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Farmer Participatory Crop Improvement. I. Varietal Selection and Breeding Methods and Their Impact on Biodiversity

  • J. R. Witcombe (a1), A. Joshi (a2), K. D. Joshi (a3) and B. R. Sthapit (a3)

Farmer participatory approaches for the identification or breeding of improved crop cultivars can be usefully categorized into participatory varietal selection (PVS) and participatory plant breeding (PPB). Various PVS and PPB methods are reviewed. PVS is a more rapid and cost-effective way of identifying farmer-preferred cultivars if a suitable choice of cultivars exists. If this is impossible, then the more resource-consuming PPB is required. PPB can use, as parents, cultivars that were identified in successful PVS programmes. Compared with conventional plant breeding, PPB is more likely to produce farmer-acceptable products, particularly for marginal environments. The impact of farmer participatory research on biodiversity is considered. The long-term effect of PVS is to increase biodiversity, but where indigenous variability is high it can also reduce it. PPB has a greater effect on increasing biodiversity although its impact may be limited to smaller areas. PPB can be a dynamic form of in situ genetic conservation.

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K. J. Frey , J. A. Browning & M. D. Simons (1977). Management systems for host genes to control disease loss. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences 287:255274.

A. Joshi & J. R. Witcombe (1996). Farmer participatory crop improvement. II. Participatory varietal selection, a case study in India. Experimental Agriculture 32:469485.

D. M. Maurya , A. Bottrall , & J. Farrington (1988). Improved livelihoods, genetic diversity and farmers' participation: a strategy for rice-breeding in rainfed areas of India. Experimental Agriculture 24:311320.

L. Sperling , M. E. Loevinsohn & B. Ntabomvra (1993). Rethinking the farmers role in plant breeding: local bean experts and on-station selection in Rwanda. Experimental Agriculture 29:509519.

B. R. Sthapit , K. D. Joshi & J. R. Witcombe (1996). Farmer participatory crop improvement. III. Participatory plant breeding, a case study of rice in Nepal. Experimental Agriculture 32:487504.

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Experimental Agriculture
  • ISSN: 0014-4797
  • EISSN: 1469-4441
  • URL: /core/journals/experimental-agriculture
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