Experimental Agriculture

Research Article

Farmer Experimentation as a Basis for Cropping Systems Research: A Case Study Involving True Potato Seed

M. J. Pottsa1, Greta A. Watsona1 p1, R. Sinung-Basukia2 and N. Gunadia2

a1 The International Potato Centre, PO Box 1586, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

a2 Lembang Horticultural Research Institute, PO Box 1586, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia


The radical concept of potato production from true potato seed (TPS) was adopted as a component of their farming system within three seasons by 23 farmers from Cibodas, West Java. The farmers showed an ability to conceptualize and experiment and desired concepts from which they could develop, through research, appropriate principles and field techniques. Information received solely as detailed practices or techniques hindered their progress, since they first needed to repeat the technique in order to understand the concepts and principles involved. Farmer experimentation resembled closely that of experimental station researchers, with the use of replication in space, often neighbouring farmers' plots, and time. Initial experiments covered a wide range of factors but within three seasons farmers had identified similar areas of concern which coincided with those of experiment station researchers worldwide. Farmer experimentation and the role of the researcher in this methodology for technology development are discussed.

(Accepted April 19 1991)


p1 Present address: Fortalecimiento de la Investigación de Tubérculo Semilla Prebásco de Papa en Bolivia (PROINPA), PO Box 4285, Cochabamba, Bolivia.