Farming system is a complex inter-related matrix of soils, plants, animals, implements, labour and capital, inter-dependent farming enterprises The farm is viewed in a holistic manner (multi-disciplinary approach)
Biggs (1985) explained the concept of FSAas follows:FSA requires commonly homogenous type of farmersIt is an inter-disciplinary approachIt is a participatory and bottom-up planningIt is an approach to developing farm household systemsIt is built on the principles of productivity, profitability, stabilityand sustainabilityComplements component oriented approach to development
To develop farm - household systems of rural communities on a sustainable basis To improve efficiency in farm production To raise farm and family income To increase welfare of farm families and satisfy basic needs
The term FSR/E in the broadest sense refers to any research andextension that views the farm in a holistic manner and considersinteractions in a system (CGIAR, 1978).FSR is an approach to agricultural research and development thatviews the whole farm as a system and focuses on(i) The interdependencies between the components under the controlof members of the household, and (ii) How these components interactwith the physical, biological and socioeconomic factors not under thehousehold’s control ( Shaneret al, 1982)
Some of the essential features of FSR/E are as follows (Shaneret al 1982): It is holistic It is farmer participatory It is problem solving It is gender sensitive It is interdisciplinary It is interactive and iterative It emphasizes extensive on farm activities
It complements experiment station research It acknowledges the location specificity of technical solutions It recognizes interdependencies among multiple clients It emphasizes feedback
FSR is a process which involves a set of interrelated activities , which according to Shaneret.al (1982) are as follows Target and research area selection Problem diagnosis and development of research agenda Planning and designing of on-farm research Farmer participatory on-farm research and its analysis Extension of research results.
1) Diagnosis The major objectives at this stage are to describe and understand the current production system, to identify and analyse the key farmer problems2) Planning and design stage Planning begins with the analysis of the priority problems identified.3) Experimentation or testing stage This deals with the actual implementation and management of trials.
4) Evaluation Experimental results are assessed using formal statistical, agronomic and socio-economic criteria as well as being reviewed to assure that the conclusions are compatible with farmers concern and the characteristics of the FS.5) Recommendations and wider dissemination or extension The ultimate objective of agricultural and natural resources research is to develop suitable recommendations for the target group of farmers.
There are certain issues which must be considered while implementing the FSR/E approach in Rural areas. They are:1) Institutional problems: Research and extension are at present handled separately and needs suitable integration through cooperation and coordination.2) Conflict: since it is an inter-disciplinary approach, conflict bound to arise between the agencies involved.3) Clientele selection: Defining a specific relatively homogenous client groups in a heterogeneous environment like Rural areas is a major problem.
4) Resource flexibility: lack of resource flexibility in the development departments of the rural areas.5) Qualified staff: Suitable persons in sufficient numbers especially technology managers and Extension scientist may not be available6) Cost factor: Since it emphasis working with farmers in their fields, it involves more money. At that time, it appears to be costly and taxing.7) Collaboration: Effective collaboration of all the organizations closely associated with the needs of small farmers is very important and essential
Project Directorate for Farming Systems Research, Modipuram INDIA During XI plan period the Project Directorate for Farming Systems Research (PDFSR) was established with focus on farming systems research after re-naming the Project Directorate for Cropping Systems Research (PDCSR) which became operational during 2009.