Definition of Farming systems research (FSR):
Originates from recognizing the inter- dependence and inter relationships of natural environment within the farming system. In FSR the farmers by participating the research process help in the identification of the research problems as well as take part in testing the possible solution.
The growing concern on suitable development has led the FSR to compasses on sound management of farm resources to enhance farm productivity and reduce the degradation of environment quality or to develop sustainable land use, which will optimize farm resource, minimum degradation with consideration to regenerative capacity, increase income and employment for farm families and promote quality of life.
Principal Involved: The FSR approach includes:
a) Viewing the farm as a whole,
b) Identifying the farming system, the interacting component and delineating boundaries boundaries,
c) Systematically investigation the nature and extent of interdependence among the enterprises and identifying constraint,
d) Applying the modern technical know- how to the system so as to make it yield optimum results,
e) Studying the equity gender income, employment and resources use efficiency, and
f) Dealing with the issue at integration level through analysis and solution of problems towards sustainable farming system development.
In the past decade, farming system research has emerged as a popular and major theme in international agricultural research. FSR evolved in post- green Revolution era with the growing perception of the failure of main stream agricultural research and extension institution to generate and disseminate technologies widely adopted by small scale, resources poor farmers. Clearly technology, even when sound by scientific standards, is of limited value if is not adopted. The diagnosis of the problems was that agricultural researches and development planners, the generators and disseminators of new technology, had employed a fundamentally top- down approach to technology development, which is not valid one. In response to this situation, FSR argued that:
1. Development of relevant and viable technology for small farmers must be grounded in a full knowledge of existing of the farming system and
2. Technology should be evaluated not solely in terms of its technical performance, but in terms of its conformity to the goals, needs and socio- economic condition of small farm system as well.
Therefore, FSR concept was developed in 1970 in response to the observation that groups of small – scale farm families operation on harsh environment were not benefiting from conventional agricultural research and extension strategies. The tem FSR in its broadest sense is any research that views the farm in a holistic manner and considers interactions (between component and of components with environment) in the system.
Farming system research is a research method designated to understand farmer’s priorities, strategies and resources allocation decisions. It is most often used in conjunction with on farm highly location specific research with multi and inter disciplinary in nature and uses a whole farm approach for improved technologies to enhance and stabilize agriculture production.
The Characteristics of Farming System Research
1. It is holistic or system oriented,
2. It is problems solving: involvement of farmers in problem identification and solving process,
3. It is farmer participatory,
4. It envisages location specific technology solutions,
5. It is for specific client group – small/ marginal farmer,
6. It adopts bottom up approach,
7. It compasses extensive on farm activities, collaboration between farmer and scientist,
8. It is gender sensitive,
9. It ultimate objective is sustainability,
10.It focuses on actual adoption,
11.It recognizes interdependence among multiple clients.
Points to be Considered while Choosing the Enterprises for Integrated Farming System (IFS):
1. Soil and climatic feature of an area/ locality.
2. Resource availability with the farmers.
3. Present level of utilization of resources.
4. Economics of proposed integrated farming system.
5. Farmers managerial skill.
6. Social customs precaling in the locality.