| Resource management for upland areas in Southeast Asia - An information kit |
This technical information kit is designed for use by agriculture and forestry trainers, extension subject-matter specialists and government agencies and NGOs focusing on agriculture and natural resource management in the uplands of Southeast Asia. The material draws on a range of experiences from institutions and individuals in the region.
No collection of material can claim to be perfect or comprehensive and this effort makes no such claim. However, the materials presented lend themselves to adaptations for specific user groups, languages, local media and purposes. The ideas and experiences presented in each of the topics emphasize principles, approaches and methods, not detailed technologies.
The topics presented in the kit are based on a systems approach to analysis of key resource management concerns in upland communities of Southeast Asia. The systems approach is applied in the design and development of appropriate program interventions. This approach acknowledges that farm households are systems experts and that their local knowledge, needs and experiences must become the basis for program development.
The kit is divided into six chapters (plus appendices), with several topics presented in each chapter. Many topics are interrelated or overlap, this is a deliberate attempt to highlight key messages. Chapter 1 outlines several important concerns confronting upland communities of the region and attempts to summarize some strategies which may be widely applied. Chapter 2 describes and analyzes examples of upland farming and natural resource management practices and systems from Southeast Asia. Chapter 3 briefly describes a range of soil and water conservation methods used in Southeast Asia, their advantages and limitations and factors affecting their adoption.
Chapter 4 presents a range of diagnostic methods and tools for appraising and assessing human, natural and financial resources available for use by upland households and communities.
Chapter 5 discusses the importance of support services (e.g., extension, research, marketing and rural enterprise development) which can (1) increase the effectiveness of upland systems when present, or (2) limit the sustainability of the systems when absent.
How the material can be used
· As a reference material and a 'menu of options'' to use in developing program strategies and designing interventions
· As a training material for agriculture/forestry extension personnel
· As an English-language prototype that can be translated, adapted and revised for each country of the region.
Chapter 6 presents several methods for evaluating and measuring the impact of upland development programs. Financial, biophysical, social and sustainability indicators are discussed and analyzed. The appendices compile additional resource information, glossaries and detailed information about the workshop participants and their institutions.
Example of how four topics in the kit can be used in a logical sequence. Outputs from one topic can be treated as inputs into the next. However, the same four topics may be used alone or in a different order if the situation requires.
The various chapters present a "basket" of program strategies; they are not intended to represent a "blueprint,, approach. Each of the strategies will be appropriate and relevant based on the local circumstances. However, many of the strategies represented as topics can be used in a logical programming sequence.
Much of the material in the kit focuses on the development and implementation of upland farming systems using a natural resource management strategy. Within these topics, a distinction is made between agroforestry "systems" and soil and water conservation "practices,,' recognizing that many of the "systems', combine several "practices,,, therefore involving some degree of overlap. However the agroforestry systems information (Chapter 2) focuses more on the tree-crop interactions, while the practices information (Chapter 3) focuses more on component technologies and how they might be integrated into existing systems.
It is extremely difficult transfer whole systems from one area to another without some degree of adaptation. Equally unsuccessful have been attempts, over the years, to train extension personnel to extend an entire farming system. A more appropriate strategy is the development and promotion of systems components which allow flexibility to farm households to mix-and-match components most relevant to their particular resource base and needs.
The format of the kit was chosen by the workshop participants based on the advantages that it offers: (1) it is large enough to be clear and easy to use; (2) the standard size allows for easy photocopying and sharing Given that the contents of many topics are interrelated, crossreferences are given when appropriate; for instance, see Levels of decision-making.
This material can be evaluated in various ways. Examples include:
· Monitoring the adaptation, use and distribution within the AsiaPacific Agroforestry Network and other networks and partners
· Using a formal evaluation survey, which could be initiated before country-level adaptations are undertaken
· Obtaining feedback from users of the kit.
On the last day of the two-week workshop, the participants discussed and developed follow-up action plans. Some of the key elements of those plans are presented below:
· In Indonesia, the materials will be used for training and extension (with some adaptation) by government agricultural offices and agricultural polytechnics and universities.
· In Vietnam, the materials will be used to provide a general framework for upland area development projects, with a focus on the learning, planning, and monitoring and evaluation aspects of program implementation.
· There was interest to translate and adapt the materials by several of the country groups, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Additionally, both the China and Vietnam groups made requests to receive diskette copies of the publication in order to facilitate translation and adaptation.
· All the country groups discussed the distribution of the kit to strategic institutions or individuals within their respective countries.
· In the Philippines, a national consultation for a training-of-trainers was conceptualized in order to assess how the material could be used by existing trainers within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, local government units and NGOs. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-—Integrated Social Forestry Program was specifically mentioned as a potential user of the material.