Learning from farmers to improve sorghum breeding objectives and adoption in Mali

Diallo, C and Isaacs, K and Gracen, V and Toure, A and Rattunde, E W and Danquah, E Y and Sidibe, M and Dzidzienyo, D K and Rattunde, F and Nebie, B and Sylla, A and Tongoona, P B (2018) Learning from farmers to improve sorghum breeding objectives and adoption in Mali. Journal of Crop Improvement. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1542-7528

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Many efforts have been made to improve sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] varieties, but adoption of improved varieties remains low. Sorghum has diverse panicle architecture and grain qualities that vary within and between races, and utilization and adoption may depend on these traits. Recent efforts in West Africa to improve local guinea race germplasm as a base material have diversified potential options: there are breeding materials with a range of panicle types with increased grain number per panicle and a range of droopiness, as well as laxness and threshability. This study was designed to expand our understanding about sorghum grain and panicle traits that are important for farmers in the Sudan savanna zone of Mali. We combined a sorghum panicle sorting activity with qualitative interviews in Mande and Dioïla to understand farmers’ knowledge and preferences about sorghum characteristics. A total of 20 panicle sorting activities and 20 interviews were conducted with men and women sorghum producers. Based on their roles and responsibilities in sorghum production and processing, farmers associated specific panicle types, plant types, and grain traits with aspects of pest control, threshability, storage duration, and yield. Farmers preferred open panicles and droopy architecture for disease and pest control; hard grains for storage and appropriate ratios of flour and grits; high density of grain on the panicle for yield; and specific glume qualities for threshability. Breeding programs need to consider these regional preferences and gender roles to develop appropriate material and increase adoption of productive varieties.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Uncontrolled Keywords: Farmer knowledge, gender, panicle traits, participatory plant breeding, sorghum breeding, Mali
Subjects: Others > Plant Breeding
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Mali
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2018 09:14
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2019 09:26
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/10929
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15427528.2018.1531800
Acknowledgement: The authors thank the participants of this study for their valuable time and sharing their knowledge. We thank the field staff of the Association des Organisations de Paysans Professionnels (AOPP), Union Local de Producteurs de Cereals (ULPC), Institut d’Economie Rural (IER), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and Alliance Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) for their support.
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