field implementation, that several
years would be needed to bring a maize package to farmer trials.
Indeed, there was a growing recognition that the project's
activities lacked comprehensiveness. Ideally, the project's SEU
would have analyzed baseline and intensive village (farm
systems) data prior to extension of packages for farmers'
trials. And before significant efforts to promote com-
mercial production (of maize), marketing studies would have
been completed which determined its potential...as a cash
crop (Osburn, et al., 1983:6).
However, while the MFP assumed that maize could become a
valuable cash crop (e.g., animal feed) and an important element
in human consumption, the project "did not provide for a thorough
examination of the potential for increasing consumption" (Osburn,
et al., 1983:6). Thus, albeit MFP was an ambitious project, the
project's original design did not provide for certain activities
potentially useful in guiding project implementation. As an
example, that design Jid not provide a TA component to address
input and output nar.:et considerations (Osburn, et al., 1983:6).
During the project's first two years, the TA team focused on
training local staff, reconnaissance of existing research on and
practices for specific commodities, and trials. During 1982, MFP
tested a maize technological package with 156 farmers in 65 vil-
lages receiving intensive TA from 70 Agricultural Assistants and
Demonstrators trained by the project. The project also scheduled
trials (or what could be called maize commercialization efforts)
to be conducted over the next three seasons by the Department of
Agriculture (DOA). The favorable yield results of the maize
technology package are summarized in the Evaluation section.
Despite the favorable results of the project's maize
component, the first evaluation cautioned that maize had been
the one thrust of the project which has moved more quickly
and effectively than planned... ...if the DOA moves this
quickly into...maize promotion it will learn fairly soon if
the raize package developed by the project is viable. But
doing so makes assumptions about...input delivery system and
produce markets which are tenuous and could put farmers at
risk (Osburn, et al., 1983:14-15).
The evaluation also expressed concern that farmers might achieve
lower returns paralleling the decreased intensity of trained
extension services that would likely be given to each farmer in a
broader program. Further, the evaluation noted that:
It is by no means certain that the Gambia Cooperative Union
(GCU) and the Gambia Produce Marketing Board (GPMB), which
would provide inputs and/or credit on the one hand, and buy
the produce at some set price on the other, will be able to
play their roles (Osburn, et al., 1983:15).
Institutionally, a survey in two localities had shown that
lack of money was a constraint to the purchase of fertilizer.
Prior to 1984, the project had provided fertilizer without cost
to farmers for demonstration purposes. In 1984, a decision was
made that the MFP would assist in organizing kafos (local
organizations) comprised of about ten members, with the maize
technology package being made available to member farmers of the
kafos. The objective was to demonstrate how the kafos could
serve as revolving credit organizations.
Each member of a kafo was to plant one hectare of maize and
provide the seed, with the fertilizer being obtained through the
kafo on credit. In this trial, the participating farmers were
selected by the project's maize agronomists, not the SEU. The
trial of providing fertilizer to farmers through the kafos had
While the revolving credit system was explained to the
villagers, they still didn't fully understand the changes
that had taken place, or chose not to repay their fertilizer
debts fully, perhaps in the hope they would receive it
anyway. Farmers who repaid their fertilizer loans
received their next fertilizer bags at the previous year's
price. This was certainly an important incentive to help
repayment rates but it is unclear that it can be continued
(Corty, et al., 1986:28).
As the second evaluation noted, the issue that arises is whether
any local groups) would be able to handle a revolving fund for
fertilizer credit and its repayment. While fertilizer could be
sold on a pay as one can basis, this would impact negatively upon
smaller, less wealthy farmers.
2. Socio-Economic Unit (SEU)
The first evaluation found that the MFP's Socio-Economic
Unit (SEU) had been successful in recruiting, training, and using
Gambians as enumerators and coders. This trained manpower, the
evaluation noted, would be a valuable resource for conducting the
planned surveys on the maize commercialization efforts and the
final baseline survey. Activities undertaken by the SEU during
its initial eighteen months (September 1981 March 1983)
included a baseline survey and intensive village studies by
While the two social science expatriates (an agricultural
economist and a rural sociologist) provided leadership for the
development of the socioeconomic studies, the first evaluation
felt that they lacked experience in designing and conducting
large-scale data collection programs, and in analyzing data with
computerized data processing. Indeed, the evaluation noted:
The fact that survey instruments were developed for the
Baseline Survey, Intensive Village Studies, and the Farm
Management Studies of the Maize Technology Package, is due
largely to the resourcefulness of the SEU technical advi-
sors. By tapping resources available in-country...and
through consultations with visiting experts and the U.N.
resident advisor to MANR, survey instruments were developed.
Learning on-the-job, ...however, ...has caused unfortunate
delays (Csburn, et al., 1983:70-71).
Further, as the first evaluation also observed, any data col-
lection effort is useful only to the extent that it provides
quality information to users on a timely basis. While the SEU
was generally on schedule in initiating its mandated surveys and
studies, the same could not be concluded for output delivery.
There had been numerous delays in developing and pre-testing
survey questionnaires as well as in coding the questionnaires.
While delays were also encountered in processing data at CSU, the
SEU lacked micro-computer facilities and familiarity in the use
of such facilities for computerized data processing. By the time
of the first evaluation (April 1983), the computerized results of
the baseline survey, for which preparation for data collection
started in September 1981, were still unavailable, largely
because the SEU lacked experience in large-scale data collection,
processing, and analysis.
The project design assumed that the agricultural economist
(also COP) would provide leadership to the SEU. However, the COP
"never assumed his role" and short-term TA to fill the gap was
never acquired (Osburn, et al., 1983:71). While the project
design envisaged that the survey data would be available to guide
other TA personnel in technology development, the delays in
analyzing the data precluded early availability and utilization
of the data for field implementation. Although the unavail-
ability of survey or study results at the time of the first
evaluation precluded a thorough assessment of the quality and
potential usefulness of the data that had been collected, the
evaluation concluded that: "It remains to be seen how useful
these will be to the...project" (Osburn, et al., 1983:16).
The design of the MFP had envisaged that "the SEU...would
provide the critical linkage" (Osburn, et al., 1983:73) between
the project's multiple, but interrelated disciplines. While the
first evaluation found that the SEU had not performed this role,
the second evaluation highlighted the factors that contributed to
this lack of performance. The PP had
required large amounts of data collection which...precluded
involvement in the identification of farmer and herder
constraints and...implementation ideas. ...while the rural
sociologist and agricultural economist were setting up the
baseline survey and oriented themselves to data collection,
the rest of the team were exploring constraints to produc-
tion of maize and livestock. Yet, the PP suggested that the
baseline survey be the one utilized to identify constraints,
both social and economic, in...agricultural and livestock
practices (Corty, et al., 1986:Annex C, p. C7).
The SEU may not have been open to active involvement in the
project's field implementation. But the PP had called for 2.5%
sample of all Gambian compounds to describe and analyze farming
systems. Efforts by the project to change this requirement were
not acceptable to the GOTG. Further, the delays in data process-
ing and analysis increased the tension within the project. By
the time of second evaluation (March 1986), the analysis of the
farming systems data collected during the first two years had
still not been completed.
As a result, the second evaluation could not find much
evidence that the SEU had made any substantial input into the
project's implementation components. The evaluation concluded
that the purposes for establishing the SEU, to bridge the gap
between the components and disciplines represented in the project
and to increase the efficiency of the developmental and imple-
mentation foci of the project, had not been achieved.
The SEU had held meetings with the Ministry's Planning,
Programming and Monitoring Unit (PPMU) but these meetings focused
on the development of survey questionnaires. While the SEU was
occasionally consulted by the project's maize agronomist and the
range specialist, these consultations were on an ad hoc basis.
As of the time of the first evaluation, the planning sessions
(every six months) andthe short meetings to discuss progress
(every two months) stipulated in the Project Agreement had never
As a result, the SEU's research agenda was developed solely
by the SEU, with no indication of priority on any of the studies /
surveys. While the Project Agreement stipulated that the MFP
would conduct a marketing study, the SEU's work plan for 1983/84
did not include any marketing study. The SEU's limited manpower
precluded doing all the required studies simultaneously, and the
lack of planning sessions precluded identifying and reaching a
consensus on information needs and priorities.
Further, there was minimum feedback and coordination between
the SEU and other TA team members. Commenting on work plans for
the coming planting season, the first evaluation reported that
the maize agronomist intends to put 2,500 hectares under
cultivation for corn commercialization. This decision was
reached on the basis of one demonstration trial involving
the "best" farmers, and in spite of the fact that the
results of the Farm Management Studies of the Maize Tech-
nology Package have not yet been analyzed. ...the decision
to commercialize was made even without the availability of
solid information on the market situation for corn. ...corn
is not a majcr staple in The Gambia, and the extent of the
demand for corn production...is still unknown (Osburn, et
Also, the project design had envisioned that the services of four
Gambian social scientists, or in their absence four Peace Corps
Volunteers (PCVs), would provide a link between the SEU and the
MFP's other components. SEU technicians in collaboration with
the technical scientists involved in the other MFP components
were to draw up a work plan for these four individuals. However,
as cf the tine of the first evaluation, neither the four Gambian
social scientists or four PCVs had been provided to the SEU.
c .".... u tn~ -h~ SM n-c.j to
conduct several more intensive socio-economic studies directly
related to the project's major thrusts (e.g., maize and livestock
marketing, mixed farm management as promoted by the project's
demonstrations, and socio-economic dimensions of range management
by LOAs). The evaluation also noted the need to move the project
in the direction of conducting integrated trials and demonstra-
tions of maize-forage-range production and management at the
As a follow up to the first evaluation, several changes were
made in the project. These included the gradual return of the
Gambian SEU members from their training in the U.S.; three new TA
team members (an agricultural economist, a rural sociologist, and
a marketing specialist to identify patterns and constraints in
maize and livestock marketing); shifting of SEU data processing
operations from CSU to microcomputers in country; and dropping of
the Intensified Village Studies, this last change freeing up SEU
staff time so that there could be greater collaboration between
the SEU and the other technical thrusts of the project. Also,
with the TA team's new agricultural economist and rural sociolo-
gist, a number of changes took place, including implementation of
a program of integrated village trials and the development of a
new farm management instrument to replace tP FAO Farm Management
Data Collection and Analysis Survey program Lhat had not proved
workable for the project.
By the time of the second evaluation, a clearer picture of
the role of the SEU in the MFP had emerged. This picture showed
that, throughout the project's life, there had been
a tension between the data gathering functions of SEU and
project implementation. Key to this tension was SEU's
reluctance or inability to alter its stringent data
collection requirements. ...while the technical
components were in the field identifying constraints to
production in agriculture and livestock, SEU was not
involved. To compound problems, there were unforseen
difficulties in data processing and analysis some of which
were never resolved. This led to the SEU not being able to
perform the functions which were envisioned: to bridge the
gap between the components and disciplines represented in
the project and to increase the efficiency of the develop-
mental and impiementation foci of the project (Corty, et
This, the second evaluation concluded, "was probably an overly
idealistic goal and an impossible one under the conditions" of
t'he prcje:Z G 'Ccrt-, c,:~ a3i., 19S6:!5].
At the same time, it should be noted that the MFP was not
conceived or designed in terms of any explicit model of FSR/E
that defined how the SEU could most effectively participate in
and support the project's technology development and transfer
activities. Not surprisingly, although the second evaluation
never explicitly promoted FSR/E, the evaluation recommended that
the SEU's Intensive Village Studies
should be terminated after the second round of data collec-
tion. In their place, less frequent but more focused and
immediately usable socio-economic and farm level studies
should be undertaken (Corty, et al., 198S:Annex C, p. C3).
The first evaluation had identified the need to correct the lack
cf project integration by introducing integrated village trials
that brought the different technological packages together. How-
ever, these trials were not initiated until the project's fourth
In April 19S4, in response to the first evaluation and a
Project Arendment, the MFP held extensive internal discussions
and consul-~tions with OAR/Banjul aimed at getting the SEU to
play a :c participatory and supportive role in the project.
These explorations led to the idea of identifying the project's
social science activities as "Agricultural Development Services"
(ADDS) that would have the role of collaboratively supporting
technology development, testing and extension. According to one
of the project reports, the term ADDS
is explicitly substituted for the former "Socio-Economic
Unit", a term which emphasized a...separated work agenda.
By far the bulk of the ADDS work for the remainder of the
project centers on field evaluation of technology packages,
developing marketing strategies for the outputs of MFP tech-
nical thrusts, collaboration in the design of on-farm trials
and characterizing and analyzing the various mixed farming
systems in The Gambia. All...these activities must be done
with biological and social scientists interacting closely
together (cited in Corty, et al., 1986:Annex C, p. C5).
Evaluation How was the project's performance measured or
The second evaluation concluded that the MFP's "original
conception did net lend itself to a unified objective or proce-
dure: so nc unified, completely coherent set of results can be
ascertained" (Corty, et al., 1986:31). However, the first and
second evaluaticrs noted several project accomplishments.
Compared with the first evaluation's findings, the second
evaluation noted favorably the change in the SEU's responsiveness
to the project's information needs. Compared with the large-
scale data collection predominating the SEU's work in the
project's early years, the second evaluation found that the
replacement TA rural sociologist had opted to conduct
relatively short surveys on specific important issues....
This will help project management to understand the range of
changes induced and to shift policies if need be. In
addition, these [short surveys] can be done with a short
turnaround time and with the use of a desk calculator. They
are an excellent alternative to overly intensive data
collection...with slow turnaround time (Corty, et al.,
1986:Annex C, p. C13).
Also favorably noted was the replacement TA agricultural econo-
mist's work in designing the Gambian Agricultural Data System.
These activities were important in strengthening the SE data
collection and analysis capability of the SEU. However, one may
conclude that these activities may be seen as supplementing the
progress that the SEU made during the project's latter years in
becoming more directly involved in field activities (i.e., on-
farm trials and demonstrations of improved technology).
Compared with the SEU's limited impact, the project was very
successful in preparing and delivering a tested maize production
technology package to farmers. This success was demonstrated by
the increase in maize area from about 2,600 hectares at the
beginning of the project to 18,000 hectares by [the] end of
1985. The average national yield has increased from 1.6
t/ha to 2.5 t/ha and there is a significant increase in
number of maize growing farmers. The production and food
preparation training to several women's societies (40-70)
was fairly successful.... Women have learned to produce
maize as a field crop, consume maize flour in a number of
recipes, improve...family diets, and to sell surplus maize
when the price is high (Corty, et al., 1986:13a).3
Also, more than 100 Agricultural Assistants and 300 Agricultural
Most harvested maize was used locally, while marketed maize
often found its way into Senegal where prices were as high as D900
per ton. In October 1985, the GOTG increased the producer floor
price of maize 54% (from D390 to D600). Also, marketing
arrangements were changed. Instead of the Grain Produce Marketing
Board (GPMB) buying the crop, local cooperative societies were
authorized to buy all cereals and sell to the Gambian Credit Union
(GCU). However, farmers were able to sell in the local market at
higher prices than those offered by the GCUs.
Demonstrators had been trained and were able to carry on some of
But the first evaluation also highlighted several difficul-
ties encountered by MFP in term of inadequate project support by
the GOTG, the COP, and OAR/Banjul.
First, the GOTG faced difficulties in meeting the recurrent
costs of agricultural development services. Even financing of
routine activities, such as maintenance of the crop trial
and seed multiplication efforts at the major research sta-
tions, is uneven and at times cut below survival level.
The...institution providing rural credit (The Gambia Coop-
erative Union), that importing fertilizer and rice and
purchasing groundnuts and other export crops (the Gambia
Produce Marketing Board), and that intended to promote
livestock trade (the Livestock Marketing Board), are all
foundering in unprofitability and debt (Osburn, et al.,
Second, t-e TA team's COP (an agricultural economist) was
too burdened with minor administrative duties, with the result
that the analysis of agricultural economic data lagged.
Third, some of the delays in project implementation may also
be attributed to the fact that OAR/Banjul, as a Schedule B post
under Delegation of Authority 140 (revised), must acquire
concurrence from REDSO/WCA in Abidjan on virtually all project
In the last analysis, the second evaluation concluded "that
many of the gains register-- by MFP will not be sustained without
continuing outside inputs" (Corty, et al, 1986:30). Considera-
tions relating to the institutionalization of FSR/E are addressed
below in the section on Institutionalization.
Institutionalization How did the project provide for the
implementing agency to develop a sustainable capability to
continue to perform the types of activities supported by the
Beyond the 14 Gambians who received degree-level training,
the MFP provided rigorous training to the Gambians, with SEU's
enumerators being "probably the best trained cadre of data
collectors in The Gambia" (Osburn, et al., 1983:74). The Gambian
counterparts to SEU's technical advisors were also well-trained.
At the time of the first evaluation, there was an expecta-
tion that a soon to be implemented UNDP-sponsored project would
establish, in the MANR, a Planning, Programming and Monitoring
Unit (PPMU) that would include a Farm Economic and Rural Socio-
logy Section. The UNDP project required as a condition precedent
that positions for the proposed PPMU staff be established as
permanent positions within the Ministry. This condition was met
by the GOTG. Further, an agreement in principle had been reached
between the GOTG, UNDP, OAR/Banjul, and the MFP for the MFP's SEU
to staff the Farm Economic and Rural Sociology Section.
One of the reasons underlying the first evaluation's recom-
mended extension of the project's PACD for at least three years
was to provide the SEU the additional time needed to train
Gambian counterparts to work independently on data collection,
processing, and analysis; to carry out socio-economic surveys and
studies; and "to provide an opportunity to initiate a multi-
disciplinary approach to technology development which closely
involves farmers, as originally envisioned in the Project Paper"
(Osburn, et al., 1983:75). The second evaluation noted, by the
PACD, the MFP will have trained three Gambian scientists who
could become members of the PPMU staff (a rural sociologist, an
agricultural economist, and a computer specialist).
The first evaluation concluded that there was every reason
to believe, by end of project, that MFP will have "materially
improved" the ability of the GOTG, including the PPMU,
to address agricultural development problems and oppor-
tunities, including agricultural diversification. ...it
will have a better trained and experienced cadre of agri-
cultural scientists...and dozens of agricultural assistants,
demonstrators and survey enumerators. It will have an agri-
cultural base-line, given one time-series by its repeat
toward the end of the project, and additional farm systems'
data and analysis that will be basic to the planning of
future interventions. [PPMU's] expertise will have
been improved by its involvement in socio-economic research
supported by the project, especially in marketing and farm
systems analysis (Osburn, et al., 1983:22).
While the SEU was to have been folded into the PPMU by the
end of the project, the second evaluation found this had already
taken place in the sense that the SEU Gambian counterparts were
already working primarily at PPMU. However, the evaluation
noted, given current financial constraints, that the GOTG would
not give high priority to upgrading the physical facilities and
staffing of PPMU. Recognizing the importance of the PPMU, the
evaluation recommended that TA (an agricultural economist, a
rural sociologist or anthropologist, and a data processing and
computer specialist) be provided to the PPMU.
Generally, the first evaluation found that the GOTG had done
an excellent job in providing the MFP with counterparts and
candidates for training. However, the first evaluation found
that the GOTG had not made any contribution for operating costs
(fuel, night allowances of extension personnel, and so on). The
amount in question was an estimated $200,000. The evaluation
pointed out that the GOTG, particularly the MANR, did not have
the recurrent cost budget allotment to cover this commitment.
Since the GOTG participated in A.I.D.'s Sahel Development
Program (Section 121 of the FAA of 1961 as amended), there was no
statutory requirement that the GOTG as a recipient country share
in the cost of the project. OAR/Banjul made a policy decision
that the GOTG could be relieved of certain commitments for
supporting agricultural development projects, where the projects
do not imply or are not establishing governmental entities which
could not be maintained at the completion of the project.
In relieving the GOTG of its commitment to support MFP local
costs, the first evaluation noted that the magnitude of operating
costs involved placed a significant constraint on the flexibility
with which remaining (and added) funds could be used for contin-
uing and new activities. The evaluation addressed this issue by
proposing a new project budget ($9,000,000) but recommended that
frequent strategic planning sessions be held during implementa-
tion, and that quarterly financial management and projection
reports be prepared, "so that all project resources are put to
their best use, ...especially if cost overruns threaten comple-
tion of some activities and choices have to be made" (Osburn, et
Despite GOTG difficulties in meeting recurrent cost commit-
ments, the first evaluation identified the government's technical
and institutional support of MFP as a "major success" of the
S project.,, However, while MFP was not conceived or designed to
S include broad institution-building or mass farmer assistance
initiatives, the project depended on the maintenance of regular
governmental services (research, seed multiplication, extension,
even credit and input/output trading). The evaluation noted a
"creeping malaise in these quarters" (Osburn, et al., 1983:21)
that could jeopardize project operations, and cautioned that
uncertainty about the future donor assistance "severely restricts
the ability of donors to design and finance adaptive research and
demonstration projects" (Osburn, et al., 1983:21) like the MFP.
However, projects like the MFP could "be seen as valuable first
steps toward a transformation of the agricultural economy"
(Osburn, et al., 1983:21).
Although the MFP was not conceived, designed, or initially
implemented as a FSR/E project, the experience gained in imple-
menting MFP played a major role in the development of the follow-
on $17,700,000 Gambia Agricultural Research and Diversification
(GARD) project (635-0219). GARD was designed as a seven-year
project and the first phase of a planned fifteen- to twenty-year
commitment by AID to improve agricultural research and production
in The Gambia. Further, the project contains a major FSR/E
component. The GARD PP was written by a PP team led by Elon
Gilbert, an agricultural economist and prominent FSR/E practi-
tioner. The following brief review of the FSR/E-related content
of the PP provides an indication of the anticipated evolutionary
path of FSR/E in The Gambia.
The PP states that the purpose of GARD is "to test,
generate, adapt and promote the adoption of improved crop and
livestock technologies that meet farmers' needs and expand and
diversify Gambia's agricultural economy. One of the conditions
that the PP identifies as an indicator of achievement of project
purpose is "on-farm research activities being conducted which
identify farmer constraints and opportunities to test improve
The PP identifies five distinct but mutually supportive
components, three of which relate specifically to the support of
a FSR/E approach to applied and adaptive research:
1. Establishment of an Agricultural Research Management
System (ARMS) which will set agricultural research
priorities in the light of farmers' needs recommend-
ations, and GOTG policy objectives; and will enforce
these priorities through procedures by which research
programs will be designed, reviewed and funded.
2. Expansion of Farming Systems Research and Extension
iFSR/E) activities which have already been success-
fully launched in the Eastern portion of the country
and linking these activities to component research and
extension programs in the context of ARMS.
3. Design of and assistance to technology promotion acti-
vities for farmers at large, including training of
field workers, monitoring and feedback of results and
finance for specific pilot promotional efforts (A.I.D.,
1985, pp. 1-2 of Action Memorandum, emphasis added).
In outlining the project strategy for GARD, the PP noted
that within the research system,
major emphasis will be given to...expansion and strengthen-
ing of Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR/E) acti-
vities aimed at identifying, testing and extending improved
technologies to farmers in collaboration with the Extension
Service and Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs). FSR/E
is an approach designed to link the research system to its
clients and to accelerate the process by which relevant
technologies are identified and eventually utilized by
agricultural producers (A.I.D., 1985:9).
Accordingly, one of the identified project outputs was "the
expansion and integration of FSR/E activities as a recognized and
valued component of research and'extension in The Gambia"
Reviewing ongoing on-farm research in The Gambia, the PP
states: "FSR/E activities already exist in The Gambia" (A.I.D.,
1985:20). Basically, this was a reference not to the on-farm
work of the MFP but rather to field work, during the 1984
cropping season, of a team comprised of a Gambian agronomist and
a farm management economist supported by ODA. That team carried
out reconnaissance surveys in selected areas of the country and
planned to lay out an initial set of on-farm trials around Sapu
in the 1985 cropping season, with support from IBRD's Agricul-
tural Development Project II (ADPII).
To assist these efforts, prior to the availability of GARD
funds, USAID/Banjul and the University of Florida's Farming
Systems Support Project (FSSP) agreed to fund an on-farm trials
workshop for mid-May in The Gambia, just prior to the planting
season. Participants were to include current and prospective
research staff involved in FSR/E, prospective members of the TA
team for GARD, and Agricultural Assistants who would be assisting
with the on-farm trials work during the upcoming season.
Subsequently, the GARD project would provide funds for the
continued development of FSR/E activities in The Gambia by two
regional FSR/E core teams, one each for the eastern and western
regions of the country. Core team membership was to be Gambian,
but GARD was to provide each team with long-term TA in the form
of a full-time Research Extension Liaison Officer (RELO) who
would be based at a regional research station and be responsible
for developing promotional campaigns. The PP noted:
without careful, detailed promotion strategies -- as to
target groups and areas, inputs and delivery, and technical
focus -- and specifically trained extension workers, efforts
to induce adoption of innovative practices usually fail in
The Gambia as elsewhere (A.I.D., 1985:24).
Accordingly, the RELO would service as a technical advisor
to the principal agricultural officers in a region, and have as
his/her major responsibilities to: (1) identify innovations for
promotion to farmers at large; (2) assist preparation and review
of yearly promotion plans; (3) plan specific campaigns; (4)
identify financing sources and organizational structures best
suited to these campaigns; (5) organize the application of GARD
resources, as necessary, for support of pilot promotions; (6)
plan and lead technical training for field workers; (7) plan and
oversee monitoring of promotion campaigns; and (8) facilitate
rapid, direct feedback to the research system (A.I.D., 1985:24).
Additionally, approximately 50% of the Chief of Party's time
was to be devoted to participation in FSR/E activities in the
western portion of the country.
Each regional FSR/E core team was to be comprised of three o
four researchers in crop agronomy, animal production/nutrition/
health, extension, and social science. The core team would also
have access to a larger FSR/E group composed of representatives
of other disciplines, such as agroforestry, crop protection, and
agricultural engineering. FSR/E reports were to be reviewed by
the Technical Secretariat of the National Agricultural Research
Advisory Board to facilitate screening of research proposals and
The FSR/E regional teams would supervise two-person village
teams composed of personnel from the extension services: one
agricultural assistant (AA) and one livestock assistant (LA).
Each village team would be responsible for conducting on-farm
trials, and collecting the data required to monitor the trials,
in one or more representative villages in an agricultural zone.
Additional prospective information on how the GARD project
would implement FSR/E activities is provided in the PP but, of
course, would not necessarily be predictive on how FSR/E was
eventually implemented by the project. It is of interest to
note, however, that the PP states that:
On-station research in The Gambia has identified promising
technologies which have not yet been tested in farmers'
fields. Pending the development of technologies based on
farm-level constraints identified in the FSR/E process,
technologies currently available will be used to design on-
farm trials in the initial years of the FSR/E program
Further, the PP notes that linkages between research and exten-
sion would be further consolidated during the implementation of a
Training and Visit (T and V) system under ADPII.
Also, the PP notes that FSR/E requires strong links with the
component/off-farm research activities on various crops and
animals in different disciplines.
The two activities are complementary and not substitutes for
one another. A major linkage occurs through the fact that
nearly all the FSR/E team members will continue to be
involved in component research activities on-station. In
most cases, team members will actually have major responsi-
bilities in terms of these component research activities
which will facilitate the two-way flow of information. The
major impact of FSR/E activities upon component research is
expected to come through this direct linkage (A.I.D.,
Further, the GARD project would provide for conducting, under the
auspices of the PPMrU, a series of special socioeconomic studies
(e.g., on policy issues).
1985 Project Paper for The Gambia Agricultural Research and
Diversification Project (635-0219). (PD-AAR-016).
Corty, Floyd L., William Derman, Udai R. Bishnoi, and James T.
1986 Final Evaluation of Gambia Mixed Farming and Resource
Management Project (635-0203). (PD-BBE-211)
Osburn, James, Robert Adams, Ans Burgett, Thomas Eponou, Howard
Sprague, and Gloria Steele
1983 Early Mid-Term Evaluation of Gambia Mixed Farming and
Resource Management Project (635-0203). (PD-BAN-055)
Annex A. Project Description Sheet.
This Project Description Sheet lists the core, operational,
and generic constraints identified in this project, per the
following codes: core (C), operational (0), and generic (G). A
positive (+) sign after a constraint indicates that the project
was effectively coping with the identified constraint.4
Core Constraints (C)
C.1 Farmer Orientation
C.2 Farmer Participation
C.3 Locational Specificity of Technical and Human Factors
C.4 Problem-Solving Approach
C.5 Systems Orientation
C.6 Interdisciplinary Approach
C.7 Complementarity with Commodity and Discipline Research
C.8 Technology Testing in On-Farm Trials
C.9 Feedback to Shape:
a. Agricultural Research Priorities
b. Agricultural Policies
Operational Constraints (0)
0.1 Stakeholder Understanding of FSR/E
0.2 Agricultural Research Policy/Strategy Defining Role of FSR/E
0.3 Long-Terr Commitment of Resources
0.4 Existing Research Capability and Shelf Technology
0.5 Consensus on FSR/E Methodology
0.6 Capability to Process Farming Systems Data
0.7 Consensus on Criteria for Evaiuatinq FSR/E
0.8 Links with Extension
0.9 Links with Agri-Support Services
0.10 I.inks with Farmer Organizations
Generic Constraints (G)
G.1 Project Management Structure
G.2 Government Funding to Meet Recurrent Costs
G.3 Staffing with Trained Manpower
G.4 Management of Training
G.5 Management of Technical Assistance
G.6 Factors Beyond a Project's Control
'An analysis of thesa constraints in 12 FSR/E projects appears
in A Revie- of A.I.D. Experience with Farming Systems Research and
Extension Proiects, A.I.D. Evaluation Special Study (forthcoming),
available from A.I.D.'s Document and Information Handling Facility
(per instructions on last page of this report).
Gambia/MFP Mixed Farming and Resource Management Proiect
Initial Authorization: 1979 (for 4 years)
Goal: "to increase the economic well-being of the rural people
of The Gambia"
Purpose: "to foster intensification and integration of crop and
livestock enterprises within existing Gambian farming systems so
as to contribute to increasing net rural family incomes on an
ecologically sound sustained yield basis"
Outputs: MFP was not conceived, designed, or initially
implemented as a FSR/E project. MFP contained seven subprojects
1. Developing land classification maps;
2. Improving livestock nutrition and grazing management
3. Initiating programs to improve forage production and
management program for increasing the supply of livestock
4. Improving rural transportation and on-farm use of animal
5. Improving the health and nutritional status of livestock;
6. Recognizing the socio-economic characteristics of small
7. Training Government of The Gambia personnel to enable them
to implement a mixed farming policy; and
8. Increasing Gambian production and use of maize for human and
The objective of MFP's fifth component (Socio-Economic Unit) was
to plan and evaluate projects, not to participate in and support
the development of FSR/E. However, during implementation, MFP
began, albeit only slowly and to a limited extent, to engage in
FSR/E-type activities in collaboration with other project
components (e.g. maize).
Implementina Agency: Ministry of Agriculture and Natural
Resources (MANR), and the Socio-Economic Unit thereof.
TA Contractor: Consortium for International Development, with
Colorado State University as lead university.
Evaluations: Two -- an ear3y mid-term evaluation in April 1983
(Osburn, et al., 1983); and a final evaluation in March 1986
(Corty, et al., 1986).
Constraints: C.4, C.6, C.8, 0.3, 0.6, 0.7, 0.9, 0.10, G.I, G.2,
G.3, G.5, G.6.
HOW TO ORDER REPORTS IN THIS SERIES
This CDIE Working Paper is a case study that was prepared for a
cross-cutting analysis of A.I.D. FSR/E projects, A Review of A.I.D.
Experience with Farming Systems Research and Extension Projects,
A.I.D. Evaluation Special Study (forthcoming). A total of 13 case
studies were prepared. These may be ordered from the A.I.D.
Document and Information Handling Facility, 7222 47th Street, Suite
100, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Telephone: (301) 951-9647. Please
request CDIE Working Paper No. 112, followed by the required Case
Study No. and PN number.
Botswana Agricultural Technology Improvement Project (633-0221),
CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 1. (PN-ABC-073)
Gambia Mixed Farming and Resource Management Project (635-0203),
CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study 'o. 2. (PN-ABC-074)
Lesotho Farming Systems Research Project (632-0065), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 3. (PN-ABC-075)
Malawi Agricultural Research Project (612-0202), CDIE Working Paper
No. 112--Case Study No. 4. (PN-ABC-076)
Senegal Agricultural Research and Planning Project (685-0223), CDIE
Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 5. (PN-ABC-077)
Tanzania Farming Systems Research Project (621-0156), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 6. (PN-ABC-078)
Zambia Agricultural Development Research & Extension Project (611-
0201), CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 7. (PN-ABC-079)
Nepal Agricultural Research and Production Project (367-0149), CDIE
Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 8. (PN-ABC-080).
Philippines Farming Systems Development Project-Eastern Visayas
(492-0356), CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 9. (PN-ABC-
Guatemala Food Productivity and Nutritional Improvement Project
(520-0232), CDIE Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 10. (PN-ABC-
Honduras Agricultural Research Project (522-0139), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 11. (PN-ABC-083)
ROCAP Small Farm Production Systems Project (596-0083), CDIE Working
Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 12. (PN-ABC-084)
Vignettes of Core, Operational, and Generic Constraints in 12
A.I.D.-Funded Farming Systems Research and Extension Projects, CDIE
Working Paper No. 112--Case Study No. 13. (PN-ABC-127)