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On-farm evaluation of soil and water conservation practices on hillsides in Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras

by Sims, B.G; Ellis Jones, J; Uresti, J; Francisco N, N.
Publisher: 1996ISSN: 0084-5841.Subject(s): VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES | GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM | CAJANUS CAJAN | PENNISETUM | CONSERVACION DE SUELOS | CONSERVACION DE AGUAS | EXPERIMENTACION EN CAMPO | TERRENO EN DECLIVE | EXPLOTACION EN PEQUEÑA ESCALA | ROMPEVIENTO | MUCUNA | COBERTURA VERDE | LABRANZA | ARADOS | MEXICO | NICARAGUA | HONDURAS | VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES | GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM | CAJANUS CAJAN | PENNISETUM | SOIL CONSERVATION | WATER CONSERVATION | FIELD EXPERIMENTATION | SLOPING LAND | SMALL FARMS | WINDBREAKS | MUCUNA | LIVE MULCHES | TILLAGE | PLOUGHS | MEXICO | NICARAGUA | HONDURAS | VETIVERIA ZIZANIOIDES | GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM | CAJANUS CAJAN | PENNISETUM | CONSERVATION DES SOLS | CONSERVATION DE L'EAU | EXPERIMENTATION AU CHAMP | TERRE EN PENTE | PETITE EXPLOITATION AGRICOLE | BRISE VENT | MUCUNA | MULCH VIVANT | TRAVAIL DU SOL | CHARRUE | MEXIQUE | NICARAGUA | HONDURAS In: AMA (Japón) v. 27(2) p. 18-24Summary: The paper describes a three year collaborative project involving small-farm technology oriented research groups in Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras. The project focused on hill-farming communities in the three countries from 1990 to 1993 and followed a methodical process approach, starting with exploratory surveys involving informal farmer interviews and collection on secondary information. Subsequent stages included: hypothesis formulation; formal surveys; selection of representative collaborating farmers; technology selection and on-farm evaluation. An analysis of the farming systems identified soil and water conservation as an important technical concern amongst farmers. A major constraint experienced by all the farmers was scarcity of capital and also of labour at critical times of the year. Therefore, in the process of the selection of technologies to alleviate the technical problems, due attention had to be given to reducing the requirements for these two production factor to a minimum. To enhance the probability of successful adoption, techniques adopted by farmers in other parts of the world were assessed an discussed as options before resorting to technology development. The principal successful technologies assessed were: live contour-barriers (of vetiver grass [Vetiveria zizanioides]; Gliricidia sepiun; pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan]; Pennisetum spp. grasses; leguminous cover cropping with velvet bean (Mucuna spp); single equine-powered chisel-plough. All were subjected to on-farm technical and economic evaluation with the full participation of collaborating farmers.
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The paper describes a three year collaborative project involving small-farm technology oriented research groups in Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras. The project focused on hill-farming communities in the three countries from 1990 to 1993 and followed a methodical process approach, starting with exploratory surveys involving informal farmer interviews and collection on secondary information. Subsequent stages included: hypothesis formulation; formal surveys; selection of representative collaborating farmers; technology selection and on-farm evaluation. An analysis of the farming systems identified soil and water conservation as an important technical concern amongst farmers. A major constraint experienced by all the farmers was scarcity of capital and also of labour at critical times of the year. Therefore, in the process of the selection of technologies to alleviate the technical problems, due attention had to be given to reducing the requirements for these two production factor to a minimum. To enhance the probability of successful adoption, techniques adopted by farmers in other parts of the world were assessed an discussed as options before resorting to technology development. The principal successful technologies assessed were: live contour-barriers (of vetiver grass [Vetiveria zizanioides]; Gliricidia sepiun; pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan]; Pennisetum spp. grasses; leguminous cover cropping with velvet bean (Mucuna spp); single equine-powered chisel-plough. All were subjected to on-farm technical and economic evaluation with the full participation of collaborating farmers.

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