Creating an agricultural economics department and a multiple cropping program at CENTA in El Salvador
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Title: Creating an agricultural economics department and a multiple cropping program at CENTA in El Salvador
Physical Description: Memoir
Creator: Hildebrand, Peter E.
Abstract: 1972-1974 on the University of Florida contract
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Peter E. Hildebrand.
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1 Creating an Agricultural Economics Department and a Multiple Cropping Program at CENTA in El Salvador: Two years on the University of Florida contract 1972 1974 Peter E. Hildebrand Professor Emeritus Food and Resource Economics, and Interdisciplinary Ecology Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida


2 I n early 1972, t he University of Nebraska contract on which I was working in Colombia was coming to an end and the end of my four year tour in Colombia (2 in Bogot and 2 in Cali ) was approaching so I had begun looking around for something else. My interests still were very much in the international sphere, both because of the money and because we really enjoyed the life style. I also felt I wa s good at doing what I did. At an American Agricultural Economics Association annual meeting in the U.S. I ran into Ken Tefertiller who had been with me at Texas A & M University. He was now Head of the Food and Resource Economics Department at the Unive rsity of Florida. The university had a technical assistance contract with US AID in El Salvador and he was looking for someone to start an agricultural economics department for the national agricultural research and extension service, CENTA, of that countr y. We talked about it and made arrangements for me to go to El Salvador to look over the situation and for them to look me over. Besides the stated job description the person was also supposed to work with the Ministry of Agriculture on a proposal for a n agricultural sector loan to the government of El Salvador. Partly because I had done both of the things they needed from the position they were glad to get me and I decided to take the job. I arrived in El Salvador on April 6, 1972, found a house in Esc aln, a very nice neighborhood and started out by working in the Ministry of Agriculture and USAID on a loan application for CENTA. Although it delayed my getting on with the job of creating an agricultural economics department for CENTA, in the long run it turned out to be very useful for me. I was working at the top levels of the Ministry and became well acquainted with the Minister himself as well as the sub secretary with whom I worked directly, the Director General of CENTA with whom I would work in the future, and the Director of the National Agricultural School (ENA). The vehicle that the AID mission had told me they were


3 ordering when I was in El Salvador on a TDY a few months earlier to look over the job and for them to look me over had not yet arrived. This did not matter too much because most of my work at the time was in San Salvador and the AID Mission transportation pool as well as the ministry pool worked well when I needed transportation around town I worked full time on the sector lo an from April 10 to May 25. On th e day the loan application was sent to Washington my work to create an agricultural economics department at CENTA started. Even though the agricultural economics department was to be for CENTA, there was no office space a vailable at the CENTA headquarters compound in Santa Ana so we set up shop in the Ministry in the Department of Farm Management in their Direccin General de Econom a Agropecuaria y Planificacin ( DGEAP Agricultural Economics and Planning). At first this worked fairly well because the Director General of DGEAP was himself a farmer and knew CENTA and what that organization was supposed to do. I had a counterpart (Eduardo Pea) who had an Ingeniero Agr nomo degree, two other sub professionals (agr nomos) a nd a secretary, all in the employ of the Ministry rather than CENTA. We each had a desk and supplies and the secretary had a typewriter, but that was the limit of our resources. The ministry was always short of vehicles so whenever we wanted to make the 20 minute trip to the Santa Ana headquarters or the 40 minute trip to the experiment station we h ad to borrow a vehicle from the AID motor pool. By this time I suspected AID had not even bothered to order my vehicle even though they told me when I was there before that they would order it immediately ( We have just been waiting to see what kind of ve hicle you wanted they told me at the time!) and after I arrived they continued to say it would be in any day! I later found out that AID not only had not ordered it, they never had any intention of ordering it! I tried to get help from the University o f Florida (both our Chief of Party in El Salvador and the Office of International Programs in Gainesville), but to no avail. I also bugged the USAID Agricultural Development Officer, Harlan Davis, unmercifully about it, but also to no avail. One of the c onditions I had earlier put on agreeing to go to El Salvador was to make sure I


4 had a four wheel drive vehicle available for my use in the field I knew the necessity of this from my earlier experiences and because I knew we would be working on farms much of the time. The AID/Embassy motor pool works for what embassy staff think of as field trips to other embassies or ministries in town. It doesn t work for real fieldwork, particularly on a daily basis. The National Agricultural School (ENA) was across from the experiment station, well beyond Santa Ana. It was functioning somewhat on the model of Zamorano in Honduras so students spent half a day working in the fields and with the livestock and the other half in classes. The school had a budget for fertilizer and seed and they had farm tools available. We had none of these things. I decided that a good way to get my agricultural economics group into research was to undertake a relatively simple fertilizer trial so talked with the Head of Horticulture at the school, Alexander Aguiluz, who agreed to work with us. He supplied students (who also therefore received research experience), seed, fertilizer and other chemicals, plus water for irrigation when necessary. We supplied the experimental design, some labor (the four of us worked in the field when we could) and analysis of the data. This proved to be a good and lasting marriage that functioned all the time I was in El Salvador. Although we wer e housed in the Ministry and working with the school, CENTA was interested in what we were doing and we began attending regular meetings at CENTA. However, we were not really yet part of CENTA. During the first month I was workin g with CENTA, but still housed in the Ministry, I discovered a real dearth of data. Because corn (maize) was one of the most important food crops we first set up a record keeping project of corn demonstration plots in 17 extension agencies (about 70 separ ate demonstrations). We also initiated a project to obtain farm level prices of basic grains in cooperation with the marketing department of the Ministry (another department in the DGEAP). There was a two year lag in the processing of experimental data at CENTA. Part of the problem was the process of sending all data to the statistics section for analysis (on calculators) and part


5 was the lack of any computer capability in that section. I requested several computer programs from the University of Florida to use on the IBM 360 computer in San Salvador to help alleviate the problem and to be ready to process the results of our own experiments as soon as we had the data. Chris Andrew brought these down on his first trip. Chris, a former student of mine at Colorado State University and good friend, had been with the University of Florida program in Costa Rica after getting his PhD and then moved back into Food and Resource Economics at UF. He was the person I most often communicated with in the home office During this first month we also finished the translation of the applied methodology book that Chris and I had written in Colombia (Planning and Conducting Applied Agricultural Research) It was published in Spanish by CENTA (Planificacin y Ejecucin de la Investigacin Aplicada) and was important in training of CENTA personnel. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080893/00001 Much of the activity mentioned in the previous paragraph came from my first monthly repo rt (basically June, 1972 -part of the official report from El Salvador to Gainesville from January through June, 1972). As I read over the report it seemed like a lot to get accomplished in such a short period of time (just over one month). Upon reflec ting on this I guess it is due to a number of factors including: 1) the work discipline and administrative experience gained with Tipton and Kalmbach and the West Pakistan Water and Power Authority in Pakistan (1964 66 ) 2) my inside knowledge of USAID gai ned from my year with them in Bogot (1967) 3 ) my facility with Spanish gained over the four years I worked with ICA in Colombia (1968 72) 4 ) the experience with agronomic research and with extension activities with ICA in Palmira (1970 72) and 5) my personal acquaintance with Ministry and CENTA administrators in El Salvador. We initiated a fertilizer study of six horticultural crops at the school in June. It was completed, the data analyzed and a draft of the report was near ly finished before the end of the year. This compares with the two year lag between experiment and report that had been the norm for agricultural research in El Salvador in the agency that was there prior to the establishment of CENTA.


6 Also, prior to the end of 1972 we initiated a more extensive experiment at the school on sweet peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, onions, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant and red beets. We anticipated obtaining data on qualities and prices of these vegetables and k ept cost of production data. We initiated a potato nitrogen x phosphorus x plant density experiment with a widely available variety, helped Utah State University researchers ( USU also had a technical assistance team in El Salvador) plan irrigation experim ents including vegetables, and they were initiated before the end of the year. Also during this first seven month period we designed a sugar cane fertilizer study at the Ingenio (sugarcane plantation and factory) Central Izalco and it was planted. This wa s a complicated study of N x P x K x timing of application. The Ingenio supplied all expenses and did the laboratory work and the results were made public via a departmental publication (Hildebrand, 1974). Harvesting sugar cane We assisted in setting up a steer feeding trial designed to study the feasibility of feeding steers in confinement through the dry season. There were two different rations based on silage and a third treatment was straight pasture plus mineral salt. We f ound


7 that eggplants grew very well so set up an experiment to determine if cull eggplants could be fed to pigs as a substitute for a fattening concentrate. We found that they could substitute one to one on a dry matter basis for up to 20% of the ration. A paper was being written. Information from the corn demonstrations began arriving before the end of the year and work began on bean demonstrations. Besides these studies, we completed a proposal for a sub contract to North Carolina State University for a study of vegetable production in El Salvador This was to be part of a regional study NCSU was conducting in Mexico and Central America. The contract for about $30,000 was awarded and was managed through the Food and Resource Economics Department (Chris Andrew) at the University of Florida and the Farm Management Department of the Ministry of Agriculture of El Salvador. We arranged for David Zimet, one of Chris Andrew s M.S. graduate students at UF, to come down to do his thesis on the project and he wa s to arrive in early 1973. For this 7 month period, the Agricultural Economics Department at CENTA still was not an official entity. However, in all my correspondence with CENTA, and particularly with the Director General, I had signed as Jefe (Head), Departamento de Econom a Agr cola The DG eventually began returning correspondence to me as Jefe, Departamento de Econom a Agr cola It seemed important to me that they called us Econom a Agrcola and not Administracin Agropecuar ia (Farm Management, the name we had in the Ministry) because that eventually would allow us to do marketing studies as well as production. The Ministry had a marketing section, but they did nothing about farm level input or product prices that were what we needed. We had established a comprehensive record keeping system for our commercial plots and were keeping farm records at Monte San Juan as well, partly for this purpose. We had continued to work out of the Ministry for a number of months after we were officially named a department in CENTA, when the Director General of DGEAP in the Ministry was changed to one who was interested only in planning (for the Ministry) and not at all i nterested in our working with, much less for CENTA. I


8 knew immediately that this was not going to be a workable relationship so I went to the Director General of CENTA and told him we were going to move out of the Ministry and to his headquarters in Santa Ana. He knew the incoming Director of DGEAP and understood my problem so he made room in an office for us and we moved in March 1973. In the move we lost access to four desks and the secretary and her typewriter, but gained one desk and had part time us e of the DG s own secretary, plus we had an office. I was able to take my counterpart and the two agr nomos with me to CENTA. But now we had a more severe transportation problem because the CENTA headquarters was in Santa Ana and not San Salvador. Transp ortation I felt strongly that the AID Mission had reneged on a promise they made to me before I agreed to take the job and that they had to provide me with a four wheel drive vehicle. At the time, I was using a four wheel drive jeepster from the embassy motor pool that Damon Boynton had been using before he left. I decided to just keep it. The mission was not against my using the vehicle, but they wanted it returned every day to the motor pool and checked out every morning. Because I left for work eve ry morning before the motor pool was open for business, this was nonsense as far as I was concerned. I did get gas at the embassy during the day, so they did see the vehicle periodically, but I would have lost two or more hours every day taking it in and checking it out. So I kept the jeep at home at night (in the garage with my car ). At one point I quit getting gas at the embassy because I was afraid they might lock me in and not let me out again. After several weeks of nonsense, the mission finally al lowed me to keep the vehicle so I began getting gas again at the embassy. Communication We were doing a lot of work in the field away from CENTA and ENA and I felt we needed a two way radio to help us communicate with our office, the office of the Director General of CENTA, and the Ministry. USAID did not want us to put a radio in the jeepst er because it was too difficult to get permission from the Government of El Salvador to use a short wave radio. The


9 band that was logical for us to use was the Ministry of Agriculture band so I asked the Minister if he would approve us installing a radi o in the jeep and using his band. He was pleased to let us do it and the Ministry obtained the necessary permission from the national tele communications administration. We installed it and it was very useful. Our ID on the radio was 1024, which was th e license number of the jeep. The only stipulation the Minister put on our use of the radio was that we needed to speak in Spanish. This was necessary, not for monitoring what we were saying, but because the phone patch the Ministry had was manual and th e operator had to listen to the conversations so he could switch us from transmit to receive when we said, Cambio One time I had a phone patch to someone in the US who didn t speak Spanish so I had to tell him at least to say Cambio instead of Over when he wanted to switch. That worked fairly well. Peace Corps Volunteer It wasn t long after we had moved to the CENTA headquarters in Santa Ana in March, 1973, that I looked up from my desk and saw a young Gringo walk by the office. Being curious about what he was up to I went out and called to him. It turned out he was a Peace Corps volunteer recently arrived, assigned to CENTA, and looking for something useful to get involved in. He had a B.S. degree in Wildl ife from New Mexico State University and was working on an M.S. in Horticulture. His name was Tito French. I told him what we were doing and suggested that he work with us. That was the beginning of a great friendship and productive relations hip. His wife, Pat, was also a volunteer and was working in the publications department of CENTA. They had a nice house in Santa Ana where they were raising their son, Chris. Pat was (and is) an excellent cook and we became very good friends. Because most of our (the Agricultural Economics Department at CENTA) working resources came from the Horticulture Department at the school, Tito fit right in. He was a person with a great imagination and who could make things work. It was just what the p rogram needed. Even though he was not an


10 agricultural economist, neither was anyone else in our fledgling department except me. So that didn t bother anyone. Multiple cropping: Multicultivos In April, Richard Bradfield of The Ro ckefeller Foundation came to visit us in El Salvador on his way to CATIE in Costa Rica. He had been working on the biology of multiple cropping systems at IRRI (the International Rice Research Institute) in the Philippines and CATIE was interested in star ting something with multiple cropping. We had been doing so much work with horticultural crops, especially tomatoes that we were running out of the bamboo on the station that we used for staking the tomatoes. Tito had suggested we try using corn stalks s o we had planted twin rows of corn in a triangular fashion and leaving enough space between the corn rows to simulate the space between rows of staked tomatoes. The corn was just coming up when Bradfield was there, and after he left we decided to plant so mething in between the corn rows. We started with beans and radishes. The Salvadorans eat a lot of radishes in their encurtido a dish made of cabbage and put on pupusas, a dish made from tortillas with a filling. Every evening many women have their pup usa stands along the streets and roads of the country. This was the start of the Multicultivos (multiple cropping) project, which was to become one of the leading projects of CENTA. We officially initiated it in June 1973. From that point on, Tito and I, and the Agricultural Economics Department, were heavily involved with multicultivos Unlike CATIE in Costa Rica and to a certain extent Bradfield at IRRI in the Philippines, we were more interested in the application of multiple cropping under the condit ions of the small farmers of El Salvador than in the biology of crops grown together (intercropping). That is, we were interested in what rather than why


11 Tito French and our tomato nursery at ENA Alexander Aguiluz (left) and Tito French with the first double corn rows. The tomatoes staked with bamboo are in the background.


12 Twin rows of maize with beans and radishes. El Salvador was the most densely populated country in the western hemisphere, so there was an abundance of labor. It was important for the country to employ most of this labor in the rural areas and not in the cities. Yet, there was little land available for small farmers. In general, infrastructure was good in El Salvador, and modern inputs were available and widely used. So we oriented the multiple cropping trials to be labor using and land intensive, and considered that chemical inputs would be available if the farmers had the cash to purchase them. Bullocks were widely used for land preparation (plowing) so we followe d that practice. But after plowing, all practices were carried out by hand labor.


13 Salvadoran men hard at work cutting up this tree for lumber! Local stores were well stocked with agricultural inputs


14 Farmers with their bullocks and plow Don Martir plowing our experimental multicultivos plots


15 Corn and beans were the basic food commodities of El Salvador, and they needed to continue producing as much as they could. This was also important for the small farmers s o they would have enough basic food. But the government also wanted to increase the production of vegetables to reduce the amount being imported from Guatemala (particularly the winter crops such as potatoes and cabbages). We were on the edge of the Zapo titan valley, which had a large, irrigated colonization project area that was to be the target of increased vegetable production, because the cool season in Central America (the North American winter) also coincides with the dry season. This is called ver ano in El Salvador even though verano means summer because verano also means the dry season. June, when we started the trial, is the beginning of the rainy season ( invierno or winter) so we had some time before beginning to produce the cool season crops. Our double rows of corn were designed to maintain the same corn plant density as was customary while opening up more space between the double rows for other crops. Also, each side of the twin row was an outside row so there was less light, water and n utrient competition from other corn plants than when planted in a standard, uniform row arrangement. Therefore, corn yield was little affected by the twinning design. At first we had a single row of beans and two rows of radishes between the twin corn rows. Later we increased the beans to two rows as well. After plowing, all three crops were planted at the same time. One weeding was required after about two weeks. By about four weeks there was a complete canopy of leaves covering the ground and all three crops were about the same height. It was interesting because from across the rows, it was nearly impossible to tell what crop(s) were in the field. This apparently also affect ed insect pests because we had much less insect trouble than neighboring fields planted to just one crop. At about five weeks the radishes were ready for harvest and this also served as a weeding because little else except the three crops was growing. The radishes sold for enough to pay all cash costs for the field up to that time.


16 Maize, beans and radishes four weeks after planting Don Martir harvesting radishes, five weeks after planting


17 After about 70 days when the corn was beginning to canopy across the open space, the beans were maturing so the reduced light had little effect. Beans in El Salvador traditionally are harvested by pulling up by hand and carried to a threshing pile, so the re was no change required. Following radish harvest The beans matured as the maize canopied over them


18 Pulling the beans and transporting to a threshing pile Threshing the beans When the corn mature d it was normally doubled over just below the ear so the ear can dry (upside down) on the stalk. At


19 that time we transplanted either tomatoes or cucumbers to use the corn stalks as stakes. Cucumbers staked on maize stalks Other crops c ould be planted in the cool season in a like manner. All together, about 3/4 of an acre is all the land one


20 family c ould manage under this intense, irrigated system and then there were times when extra labor had to be hired. But as our objective was to increase productive rural employment an d use land more intensivel y, this was what we were looking for. It was interesting that often when a visiting American bureaucrat (usually) or scientist (often) looked at what we were doing, they would say that we should figure out a way to mechanize it! To have done that, of course, would have gone the opposite direction we were trying to go and what small and poor farmers in El Salvador needed But it is hard to change people s way of thinking. On the contrary, when small farmers came to see what we w ere doing, they more often than not said that if they would be able to do that they wouldn t need any more land than they already had. And visiting large farmers said that if small farmers could do that they wouldn t want more of the large farmers land! Both groups were able to see advantages of what we were doing. Several simultaneous agricultural economics multicultivo trials at ENA As early as July 1973, the Peace Corps expressed interest in working with the multicultivos We were also har vesting large quantities of eggplants and selling them through supermarkets and


21 the Central Market. One of the problems with eggplants is that they spoil very fast when they are transported very far, particularly in the heat of the tropics. I remember we tried a number of ways to keep them from spoiling and used to haul them around in the jeep ster for days at a time. We finally found a way that prevented spoilage for at least two weeks, even when we just left them in the jeep ster in the sun. We used a p artitioned liquor box and put the eggplants in, one to a section, and on their stems that we left longer than usual. This worked amazingly well. It wasn t practical, of course, but it did work! We also met with a local canner about the possibility of ca nning baby eggplants. Pat French tried a number of ways to can them and some appeared to have promise. It was amazing how well the eggplants produced. At one point we cut off all the plants. They immediately resprouted and kept producing! The canner w as interested and in October we planted more eggplants for him. In August, I went to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to the meetings of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) to deliver a paper on the thesis of one of my M.S. students from Colombia, Edgar Luna. The paper was called, The Unforeseen Consequ ences of Introducing New Technology and was based on minifundios (small farms) in Nario, a department in southern Colombia. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075671/00001 Linear Programm ing Dave Zimet, meanwhile, was working on his thesis and the linear program that was involved. We also helped the Utah State University team build a linear program for irrigation that they used in their project. Dave was going to use the IBM computer in downtown San Salvador to solve his program. When the time finally came to see if we could get a solution, IBM decided that it might take a long time, so they let us on the computer starting at midnight. The computer was a big attraction so it was behind a big plate glass window right on the main drag of the capital We were on view to anyone who walked by. IBM was correct and it did take a long time to solve the program. One night we got on the computer starting at midnight. At 8:00 the next morning w hen they came to work, they said we would need to get off so they


22 could do their payroll. We told them that the program was working fine (we had checked the iterations and it appeared to be approaching a solution) and that we couldn t afford to start over They let us stay on until 9:00. At 9:00 it was still running. We convinced them to let us stay on a while longer and finally at 9:30 it found a solution! What a relief. It had taken 9 hours to do what in 1997 the computer on my desk could do in a couple seconds! It wasn t but a couple of nights after Dave and I quit spending all night in the window of IBM that someone exploded a bomb there that shattered the window behind which we had been working. Fortunately, nobody was working that ni ght. After that, they closed the steel shutter at night. Other crops Meanwhile, CENTA was very much interested that we ( Economa Agrcola ) continue with a large Fiesta tomato project. We had met with CENTA to give a preliminary report and they requested that we continue during the wet dry transition and during the dry season. We were obviously doing things that their Horticultural Department was not doing and that they wanted done. In the multiple cropping work, we were beginning the second cycle crops including tomatoes pole beans and cucumbers. The corn stalks were working well as stakes for all three crops. In September, Tito and I were appointed to the Potato Commission whose task it was to help increase potato production nationally. In October we harvested our potatoes and presented the preliminary analysis to the Potato Commission to help in designing the potato project. Extension By November, the Multicultivos project was the big attraction. We were being visited by many extension agents (12 in just one of the groups) and were planning a new, larger Multicultivos project with extension. At the same time, USAID and the Ministry requested that I begin working w ith Planning of the Ministry on development and use of the sector model. I agreed to do this and spent nearly full time for three months at this task. Nevertheless, in December as planned, we planted three tareas


23 (about 3/4 acre) to a commercial scale farm model at ENA using what we had learned so far. Our sign advertising the multicultivo trials We also planted the first regional trial in cooperation with extension in Monte San Juan with a farmers cooperative there. Tito and I were asked to give a paper on the multicultivos at CATIE in Turrialba, Costa Rica at a meeting to be held in February. We had achieved a tremendous increase in yields by staking the cucumbers on the corn stalks. Trial at Monte San Juan 2 weeks after planting


24 The on farm trial at Monte San Juan. In cooperation with the Utah State consultants we also irrigated this plot using bamboo to transport water. Our yield of 60 metric tons per manzana (more than 85 t/ha) at EN A was three to four times commercial yields and 2 to 3 times our former yields at the school. In November we completed a draft report on the cucumbers. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073332/00001 The simultaneous maize and cucumber harvest


25 Also in November we were well into the dry season and still did not have capability to irrigate. The equipment arrived on November 21 and was ready to use, but we had not been able to get the pump on the river repaired by Grandes Obras When we finally d id have everything ready to go, our crops were really hurting. The men we had hired for the work were really worried that we would lose the crops so they volunteered to work over one weekend to open up the canal we needed and get the water started. They did want to be paid and we did pay them, and we did save the crops. Irrigating the multicultivos in the dry season


26 In December about 100 campesinos visited our multicultivo plots at the school. Of these, 22 were from the Cooperative at Monte San Juan where we also initiated our first regional trial. The others were associated with Extension agents who brought them or sent them. The Department of A gricultural Economics The Department of Agricultural Economics at CENTA finally became official in January 1974, and I was officially named as Acting Head. CENTA was willing to wait until a suitable person was found before naming someone Head. The depart ment had research and extension responsibilities at CENTA as well as teaching responsibilities at ENA where we were eventually to be housed (we moved into the new offices in March, 1974). However, no extension positions were included at the time. We p lanted demonstration plots every two weeks so visitors could see the progression of crop development


27 The staggered planting (Tito on the left) Budgeting and funding were problems that required a lot of time. The budget given to the department was le ss than we had requested (not unusual), but also there were great and unforeseen increases in prices of gasoline and fertilizer, which cut drastically the amount of each that we could purchase. The price increase in gas cut us to only about 37% of the amo unt we had been approved for in the final budget. In addition, USAID had decided to turn over to the Salvadoran agencies the vehicles that each had been using, so we needed to fill my vehicle from CENTA funds rather than from AID funds. We had also not c ounted on this added expense when we put together the original budget. These drastic cuts forced us to reduce our program accordingly. Various visitors to Multicultivos We did keep up with the multiple cropping work on the station and were visited in January by the President of the Agricultural Development Bank ( Banco de Fomento Agropecuario ) of El Salvador, the Director General of CENTA and the Subsecretary (vice minister) of the Ministry of Agriculture. Farmers also continued to visit in groups. In March our visitors to


28 the multicultivos included the Minister of Agriculture and his Subsecretary, the Director General of CENTA, the Commanding Colonel of the Cavalry who was interested in putting his soldiers to work producing some of their own food, th e Director of Planning of the Ministry of Agriculture, the owners of a food processing company, a large number of farmers from many areas of the country, some extension agents, and a group of managers from cotton farms who were interested in ways their wor kers might be able to produce more of their own food. Some of our farmer visitors with the staggered planting (see background) In April, among other visitors, was a group of reporters for radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. As a result of their vis it there were five articles on the multicultivos in the newspapers and reports on both radio and TV. We were also visited by the Board of Directors of the Agrarian Reform Institute who were interested in the implications of this intensive system on the a mount of land small farmers might need and the potential income they might be able to expect. Obviously, this project was creating a tremendous amount of interest and enthusiasm in the country.


29 Chris Andrew and Leo Polopolus (Head of the Food and Resource Economics Department at UF) came to El Salvador for The funding from North Carolina State University had been invaluable in helping us to keep our programs in operation in the face of b udget cuts and price increases. While AID was pleased with the work we were doing, they had never been happy that we had the NCSU funds that were really USAID funds dispensed directly from Washington. In fact, when NCSU wanted us to renew our contract fo r another two years, the AID mission in San Salvador prevented us from doing so. Fortunately, in June, the Department of Agricultural Economics at CENTA received a donation of one ton of fertilizer from a local company, Fertica and a significant donation of chemicals from Bayer, both for use on the multicultivos Other outreach During this time period, Guatemala began taking an interest in our multicultivo work. In early March I had a call from Kirby Davidson, Deputy Director, Social Sciences, in The Ro ckefeller Foundation, asking if I might be interested in being considered for a Field Staff position with the Foundation, posted to ICTA (the new Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology). I had just arrived at the office at CENTA in Sa nta Ana, having come from a disheartening meeting with the Director of US AID in San Salvador where we were discussing the potential new NCSU contract funds. It was obvious that the mission did not want us to get that contract and have funds that we could use independently of their control, even if they generally agreed with and were enthusiastic about what we were able to accomplish by having some outside funds. I told Kirby that he had called at an opportune time and that, yes, I would like to be conside red for the position. My dilemma in El Salvador was that if we went ahead with the NCSU contract in order to have the funds to continue working at the level we were working, I would lose the support of the local (El Salvador) AID mission. Without the add itional NCSU funds, it was obvious that there would not be enough funding to carry on the program except in a much weakened state.


30 In April, Miguel Ramrez (an Agrnomo in the Department at CENTA) and I were invited to a cropping systems conference in Guatemala hosted by ICTA and IICA (the InterAmerican Institute of Agricultural Sciences from Costa Rica) where we gave two papers. The Director General of CENTA, Ricardo Cabezas, accompanied us. This was the time I first met Astolfo Fumagalli, then Gerente General (General Manager) of ICTA, and many of the other people who worked with and for ICTA in Guatemala. Astolfo says this was when he decided he wanted to hire me to head Socioeconoma Rural in ICTA. I did not know it at the t ime, but that was apparently one of the reasons they had invited us to come to Guatemala for the conference. I was invited by ICTA and CIAT (the International Tropical Agricultural Center in Cali, Colombia) to make another visit to Guatemala in June to lo ok at some multicultivo plots they had established there On June 26, I wrote a letter to Mason Marvel, Assistant Director of International Programs at UF, in response to information I had received regarding his idea of the inaction of the UF team in El Salvador. Our Chief of Party had apparently told him team m embers were just putting in time because of the lack of support we were receiving. I quote from my letter: I am far from just putting in time. This week, I am working on the departmental budget for next year, the quarterly report for the department, the annual report for the MEMORIA of the Ministry, and am supposed to have completed a review of the courses the department offers (this I did not get done). On Sunday, the school (ENA) is having a field day to which are invited the complete congressional de legation, all the Directors of the Ministry, many important farmers and a host of other people. In addition there will be large numbers of farmers who will be paying to get in. There is a four hour program in the morning, of which two are devoted to mult icultivos You can imagine the preparation we are putting into that. As far as projects go, we have a total of 2 2 manzanas (about 1 .54 hectare s or about 4 acres) in multicultivo experiments and 4 manzanas (7 acres) in


31 sugarcane. In multicultivos we have 3 tareas in a fertilizer experiment. In addition, we have over 2 tareas in an experiment jointly with Plant Pathology and the Bean Department to study spacing in the double corn rows and nearly 6 tareas in a joint project with the Weed Control Pro gram. To help support this work, we just received a one ton donation of fertilizer from FERTICA and a substantial amount of chemicals from Bayer. CENTA, of course, is furnishing most of the chemicals, the land and the labor. Thi s is not to deny that we have problems. Of the 3 cars that we have in the department (1 from CENTA and 2 from AID -now donated to the Ministry) the two donations from AID are presently in the shop. One has transmission problems and the motor is torn do wn on the other. Requisitions for equipment are very slow coming in and we even have trouble getting paper and pencils. CENTA still has not named a departmental secretary and my part time bilingual is 8 months pregnant (with no budget to hire another). Our regional trials have just about gone by the boards. I was hoping to finance them largely out of the two NCSU projects -specifically, I had hoped to get two more vehicles and gasoline and repairs for them to allow us to travel in the regions. Under the present conditions we have had to shift the farm projects to extension so we are losing a valuable source of information (for an ag econ department). But even with these problems, it is incorrect to say that the program is stagnant and that we are just putting our time. Notwithstanding all the interest, enthusiasm and support the Agricultural Economics Department and the Multicultivos Program was receiving from ENA, CENTA, the Ministry of Agriculture, large and small farmers, and private industry, there was apparently some dissatisfaction from the other UF team members and the Chief of Party that they were not being more included in th ese activities. I quote part of the letter from Mason Marvel to me, responding to my letter above:


32 . We realize that you have had far more support from CENTA and other sources for your projects than the others have and this is good in one way and a s ource of concern in another. We would hope in the future that there would be a more coordinated approach to meeting the objectives and that it would become a team effort. . As I have discussed with you in the past, we would not want to dilute or detra ct from the excellent work you are doing but we do feel that a stronger and more objective program can be developed if everyone who is capable of making an input is being utilized to the fullest with a University of Florida team effort. It was my feeling that I had a full platter and did not have time to help other UF team members get their programs moving (I was not chief of party!) This could only have slowed down what we were doing in Agricultural Economics. The other members were also professionals and had the same opportunities I had to make progress. Finishing the work In September, as my time in El Salvador was drawing to a close, both UF and the AID Mission asked me if I wouldn t change my mind and stay on for another to ur. In fact, the AID Mission Director, asked me if I would stay and become Chief of Party I think in the end, they began to realize how much we in Agricultural Economics had accomplished in such a short period of time and were afraid the momentum could not be kept up. In a letter to Hugh Popenoe, Director of International Programs, IFAS, at UF, Ed Anderson (USAID mission Director) wrote: . In addition, the Mission wishes to assure itself that upon the departure of Dr. Hildebrand, there will be an immediate replacement in the area of multiple cropping and farm management. It is requested that you send us the names of candidates to repl ace Dr. Hildebrand as rapidly a possible. We also would like to have ample opportunity to review candidates for the position of Chief of Party to replace Dr. Gull on his departure next June. We believe that some overlap in these positions is


33 essential, a nd that an immediate replacement for Dr. Hildebrand is our top priority. I had suggested that Tito French be retained to serve as a consultant in multicultivos because the new UF team members who were going to be continuing the work with the program had little background knowledge about what we had been doing and why. However, Pat and Tito returned to New Mexico State after their Peace Corps tour and Tito finis hed his M.S. thesis based on the multiple cropping projects. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053947/00001 In order to provide some continuity, ICTA and The Rockefeller Foundation agreed that I would be able to spe nd several days each month in El Salvador for a few months until the new team members felt familiar enough with the program to work alone. In retrospect Overall, I think Tito and I had helped create an admirable program in El Sal vador. Multicultivos was one of the major programs in CENTA and was the first effort aimed specifically at small scale farmers, using more of what they had available to them (primarily family labor) and intensifying use of the country s most scarce resour ce (land available to small farmers). People all over El Salvador were very enthusiastic about the potential it offered, both for productively employing people in the countryside to keep them from migrating to the cities, and for increasing production, pa rticularly of vegetables to substitute for those being imported without decreasing the amount of corn and beans the small farmers currently were able to raise. Our most important system required irrigation and was designed for the Zapotitn valley and oth er irrigated areas. But we had also designed a system for rainfed areas where there was no irrigation and, of course, was the largest area in the country. Extension had been integrated in to the project and several hundred on farm trials were being plann ed for the 1975 cropping season. In 1976, about two years after I had left, there were 596 on farm demonstration trials throughout the country. Unfortunately, most of these trials were placed on farms that were larger than for what the system had been designed. Only three


34 percent of the farms in the evaluation sample were one hec tare or smaller (Walker and Quarles, 1977). It was no wonder that farmers complained that the double rows with intercropping negated the utilization of the farmers oxen in hilling up maize and that the demand for labor was perceived by many farmers to be excessive (p. 46). The system, as it had been developed, fully employed a family on only 0.3 ha (3/4 acre) if they had irrigation. Farmers of this size rarely, if ever, had oxen. Yet 38% of the sample farmers in 1976 had 5 or more hectares of land and farmers of this size commonly do have oxen. These farmers could see little advantage in the system because they could not use their oxen. Some two thirds of the sampled farmers hired more than half of their labor requirements (p. 67)! Walker and Q uarles seemed surprised that 90% of the farmers thought the system was more labor intensive than their current system. Multicultivos was designed specifically to productively use more labor on the many very small farms of El Salvador. In the waning month s of 1974, Tito and I had tried to warn the UF team replacing us, and Extension, that they needed to extend and test the technology on the smallest farms or this would happen, but our concerns were not heeded It should be mentioned in closing this part o f the discussion that Walker and Quarles did finally recognize that the Extension Service might not have been working with the appropriate target group in the placement of their trials (p. 76). It could be argued, I suppose, that the kind of program we in Agricultural Economics had created, using outside resources especially for transportation, was not sustainable with only Salvadoran resources. While we did a lot of work on the station (actually the grounds of ENA), once we had t he basic idea established, we recognized that additional research work needed to be done on the farms of the people who were going to be using the system This, of course, required transportation. Within CENTA there was plenty of transportation available but as with most institutions like it, most was allocated to work only on the station. Work with farmers was considered extra (above and beyond station research) and thus required extra resources. If it had been considered an integral part of the resea rch process, and existing


35 resources reallocated, there would have been adequate transportation and other resources to continue the multicultivos program. It was also interesting that USAID shifted its old vehicles, their maintenance, and gasoline consumpti on to CENTA just as these vehicles were wearing out and the price of petroleum skyrocketed. While it is standard procedure for AID equipment eventually to be transferred to the host country, this was unfortunate timing to say the least. Whether or not th e Agricultural Economics Department should have become involved in multicultivos to begin with is another interesting controversy. This occurred, in part, because I was able to find resources by working with the Horticulture Department at ENA that I other wise would not have had Also, with my increasing involvement with farmers while with ICA in Colombia, particularly the two years at Palmira, I felt strongly that an Agricultural Economics Department in an agricultural research and extension organization in a country like El Sa lvador should be oriented toward helping the institute deliver useful technology to farmers particularly the small, limited resource farmers The emphasis should not be on publications and economic studies, although this certainly could be part of the pr ogram when there were appropriate people in the department and time to do it. The mission of CENTA was to develop and deliver technology to the farmers of the country (and in the case of ENA which became part of CENTA) to educate a technical level agricul tural professional to help do this. Combining forces with the Peace Corps in the person of Tito French was a fortuitous event that also helped to focus our efforts. He represented an available and in valuable resource in a situation where most resources w ere scarce to nonexistent His interest in vegetables fit in well with the other resources we had managed to access. An additional fortuitous event was the visit in El Salvador of Richard Bradfield from IRRI and the budding interest in multiple cropping that he and CATIE in Costa Rica had. Bradfield arrived just after we had planted our first twin rows of maize. Tito had the idea of using maize stalks as tripods to serve


36 as stakes for tomatoes which we were experimenting with. We had left enough room b etween the rows of maize to work the tomatoes. It was a natural to begin interplanting this space with fast growing crops like radishes and beans. Alexander Aguiluz, Head of Horticulture at ENA, Tito and I made a pretty good team as we began to design a multiple cropping system for the conditions of El Salvador. It had to do what the government wanted and to use resources farmers would have available to them. It required a combination of biophysical and socioeconomic considerations to design such a syst em. I still think this is a very natural and useful function for an agricultural economics department to perform. Until July 1974, I was the only agricultural economist in the department. At that time, Adrin Chacn, with an M.S. degree in agricultural e conomics was named head of the department, giving us two ag economists. Nevertheless, we had an excellent record keeping project underway and this was beginning to provide data that would be needed when more traditional agricultural economics studies woul d be undertaken. We also, of course, turned out an agricultural economics M.S. thesis by David Zimet based on a linear program of the system in the Zapotitn valley. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054845/00001 All of these activities were what attracted ICTA in Guatemala who was looking for a social scientist who could work with the biophysical scientists in the institute to develop and deliver technology to the small and medium farmers of that country. After I began working for ICTA in October 1974, I did make several trips back to El Salvador to help in the transition to a new UF team. At first these were for a day or two each two weeks, meeting in El Salvador. Later, we began meeting at the frontier betwee n the two countries so I would not have to cross and recross the border so often. There was a restaurant right on the border that was sort of in no man s land between the two countries customs and immigration posts where we could go without actually leaving our own countries. It was very convenient to meet there because it was a relatively short drive for both groups.


37 On one of these meetings, the group fro m El Salvador (both Americans and Salvadorans) decided they would like to see our on farm research that was about an hour inside Guatemala. None of them had brought passports, but I had (I usually did when I went to these meetings in no man s land). I we nt to the immigration people in Guatemala and told them I would like to take the group into the country for about four hours. They knew me quite well by this time and decided that if I left my passport with them and they took the names of everyone enterin g the country, that it would be OK. So they all came into Guatemala and got into the back of my pickup to go see the trial. We were using the double row idea and it was working very well, even though it was in a very dry part of Guatemala and we did not have irrigation. When we got back to the Guatemalan border the Guatemalan border agents counted everyone who headed to the Salvadoran side and then gave me back my passport. One farm trials in Guatemala In August, 1977, three years after I had left El Salvador, Ken McDermott, who had been my one time boss in the embassy in Bogot, made an input for the annual evaluation of the USAID multiple cropping project being implemented through a grant to CENTA in t he form of a contract with the University of Florida. (JKM Trip Report, Sept. 16, 1977) It is worthy of note that none of the persons he contacted at that time had been involved in the original development process of the multicultivos program. He said th at he could discover no evidence that multiple cropping had had a significant impact in the country. This, notwithstanding that the program emphasis of the UF contract during 1975 76 was on Multiple Cropping (UF 10 year Review). One of the major


38 obstacl es Ken stated was that the program was emphasizing modern biological and chemical technology surrounding those commodities at the expense of giving adequate attention to the farmer and to economic technology (and perhaps other social factors). The progr am had shifted to an agronomic orientation, testing new varieties in the system and testing herbicides to reduce labor needs (the exact opposite of what we had been trying to do). As Ken pointed out in his report, The central rationale for work in multip le cropping, or any intensive production system, is to enable farmers to sell more labor. While we were using both chemical fertilizer and insecticides on the system, we had conducted a fertilizer use trial to search for more effective levels not those that maximized yield But both fertilizers and insecticides were widely available and widely used at that time in El Salvador and we did not consider that this was a constraint on the small farmers. Certainly land was a constraint on the very small farms, and at least mostly, labor was not. One of Ken s recommendations included: . to re design the project so that it is oriented in large part to the farmer, his needs, his current technology, and his resource endowment rather than simply to the c riteria of good crop technology. This action will require greater reliance on agricultural economists and perhaps a strengthening of that department. A year later, a large team from the University of Florida evaluated Ten Years of Technical Assistance i n Agriculture -A review of the CENTA/UFLA/IAD/El Salvador Contract (Eno et al 1978) http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055284/00001 While stating that the contract objectives had changed somewhat over ten yea rs, the general purpose during this time had been to assist CENTA to bring higher incomes and living standards for small and medium farmers in El Salvador. Primary emphasis of late has been on small farmers through assistance with multiple cropping sys tems research and extension. There are undoubtedly many views on the successes and failures of the UF contract in El Salvador and of the multiple cropping program, itself. During the approximately four months of total time I worked directly with AID an d the Ministry on the CENTA loan and sector analysis, I had very adequate support from AID. This was not the case, however, during the rest of the time when I was doing what I had been hired to do -work with CENTA and the farmers of the country to incre ase production and income. During my two years in El Salvador we created, literally from nothing, a national program that had very wide support from all sectors of the economy, and that became one of the major programs of CENTA and a primary focus of the UF/ US AID contract in following years. That the focus of this multiple


39 cropping program shifted from that of the small farmers to that of traditional agronomy was influenced in large part by the shift to technical assistance per sonnel with strong disciplinary (as opposed to multidisciplinary) backgrounds. It was also due to tight budgets in the Salvadoran government, and the departure of virtually everyone who had been involved with the creation of the program. This is an unfor tunate panorama of too many technical assistance projects. It was also very unfortunate that after I left, the bulk of the on farm trials were conducted on farms much larger than those for which the system was designed. Overall results of those trials di scouraged further development of the system. Shortly after I left El Salvador, Adrin Chacn who had replaced me as Head of Agricultural Economics, was transferred to the Agricultural Economics unit of the Ministry and replaced by a person who had failed to finish a n M.S. degree at New Mexico State and who knew nothing about the program. On one of my trips to El Salvador I talked with the Minister of Agriculture (Ing. Mauricio Eladio Castillo) and the head of his Agricultural Economics unit (Ing. Ren Agu ilar Girn) and they agreed to let Adrin return to CENTA. Several years later, after I was a professor at UF, I had a Salvadoran graduate student who wanted to evaluate the multicultivos project and its current impact on small farmers. This also followed the civil war that had raged in El Salvador for several years. Because of the civil war, he was able to find only one of the many farmers who had been involved in on farm trials and he was still using the system. All of the others had either been killed or fled to other parts of the country or to other countries so there was no remaining knowledge of the multicultivo system.


40 Publications from El Salvador Andrew, C.O. and P.E. Hildebrand. 1972. Planificacin y ejecucin de investigacin aplicada. Departamento de Administracin Agrcola. Direccin General de Economa Agrcola y Planificacin. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera. San Salvador, El Salvador. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080893/00001 Hildebrand, P.E. 1972. Anlisis agroeconmicos mediante superficies de respuesta. Departamento de Administracin Agrcola. Direccin General de Economa Agrcola y Planificacin. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera. San Salvador, El Salvador. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054328/00001 Hildebrand, P.E. 1974. Anlisis econmico de fertilizacin de caa de azcar. Departamento de Economa Agrcola. Centro Nacional de Tecnologa Agrocuaria, (CENTA). Mi nisterio de Agricultura y Ganadera. San Salvador, El Salvador. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075673/00001 Hildebrand, P.E. and E.C. French. 1974. Produccin de pepinos utilizando tallos de maz. Departamento de Economa Agrcola, Centro Nacional de Tecnologa Agropecuaria (CENTA). Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera, San Salvador, El Salvador. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073332/00001 Hildebrand, P.E. and E.C. French. 1974. Un sistema salvadoreo de multicultivos. Departamento de Economa Agrcola. Centro Nacional de Tecnologa Agropecuaria (CENTA). Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera. San Salvador, El Salvador. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075670/00001 Hildebrand, P.E., E.C. French, M.A. Barahona, A.E. Chacon, and J. Biber. 1975 Manual para la siembra de multicultivos. Departamento de Economa Agrcola, Centro Nacional de Tecnologa Agropecuaria (CENTA). Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadera. San Salvador, El Salvador. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055291/00001/1j Zimet, David J., C. O. Andrew and P.E. Hildebrand. 1976. The economic potential for increasing vegetable production in the Zapotit n District, El Salvador. Economics Report 78. Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027776