Title: Institutionalization of farming systems research in Malawi, Sudan and Morocco /
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095617/00001
 Material Information
Title: Institutionalization of farming systems research in Malawi, Sudan and Morocco /
Physical Description: 14 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Gillard-Byers, T. E.
Publisher: The Farming Systems Research - Extension Symposium, Michigan State University
Place of Publication: East Lansing, Mich.
Publication Date: 1991
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Malawi   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Sudan   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Morocco   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Malawi
General Note: "Prepared for, the Farming Systems Research-Extension Symposium, October 5-10, 1991, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan."
General Note: Cover title.
Statement of Responsibility: prepared by, T.E. Gillard-Byers.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095617
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.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 451078274

Full Text

19. /a/
7-S / D 0



The Farming

Systems Research-Extension Symposium
October 5 10, 1991

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Prepared by,
T.E. Gillard-Byers

Dr. Gillard-Byers is an economist and Chief of Party of the MIAC/INRA
Moroccan Dryland Applied Agricultural Research Project (DAARP),
headquartered in Settat, Morocco. He is an International Staff Economist
for Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.




Several models of FSR-E have been introduced and subsequently
adapted to the perceived needs of host countries. The attempted
institutionalization of FSR-E models in three countries; Morocco,
Sudan and Malawi will be compared and contrasted in this context.



The Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project was initiated
in 1979. The objectives of the Project were the following:

"1. The establishment of a research infrastructure in Western
Sudan, and
2. The development and conduct of applied/adaptive research
programs." (WSARP, 1986)


In 1977 the concept of a National Rural Development Programme
(NRDP) emerged in Malawi. One aspect of the NRDP was the
development of the Malawi Adaptive Research Program. This program
was initiated in 1983 with the following specific objectives:

"1. From the range of available technical research results,
select and if necessary adapt, components identified as
appropriate to the immediate needs and conditions of local
specific groups of farmers.
2. Feed back to appropriate Commodity Research Teams unsolved
problems identified as important to local farmer development.
3. Link research closely and continually to extension,
drawing extension personnel and farmers into the technology
development process.
4. Make information available to relevant institutions (e.g.
those dealing with extension, input supply, credit, marketing,
etc.) by describing institutional and infrastructure problems
farmers face in specific areas of the country." (Gillard-
Byers, 1989)


The Moroccan Dryland Applied Agricultural Research Project
(DAARP) was initiated in 1979. A new contract was implemented in
1988 with the following goal and purpose:

"1. The goal of the project is to increase food production in
order to meet the needs of Morocco's fast growing population

and to improve the income of farmers with small and medium
sized land holdings."

"2. The project purpose is to establish a sustainable applied
research capacity relevant to the dryland farming systems and
natural resource constraints of the 250-450mm rainfall region
of southern Morocco and capable of providing technologies to
improve farmer productivity." (USAID, 1988)

The objectives as stated above for different projects or
project components suggest that the Malawi Adaptive Research
Program was able to specify directly the activities which were
expected to develop from the application of Farming Systems
Research-Extension activities. In both Sudan and Morocco, the
Farming Systems Research-Extension component was generally
incorporated into the projects with much broader objectives. Has
this had an impact on the ability to promote the development of
research capability which is directed toward the farmer as
clientele? If so, what has resulted in the three country scenario
over time which sheds light on an effective mechanism for
implementing FSR-E activities in which farmers are the primary
clientele group.

In the case of two of the three countries, Sudan and Malawi;
the World Bank provided funding and or influence via the funding of
U.S. universities or through direct interaction with the government
for the development of a FSR-E capability. In a similar fashion,
the United States Agency for International Development provided
financial support for activities in all three countries. Finally,
the International Agricultural Research Centers provided guidance,
physical and intellectual support for the institutionalization of
the adaptive research programs in two of the three countries,
Malawi and Sudan. How then have these programs been developed and
institutionalized in these countries? Is there a common
denominator which can be identified and serve as a focal point for
future attempts at institutionalizing a farmer responsive system of
agricultural research and development? What level of
institutionalization has occurred as a result of the interaction
among donors, non governmental organizations (NGO's), host country
governments, private entrepreneurs and the IARCs? Answering this
question will provide insight into the separate topologies which
have been introduced and adapted in these three countries.
Answering these questions will provide a basis for the development
of more effective interventions by all agencies interested in the
development of agricultural research and impact capacity in
countries which choose to employ a systems oriented methodology.


The primary objective of the paper is to provide a description
of different factors which made up the farming systems or adaptive
research programs in Sudan, Malawi and Morocco.

A second objective pertains to linkage characteristics. In
Malawi these linkages were simultaneously promoted through
interaction of research, extension and farmers, CIMMYT and the
Rockefeller Foundation. These linkages were developed as a result
of common consensus and physically implemented through the
utilization of Informal Surveys (e.g. Sondeo, Rapid Reconnaissance
Surveys, etc.) process. In contrast, interaction with producers in
Morocco and Sudan were emphasized during the On-Farm trial
activities. Linkage among host country government agencies, NGOs
and bilateral agencies will be discussed in the context of each
The closing foci of the presentation will emphasis the targets
of analyses undertaken within the programs of Malawi, Sudan and
Morocco. This will be accomplished through identifying research
activities which have been generated on the basis of three
perceived demands. First, those activities which have been
undertaken to remove or reduce constraints faced by producers will
be compared. This will be supplemented by those which have been
undertaken as a result of policy makers' and scientists' demands.
The third type of research activity will be those which have been
undertaken to maintain the disciplinary tools of the participating
researchers. The continued monitoring of the evolution of the
methodologies in these three countries will provide guidance for
FSR-E efforts as they are implemented elsewhere.

Institutional Concepts of FSR-E

The practical applications of a systems methodology were
strongly influenced through interaction with CIMMYT in Malawi while
in Sudan and Morocco the IARC system provided limited training and
less in-country services. Morocco's program of Technology Transfer
has been influenced mainly through U.S. technical advisors and
Moroccan researchers with a similar understanding of the systems
methodology to those researchers working in Sudan.
Utilization of funds provided by implementing agencies furnish
one basis for estimating the ability of the countries to
institutionalize a systems perspective in agricultural development.
In very broad terms, the Moroccan and Sudanese programs were cash
rich and labor poor while in Malawi a balance was struck between
the liquidity demands of the Adaptive Research Program and the
labor requirements necessary to carry out the programs. Table 1
lists the manpower levels maintained in the three countries.
Acceptance or rejection of the FSR-E methodology in Morocco,
Sudan and Malawi has been a function of perceived benefits, ability
to develop and exploit linkages, costs, technical assistance
capability and social acceptance by scientists of the tenets
inherent in the processes introduced. These components, which
promote or restrict the ability to institutionalize the FSR-E
methodology, will be described and compared for each of the three
countries. When application of the adapted methodologies diverge
a discussion of the reasons for this will be provided.

Buzz Words. Real Concents and Action?

Concepts associated with Farming Systems Research-Extension
have been used in different ways to promote different views of
reality. Several methodological views have developed and evolved
concurrently. The university system in the United States and the
CIMMYT Economics program in East and Southern Africa have
implemented Adaptive Research Programs. If we compare the three
programs in Malawi, Sudan and Morocco on the basis of the following
components how do they compare?

Orientation Workshops:

The initiation of Farming Systems Research-Extension is a
critical step in determining the effectiveness of the programs as
they evolve. Initial orientation workshops which are formal and
deal with methodological aspects will provide the basis for
political support. Without the support of administrators at each
level, being responsible for the success of the programs, there
will be increase likelihood that the programs will falter due to
costs and output considerations. The three projects are compared
in Table 2. Attempts to build consensus through holding
orientation workshops specifically designed to deal with broad
methodological and technical components reveal differential among
the projects.
These differentials result in misunderstood directives,
technical mistakes and unwillingness to recognize and react to
demands for linkage development. Since FSR-E is a labor intensive
activity utilizing research, extension and farmer resources it
becomes imperative that a clear understanding be developed through
training and participatory action.

Funding Sources:

Funding sources are a sunk cost associated with project
implementation. In cases where the project implementation
guidelines are not clearly delineated there may be available funds
which outstrip the manpower capabilities available. In the latter
case human resource development activities are extremely important
and may be improved through funding in training rather than in
currency. It is probably not uncommon for results to be deferred
while programs are implemented because funds are available. The
realization that methodology and proper implementation of the
methodology, which varies across countries, can be learned rather
than reinvented is often addressed only after several years of
frustration with unanticipated results. Grants in kind from
different organizations such as CIMMYT and Rockefeller Foundation
often serve to fill the embodied knowledge capital gap. How have
these opportunities been accessed by the different programs.
Table number 3 shows that only the Malawi Adaptive Research
Program had taken advantage or had the opportunity to profit from
the support, both intellectual and funding, of the IARCs and

foundations. The Morocco DAARP is linked more closely with ICARDA
and as a result has not benefitted from CIMMYT expertise in FSR-E.

Systems Emphasis:

A primary measure of the potential impact of a systems
approach toward agricultural development may be the level at which
the system is truly integrated into the research activity.
Generally, three components are spoken of when referring to FSR-E
targets. These include the household consumption system, the
marketing system and the crop/livestock production system. These
three activities are so closely interrelated that consideration of
any one of the components without consideration of the other two
may result in the design and implementation of inappropriate
research activities. These activities by definition will fail to
provide the results expected and frustrate researchers doing their
best to produce successes for their clientele. How do the three
programs compare in their perspective of the systems which they are
The integration of household consumption, marketing and
production components is necessary for the successful
implementation of any specific biological trial activity.
Furthermore, it should be recognized by the biological scientist
that the consumption and marketing functions are related directly
to the success of his/her research activity. Of the three projects
only the Malawi Adaptive Research Program (ARP) attempted to bring
each component into consideration when testing technologies.

Technical Participants:

Participation by technical personnel in the conceptualization,
implementation, analysis and monitoring of the FSR-E activity is
critical for success. The activities of each specialist must be
done within the context of the overall program with the realization
that each partner is expected to develop a piece of the whole. The
integration of a multidisciplinary team will result in better
understanding by all members of the methodological strengths and
weaknesses of their partners' disciplines. At the same time,
concentration on the specific areas of mutual overlap will allow
the development of an interdisciplinary capability to push research
to its limits.
The technical participation in each of the three countries is
quite different. Malawi and Morocco, infrastructure wise, were the
most able to meet the demands for trained technical participants in
the FSR-E programs. Malawi had the advantage of having developed
a close relationship with extension which resulted in daily
interaction with Extension Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) and
technical assistance in the areas where FSR-E activities were being
undertaken. This resulted in a system which, with good planning,
allowed a great deal of feed back from producers. It also allowed
for the development of close linkages necessary to undertake
Informal Surveys (IFS) which were critical at different stages in

the program for identifying constraints of mutual interest to
farmers, researchers, extension and policy makers.

Pre Survey Activities:

Background information gathering is necessary to develop a
better understanding of the areas. in which a survey activity is
going to be undertaken. The results of the survey will be better
understood in the context of this information and in cases where
there are differences in results or structural changes have
occurred corrections can be made. This is true with either the
formal survey (FS) or the informal survey activity (IFS). The
effectiveness of the actual survey is often dependent upon the
review activity and the pre survey training workshop.
Malawi FSR-E teams undertook all of the actions necessary to
support both the IFS and the FS through literature reviews and
training workshops. Neither the IFS and therefore the associated
training activities were undertaken in Sudan with respect to
cropping systems. In Morocco the literature reviews for the IFS
were not completed prior to the initiation of the first survey. An
IFS training activity was undertaken but not in the context of the
actual Sondeo which was implemented during 1991.

Survey Activities:

Standard formal surveys were undertaken in all countries by
the FSR-E associated groups. Zoning surveys, which are
instrumental in familiarization with the research and
recommendation domains as well as reducing administrative barriers,
were only implemented in Malawi(Gillard-Byers and Blackie, 1990).
IFS and special issue surveys, which promote both the development
of research agenda and successful completion of research
activities, were undertaken in each project. A tangible difference
among the projects exists as a consequence.
The results of the Zoning and IFS activities were incorporated
in the research agenda development of the Malawi ARP while the
special issue surveys/monitoring activities and the complex formal
surveys were utilized as baseline information or for inclusion in
analyses of specific research projects. As a result a clear
distinction exists between the projects in their ability to
incorporate a multidisciplinary perspective, including
socioeconomic concerns, in the development of research activities.
The research agenda development activity is directly related to the
on-farm trial program.
The impact which the inclusion or exclusion of the ZS and the
IFS has on the on-farm trial program is of paramount concern for
the normally agronomic oriented activities in the three countries.

On Farm Trial Program:

The on-farm trial program becomes the focus of all activities
which have preceded. The orientation of the OFT activities are a

result of differing factors which have occurred during the course
of the FSR-E development initiative. The OFT activity is driven,
without exception, by the desire to provide viable technologies to
producers. Expected benefits will accrue to policy makers as well
as researchers if the results are positive.
The different variations on a basic theme are seen in the on-
farm trial activities of the three projects. All of the projects
had the traditional researcher managed OFT. These are the
extension of research station activities to the farmers' fields due
to various reasons including agroclimatic variation and problems of
various nutrient level buildup on stations among others. Little
farmer control is the main characteristic of the trials from the
FSR-E process perspective. Yet they play a vital role in the
development of consistent messages from a biological point of view.
The inclusion of socioeconomic analysis in these activities is an
alternative which was practiced in both Malawi and Sudan but has
not been adopted in Morocco at this time.
Researcher/farmer managed trials were undertaken only in
Malawi. For simple technologies this step may not be a necessary
condition for success of positive testing technology but for more
complex technologies and technology packages it is instrumental in
the transfer of embodied knowledge capital. This point is seldom
recognized and may very well lead to the dissemination of
appropriate technology which are not adopted due to a poor
understanding of all aspects embodied in the technology.
Farmer managed trials are the final product of the OFT process
prior to demonstration or direct dissemination. This is a critical
stage for monitoring the fit of the technology to the farming
system. However, in none of the projects was this function allowed
to develop. The inability of biological and social scientists to
"stand back" and assess, objectively, the benefits which accrued to
the farmers or the additional constraints to adoption encountered
lead to defeat of the purpose. Moreover, in the case of Morocco,
where an attempt has been underway to place large farmer managed
trial activities in the on-farm trial program it has resulted in
mixing results in a grey area between the farmer managed trial and
the researcher managed trial. The result has been a frustrating
period of evolution for the program participants and technical
The demonstration function was undertaken in Sudan due to the
fact that the extension service was non functional. The
Aridoculture Center SRD was utilizing the linkage with extension to
develop working relationships which would eventually lead to the
training of extension personnel in the physical implementation of
demonstrations. There continues to be a concern that the extension
mandate is being overlapped by research when undertaking these
demonstrations. The Malawi ARP, on the other hand, maintained
distinct boundaries between extension activities and research
activities. The mixed results of the Morocco project, in
developing a close research-extension linkage, may have ensued from
this "turf" battle. The Malawi ARP, while not having complete
support from extension, was able to develop a very close working

relationship with their colleagues in extension. This promoted
timely action on research implementation and a commitment to
support the effort from both sides.

Results and Summary:

Each of the components which have been reviewed have impacted
the projects' capability to implement successful FSR-E programs.
Highly qualified and trained individuals, such as those in the
Malawi and Morocco programs, are able to recognize and react to
constraints which they encounter. A critical factor is the mix of
the teams and the manpower. Malawi's ARP operated more effectively
due to teams be semi permanent, with a good mix of biological and
social scientists. The Moroccan project was headed in that
direction but had not been able to ensure a good mix in permanent
teams. The Sudan project operated more on a disciplinary level
with most scientists concerned with their professional areas
leaving little time for collaborative research.
Training activities undertaken to support the broader project
goals and purpose were instrumental in all three projects to
develop a base for biological experimentation with socioeconomic
input. However, only the Malawi ARP was able to extend this
training to the Informal Surveys designed to identify constraints
and aid in research agenda development.
Funding sources played a major role in allowing the type of
flexibility to exist for successful implementation of the FSR-E
activities. The Malawi ARP had a distinct advantage in being able
and willing to draw on sources outside the project itself. This
was instrumental in the implementation of the overall activities
and resulted in very focused research endeavors.
The systems emphasis in Malawi allowed all technical personnel
to maintain skills and focus on complimentary research activities.
This resulted in a broader clientele being served and more positive
results from the FSR-E activities at each decision making level.
Each of the projects attempted to support multidisciplinary
efforts in research. The technical component included in both the
Morocco and Malawi FSR-E programs allowed for interaction with
other scientists on a professional basis. Inequity among the
biological and social scientists in the Morocco program is being
addressed but only slowly with no permanent economist participating
with the other team members.
Survey activities have not been utilized as effectively as
they might have been in any of the projects. The projects
continued to search for the most effective utilization of there
social scientists through these activities rather than having them
oriented toward a broader support function.
Only Malawi was able to implement, in a systematic fashion,
all types of surveys necessary to support baseline needs, research
project needs and special requests demanded by policy makers. This
was a function of training and flexibility as well as a broad view
toward responding to the needs of farmers.

As a result of all of the above mentioned items, the on-farm
trial program was most successful through the Malawi ARP. Clear
understanding of the need for statistically valid agronomic
messages which included social science analyses lead to a program
undertaking activities at over 100 sites dealing with crop and
livestock activities ranging from potato variety trials to stall
feeding and multiple intercropping projects. Many of these were
successful with farmers adopting the technologies as they were
tested. Feedback to researchers was instrumental in changing
directions in breeding programs to include flint maize rather than
only dent maize.
The other programs were successful in small ways but not in
the meaningful way envisioned by policy makers when conceptualizing
and implementing the programs. Morocco still has the opportunity
to rectify the situation. With SRD undertaking three components of
the activity a focal point for emphasis and implementation may

Table 1. Comparison of Manpower Available
in Malawi, Sudan and Morocco

Malawi Adaptive
Research Program

Officers (18)

Economics and

Educational Level:
Ph.D. (2)
M.Sc. (16)

Technicians (16)
Educational Level:
B.Sc. Bunda
College or
Diploma Natural
Resources College

Admin. Support:
Direct Support from
the Chief Agric.
Research Officer

8 Agric. Development
Divisions (ADDS)

Res.-Exten. Links:
Direct with Prof.
Officers housed at
Extension Hdqts. and
Technicians in the
Field at Extension
Planning Area Hdqts.

Western Sudan Ag.
Research Program

Officers (1)


Educational Level:
M.Sc. (1)

Technicians (4)
Educational Level:
Secondary School

Admin. Support:
Input from Project
Director on Ad Hoc

Area of 150 km. by
50 km. when working
with Transhumants

Res./Exten. Links:
Extension personnel
seconded to the
WSARP project. No
field personnel
except on special
project activities.

on a Full Time Basis

Morocco SRD Program

Officers (1)

Sociology and

Educational Level:
Ph.D. equiv. (1)
M.Sc. equiv. (1)

Technicians (3)
Educational Level:
2, Cycle (Moroccan
equivalent to
Secondary School
plus two years
college training

Admin. Support:
Direct support from
Center Director.

Two Regions; Chaouia
and Abda.

Res./Exten. Links:
Newly established
and evolving in two
provinces. Future
interaction with
para extension
organization in two

Table 2. Orientation Workshops Held By FSR-E Implementors


1. Administrative Staff YES NO YES
2. Technical Staff YES YES NO
3. Junior Level Staff YES NO NO

Table 3. Funding Sources Utilized by the Three Projects


1. Host Country Government YES YES YES
3. IBRD (World Bank) YES YES NO
4. Foundations (Grant support) YES NO NO
5. Int. Ag Res. Centers (IARCS) YES1 NO NO

1i The Rockefeller Foundation and CIMMYT provided both grant
support and intellectual support for the Malawi program. CIMMYT
also provided funded training, both off-shore and on-shore for
the Malawi program.

Table 4. Emphasis of Program on Specific Components of the


1. Production Crop/Livestock YES YES YES-NO1
2. Marketing YES NO NO
3. Household YES NO NO

I1 There is no livestock component associated with the Moroccan
Dryland Applied Agricultural Research Project (DAARP).

Table 5. Technical Participants Functioning in the Programs


1. Agronomy-Lead YES NO YES-NO1/
2. Economics YES YES YES-NOL/
3. Sociology/Anthropology YES YES YES
4. Other Disciplinary Support YES NO/ YES
5. Extension Subject Matter Spec. YES NO/ NO/

!1 The Service de Recherche et Developpement is directed by a
sociologist with support from agronomists in an On-Farm Trial
/ The economics component has been dependent upon the
services of an expatriate technical assistant. An attempt is
Peing made to hire a permanent economist to fill this gap.
/ Each discipline was undertaking On-Farm trial activities but
only the economics section implemented multidisciplinary
/ Sudan extension personnel were seconded to the WSARP program
due to chronic budget shortfalls but were not subject matter
specialists. In Morocco the subject matter specialist program
does not presently exist in the project area but may be
instituted under World Bank funding activities.

Table 6. Activities Implemented Prior to Survey Activities


1. Informal (IFS) Literature Rev YES NO NO
2. Formal (FS) Literature Rev YES YES YES
3. IFS Training Workshop YES NO NO
4. FS Training Workshops YES YES YES

Table 7. Survey Activities Implemented by Programs


1. Zoning YES NO NO
2. Informal/Rapid Recon/Sondeo YES NO YES1
3. Special Issue Sur./Monitoring YES YES YES2
4. Complex/Formal YES YES3 YES3

T/ One Informal survey has been completed. Two Informal
Surveys including Zoning Surveys are scheduled for implementation
During 1991-1992 cropping season.
Two special issue surveys pertaining directly to the
Technology Transfer Program were undertaken by the On-Farm
Technology Evaluation Group which now falls under the Service de
Recherche et Developpemment.
Complex formal surveys undertaken by the Economics Section
have not been linked to identification of production, consumption
and/or marketing constraints resulting from Informal Survey

Table 8. Techniques Utilized in the On-Farm Trial Programs


1. Researcher Managed YES YES YES1
2. Researcher/Farmer Managed YES NO NO
3. Farmer Managed NO NO2 NO2
4. Demonstration Extension YES YES
5. Monitoring YES NO NO

1I The researcher managed trials are undertaken by several
disciplines but with little collaboration or liaison with either
the extension service or the Service de Recherche et Developpment
Sthe case of Morocco.
In each country it was impossible for the biological
scientist to assume a monitoring activity without significant
control over the activities undertaken by the farmers. As a
result no true farmer-managed trials existed in either Malawi or
Sudan and at the present time do not exist in Morocco. The
actual situation which exists in Morocco today is a hybrid
between a Researcher/Farmer Managed trial and a farmer managed


Gillard-Byers, T.E. 1989. Adaptive Research Technical
Assistance Economist End of Contract Report. Malawi
Agricultural Research and Extension Project. Oregon State
University: Corvallis, Oregon. pg. 7.

Gillard-Byers, T.E. and M.J. Blackie. 1990. Zoning Survey-
Improving Efficiency of Farming Systems Research-Extension
Diagnostic and Field Activities. Journal for Farming
Systems Research-Extension 1(2):105-121.

Moroccan Applied Agricultural Research Project. 1988. Project
Contract (608-0136). MidAmerica International Agricultural
Consortium. Lincoln, Nebraska

Western Sudan Agricultural Research Project. 1986. Final
Report. WSARP Publication No. 56. Agricultural Research
Corporation. pg. 1.

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