Developing and Using an Ethnographic Linear Programming Model of the Small Farm Livelihood System of Bohoc, Haiti
This project involved the development of an Ethnographic Linear Programming (ELP) model for the small farm livelihood system of the village of Bohoc, Haiti, and using the model to pre-evaluate the biological control of the sugarcane mealybug (Saccharicoccus sacchari) with one of its natural enemies, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri. This required three phases of field research: (1) a Sondeo or participatory rural appraisal to form an understanding of the livelihood systems in this part of the Central Plateau of Haiti, (2) intense interviews of a representative Bohoc farm family, and (3) interviews of four other Bohoc farm families to validate or complement the data obtained from the first family. The first draft of the ELP matrix was prepared after phase two, and the matrix was revised and expanded after phase 3. The ELP matrix accurately models the crops grown and other income-producing activities engaged in by the farm families, but may understate the percentage of available labor used and may overstate the cash accumulated. It is uncertain whether further research would enhance the accuracy of the ELP model. Despite its possible limitations, the matrix that was developed is viewed as a useful tool for understanding the small farm livelihood system that it modeled and for pre-evaluation or hypothesis testing of new agricultural activities, technologies, products, policies, or infrastructures. The pre-evaluation of biological control of the sugarcane mealybug was beneficial for purposes of illustrating the use of the ELP model, but an actual pre-evaluation of this would require further study.