The paper reports the results of a survey of 41 practitioners who where asked to report on the methods they were using on their projects, and the reasons for their success or failure. Most importantly this conventional approach to farming systems research failed to incorporate the experience and knowledge of farmers into its survey design. It is concluded that simple research questions can often provide the needed information in order that technologies useful to resource poor farmers are developed. [Abstract based on mimeo version]
A Report on the Principles and Practices of Farming Systems Research Used by the Farming Systems Development Project
This guide to farming systems research (FSR) is aimed at agronomists and agricultural economists. Part I consists of introductory lectures on farming systems research. FSR is defined, its key concepts (farmer participation, holistic, multidisciplinary, iterative, feedback, contextual) are outlined, and problems in applying these concepts in practice are discussed. The purpose of diagnosis and suggestions for biological measurement are discussed with examples of applications to tillage depth and soil moisture. The nature of on -farm experiments is also explained.
The Farming Systems Development Project in Eastern Visayas, Philippines, produced useful results at an extremely low rate. This was judged an inefficient use of research resources. Rather than make assumptions about existing conditions, the researchers returned to first principles and asked what is the farmer problem and what resources are available to solve them? Proceeding along this line of questioning was not easy, as new research techniques had to be developed to provide accurate answers.
Participatory Method for Systems-Problem Research: Rehabilitating Marginal Uplands in the Philippines
A participatory method that promotes farmer determination in systems-problem research was developed in response to failures in adoption of improved cropping patterns among upland farmers in the Philippines. Techniques to identify systems problems involve group and individual farmer meetings. Problems surrounding cultivation of marginal uplands were identified. An informal random sample survey guided by topics of inquiry and biological measurements that employed systems analytical tools was used to obtain farmers' perception of 'systems-problems'.
This is a collection of materials relating to the integrated resource systems approach developed by ICLARM from farming systems research. This is a farmer participatory approach to natural resources management with sustainable production. The documents and extracts included discuss why integration is needed. They introduce the approach, its methods and applications. examples are presented of applications to use of marginal wetlands in Malawi, smallholdings in Ghana, and aquaculture in Bangladesh.
This paper outlines the principles and roles of farming systems research (FSR). It suggests that as sustainability becomes a concern, FSR must progress beyond a systems perspective with a predetermined crop focus to a farmer problem focus. Long-term objectives can be addressed through a natural resource systems focus and a livelihood focus. In all cases, FSR should be multidisciplinary. Realising the potential of FSR requires seeing beyond romantic notions about farmers and traditional farmers.
Aquaculture can improve the sustainability of small-scale farms provided that it is fully integrated with other enterprises and household activities so as to allow farm families and communities to manage their natural resources effectively. This requires consideration of pond management and fish husbandry as a means to a variety of ends (water storage, soil conservation and fertility, pest management etc.), not just the production of fish.
Este informe describe las diferentes etapas de un mÚtodo participativo en el proyecto de desarrollo de los Sistemas AgrÝcolas del Oriente de Visayas, Filipinas, para identificar los problemas prioritarios de los agricultores, diagnosticar los sistemas agrÝcolas, plantear hip¾tesis y experimentar. En este caso, la participaci¾n de los agricultores determin¾ la orientaci¾n de la intervenci¾n.
In order to attempt to improve the sustainable management of agricultural resources and reduce external inputs, an attempt was made to create a method for monitoring farmers use of resources. This was also used to monitor changes made to the farming system, providing an integrated analysis of livestock, forestry, aquaculture and crops. Maps and transects were used, with bioresource flow modelled between enterprises and resource types. Inputs and flows are recorded.
Developed from an "experiential learning exercise" in Agro-ecosystem mapping held at Rajendra Agricultural University, Pusa, this book could form the basis for a training programme on the following mapping methods : map of typography & hydrology, map of enterprises, map of social groups and transect of agro-ecological zones. Section A describes the training programme with the emphasis on field exercises covering the above methods.