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This section refers to a major objective of the study:

To shed light on the principal linkages between - and among - farmers, technology transfer workers, researchers, policy makers, and other actors of the AKIS in the two sites where the approach will be tested.

The site-specific farming systems information and researchable issues identified in this section indicate the extent to which the diagnostic tool allows for a rapid appraisal of entry points for more in-depth appraisals of a farming system. Reference is made to conclusions and recommendations specific to the findings in each of the sites.

The researchers broke up into two smaller teams and worked in separate municipalities. These case studies describe the findings separately for Teams 1 and 2. The different findings of each team are compared and explained.


The field visits were conducted in the municipality of Sariaya in Quezon province. Two barangays, Guisguis and Mamala 1, were visited by the mission. The municipality consists of 13 barangays with economies based on agriculture, fishing and beach resorts for visitors. More recently the making of nata de coca (for industrial purposes) from coconut has become a major home industry.

Visits were made to both barangays. In Guisguis no formal or informal groups could be identified. Farmers were interviewed in three informal gatherings. The first was a group of fishermen whose livelihood is being threatened by the expansion of beach resorts. The second was a wayside group that gathered spontaneously as the mission was talking to two farmers who were picked at random. The third developed from a semi formal group brought together by the barangay captain at his house at the request of the mission.

At the first meeting at Mamala 1, around 65 farmers were present. The smaller working meetings were with farmers selected from the Farmer Association and the Irrigators Association. There was also a meeting with the Rural Improvement Club (women group) and the Young Farmers Association (4-H Club). The farmers association meeting had 15 farmers including officers of the association and women farmers representing their husbands who were in the field.

The emphasis of this field work was the identification of the individuals responsible for interventions and change (actors), their linkages with the farm barangay, among themselves or with outsiders at the municipal, provincial, regional or national levels. The information gathered focused on the crops and livestock in the barangay and on the management practices of farmers in crop and livestock husbandry. However it was not possible - and beyond the scope of the exercise - to gather adequate information for a good analysis of the farming systems of the barangay and the immediate environment.

The team followed-up farmer linkages to the municipal level: meetings were held with the municipal agricultural officer (MAO), the agricultural technicians (ATs) at the Municipality of Sariaya, and with vendors at the Lucena and Sariaya markets.

Barangay: Guisguis

Guisguis is located in the Sariaya municipality. Farmers grow both perennials (coconut, banana) and annuals such as paddy. There is also a community of fishermen who are being requested to move out of the area due to the expansion of beach resorts along the coast. The resorts offer opportunities for non-farm income sources, which are being exploited to some extent by the farm families.

The farming community in Guisguis is relatively poor. Most farmers are tenants of five landlords who own most of the land. Infrastructure is poor. There is a meagre network of roads within the barangay. The case study for barangay Guisguis is presented in two parts since one sub-group is solely fishermen.

Sub group 1: Profile of fishing sub group

Located in the sitio Silang beach resort, it has a population of 30 households. The primary employment is fishing. The technology used is traditional and confined to shallow sea. The technical knowledge of the farmers seems acceptable and they are aware of the newer technologies but are not able to afford them. They use small boats that are not suitable for deep sea fishing. The indiscriminate dynamiting by large-scale fisherman from Lucena reduces their catch significantly and the increasing number of beach resorts is forcing them out of their only regular livelihood. Other income is from chickens, cattle and hogs, yet they have no technical information on the rearing of these animals except what is provided by the Magnolia farm (private enterprise owned by the San Miguel Corp. group) where they buy the chicks. There is no formal or regular health care or sanitation. If animals become sick they are immediately sold. In the last five years, only one vaccination was conducted. Marketing of fish and other produce (if in large quantities) is to the Lucena market. Alternatively the produce is sold locally. The fisher farmers are very insecure about the future since they may be forced to leave if the process of building beach resorts continue.

The main actor in the community is an NGO helping them to keep their fishing areas. Traders from Lucena provide them information regarding markets and prices of fish and chicken. No technicians have ever visited them. As indicated above, a livestock inspector visited them five years ago.

This part of the barangay did not have any more information to identify nor apparently any further linkages. It was futile to produce a linkage map under such adverse circumstances.

Sub-group 2: Farmer groups at road side and barangay captain's house

The main crops cultivated are coconut, paddy, coconut inter cropped with banana. The varieties used for coconut are the traditional ones and no change has been reported. For paddy the varieties used are the following (dates acquired and source indicated in brackets): IR 42 (1983, IRIS), C4 (1983, other farmers), IR-10 (1985, NIA), IR-66, GRINGO (1986, from other barangay), DINURADO (1991, other farmers).

The cultural practices consist mainly of fertilizers. However the quantity and types are unknown and when applied are below the recommended levels. Coconuts are not fertilised. The yields of paddy are not known but are characterised as low. Coconut, harvested monthly, provides a regular source of income. Exact yields are not known.

Livestock includes cattle, buffalo, hogs, ducks, chickens and horses. Breeds are native except for chickens from the Magnolia farm. Hogs are purchased from a piggery which gives technical advice. There are no common grazing grounds available to the farmers. However there is an understanding among all farmers that animals are free to graze in the barangay areas if no damage is done to the crops, a practice that all appear to follow.

There are no perceived problems regarding the marketing of produce. Information on marketing is provided by other farmers or the radio. Traders from Lucena purchase most of the coconuts, chickens, and hogs. Paddy is mostly for subsistence requirements.

Input/output price information comes from other farmers but technicians give information once in a while as well. Farmers indicate that profitability of farm enterprises is not very good. When prices of coconuts dropped, many landlords cut the trees for cocolumber. Off-farm income sources are obtained by some of the farmers' children involved in the buying and selling of banana and coconut or work abroad.

In terms of the actors involved in the supply of information or new technology, farmers indicated that the agricultural technician - the AT visits them once or twice a year, mostly regarding the supply of certified seed paddy (Figure 8). No advice for paddy production has been given in the last six years. The livestock inspector comes once in a while. The main source of information has been other farmers who have provided the new seeds of varieties that they have found useful and are presently continuing to cultivate.

Figure 8 Linkage map for Guisguis

Analysis / conclusions

The farmers do not get any technical guidance or planting material from the ATs. The noteworthy observation is the intensive intercropping of bananas and coconuts, a practice they began as a result of their own observations of this practice in other communities in the municipality.

An interesting feature of the team's visit was the indication that this was the first occasion that outsiders have had such an in depth discussion with the farmers. As one farmer dramatised, the training method of the technicians had consisted of a lecture, with farmers having to take notes all the time, and had offered little value.

It is apparent that in the case of Guisguis the process of information transfer is extremely weak. While the ATs seldom provide needed information, the private sector traders and other input suppliers have very little to feed into the system. The linkages that the farmers have with the outside technical world is confined to the exchanges they appear to have had with contacts at IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) and UPLB (University of the Philippines at Los Banos).

Barangay: Mamala I

Located in the municipality of Sariaya in Quezon Province, the barangay of Mamala 1 has a total population of 4,103 - approximately 390 families and 450 households. The main crops are vegetables (peanut, carrots, camote, cabbage and petchai), paddy, pineapples, coconuts and banana.

After explaining the purpose of the meetings, the team requested individual group meetings. However the president and secretary of the farmers association agreed only to small group meetings at which the secretary would always be present. The exchange of information during the first formal meeting was very poor and no real progress was made.

Thereafter, a most productive meeting and discussion took place with a farmer group in the barangay hall with about 15 farmers attending. The secretary of the farmer association, along with other members including several women, helped map the barangay. The following information emerged.

The discussions centred around the significant interventions of the last ten years on the most important crops as perceived by the farmers.

According to the farmers the land is mainly cultivated with vegetables followed by partially irrigated paddy of 35 hectares. The dark alluvial soils are rich in humus and therefore fertile. The crop that interests the farmers most is cabbage, which was introduced in 1970 by "Jack", a Peace Corps worker. It was the most successful crop over a long period of time. In 1983, the introduction of new varieties further increased its profitability. However, in 1989, increased input costs and decreasing output prices led to large losses. This also coincided with the outbreak of a major pest - the diamond back moth. Since 1989, the crop has been profitable only when pests are controlled and the market prices are good. In 1991 a new variety of cabbage called "Baguio" (the original name cannot be remembered by the farmers) was introduced by a trader who brought it from Baguio city. The initial supplier of the seeds has his own land in Mamala 1 and he cultivates it there.

Figure 9 Linkage map prepared with a farmer group in barangay Mamala 1

Another important vegetable is camote(sweet potato) which farmers have used traditionally. The only significant intervention was the introduction of chicken manure in 1985 which increased yields and profits. The manure is brought from outside, sometimes from as far as San Pablo City, a distance of 80 kilometres. In 1985 a new variety of sweet potato called Tarlac was introduced.

Mani(peanut) was introduced in 1988 by BPI (Bureau of Plant Industry). The variety presently being cultivated is referred to as "Bureau". A trader called Eddie brought it to the village. It is interesting that it is the same trader that introduced the cabbage variety called Baguio. Farmers like the crop and did not report any major problems of the cultivation.

The cultivation of carrot has had no major breakthroughs, except that since 1985 yields have increased with the use of chicken manure.

Farmers also attach significant importance to the cultivation of palay (paddy). The major varieties grown are C1 (1985, AT from UPLB) and C22,C4 (1985, farmers in other barangay), UPL (1990, Other farmers ) and C137 (1992, farmer named Alvarez from same barangay). Farmer Alvarez - who was present at the meeting - indicated that he got this from UPLB through a relative who worked at UPLB.

Farmers did not show an appreciable knowledge of the recommendations for paddy, except to indicate they used very little fertilizer. Often, the seed variety of a technical package has been adopted, but not the crop management practices associated with that variety. Yields are severely low. A major problem faced by the farmers growing paddy is water availability - the irrigation system is owned by one individual who does not want to share it.

The other crop of economic significance is coconut. The farmers indicated that there is no problem with the crop. No hybrids have been planted. The only technological innovation is the farmers' intensive intercropping. The concept was first introduced by a farmer, Rahim, who had seen it in Cavite, a distant municipality that is well known for its cultivation of a three-tier system of inter-cropping with coconuts. From then on the AT also brought further details as to the crop husbandry. The farmers have no special cultural or management practices for the crop. It is mainly looked on as a supplementary source of income.

A joint analysis of options and of opportunities enabled by a linkage map (refer to Figure 9)

While sitting around the final linkage map we asked the farmers to compare the services of the private farm contractor (who was introducing pineapple production by providing a package comprising credit, regular technical advice and an assured market) with the public sector technical assistant (AT). While they trust the latter, they suggested that the AT's service needed to resemble the private contractors'. We suggested that the contractors' price which they would be receiving in the future for their pineapples would in all likelihood be reduced by the cost of the advice - in other words, they would be paying for the advice. This generated an excited discussion, after which we asked whether one day they would be willing to subsidise the AT's service. The cautious answer was: yes, but conditional to the AT working for the communities' interests; and the payment calculated according to their real capacity to pay. The map became the language through which the villagers and the outsiders could understand each others' perspectives.

Analysis / conclusions

This particular case study provides an opportunity for the identification of a number of actors and linkages. One of the main actors identified was the agricultural technician (AT) who offers little technically, but is very useful in providing contacts and introducing outside sources. He is the most trusted, and the farmers have confidence in him. They expressed concerns that the technician was ill prepared with new technology. He is very useful in providing for government-sponsored programmes such as the supply of certified seed, (which incidentally was not completed). The AT has been more successful in helping the barangay establish a multipurpose cooperative.

Another important actor is the pineapple technician from a private farm contracting group. This technician is considered useful, since he provides technical knowledge, pamphlets, brochures and helps with bank loans for the cultivation. He visits very often, has a vehicle and is available when needed. He also looks after the marketing of the crop.

The other important actors are the private traders who provide seeds, fertilizer and chemicals and are regularly accessible. However, the farmers do not get much from the traders in terms of technical knowledge.

A lively discussion with the farmers as to their perception of the future provided significant insights. They are open for innovative ideas that will further enhance their agricultural information system. While the AT is at times helpful and trusted, they recognise that the AT is limited in effectiveness due to the facilities provided to him. They would like to have the AT as a well trained diagnoser of problems and a provider of information, similar to the private sector technicians.

When questioned as to whether the association would pay for the type of service they needed from the AT, they agreed - as long as the AT looked after all their requirements. Further, they agreed to the suggestion that when the association is further strengthened, they would consider the possibility of paying for one student from the barangay to study at UPLB and then return to be their AT. This barangay provided an opportunity to identify the complex nature of the farming systems and also the large number of actors that service them. The roles of the technicians (from the government and the private sectors), the traders and the individual market operators are most revealing. The depth of the analysis reached with the farmers on potential improvements to the functions of the AT is noteworthy.

Discussions at the municipality of Sanaya

In order to follow up on what happens at the municipal agricultural officer (MAO) level, discussions with all the technicians of the municipality were held at the municipal office in Sariaya. The MAO agreed with the findings as seen from the farmers' point of view. A simplified linkage map of the ATs' knowledge and communication system was produced with them. Their inability to feed field problems "up" the system to researchers was evident: their only link with researchers are the seminars, which take place once or twice a year, where they receive training on new technology.

The MAO's main concern was his inability to provide for the farmers, since the resources at his disposal had been significantly reduced with the transfer of extension services to municipal governments. Among the problems described: there were no funds for travel for the ATs, and the seed paddy promised to the farmers was not provided by the central government, (which confirms the farmers' assertion on the failure to deliver the seed).

As for the future, the AT's indicated that they felt inadequately trained to meet the problems facing them. They regarded themselves as generalists who are not trained to diagnose problems. A few felt they needed specialised training to become specialists in a particular programme and make them more effective. In any event one thing was clear, namely that the ATs were presently inadequately equipped to undertake the job they were supposed to do.

Discussions at the Lucena and Sariaya markets

As a follow up on some of the aspects identified by the farmers, the mission visited the markets at Lucena and Sariaya. The team focused on vegetable crops as this activity led to a vast number of actors which were easily accessible. At the Lucena market the team interviewed Eddie - a trader who was identified by the farmers. He markets vegetables at both the wholesale and retail levels.

The discussion with him revealed:

1. As a trader, he provides seeds and sometimes advice on cultivation, primarily of the cabbage crop;

2. He brings new seeds from Baguio when farmers need them;

3. He does not purchase the cabbage from Mamala 1 since it is sprayed with too much insecticide and has a bitter taste;

4. He himself cultivates land at Mamala 1, but his use of pesticide is low;

5. If he or other traders purchase cabbage from Mamala 1, they pay a lower price than for produce from Baguio, where he purchases 90 percent of the vegetables he sells at the market;

6. He sees little future for the cabbage crop in Mamala 1 due to the pest problem.

The team spoke with a number of traders in the Lucena market and observed:

1. They rarely purchase cabbage from Mamala 1 for the same reasons indicated by Eddie. If they do purchase it, they pay three to four pesos less per kilo than the Baguio cabbage;

2. The same situation is true regarding other vegetables from Mamala 1, such as carrots, which are considered to be more succulent. However, the Baguio ones are preferred as they have e longer keeping quality;

3. The most popular variety of paddy in the market is C4 DINURADO which also fetches a price of two to three pesos higher than all other varieties. The rice varieties sold at the market correspond to most of the varieties named by the farmers.

The team also visited the Sariaya market and met principally the trader who provides seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to the farmers in Mamala 1.

The following is a summary of the discussions:

1. Regarding cabbage, the trader is the main supplier of the KY variety of cabbage which is a high yielder. However six years ago his warehouse burned down and since then, he has not been able to obtain the same variety. Consequently he now provides other varieties based on his supply from Manila;

2. He provides a number of pesticides to farmers, but does not provide any technical information regarding their use. When new pesticides are introduced into the market by his dealers in Manila, he passes them on to the farmers. He had no brochures on pesticides to give out;

3. If the Mamala 1 farmers move away from cabbage, the trader will not be affected since he has a diversified portfolio of business activity. His main area of business is in providing livestock feed.

Analysis / conclusions

The experiences from both communities in the municipality provide adequate information to come to the following conclusions:

1. There is a gap in the farmers' need of information and its availability;

2. The ATs cannot meet all the needs of the farmers, even though they are trusted and can at times be useful providers of information;

3. The need for further studying the "Mamala 1 cabbage problem" is an interesting and important challenge to the research system;

4. If this type of problem identification and assessment of farmer needs had been undertaken before, the problems of the farmers in Mamala 1 would have surfaced earlier.


Municipality: Laurel

Field visits were conducted in barangays Gulod and Dugan, Laurel municipality, Batangas province, where 16 of the 21 communities are considered rural. Of the 24 000 people living in the municipality, only 10 percent are characterised as urban population. The total land area is around 7 000 hectares, with 73 hectares of irrigated lowland, 3 000 hectares each of coconuts and hill rice, and various other crops of lower importance.

Only the Irrigators' Association was interviewed, as no other formal group in the municipality was available. Further information was obtained from individual farmers selected at random, a dealer, traders at the market and officials at the municipal level.

The field work emphasised identifying linkages, changes in the crops grown, management practices, marketing arrangements, etc. It was beyond the scope and the possibilities of the exercise (time constraints, lack of farmer representation) to obtain a comprehensive picture of the communities' farming systems.

Very few active groups could be identified in the municipality. The women's RIC club and 4H-Club appear to have lost their importance with the DA reorganization and the removal of funds. The Irrigation Association manages and maintains the irrigation scheme which was constructed in 1986. Around 80 percent of farmers who have land in the irrigation scheme are members. Reasons for non-membership appear to be lack of interest of farmers and some cases in which the farmers did not cultivate their land themselves. Non-members have to pay the same fee for the amortisation of the scheme (3.1 million pesos over 45 years, which is paid in kind: 200 kilograms of paddy per hectare at harvest) and cannot benefit from a distribution of zinc-sulphate fertilizer channeled through the association. The paddy for the amortisation is stored in the association's warehouse and marketed. Payment is made to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) which has also provided a training course in financial management. The group seems to be dominated by former staff of DA: a retired municipal agricultural officer (MAO) and an agricultural technician (AT). No other group activities could be identified.

Paddy is the main crop in the irrigated areas. Since 1986, two paddy crops have been grown per year. The activities are carried out according to a cropping calendar designed with the assistance of the NIA.

The farmers prefer rice that is fluffy and soft when cooked, even when it cools off. The common varieties used are C-4 (63G) and IR-10 because of the quality of the rice. They have experimented with many other varieties (IR 42, 36, 72, 74, 64, 5 and 8) but rejected them all for this quality reason. The local market, where they sell their surplus, prefers the same "taste" characteristics. The dry season crop yields around 4.5 tons per hectare and the wet season 3.5 tons per hectare, both after deduction of 20 percent for harvesting and threshing. They receive the varieties as certified seeds from IRRI/UPLB through the contact of the former MAO. No fertilizer is applied in the nursery nor as basal application after transplanting. Farmers have been advised to use complete fertilizer (one bag per hectare) and urea (five bags per hectare) for the dry season crop, but they think it is too expensive and that the complete fertilizer is not appropriate for the sandy-loam type of soil. For the wet seasons they have been advised to use half doses, but it is not clear to what extent they follow the advice.

They commonly use pesticides against leaf roller. After zinc deficiency was identified, they applied zinc sulphate (16 kilos per hectare) when it was distributed free by the MAO. Even though they recognised the benefits of the application, nobody purchases this fertilizer privately.

Most of the produce is used for subsistence requirements. Rice production is considered secure, compared to cash crops that are dependent on fluctuating market prices.

Onions are the most important vegetable crop. They are cultivated, along with beans, chili, eggplants and garlic, between the rice crops. Very few changes have taken place in the selection of the varieties. In response to the market there was a shift to longer beans and from white to purple eggplant. The variety of onions was said to have been the same for the last 15 to 20 years. Only the local small bulb variety seems appropriate, because its growing period fits exactly between the two rice crops. The planting material is obtained from the province of Nueva Ecija, whose cultivation techniques they also copied. Direct seeding would not be possible between the rice crops, and the climate does not seem to be favourable for local production of planting material. The crop is fertilised three times with a mixture of urea and complete fertilizer. No pesticide application was reported. Pest problems (probably a fungus disease) occur in periods with windless humid nights and hot days. However, no action has been taken to find a solution.

Even though onions appear to be profitable, not many farmers were growing them. Besides the unsuitability of lower-lying areas, the required working capital (60 percent for planting material and 30 percent for labour) is the main limiting factor for the cultivation. Also the fluctuating prices probably prevent smaller farmers from taking the risk of investing in this crop.

For upland areas (typified by barangay Gulod which was also visited by the team) local rice varieties (Kinanda and Buluhan) have been used for a long Lime on the same fields. Shifting cultivation had to be terminated 30 years ago due to lack of land. Therefore, areas outside the municipality are also cultivated. Yield declines due to drought were mentioned for every other year, but no means of mitigating this problem had been sought, even though it was a major concern expressed by the farmers. For many years they have used fertilizer because yields started declining. Ammonium sulphate is the preferred fertilizer. It is cheaper than urea and its effects, the greening of leaves, are assumed to be better than urea. Pesticides are applied against leaf roller after the identification of the pest. Rice is stored in plastic and jute bags without any treatment but no major losses were mentioned. Crop management practices were said to be copied from the lowlands.

Banana lost its importance because of an unknown disease which appeared around ten years ago and weakened the plant considerably The farmers requested advice on a solution, but the crop was somehow abandoned and replaced by horseradish, which has the advantage of continuous harvesting of leaves and roots. Horseradish was characterised as a good cash crop and no desire was expressed to move back to banana. It could not be determined exactly when horseradish was introduced, nor whether this was related to the problems with banana. The team was told that a farmer in a neighbouring village had cultivated it and had supplied the planting material. No indication could be found of the involvement of government services.

Coconut covers around 40 percent of the agricultural area of the municipality. Mostly, it is intercropped with maize, cassava, horseradish, mango or others, depending on spacing and age. Replanting is done with the nuts of good trees. Varieties from outside are rarely used. Dwarf varieties have been tested on a small scale but do not convince the farmers. Crop management is at a very low level. Fertilizer is applied if received free from the Philippines Coconut Authority. It was assumed that the palms would obtain sufficient nutrients through the fertilisation of the inter crops. Furthermore, one farmer feared that coconut palms would become addicted to fertilizer and not grow without it afterwards. In addition to the low requirements for labour and capital, the regular income from harvests in 45-day intervals was mentioned as an advantage.


The contact with the MAO and the ATs appears to be relatively erratic and their advice was neither sought nor appreciated.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) staff considers the area too large to cover, considering the lack of transport and allowances. The DA staff tasks are: follow-up of the livestock distribution programme, collection of agricultural loan repayments, preparation of statistics and carrying out the national programme. The national programme defines drought and soil erosion as main problems for the area and prescribes contour planting and plantation of trees as solutions. The DA staff is aware that this is either already practiced by the farmers (contour cultivation) or not very relevant. The MAO claimed that he organises three to four annual meetings of the farmer leaders and one demonstration of ~ new variety is conducted at the highway. However no other potential improvement of the agricultural production could be suggested by the MAO.

Recently a local radio unit was established in the municipality (by the Tambuli Project, DANIDA/ UNESCO). It is appreciated by the farmers for the local gossip and information, but still is not an effective source of agricultural information. It broadcasts daily from 8 to 12 am, a time when most farmers have to work in their fields. Further technical information is sought from UPLB and PCARRI) without any adaptation to the local conditions or involvement of the local population in the selection or preparation of the subjects.

As already mentioned, the brief field work reported here cannot offer definitive conclusions; it can only give indications of developments and possible entry points for improvements.

Generally agriculture does not appear to be very dynamic in the municipality. Relatively recent changes were new varieties in paddy, beans and eggplants, and the introduction of horseradish as a new crop. The reaction to recurring problems in certain crops has been simply the change to another crop without any active search for alternative possible solutions. Problems were discussed neither with the DA staff nor with private traders or input suppliers. It cannot be assessed to what extent this is a result of past experience.

Many reasons could have influenced this rather passive attitude. Many families have relatives who are living in Manila or elsewhere, and it was reported that support could be expected when needed. Land is mostly rented from landlords who receive 20 to 25 percent, and land is cultivated without any legal entitlement - two major deterrents to making investments in land or intensifying production. Also the unfavourable infrastructure and the absence of effective agricultural support services probably play a role.

From an agronomic point of view many, entry points for improvement of agriculture could be found. On the other hand it appeared rather improbable that an active participation of the people in this process could be achieved in the short term.

Barangay: Pinagdanlayan

Team 2 did an additional site test in the municipality of Dolores, in order to test the tools used by Team 1 in a different site on a one-day field visit. The following summarises the findings from this additional site. After only one day in the barangay of Pinagdanlayan (municipality of Dolores) sweet potato was selected as its the priority problem. The upland farming systems has focused for the last ten years on its production as an annual crop, and banana, coffee and coconut as perennial crops. Sweet potato production has faced great difficulties in the last two to three years due to pest infestation and increasingly production has shifted towards taro and back to nce. Even though the farmers suffer Mom the yield declines of sweet potato, it is apparently not entirely substituted; there is always the hope that the next harvest will go back to normal. The people encountered from the cooperative, farmers' union and the women's Rural Improvement Club, characterised their linkages to the MAO and ATs as good, and appreciated their effort. However, the former DA staff could not solve the sweet potato problems and could not provide answers to their questions concerning pigs, banana and coffee.

Contrasting outcomes from field work at barangay/municipal levels

As the above sections show, the two study teams comprising this study experienced different results. A number of conditions were identified which may explain these contrasting outcomes:

Communication networks are more developed in better-off communities. It would appear from the maps prepared that the relatively better-off barangays (for example, Mamala 1) enjoy a more developed agricultural knowledge and communication system than the poorer sites, such as Laurel and one sitio in Guisguis. The mapping exercise was more rewarding in the former where there is more to discover, map and analyse with the farmers. The common language the enhances a form of discussion in which the farmers themselves propose alternative solutions to problems. There was little to map in Laurel as the evolution of the farming system over the last ten years appeared to be minimal, especially with the fisherfolk in Guisguis who were facing a desperate situation. However, regardless of the resource endowment and predicament, it must be said that all farmers were open to the approach. They were very willing and able to identify constraints and search for solutions.

When small groups of farmers were convened in a relaxed manner around a table, the mapping exercise and the subsequent analysis were rewarding. Convening farmers for such an event is the key to success. In addition, gathering different organized groups and groups from different sitios within the barangay, allows a certain degree of verification of the patterns of networking and power relationships. Knowing who one has talked to is important in gauging the biases in the information provided; in future, a stratification of socio-economic groups should be done before a linkage map is produced.

The tools of PRA proved useful in handing control of the diagnosis to the farmer groups. Both teams witnessed the difficulty of interpreting loose information from different people in a gathering when there was no common structure or sequence of steps. The sequence of steps described earlier proved very effective in at least two communities. Otherwise, when the sequence was not followed, it was not possible to produce a linkage map.

The farmers met were able to express their main problems. There seems to be no need for further improvement of their linkages or their awareness. In the short time of the visit it could not be verified whether this applies also to the majority of the inhabitants who are not organised in the above mentioned groups. Also, it was not possible to meet the MAO and the ATs to learn why their advice is often inappropriate for the farmers' problems (are they just disseminating the national programme, are they not able to correctly assess farmers' problems or do they have no access to relevant research results?). This has to be clarified before specific recommendations can be given. A continuation of the linkage analysis would help reveal the roles of the other actors in the barangay - other formal or informal farmers' groups, the Department of Agrarian Reform, IRRI, the private sector - and assess their potential involvement in development activities. However, it can be stated that the formal groups encountered would probably participate actively in a further diagnosis of their problems, which is more than what could be identified in Laurel municipality.


As indicated in chapter 3, the last step of the approach is the analysis of the linkages. While the approach proved to be useful in identifying linkages in several of the sites visited, the analysis of the major linkages is just as important because it may guide policy decisions aimed at poverty oriented agricultural research, development and extension. Several criteria were chosen for the analysis of linkage performance. These criteria are meant to provide guidelines for the assessment of linkages in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness as channels of communication for rural development:

While the first four criteria are very much influenced by the last one, they are not entirely shaped by it. Take the example of the linkage between the private farm contractor and the farmers of barangay Mamala 1: the linkage was initiated and controlled by the contractor, yet their visits are timely and regular and the outcome of the linkage was perceived by the farmers as very promising. In fact the linkage is to some extent controlled jointly through a commercial contractual agreement which established a set of commitments and responsibilities. Linkage control is a very influential factor in the linkages between farmers and ATs, and between ATs and researchers. A pattern of topdown control establishes a unidirectional flow of information from research to AT to farmers with few opportunities for ATs to feed problems up from farmers to researchers.

The following matrices refer to the linkages described in the map for Mamala 1 and the municipality of Sariaya (Figure 9). Considering the large number of linkages mapped, only a selection of those where both actors involved were interviewed are analysed systematically in this section. The last column, "Remarks", constitutes a qualitative and narrative assessment of each linkage performance.


Agricultural Technician --> DA Researcher AT aware that R has expertise Limited, as it is based on R's research programme AT meets R when R offers training seminars Irregular, 2-3 times per year Seminars (a traditional lecture approach which the AT then repeats with the farmers) AT has no control The linkage is predominantly a one-way transfer of research results
DA Researcher --> Agricultural Technician
Linkage outcome: ineffective transfer of research results; no feedback up the system of farmer concerns)feedback up the system of farmer concerns)
R depends on AT for dissemination of research results AT does not provide inputs into R's work, rather R hands down DAprogrammes to AT (as above) (as above) (as above) R controls when/how linkage takes place with ATs

AT lacks prestige and his/her feedback on technology's performance is not part of the aim of the linkage. While exceptions exist, the AT is not expected to "feed-up" farmers concerns to challenge researchers






(linkage outcome: seed variety exchange)

Empathy; sharing same predicament



Regular contact

Fully accessible


Oral; demonstration


Equally shared by both actors


Effective link between two actors who share same reality: a linkage with unexploited potential


Farmer --> AT: agricultural technician (Extension worker)


F aware that AT's function is not open to his influence; aware that AT lacks expertise in most topics


F has experimented but rejected the recommendation.; the service is therefore considered to be of limited relevance

F received information/advice without timely supply of technology or inputs. At times these become available one year later




F describes AT's message delivery as traditional and top-down (black-board lecturer) without printed materials


F has no control


Very little impact in terms of technology transfer. Sometimes useful impact in enhancing F's organization

AT: agricultural technician (Extension worker) --> Farmer

(Linkage outcome: Limited dissemination of technology; some support to F organization)

AT only partially aware of F's strengths and needs


AT does not perceive F's knowledge as worthy; AT has no training to diagnose/assess needs with the participation of F


AT plans visits as per instruction and schedules agreed with the M.A.O. AT has 6-7 barangays to visit and lacks funds for travel


AT's access to farmer is irregular


AT lectures but does not diagnose or learn from F


AT controls, although under directives handed down from M.A.O. (institutional control)


(As above)

















Farmer --> UPLB University

(linkage outcome: information/advice obtained from specialists in plant protection)

F aware of University's expertise

Highly relevant to F's needs as he/she decides what advice is needed

decides what advice is needed

F decides when to go to seek advice

Limited, all cost borne by F

F travels to University to seek advice

F initiates

A symptom of lack of relevance of other institutionalized linkages for dissemination of agric. information


Farmer --> Produce trader

Farmer aware of T's commercial interest

F reluctantly accepts prices and seed varieties brought in

F approaches T when harvesting or when in need of cash

F awaits T to come

Interpersonal communication

F rarely exercises any control (except when organized as a coop.)

Trader decides on price info. and on seed varieties to introduce)

Produce trader --> Farmer

(linkage outcome: price info. often distorted; new seed variety)


T aware of F's limited access to markets and info.

T links with/ chooses F on basis of commercial potential of his produce

T approaches F regularly as long as there is a regular profitable market for his produce

T travels to many farms/ markets at times in other regions

(as above)

Trader- copntrolled

F plays a passive role















Farmer --> "TPM" private farm contractor group


F aware of TPM commercial interest; F appreciates the TPM's resources invested in the linkage (without understanding where thehidden costs are)

F considers TPM's proposal very promising

Regular, following crop growing cycle

F able to access TPM package as it includes credit + marketing

Interpersonal communication

F control limited to negotiating terms of contract


F is very optimistic about economic prospect and not aware/concerned with risk

"TPM" private farm contractor group --> Farmer

(linkage outcome: pineapple contract production)

TPM aware of F's needs for economically viable attention

TPM chooses farms with the necessary conditions to guarantee production

(as above)

TPM has means of transportation for regular visits to F

Good quality brochures in tagalog; business-like negotiation

TPM-initiated + controlled via contractual agreement, terms set by TPM


TPM relationship with F considerably superior to AT as it includes credit + market commitments and regular visits

Farmer --> Input Supplier in market place


Farmer aware that IS has potential solutions to his problem

F ignores the criteria by which IS recom mends inputs

F goes to IS when required by crop cycle

F returns to lS regularly notwithstanding limited results of his recomm-endations because he lacks an alternative source of information

F goes to IS who is in marketplace

Misleading/ inaccurate info. tthrough interpersonal communication

F controls time but not content


A linkage with potential improvement with provision of relevant info. (e.g. DA publications or pesticides and plant production)

Input Supplier in market place --> Farmer

(Linkage outcome: pesticide and fertilizer recommendation for sale)

IS aware that F has unmet info. needs

For IS, the F is merely a client

IS recommends products without full technical knowledge

IS unable to diagnose the cause of the client's pest problems

(as above)

(as above)

IS often receives products brochures from suppliers, but often lacks technical knowledge to interpret

IS-controlled in terms of his alleged expertise on the basis of which products are recommended IS's role is key and yet no research info. seems to reach him

Public + private sector could easily agree to enhance the role + performance of this linkage


The conclusions specific to the sites have two dimensions: the matrix column "Remarks" provides an assessment of the linkage performance; secondly, several researchable problems specific to each farming system were also identified during the exercise. These "entry points" are very useful outputs of the approach.

Mamala 1 (example from team 1)

The barangay of Mamala 1 in Sariaya municipality showed the most dynamic farming systems and the most developed linkages. The farmers have been involved in vegetable production since its introduction in 1975 by a Peace Corps volunteer. In addition to their continuous and less successful struggle against insect pests in cabbages, they see a future in the approach of the pineapple contractor/ extension agent, who visits them frequently and provides them with credit from the bank, well-presented technical advice, and a guaranteed market. Therefore, the farmers were able to specifically define how they would like the MAO and ATs to perform. In spite of all technical shortcomings, the farmers clearly pointed out the advantages of the MAO and ATs: they do not have a vested interest and are therefore the most trustworthy of all the actors.

Hence the conditions are very favourable for testing the approach whereby technicians acquire the new role of brokers of information or become problem solvers for farmers, rather than disseminators of national programmes. The farmers also expressed their general willingness to pay, within their means, for services they receive, if these really suit their needs. Another supporting factor in the municipality is the ATs and MAO staff who are frank about their limited assistance to the farmers and can identify some of the reasons. It can be assumed that they would be cooperative for a further test of the approach.

The continuous problems with cabbage production and marketing would be a suitable entry point in the barangay. In future sessions the problem should be further investigated. It would be an advantage to involve not only the MAO and ATs but also pesticide suppliers, pest-management researchers and traders in the process, who would all play an important role in solving the problem. In Mamala 1, farmers already have more frequent contacts with input suppliers and traders, and their capacity and willingness to express their problems and needs appear much greater.

Laurel (example from team 2)

Agriculture appears to be generally on a relatively low level of intensity. Few changes in production patterns have occurred during recent years. Contacts between farmers exist, as well as with neighbouring communities, but there are rarely exchanges of experience concerning agricultural production. Input dealers and purchasers of produce were not reported to provide any technical or managerial advice. The MAO and the ATs were not described as very effective for the improvement of production. It was assumed that they do not have much knowledge relevant to farmers' problems, and their advice was not really appreciated.

Various agricultural problem areas could be identified in barangays Bugaan East, Poblacion 3 and Gulod in Laurel municipality, which deserve research attention. Among others are:

None of the above mentioned agronomic problems have been reported as very important, nor have any measures been taken to resolve them. Hence it is not known to what extent farmers are motivated and willing to collaborate in a more specific analysis of these, or other problems. However, their participation is absolutely necessary to find appropriate solutions for the problems. Therefore any further outreach activities should begin by raising their interest and capacity to analyse their own situations, identify their priority problems and express their most important needs.

Even though the MAO and ATs are aware that their assistance is not sufficient for the farmers, they do no have any vision of how the situation could be improved (beyond the traditional increase of resources). Therefore the municipal technicians (former DA staff have to be prepared mentally for a new role, moving from disseminators of national programmes towards more advisory positions, diagnosing the problems and finding solutions in cooperation with the other actors. By participating in the linkage analysis the municipal staff should be made aware of the agricultural knowledge and information system of the communities, and also understand the farmers as decision makers within their priorities and possibilities. Further training is necessary to strengthen their diagnostic skills and their capability to communicate identified problems to the research institutions and other relevant actors.

Generally the preconditions are not optimal in Laurel municipality. Not only is there limited awareness and initiative on the sides of farmers and DA staff, but also the private sector does not appear to be very active in the municipality with regard to providing information or innovation.


Interviews held with actors at the provincial and regional level were mostly with officials from agencies belonging to the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Science and Technology. A group interview was held with representatives of the PCARRD's consortium in Region 4: the Southern Tagalog Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium, (STARRDEC).

The steps of the approach in these interviews were less structured than those with the farmers. The team tried to use a matrix for identifying and analysing inter-institutional linkages; however the results were disappointing both at the provincial level and at the regional consortium level. Because of a climate of institutional reform, many government officials were not able to provide substantial inputs because the new linkage mechanisms were not yet in place. They could only cite existing and proposed administrative orders to effect the linkages. In addition, they felt understandably uneasy about the exercise as they did not know the background nor the scope of the study.

Most information gathered referred to official protocol: contractual agreements and letters of understanding which enable different department to collaborate. Less information was available on the nature of the exchanges which take place as a result of these agreements. Moreover, the Local Government Code is a central concern to all, as the rules and patterns of control have shifted substantially. The newly-acquired power of the local government units (be they provincial governors or municipal mayors) has left many departments at a loss in terms of how to implement national programmes. The lack of a line of authority all the way down to the farmer was mentioned as a concern.

A subsequent additional study was implemented by a national consultant at the beginning of 1994 to gather additional information on the nature of institutional linkages at the regional and national level. In particular, the newly proposed Integrated System for Agriculture Technology Generation and Transfer (ISATGaT) will undoubtedly need to address a new set of institutional linkages among the national, provincial and regional levels of analysis.

This review was unable to document in a systematic manner the linkages at the regional and national level, but was successful in identifying them at the barangay/municipal level. The policy framework at the national and regional levels is undergoing a swift change. The new act will need to be operationalized and linked from the national to the local level in light of the Local Government Code.

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