ABSTRACT: There are many socioeconomic and technological constraints that affect the production of wheat and other staple cereals in
South Asia. Wheat production is one of the economic mainstays in South Asia, but the yield gap between farmers’ fields and
experimental yields is wide across the region. For the last 3years, CIMMYT and the CAZS-NR have been collaborating with farmers,
NARS, and other South Asian partners to promote improved wheat varieties and new resource conservation technologies (RCTs)
in farmers’ fields. Participation fostered among farmers, scientists, extension specialists, NGOs and the private sector included
variety selection (PVS), and evaluation of agronomic practices. Through PVS, several farmer-preferred technologies have been
identified including wheat varieties for adverse conditions in eastern Uttar Pradesh (India) and for boron deficiency in parts
of Nepal. There has been considerable improvement in the access of farmers to new varieties and technologies in the rural
areas. Yield increases (15–70%) have been achieved by resource-poor farmers over the existing varieties through the adoption
of new varieties and RCTs. The farmers have also made substantial cost savings and achieved higher yields through resource-conserving
agronomic techniques such as zero till. Seed of the new farmer-selected cultivars has been multiplied by groups of collaborating
farmers and widely distributed.
Euphytica 04/2012; 157(3):399-407. · 1.55 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The diversity of agro-environmental conditions among wheat-based farming systems in the mountainous regions of Nepal may favor the development and production of multiple narrowly adapted varieties over a few broadly adapted varieties. Sixteen genotypes were tested using Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) trials at farmers' fields in three districts in the Kathmandu Valley. Grain yield was the trait most preferred by farmers, followed by tillering, resistance to diseases, drought, and lodging. Farmer selection of optimal genotypes varied over time and location depending on agronomic and climatic pressures, indicating a preference by farmers for growing multiple, narrowly adapted varieties. Production potential of PVS genotypes averaged up to 142% greater than the most widely grown variety, RR21. With farmer participation in the selection process in different agro-ecological micro-niches of Nepal, both yield potential and yield stability of wheat should increase significantly, thereby providing farmers with the economic means to sustain the current small-scale agriculture suited to the mountainous terrain.
Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 10/2009; 33(7):745-756. · 0.67 Impact Factor
Experimental Agriculture 12/2008; 45(01):77 - 91. · 1.06 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Improving livelihood of resource poor farmers is an important goal of wheat research in developing countries. Although remarkable success has been achieved to date in developing widely adapted wheat cultivars, many resource poor farmers in marginal areas in developing world have not benefited. Participatory research could greatly enhance identifying cultivars according to the choice of the poor farmers. This study was conducted to examine how farmers’ selection criteria could assist breeders in identifying superior wheat cultivars, and determine if a new statistical analysis tool, GGE biplot, could be effectively used in selection of improved cultivar based on quantitative (grain yield) and qualitative data (farmers’ preference score). The field experiments were conducted in 3 years (2003–2005) in three mid-hill districts in the central Nepal involving resource poor wheat farmers. Sixteen wheat genotypes, including a long-term and a current commercial cultivar, were used in the study. Data were collected on agronomic traits considered important by the participating farmers. These included days to heading and maturity, plant height, effective tiller number, spike length, kernel per spike, 1000-kernel weight and grain yield. Farmers also qualitatively scored each genotype for multiple traits based on their preference. In general, the farmers used the same traits in selecting a superior cultivar that are used by breeders. However, relative importance of different traits differed, not necessarily following in line with the breeder preference. The cultivar superiority based on quantitative agronomic data (breeders’ criteria) and qualitative preference scores (farmers’ criteria) often showed synergies, however, there were differences as well. This indicates farmers’ ability to choose superior cultivars based on qualitative observation compared to tedious quantitative data recording in the on-station testing. In the first year, a greater number of farmers selected improved check as a better choice than recent advanced breeding lines. In the 2nd and 3rd years, the farmers preferred genotypes other than the checks. This underlines the importance of testing of advanced materials in farmers’ fields in multiple years. Principal component analysis using GGE-biplot was useful in identifying superior genotypes based on both quantitative and qualitative data recorded across environments. This approach could be useful in analyzing data from participatory agricultural research conducted under highly diverse farmers’ field conditions where it is easier to record observations on qualitative than quantitative scale. This technique can also be extended to on-farm participatory testing of other technologies. The findings bear implications for a broad range of participatory research and technology evaluation and verification.
Field Crops Research.