Report on the First Fair on Conservation Tillage in Guaymango, El Salvador, April 7, 1995.

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Report on the First Fair on Conservation Tillage in Guaymango, El Salvador, April 7, 1995.
Fair on Conservation Tillage

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The organizers of the First Fair on Conservation Tillage in Guaymango wish to express
their sincere gratitude to the individuals and organizations whose contributions made the
event possible. To the Ford Foundation and the Swiss Cooperation Agency, whose gener-
ous funding made the Fair possible. To the national, regional and international public
and private institutions whose efforts and dedication in designing and setting up the
stands made the Fair a success. To the entire staff of the Agricultural and Forestry
Extension Agency of Guaymango, for the effort and dedication they put into organizing the
physical infrastructure of the Fair. To the community of Guaymango, for the support and
enthusiasm they demonstrated before, during and after the event. And lastly, to the farm-
ers of the Guaymango region, for their generosity and collaboration.

Cristina Choto, Tito Montenegro and Gustavo Sain
San Salvador, September 1995

s- '



The adoption and dissemination of con-
servation tillage in the Guaymango area
dates from the early 1970s with the cre-
ation of the Agricultural Extension
Agency of Guaymango (AEA). The experi-
ence has been well chronicled (Calderon,
1973; Mendoza et al., 1991; Calderon et
al., 1991; Sain and Barreto, 1995) and is
widely known. In this document, we will
limit ourselves to providing a brief
overview of the program that led to its
dissemination, and present some results.

The Agricultural and Forestry Extension Agency of Gu;
shows how maize is grown using conservation tillage.

In 1973, the AEA, in collaboration with
other institutions working in the area,
implemented an ambitious program
aimed at improving the productivity of
the maize-sorghum cropping system used
by most farmers in the region. The pro-
gram involved the creation and promo-
tion of farmers' groups, the establish-
ment of a system of incentives and the

dissemination of a technology package
designed to raise the productivity of the
system and conserve soils through crop
residue management during the dry sea-
son (Calderon et al. 1991).

In the early 1980s, the National Center
for Agricultural Technology (CENTA), in
collaboration with the International
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
(CIMMYT), began research in the fields of
Guaymango farmers on topics regarded
as priorities: the development and dis-
semination of new hybrids, more efficient
nitrogen and phosphorous fer-
tilizing, and better weed and
pest control. Later, the empha-
sis shifted toward the introduc-
tion of legumes into the system
and the interaction between
nitrogen fertilizing and the

The most significant results of
this joint effort between public
and private institutions and
farmers were an increase in the
productivity of the agricultural
system and the large-scale
adoption of conservation tillage
S (crop residue management).
aymango For example, maize yields
increased by 235% over a 15-
year period, while sorghum
yields were up 200% over the
same period. Figure 1 shows
the gradual spread of conservation tillage
in Guaymango. As a result of the large-
scale adoption of conservation tillage dur-
ing the 1970s and 1980s, farmers were
gradually able to see for themselves the
improvements in soil quality, thus creat-
ing a collective awareness of the impor-
tance of crop residues in tending
the soil.


Percentage of farmers

1965 1970 1975 1980 1985
The spread of conservation tillage in Guaymango, El Salvador.
Choto, Sain and Montenegro, 1995.

Guaymango is ideal for research, not
only in demonstrating what conservation
tillage can do to maintain soil productivi-
ty under intensive farming, but also
because it shows how cattle and crops
can productively co-exist through the
careful grazing of crop residues and the
protection of the soil (Choto and Sain,

In the mid-1980s, CENTA, CIMMYT and
the Regional Maize Program (PRM) began
organizing an annual field day to dissem-
inate the sound management of crop
residues. At these events, farmers from
other parts of the country have an oppor-
tunity to observe how the farmers of
Guaymango manage crop residues from
the maize-sorghum system, and to listen
to the farmers themselves as they

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Figure 1.

recount their experiences with conserva-
tion technology.

Since on these field days the participa-
tion of the community was limited to the
places visited, it became apparent that
there was a need to organize an event
that would involve the community of
Guaymango more fully and help to dis-
seminate the practice of soil conservation
through sound crop residue manage-
ment. Thus it was that CENTA, in collab-
oration with CIMMYT and the PRM and
with financial support from the Ford
Foundation and the Swiss Development
Cooperation (SDC), decided to organize
the First Fair on Conservation Tillage in
Guaymango. The Fair was held April 7,
1995, more than twenty years after the
conservation and productivity program

The specific objectives of the Fair were to:

1. Disseminate the results achieved in
conserving natural resources through
the sound use of residue among other
farmers and a cross-section of gov-
ernment agencies, nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs), private enter-
prises, and others,.
2. Enable national, regional and interna-
tional public and private institutions
to exhibit their latest soil and water
resource conservation technologies.
3. Involve the community of
Guaymango, the pioneers of this
practice, and encourage its continued


A committee made up of members of the
three organizing institutions -CENTA (the
Technological Development Centers

(CDT) of Izalco and San Andres), the PRM
and CIMMYT- was responsible for orga-
nizing the Fair.

As the purpose of the event was to expose
participants to new production and
resource conservation methods, the com-
mittee decided that a series of exhibits
should serve as the focal point of the
Fair. Public and private institutions and
NGOs working at both the national and
regional levels were invited to attend
(Annex 1). The participating institutions
set up their displays and carried out
demonstrations of their products,
enabling participants to observe and ask
questions about topics of interest to them
(Annex 2).

In order to publicize the Fair as widely as
possible, the committee published an
open invitation in the press. A series of
articles explaining the objectives and
scope of the fair were also published
(Annex 3). Some merchants from
Guaymango also paid for announcements
in the written press, inviting the different
communities to attend the Fair.

The committee took pains to involve
members of the community of
Guaymango in all aspects of the organi-
zation and execution of the Fair, encour-
aging them to participate in different
activities related to the event. Schools
provided students as guides for partici-
pants, streets were decorated, and
housewives and eating establishments
were encouraged to sell food and drink.
The National Civil Police handled security
for the event. Also, special invitations
were extended to 54 farmers taking part
in research on the impact of conservation
tillage in the area, in order to honor them
publicly for their willingness to cooperate
in the program.


Judging by the attendance, the enthusi-
asm of the participants and the level of
involvement of the community of
Guaymango, the First Fair on
Conservation Tillage in Guaymango was
a huge success. Eighteen displays were
set up and over 300 farmers from the
Guaymango area and neighboring com-
munities, plus a large number of officials
from public and private organizations,
took part in the event.

The Fair began with an official ceremony
presided over by the Vice-Minister of
Agriculture, Mr. Ernesto Jaimes who, in
his inaugural address, stressed the
importance of conservation tillage as a
useful technology for alleviating the prob-
lem of soil degradation in El Salvador.
Mr. Jaimes issued a clarion call for the
example of Guaymango to be followed in
other areas.

The Executive Director of
CENTA, Dr. Roberto Arias Milla,
launched the first National Soil
Conservation Contest in order
to promote the dissemination of
conservation tillage. One of the
most important prizes offered I
was an all expenses paid visit to
CIMMYT headquarters in
Mexico to observe the conserva-
tion work being done there.

Following the inaugural ceremo-
ny, the public toured the differ-
ent exhibits and make guided
visits to the plots of farmers .
from the area. During these
visits, the participants observed The Exec
first-hand the effect on soil the inau

quality of conservation tillage used con-
tinuously over a period of several years.
The Program for the Promotion of the Use
of Draft Animals (FOMENTA) also orga-
nized an important demonstration on the
use of draft animals for planting with
zero tillage. Printed information was
available to Fair-goers at all stands.

At midday and later in the afternoon, the
public enjoyed entertainment provided by
the ballet troupe of the Salvadoran
Tourist Institute, the FOMENTA theater
group made up of Nicaraguan actors, and
a marimba ensemble composed of mem-
bers of the Guaymango community.

A number of prizes and donations were
handed out at the Fair. In addition to
those already mentioned, FOMENTA pre-
sented CENTA with the exhibition module
constructed in Nicaragua. The INTA-
seed drill among the participating farm-
ers, which has been adapted for zero
tillage and is being promoted by this

S,. .. .
,* -" "
-. >

utive Director of CENTA addresses the participants during
gural ceremony of the Fair.

cooperation project between Finland and
Nicaragua. Lastly, the PRM presented
the 54 farmers who had taken part in the
project with manual sellers manufac-
tured by FOMENTA. At its exhibits,
CENTA donated several samples of the
products on display. A number of com-
mercial enterprises present at the Fair
did the same.

The community of Guaymango participat-
ed actively by visiting the fair and selling
traditional dishes. The activity continued
into the night.


The question now is whether there will be
a second, third or more Fairs on
Conservation Tillage in Guaymango. In
other words, can the Fair be made sus-
tainable? The answers to these questions

are still not clear, but a number of pro-
posals have been put forward.

A second fair could be organized as part
of the Forty-second Annual Meeting of
the Central American Cooperative
Program for the Improvement of Crops
and Animals (PCCMCA), due to be held in
El Salvador in 1996. In addition to the
exhibits set up by the institutions and
projects, some of the posters relating to
the topic of soil and water conservation
could be presented at this field day.
Combining a field day with the presenta-
tion of posters would be an innovation for
the PCCMCA. As the institution respon-
sible for organizing the next PCCMCA,
CENTA is presently considering this idea.
One way of making the third and subse-
quent fairs more sustainable at the com-
munity level would be to hold them in
conjunction with the annual festival in
honor of the patron saint of Guaymango.

Farmers were interested in the new strains of maize exhibited by CENTA's Maize Program.

Whatever is finally decided, if
the fair is to be sustained over
the long term, local organiza-
tions and people in Guaymango
will need to be actively involved
in its organization and show the
same determination as they did
20 years ago in adopting the
practice of the sound manage-
ment of crop residues for soil
and water conservation.

Women also played an active role in the Fair.


~i~ alv 114 1:l~

The Program for the Promotion of the Use of Draft Animals
(FOMENTA) demonstrates the use of the zero tillage seed drill.


1. Calderon, F. 1973. Program de extension agropecuario del Municipio de Guaymango.
San Andres. El Salvador. Centro de Tecnologia Agricola (CENTA). Mimeo.

2. Calderon F., H. Sosa, V. Mendoza, G. Sain and H. Barreto. 1991. Adopcion y difusion
de la labranza de conservation en Guaymango, El Salvador: Aspectos institucionales y
reflexiones tecnicas. En: Agricultura Sostenible en las Laderas Centroamericanas:
Oportunidades de Colaboracion Interinstitucional. Inter-American Institute for
Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). pp. 189-210. San Jose, Costa Rica.

3. Choto, C. and G. Sain. 1993. Analisis del mercado de rastrojo y sus implicaciones
para la adopcion de la labranza de conservation en El Salvador. En: Programa
Regional de Maiz: Sintesis de resultados experimentales 1992. CIMMYT. Program
Regional de Maiz para Centroamerica y el Caribe. Guatemala, Guatemala.

4. Choto, C., G. Sain and T. Montenegro. 1995. Productividad y rentabilidad del sistema
maiz-sorgo bajo labranza de conservation en El Salvador. Under preparation.

5. Mendoza, V., H. Sosa, A.G. Alvarado, F. Calderon, H.J. Barreto and W.R. Raun. 1991.
Experiencias con labranza de conservation en ladera, sistemas maiz-sorgo y maiz-fri-
jol, El Salvador. Centro de Tecnologia Agricola (CENTA). Mimeo. 20pp. San Andres, El

6. Sain, G. and H. Barreto. 1995. The adoption of soil conservation technology in El
Salvador: Linking productivity and conservation. Journal of Soil and Water
Conservation. Awaiting publication.

.., i Z




ANNEXO 1. List of institutions and projects invited to the First Fair on Conservation
Tillage. Guaymango. April 7, 1995.

Institution or Project Country Institution or Project Country

IICA Costa Rica PRIAG Costa Rica
IICA/GTZ Project Costa Rica IDIAP Panama
ICTA Guatemala Madelefia III Project El Salvador
CIAT/Hillsides Project Honduras Chinese Mission El Salvador
PROFRIJOL Guatemala Intercooperation/ Nicaragua
INTA Nicaragua FAO El Salvador
COSUDE Honduras IFAD El Salvador
PROCHALATE El Salvador PROMESA El Salvador
PRODETEC Nicaragua Private sector El Salvador
IFPRI Honduras IICA El Salvador
COSUDE/FOMENTA El Salvador CATIE El Salvador
NGOs El Salvador Universities El Salvador

ANNEXO 2. Institutions and projects with stands at the First Fair on Conservation
Tillage. Guaymango. April 7, 1995.

Institution or Project Country Institution or Project Country

1 Chinese Mission El Salvador 13 Post-harvest El Salvador
2 Gender Project El Salvador 14 Sertesa El Salvador
3 Staple Grains (CENTA) El Salvador 15 Soil lab. (CENTA) El Salvador
4 Livestock (CENTA) El Salvador 16 Food Tech. (CENTA) El Salvador
5 MIP (CENTA-GTZ) El Salvador 17 Communications (CENTA) El Salvador
6 Nat. Res. CENTA CATIE El Salvador 18 COSUDE/FOMENTA El Salvador
7 GYTT (CENTA) El Salvador
8 "El Zamorano"
Pan American
Agricultural Center Honduras
PRODETEC Nicaragua
10 Moore El Salvador
11 Bayer El Salvador
12 Procela El Salvador

Floor plan of the location of Stands at the Fair


The invitation and informational materials on the Fair published in
the media.

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