Title: Hillside Agriculture Project
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086005/00001
 Material Information
Title: Hillside Agriculture Project
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Nair, P. K.
Publisher: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 199?
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086005
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


Title: Analysis of Mixed-Crop Farming Systems in Jamaica: Toward

Optimizing Farmer Returns.


The Hillside Agriculture Project (HAP) of Jamaica has been

working with agroforestry and other mixed-crop farming systems

(MCFS) commonly found in rural Jamaica. One of the difficulties

encountered to date in realizing the full benefits from these

projects is the lack of a comprehensive effort to analyze their

operational constraints and economic benefits. To begin with,

standardized criteria are lacking at present for evaluating the

different cropping systems, particularly those involving one or

more tree crops. Analytical tools and easily adoptable methods are

needed for assessing a particular MCFS's ability to meet farmers'

goals, especially optimization of returns to labor and/or cash

inputs, and for comparing the systems with one another. Such a

comprehensive analysis would enable us to refine the existing

technology packages for extension recommendations.

It is therefore proposed that HAP/USAID conduct a detailed

analytical assessment of various subprojects within their areas of

operation, focusing on those MCFS which include one or more tree

crops as part of the overall farming system. The proposed

assessment would utilize analyses of the MCFS' productivity

(combined output optimization), sustainability (external input

minimization), and adoptability (farmer acceptance) attributes. The

analyses of diverse systems, based on such comparable criteria, can

be used to identify those systems which function most effectively

under given conditions, as well as the advantages and disadvantages

of choosing any particular system. The results from such broad-

based procedures can assist project managers in refining the

technology packages currently being advocated, and in making

recommendations to farmers about choosing appropriate systems and

managing them for optimum benefits on a sustainable basis.


The proposed activity has three objectives:

1) to develop and apply an appropriate field-based
analytical methodology to assess the productivity,
sustainability and farmer adoptability of Jamaican mixed-
crop farming systems (MCFS);

2) to identify farmers' criteria for assessing improvements
to current MCFS; and

3) to apply the above in identifying optimization pathways
for farmer returns from MCFS.


The proposed research is an analytical assessment of mixed-

crop farming systems in Jamaica. The results will be used in

devising recommendation domains for potential MCFS improvements and

adoption. A detailed analysis of each Hillside Agricultural

Project area's farming systems would require many surveyors and

several years to complete. This is infeasible. We propose a two-

tiered "targeted systems" approach which involves using secondary

data on all HAP project activities, and primary data on selected


Existing HAP base-line data, supplemented with information

from other sources, will provide a contextual framework for the

analysis. Specifically, each MCFS' agroecological adaptability,

relative importance within the agricultural economy, and both

direct and indirect benefits derived can be established. This

information will lead to identifying target systems for more

detailed analysis, based on current efforts toward improvement.

Mixed-crop farming systems so targeted will be analyzed

according to the attributes listed earlier: productivity,

sustainability and adoptability. Optimization of returns to labor

and/or cash inputs, as well as productivity changes with time for

each of the selected systems will be worked out, and based on

these, extension recommendations on each system will be developed

and/or refined.

Each of the analytical attributes is now examined more



The combined output of an MCFS, measured against current

yields (either combined or sole) gives an easily quantified gauge

of production efficiency. Agronomists call this the land equivalent

ratio (LER) if used for comparison of intercropping to monoculture.

Because tree crops and multiple species of intercrops are not

accounted for with LER, its usefulness is limited. Comparative

resource-use efficiencies might be a more pertinent standard for

MCFS assessment. Accordingly, resource-use efficiencies of each

component of the selected systems will be measured/assessed in

quantifiable and comparable terms.


Much has been discussed recently concerning the long-term

impacts of land-use decisions. While argument persists concerning

a quantifiable definition of sustainability, consensus is forming

that reduction of external production inputs may be an important

component. That is, moves toward self-sufficiency are apt to lead

a system away from many practices destructive to the resource and

socioeconomic base supporting them.

Quantification of this aspect might be a ratio of input cost

to value of outputs, including non-market outputs consumed on the

farm. While this does not consider internal practices potentially

destructive to the resource base (e.g. soil degradation through

erosion or lack of fertility maintenance), minimized negative

externalities is a useful interim measure of sustainability.


Without farmer acceptance, any "improved" technology becomes

an interesting shelf piece for researchers, but useless to those

trying to meet real demands for increased agricultural production

from shrinking resource bases. Examples of these abound. Measures

of adoptability, however, are less common. One possibly helpful

gauge is technology extension rates from farmer-to-farmer, as

opposed to more formal extension fora. The assumption here is that

neighbors will not recommend to their fellow tillers a new variety

or technology without first having tried it, adapted it to local

conditions, and deemed the results worthy of passing on.


1. Select prominent mixed-crop farming systems, especially
those including one or more tree crops, in Jamaica.

2. Prepare an analytical framework for the study as

3. Review the available data sets on these systems from HAP
projects and other cooperating agencies.

4. Collect additional data that are crucial for the analysis
of selected farming systems through on-site

5. Undertake the analysis on three broad categories:
Productivity Sustainability Adoptability

6. Repeat the analysis by an iterative procedure for field

7. Determine the optimization patterns of returns to labor
and/or cash input.

8. Evaluate the productivity changes with time for each
system under specified conditions.

9. Develop/refine extension recommendations based on these

10. Conduct training(s) of local researcher counterparts on
use of the methodology and analysis of results.


1. Analytical procedures for comparing the different mixed-
crop farming systems.

2. Knowledge by local practitioners in use of the analytical

3. Information on the most promising and adoptable ways to
manage the systems to optimize returns to the farmers and
ensure long-term sustainability of the resource base.

4. Refinement of existing technology packages and approaches
for improving the systems, based on critical information
derived from the analyses.

One of the outputs will be a field manual on the methodology,

approaches and recommendations derived from the case studies. This

manual will aid HAP extension personnel by summarizing the research

results and experience of assessing the productivity,

sustainability and adoptability attributes of MCFS in Jamaica. With

standardized methods of data collection, it will be possible to

compare different systems using similar criteria. The emerging

patterns from such comparisons will indicate the factors that

affect farmer returns most, and therefore the most appropriate

pathways leading to optimization of returns according to farmer-

selected criteria. HAP field extension personnel could use the

procedures in this manual to develop recommendations for economic

optimization and long-term sustainability of any of HAP's on-going

or future initiatives. Several of the results of the study are

expected to be available during the life of the project, so that it

should be possible to incorporate the relevant aspects into

existing technological packages and recommendations even before

completion of the study.


The study will be undertaken through a grant to the University

of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS),

with Dr. P.K. Nair, Professor of Agroforestry, as the principal

investigator. A grant period of three years, effective April 1,

1993, is envisaged. The principal investigator will be assisted by

three or four University of Florida (UF) graduate research

assistants. Potential collaborators identified to date include

various HAP field personnel, IICA specialists, graduate students of

University of West Indies (UWI), and the College of Agriculture,

Jamaica (through Dr. Hastings). Details of collaborations with

these and other possible collaborators in Jamaica will be worked

out as the activity gets under way.


The activity will be subdivided into three stages, each with

several specific tasks. At least one UF graduate research assistant

will be fully involved in each stage. These follow the course of

procedures outlined above. The following tasks and time frame are


1. 1993: Methodology Development Stage: Defining the overall

research domain and tentative specific recommendation domains;

analysis of primary systems.

Graduate Researcher: Todd R. Johnson (UF)

Tasks: 1) Identify target MCFS including, but not limited
to, those utilizing one or more tree crops;

2) Review secondary data on target systems and
conduct preliminary verification through extension
agent interviews and informal surveys;

3) Collect and analyze data on the most widely used
MCFS crop mix and pattern (e.g. fruits/spices/nuts
with root crops) according to their productivity,
sustainability and adoptability attributes;

4) Provide preliminary recommendations on
optimization pathways for mixed-crop producers.

5) Prepare the outline of the field manual.

2. 1993-1994: Case Studies of Technology Development: Evaluation

of targeted systems according to their productivity,

sustainability and adoptability attributes.

Graduate Researcher: Donald Mee (UF)

Based on the available information and experience, a few

potentially promising technologies will be identified for detailed

case studies. These will be evaluated according to the

productivity, sustainability and adoptability criteria and

analytical procedures developed in Stage 1. A candidate technology,

for example, could be the use of multipurpose tree species (MPTS)

as live support for yam cultivation. The following tasks are

identified for such a case study:

Tasks: 1) Screen local and introduced species with use

2) Conduct establishment trials of selected

3) Collect and analyze data on productivity,
sustainability and adoptability attributes of
target systems;

4) Provide preliminary recommendations on
optimization pathways for target systems'

5) Prepare technical input (case study) to the
preparation of the manual.

UWI graduate students could be involved in similar studies on other

potential technologies.

3. 1994-1996: Integration and Iteration

Graduate Researcher(s): Terry Jantzi (MS) and/or Frank Merry

(PhD) (UF)

Tasks: 1) Establish the parameters of a comprehensive
sustainability analysis of Jamaican MCFS based on
work done to date;

2) Select two prominent MCFS; analyze the databases
relating to them according to the model;

3) Collect additional data if needed and complete
the analysis;

4) Prepare a comprehensive model integrating the
various parameters.

5) Develop/refine recommendations.

6) Complete the manual.

Specific and detailed programs of work for each of these stages

will be prepared by each of the graduate researchers under the

supervision of the P.I.


Stage I




Major Tasks

Field Researchers

* identify target
* analyze primary
crop mix
* preliminary
* outline of
field manual

Todd R. Johnson

Case Studies of
Tech. Dev't.

* target syst.
spp. trials
* analyze target
* recommend. re:
target syst.
* case study for
the manual

Donald Mee /

Integration &

* parameters for
* analyze 2 MCFS
using model
* integrate model
* completion of
field manual

T. Jantzi (MS) /
F. Merry (PhD)


Stage II


Stage III



1993 1994 1995 Total
Salaries and Wages
for graduate students 12,000 12,600 13,230 37,830

Travel/transporation/per diem 3,500 3,675 3,850 11,025
for graduate students

Field expenses(research costs 5,000 5,250 5,500 15,750
in Jamaica)

Travel for Dr. P.K. Nair 2,000 2,100 2,200 6,300

Supplies and communication 1,000 1,050 1,100 3,150
within US

Annual Direct Costs Subtotal 23,500 24,675 25,880 74,055

Indirect Costs at 20.7%
(base: Yr 1 = $20,500; 4,244 4,456 4,674 13,374
Yr 2 = $21,525; Yr 3 = $22,580)

Indirect Costs at 45%
(base: Yr 1 = $3,000; 1,350 1,418 1,485 4,253
Yr 2 = $3,150; Yr 3 = $3,300)
TOTAL (US$) 29,094 30,549 32,039 91,682

Notes: This indirect cost rate is the federal negotiated rate with the University for research expenses within the US. Included
in the base are Dr. Nair's travel and supplies and communication costs associated with the project. Years subsequent
to 1993 include 5% inflation allowance. Involvement of UWI sutdents, if any, is not included here.

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