Role of farmers in setting breeding goals
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Subedi, Madu; Shrestha, P.K.; Sunwar, Sharmila; Subedi, A.. 2001. Role of farmers in setting breeding goals . In: An exchange of experiences from South and South East Asia: Proceedings of the international symposium on Participatory plant breeding and participatory plant genetic resources enhancement, Pokhara, Nepal, 1-5 May 2000 . Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA), Program Coordination Office, Cali, CO. p. 311-318.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/81906
External link to download this item: http://ciat-library.ciat.cgiar.org/Articulos_Ciat/Digital/SB123.E9C.2_An_exchange_of_experiences_from_South_and_South_East_Asia.pdf#page=57
Maize (Zea mays L.) is the most important crop in the hill farming system in Nepal. It plays an important role in the livelihood of the people living in the hills. The hilly area of the Palpa, Gulmi, and Arghakhanchi districts extending towards Pyuthan and further west has a unique geophysical environment, which is different from other maize-growing areas in Nepal. Farmers in this area not only have poor access to agricultural inputs, including improved genetic materials, but the improved varieties tested so far do not exactly match the unique growing conditions and the needs of farmers in the area. Therefore, the major proportion of maize in the Palpa, Gulmi, and Arghakhanchi districts is dominated by local varieties. Several factors are responsible for low productivity and for other associated problems of maize production in the area. Initially researchers perceived low yields associated with inferior local varieties as the main constrain in maize production for the area. Based on past experience and success in upgrading the productivity of local landraces through the introduction of high-yielding varieties and subsequent seed section, a breeding program was formulated in order to address the problem. The initial objective of the program was to increase farmers' access to new, improved genetic materials and provide them with training on mass selection. However, a different scenario emerged during the site-selection survey and the process of setting research goals. Farmers reported that maize production in the area was affected mainly by lodging problems, Farmers in the area have developed and maintained a variety called thulo pínyalo that produces good yields and also meets their fodder requirements. However, the variety is prone to severe lodging, resulting in yield losses of 15% lo 85%. Farmers therefore strongly suggested that rather than introducing new varieties, their local varieties be improved 10 address the problem. In this way, the breeding program changed from increasing grain yield to reducing lodging in the target environment. This paper discusses how farmers set their own breeding goals and the implications for methodological approaches to participatory plant breeding.
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