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Pastos y Forrajes

versión impresa ISSN 0864-0394


CRUZ, J; PINIERO, Maricel  y  PEZO, D. Participatory evaluation of pastures with criteria of small and medium livestock producers. Pastos y Forrajes [online]. 2007, vol.30, n.2, pp.1-1. ISSN 0864-0394.

Incorporation of local people’s knowledge has proven to be important and crucial in implementing research and development projects. This paper presents a participatory approach using farmers’ knowledge in evaluating improved pastures in EL Chal, Peten, Guatemala. On-farm experiments of five improved pastures selected by farmers were materialized in farmers’ fields to elicit local criteria for pasture evaluation. Two evaluations based on seasonal changes were undertaken to see if farmers’ indicators would vary. Farmers’ evaluations were tabulated and compared using economic variable particularly land tenancy: private owner and leaseholder. Results show that both groups of farmers use a number of criteria in evaluating improved pastures which go beyond the pastures growth habit. These include animal preference, resistance to dry period and pests and its ability to compete with weeds, among others. The results also showed that although farmers’ indicators remain about the same in the two seasons, their ranking of categories changed. On the first evaluation, farmers emphasized on indicators that are observable (color, vigor) while on the second evaluation they focused more on pastures overall performance (resistance to limiting factors). Furthermore, the biophysical components of the production system as well as the socio economic condition of farmers affect their evaluation. Farmers whose farms are located in undulated area gave more importance on tolerance to drought and ability to grow in sloping areas while those who have farms in flat areas emphasized on resistance to pests and water logging, and shade tolerance. Small-scale farmers tend to focus on pasture’s ability to compete with weeds, while this is not that important for medium scale producers. Taking into consideration culturally significant indicators can help implementing projects and transferring technologies that people can identify with and use within their limited environment.

Palabras clave : Evaluation; pastures.

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