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Sustainability in the Yaqui Valley
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Outreach and Advocacy

To address the questions posed in the previous section, research is needed on both the science (social and biophysical) and policy domains. Many of these studies will provide decision rules that will be of value to various stakeholders. Such operating decisions might include, for example, rules for the release of "appropriate" volumes of water from reservoirs. Similarly, new nitrogen evaluation techniques may permit farmers to make easy field by field calculations on the (more nearly) optimum amounts of nitrogen fertilizer to use.

Discussion and communication of these results to others in the Valley and beyond are also planned. In the first instance, the knowledge created from this research will be "co-produced"--the research team includes local Mexican researchers as well as US participants, and includes farmers and irrigation district managers as well as scientists and policy analysts. We are well aware of the need to work with the broader community of the Yaqui Basin to develop results and to identify further needs. We propose to accomplish this through small workshops and by teaming with other groups to organize a Valley-wide conference on sustainable development.

Workshops that bring together researchers, farmers, water district personnel, and planning officials from Cuidad Obregon will occur twice during the three-year project. We will build on the experience and contacts of Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio and CIMMYT in organizing these workshops. Both will focus on issues related to cropping systems, fertilizer management, salinity issues, variability in yield, water management, and water allocation issues. In the first workshop, results of preliminary research will be discussed and hypothetical decision rules and their implications will be explored with attendees. In the following workshop, to be held near the end of the three years, the research team will present final results of research, propose decision rules, and identify issues of concern for future emphasis. We expect that the one-day workshops will draw 40-50 attendees in addition to the research team.

We will also begin the process of organizing a cross-Valley conference on sustainable development. Although financial support for the conference is not requested in this proposal, we have been assured by Mexican institutions operating in the Valley that they would serve as co-hosts. These organizations include INIFAP, CIMMYT, the Patronato, CIMMYT, CECARENA, CNA, and ITSON. Because of the serious and long-term nature of Stanford involvement in the Valley, we foresee no difficulties in helping to organizing a major conference similar in many respect to the April 2000 Conference organized by INIFAP on "Restructuring Valley Agriculture."

The foregoing kinds of activities, while slightly more activist and policy oriented than much of Stanford's research, are well known to members of our group and other groups on campus. To push further along the information advocacy continuum raises interesting challenges-not necessarily to be avoided simply because they are challenging. Several members of the Stanford team have had long experience working inside governments as policy advisers, and talent thus exists within the proposed project to become more engaged in policy processes.

We propose a modest step toward advocacy and in making the results of the project more policy relevant. Relevant policy actors are at three levels of government: the federal government in Mexico City, the state government in Sonora, and the regional government in Cd. Obregon. Various project members have excellent access at all three levels. Our plan is, therefore, to meet regularly with key policy makers in three areas: water, agriculture and the environment at each level of government; to involve local collaborators in those discussion whenever possible; to be selective in the items taken to policy makers for discussion; and to be responsive (within reason!) to the questions and interests of policy makers taken away from those meetings. Our efforts will be modest and low key, but nonetheless much more development and policy-oriented than in previous Stanford projects in the Valley.

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