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Plant Breeding with Farmers – a Technical Manual, ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria.

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There is increasing interest in participatory plant breeding (PPB), both in developing and in developed countries. While there is a conspicuous body of literature in the form of both scientific papers and books, this manual aims to provide a source of information on how to implement a PPB programme on the ground, with the purpose of encouraging scientists to start such programmes. The manual is addressed to all those involved in planning and implementing participatory breeding activities. This includes research centres, universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmer associations and government extension officials This manual presents some background on PPB and on participatory variety selection (PVS), but is mostly devoted to providing the reader with as much detailed technical information on the different aspects involved in successfully starting and conducting a PPB programme. The manual fills a gap by making available in one document diverse information that is otherwise scattered in several different publications. The manual shows clearly that there are no major technical difficulties in transforming a conventional breeding programme into a participatory programme. In fact, many of the principles and techniques described in this manual apply equally well to conventional plant breeding programmes. Readers are encouraged to submit their comments, corrections or criticism to improve future versions of the manual. The objectives of this manual are to: • Introduce the reader to the concepts and methodologies of plant breeding in general, and to participatory plant breeding in particular; • Take the user through the main steps in designing and implementing participatory breeding programmes in various crops; • Provide examples of data collection and data analysis for various types of experimental designs; and • Discuss key issues in participatory plant breeding, such as variety release, seed production and impact. The manual draws heavily on ICARDA’s experience in conducting participatory breeding programmes in Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. However, efforts have been made to highlight a number of general principles that entitle a research programme to be called “participatory”. Inputs and perspectives from interested readers are welcome. Contact: s.ceccarelli@cgiar.org or ceccarelli.salvatore83@gmail.com
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... In addition, Hutchinson et al. (2017) argue that, cowpea farmers have a high preference for local land races compared to improved varieties due to their palatability and adaptability despite their low yields attributes. In the past decades, plant breeders developed improved varieties under controlled experimental conditions in favorable environments with no consideration of farmers' preferences and needs (Ceccarelli et al., 2012;FAO 2014). This scenario resulted in low adoption of developed improved varieties (Luna et al., 2012). ...
... Environments E2 and E4 revealed low interactions as they were near the point of origin compared to E6 and E5 which were positioned far away (Fig 1). The position of genotype or environment provides some insight into GEI (Ceccarelli, 2012). Similarly, the GGE bi-plot results showed genotypes G5, G2, G9, G7 and G3 had very short vectors in relation to ATC axis indicating high stability. ...
... Similar results were also described by Krzysztof & Marcin, (2016). A genotype which has a shorter absolute length of projection in either of the two directions of the AEC ordinate (located closer to AEC abscissa), represents a smaller tendency of GEI which means it is the most stable genotype across different environments or vice versa (Ceccarelli, 2012;Yan et al, 2007). Equally, genotype G11 (1001) and G7 (1002/1005/3) exhibited stable characteristics, though with lower mean grain yield. ...
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Stability in yields of agronomically acceptable cultivars is generally regarded as the ultimate goal in cowpea improvement. Nine advanced cowpea lines and 3 local checks were evaluated for grain yield in eastern Kenya with the aim of identifying stable genotypes and integrating farmer preferences. The study was conducted in 3 locations over 2 years under a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Stability was estimated using additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) and genotype by environment (GGE) models. There was variation among genotypes, locations and their interactions for grain yield. Genotype G5, G9 and G2 were found to be stable and high yielding. Environments Kit16 and Kit15 were considered as the most suitable for selecting superior genotypes for adaptability and stability. Farmers’ criteria for selecting genotypes included early maturing, pod length, disease tolerant and high yielding varieties. Cowpea performance for grain yield was greatly influenced by inherent genotypic factors, environment and their interaction effects. KEY WORDS: COWPEA, ENVIRONMENT, GENOTYPE BY ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION, STABILITY, GRAIN YIELD
... Participatory plant breeding (PPB) is a dynamic and permanent collaboration that exploits the comparative advantages of plant breeding institutions, farmers and possibly other partners. It is also important that a truth participatory programmed is necessarily inclusive in relation to gender and has an empowering effect on the participants (Ceccarelli, 2012). Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) is a process by which the field testing of already finished or is going to be finished varieties usually done with the participation of the partners (Ceccarelli, 2012). ...
... It is also important that a truth participatory programmed is necessarily inclusive in relation to gender and has an empowering effect on the participants (Ceccarelli, 2012). Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) is a process by which the field testing of already finished or is going to be finished varieties usually done with the participation of the partners (Ceccarelli, 2012). In Participatory potato variety development include the identification of the main components, participants and stakeholders, their roles, types of interactions and constraints identified in the system. ...
... It is also important that a truth participatory programmed is necessarily inclusive in relation to gender and has an empowering effect on the participants. A PPB program is similar to a CPB program in that it maintains the typical cyclic structure of a breeding program, but with three important organizational differences: Most of the program takes place in farmers' fields (decentralized), The decisions are taken jointly by the breeder and the farmers and partners and the program, being decentralized, can be replicated in several locations with different methodologies and types of germplasm (Ceccarelli, 2012). ...
Article
Participatory potato variety development includes the identification of the main components, participants and stakeholders, their roles, types of interactions and constraints identified in the system. Some research result indicates that, there is a less complex potato innovation system was observed at the plot site of Ethiopia and a more complex and dynamic system was observed in the case of Peru. Many Achievements were gained by participatory potato variety development in different part of Ethiopia. In southern Ethiopia, Umbulowach, Hawassa Zuria Wereda of Sidama Zone; Marachere variety was preferred by farmers for its excellent response in yield and other traits. In Tigray region of Atsbi woreda, from seven varieties three best performing varieties: Jalene, Gera, and Gudene were selected for their disease resistance and other quality traits. In North-western Ethiopia, With aid of CASCAPE project in South Achefer, Burie and Jabitehenan Districts, Belete variety was selected for its superior yield, disease and insect tolerance; In West shewa, at Jeldu, Dendi, Wolmera and Degem district, both Farmers Field School (FFS) and Farmers research Group (FRG) were established and a chances were given Farmers to select potato clones suitable to their conditions based on late blight disease resistance and yield. As a result, farmer’s ranked as 1st, a potato clone CIP– 392650.516 which is the highest yielder and late blight resistant among the tested clones); in Jimma area kersa (serbo), Seka Chekorsa and Dedo Districts, Farmers select Abalolarge 1 st, abateneh 2 nd and Gudane 3 rd as three high yielder variety and in Jimma and Illuababora zone area, variety “Guasa” was selected due to its earliness, high yield advantage and market demand.
... As decentralized selection is one of the two pillars on which PPB is based (the other is participation), it is important to test the breeding material in the actual selection environments at the earliest possible stage. A breeding method that we found suitable, particularly in self-pollinated crops, is the bulk method [27][28][29], which, in its original formulation, consists of advancing separately as bulks, each of the n crosses performed at the beginning of each breeding cycle-where n can vary from a few hundred in the case of regional programs, to several thousand in the case of international programs-until a satisfactory level of homozygosity is reached within each bulk. ...
... Other methods are equally suitable and a number of them have been recently reviewed [33], and methods suitable for cross-pollinated and vegetatively propagated crops have been also described in detail elsewhere [28]. Whatever methodology is used, it should allow bringing into farmers' fields as much genetic diversity as possible, from which farmers can choose. ...
Article
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Biodiversity in general, and agrobiodiversity in particular are crucial for adaptation to climate change, for resilience and for human health as related to dietary diversity. Participatory plant breeding (PPB) has been promoted for its advantages to increase selection efficiency, variety adoption and farmers’ empowerment, and for being more socially equitable and gender responsive than conventional plant breeding. In this review paper we concentrate on one specific benefit of PPB, namely, increasing agrobiodiversity by describing how the combination of decentralized selection with the collaboration of farmers is able to address the diversity of agronomic environments, which is likely to increase because of the location specificity of climate change. Therefore, while PPB has been particularly suited to organic agriculture, in light of the increasing importance of climate change, it should also be considered as a breeding opportunity for conventional agriculture.
... Environments E2 and E4 revealed low interactions as they were near the point of origin compared to E6 and E5 which were positioned far away (Fig 1). The position of genotype or environment provides some insight into GEI (Ceccarelli, 2012). Similarly, the GGE bi-plot results showed genotypes G5, G2, G9, G7 and G3 had very short vectors in relation to ATC axis indicating high stability. ...
... Similar results were also described by Krzysztof & Marcin, (2016). A genotype which has a shorter absolute length of projection in either of the two directions of the AEC ordinate (located closer to AEC abscissa), represents a smaller tendency of GEI which means it is the most stable genotype across different environments or vice versa (Ceccarelli, 2012;Yan et al, 2007). Equally, genotype G11 (1001) and G7 (1002/1005/3) exhibited stable characteristics, though with lower mean grain yield. ...
Article
Full-text available
Stability in yields of agronomically acceptable cultivars is generally regarded as the ultimate goal in cowpea improvement. Nine advanced cowpea lines and 3 local checks were evaluated for grain yield in eastern Kenya with the aim of identifying stable genotypes and integrating farmer preferences. The study was conducted in 3 locations over 2 years under a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Stability was estimated using additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) and genotype by environment (GGE) models. There was variation among genotypes, locations and their interactions for grain yield. Genotype G5, G9 and G2 were found to be stable and high yielding. Environments Kit16 and Kit15 were considered as the most suitable for selecting superior genotypes for adaptability and stability. Farmers’ criteria for selecting genotypes included early maturing, pod length, disease tolerant and high yielding varieties. Cowpea performance for grain yield was greatly influenced by inherent genotypic factors, environment and their interaction effects.
... Farmers are therefore involved in decision making and their traditional knowledge is acknowledged and respected (Halewood et al. 2007). Another key aspect is that while commercial conventional breeding often caters to developing high yielding varieties for resource rich farmers, PPB addresses problems of poor farmers in developing countries (Ceccarelli 2012). PPB is particularly useful in high stress environments with poor agricultural yields, therefore it can be applied under circumstances where adaptation to adverse conditions is required (Ceccarelli 2012). ...
... Another key aspect is that while commercial conventional breeding often caters to developing high yielding varieties for resource rich farmers, PPB addresses problems of poor farmers in developing countries (Ceccarelli 2012). PPB is particularly useful in high stress environments with poor agricultural yields, therefore it can be applied under circumstances where adaptation to adverse conditions is required (Ceccarelli 2012). ...
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Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are the center of origin and diversity for several root, fruit and nut crops, which are indispensable for food security, rural livelihoods, and cultural identity of local communities. However, declining genetic diversity of traditional food crops and high vulnerability to climate change are major impediments for maintaining agricultural productivity. Limited initiatives to achieve food self-sufficiency and utilization of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for enhancing resilience of agro-ecosystems are other serious constraints. This review focuses on the visible and anticipated impacts of climate ge, on major food and tree crops in agriculture and agroforestry systems in the PICs. We argue that crop improvement through plant breeding is a viable strategy to enhance food security and climatic resilience in the region. The exploitation of adaptive traits: abiotic and biotic stress tolerance, yield and nutritional efficiency, is imperative in a world threatened by climatic extremes. However, the insular constraints of Fiji and other small PICs are major limitations for the utilization of PGR through high throughput techniques which are also cost prohibitive. Crop Improvement programs should instead focus on the identification, conservation, documentation and dissemination of information on unique landraces, community seed banks, introduction of new resistant genotypes, and sustaining and enhancing allelic diversity.
... Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is a multi-disciplinary tool that is reportedly effective in capturing farmers' perceptions regarding production constraints, variety choice and trait preferences, all of which are key elements in plant breeding programs (Ceccarelli 2012;Machida et al. 2014). A PRA enables farmers to participate in the planning, analysis and action process concerning their needs, environment, and proposed solutions. ...
Article
Pigeonpea Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. is the most important legume cash crop grown in Malawi. However, productivity is low due to biotic and abiotic stresses and socioeconomic constraints. The objectives of this study were to determine farmers’ perceived constraints to pigeonpea production and to identify the varieties and traits preferred by farmers in Malawi. A participatory rural appraisal was conducted in four major pigeonpea growing districts (viz. Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Thyolo and Zomba) in Malawi. Data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire, focus group discussions and transect walks. ‘Mthawajuni’ was the most preferred variety grown by 45% of the respondents, due to its palatability and resistance to pod borers. The farmers identified insects, diseases, late-maturing varieties and small land holdings as the most important constraints to pigeonpea production in Malawi. Short cooking time, palatability, high yield, early maturity, long shelf-life, pest and disease resistance, large seeds and cream colour were the most preferred traits of the pigeonpea. The constraints experienced by farmers and their preferences for the identified traits should be considered as selection criteria during the breeding of new pigeonpea varieties in Malawi.
... Also, participatory breeding is undoubtedly an excellent strategy for the sustainable development of family farming communities. Still, in this case, the farmer becomes co-responsible for the research, ceasing to be a passive element in the process (Ceccarelli, 2012, Fonseca, 2014. ...
Article
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O presente estudo teve como objetivo a avaliação participativa de genótipos locais e melhorados de feijoeiro associados às condições agroclimáticas em sistema de cultivo orgânico. O trabalho conjunto entre o setor formal e o setor informal, geralmente representado pelas comunidades rurais, pode contribuir no uso e conservação de germoplasma adaptado aos agroecossistemas das comunidades agrícolas e, além disso, o melhoramento participativo é sem dúvida uma excelente estratégia para o desenvolvimento sustentável de comunidades de agricultores familiares, pois o agricultor passa a ser corresponsável pela pesquisa deixando de ser um elemento passivo dentro do processo. Os experimentos foram conduzidos em condições de campo, sob cultivo orgânico, na comunidade agrícola de Fortaleza, situada no município de Muqui-ES. Foram utilizados 39 genótipos entre cultivares melhorados que são cultivados na região e genótipos locais, nos anos de 2006, 2007 e 2008. O delineamento experimental utilizado foi o de blocos ao acaso, com quatro repetições. Foi verificado que nos anos de 2006, 2007 e 2008 houve poucas diferenças entre os genótipos nas características avaliadas, exceto para a produção de grãos. A baixa precipitação no ano de 2006 e as altas temperaturas no ano de 2008 influenciaram a baixa produção de grãos dos genótipos.
... Participatory selection field days were held in each location before harvest time. Participants assigned a score (from 1 = poor to 4 = very good) to each of the 400 plants (Ceccarelli 2012). One berry was collected from the 20 plants with largest average score, as well as a second berry from each of all 400 plants. ...
... 3D-breeding may speed up the turnover of varietal release to address these challenges. As farmers are at the center of the experimental design, varieties deriving from 3Dbreeding are more likely to be adopted and suited to local cultivation 11,40 , increasing the effectiveness of breeding efforts. Indeed, we found that farmers' OA was a better predictor than GY in predicting yield realized both in centralized and decentralized trials (Table 1). ...
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Crop breeding must embrace the broad diversity of smallholder agricultural systems to ensure food security to the hundreds of millions of people living in challenging production environments. This need can be addressed by combining genomics, farmers’ knowledge, and environmental analysis into a data-driven decentralized approach (3D-breeding). We tested this idea as a proof-of-concept by comparing a durum wheat ( Triticum durum Desf.) decentralized trial distributed as incomplete blocks in 1,165 farmer-managed fields across the Ethiopian highlands with a benchmark representing genomic prediction applied to conventional breeding. We found that 3D-breeding could double the prediction accuracy of the benchmark. 3D-breeding could identify genotypes with enhanced local adaptation providing superior productive performance across seasons. We propose this decentralized approach to leverage the diversity in farmer fields and complement conventional plant breeding to enhance local adaptation in challenging crop production environments.
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The value of selection in conventional breeding trials of cultivars destined for organic systems depends on the correlation between systems and relative heritability of key traits. Genotype by environment interactions is a common phenomenon in plant breeding trials. Thus, multi‐environment testing to identify stable genotypes is a high priority for organic systems. In addition, because organic systems have limited inputs to buffer the environment, they may have greater spatial heterogeneity which may be better accounted for by additional spatial blocking terms beyond traditional randomized complete block design. Over two years, we evaluated 100 hybrid and 40 inbred sweet corn genotypes in 11 trials in organic systems across 6 locations and evaluated the addition of augmented incomplete block and row‐column design to estimate the performance of sweet corn genotypes. Hybrids differed in their performance for all tested traits. Inbred parents differed in per se performance and general combining ability for all traits. For the hybrid entries, modelling spatial factors beyond the replicated complete blocks improved the model fit for days to anthesis, plant height, ear height, husk protection, ear width and ear length. For inbred entries, modelling spatial factors beyond the replicated complete blocks improved ∖ model fit for plant height, ear height, tenderness, and ear width. Wricke's ecovalence (W2i) was a useful measure of stability, correlating reasonably well with two of the three stability statistics considered in this analysis. Based on Wricke's ecovalence, some inbred parents were more stable than others across tested environments in their combining ability for all traits.
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The strengths and weaknesses of the evolving techniques used by researchers in Bolivia to evaluate potato germplasm with farmers are assessed. When detailed knowledge of farmers' criteria is required, questionnaires or forms are most appropriate; otherwise techniques from participatory rural appraisal could be used. Initially, when evaluating large numbers of clones, scientists' and farmers' choices tended to coincide, although subsequently they diverged. This suggested that it may be more efficient to involve farmers later in the selection process, ensuring that an interesting amount of diversity still exists, and work to improve breeders' knowledge of farmers' criteria. Integration between social scientists and breeders was less than ideal at the start of the study, reducing the impact of farmer evaluations on the breeding programme.
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