|Abstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ, 1992, 423 p.)|
|Abstracts on farming systems research and development|
J. of Sustainable Agriculture, 2, (1), 1991, pp. 103-118
This paper adopts the approach to increase agricultural production in order to supply growing food requirements.
Over the past 20 years a rapid adoption process of agricultural technology has taken place in the Jiftlik Valley, west of the Jordan
River in Israel.
This case study covers close to two decades of development from the end of the 1960s until the mid-1980s. During that relatively short period the traditional agriculture of the region underwent a dramatic change as a direct result of the introduction of a new agricultural technology based on drip irrigation. Increased yields, and the corresponding increase in farmers' incomes have resulted in capital accumulation and further development; in this sense the technology has played a key role in upgrading the lifestyle of the local population.
Vegetable production has increased more than tenfold and net income of most of the farmers has increased by an even greater factor, thanks to the improved quality of the produce. This dramatic change can be attributed to the innovativeness and full participation of the farmers.
At the start of the technology transfer process the study population was characterized by two socio-economic features: a traditional but stable social structure, and the existence of a continuous market demand for the high-value crops it produced.
Against this background the main elements contributing to the development were:
- suitable agricultural technology;
- the physical support system, e.g., credit and infrastructure;
- a balance of privately and publicly supplied extension services; and
- backing in the form of appropriate intervention by the government.
The overall objective was to replace the traditional technology by an appropriate modern one, as a package of techniques. Accordingly, the following components were introduced:
- Earth-built water ponds to enable provision of the water supply according to crop needs, independently of the traditional allocation based on water rights.
- Drip irrigation system including all of its peripheral components.
- Seeds (usually hybrid varieties) and seedlings.
- Plastic sheeting (used for mulching, low tunnels, etc.).
- Chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, etc.).
The Valley population has enjoyed a stable social structure for decades.
The traditional collaboration between landlord and farmers has not been altered during the period of adoption of the new technology.
The main lesson to be learned is that accelerating technology transfer to a farming community - as opposed to a step-by-step approach - is a viable option; this without the prior development of a complete infrastructure comprising all of the required "software" and "hardware".
The ATTA approach (Advanced Technologies in Traditional Agriculture) may therefore offer an economically and socially acceptable way to overcome shortages of relatively high-value food crops in the growing metropolitan centers of developing countries.
A stable social structure is an important factor. In assessing the sociocultural elements that may affect the introduction of an advanced technology.
Farmers' participation and organization are extremely important for successful, and rapid technology transfer. At the outset, participation requires initiative on the part of the farmers, and their involvement will increase as their confidence builds up.
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Farming systems research and development
Review, book, projects, people, participation, experience, key
elements, development, ILO