Participatory varietal selection with improved pearl millet in West Africa

Omanya, G O and Weltzien, E and Sogodogo, D and Sanogo, M and Hanssens, N and Guero, Y and Zangre, R (2007) Participatory varietal selection with improved pearl millet in West Africa. Experimental Agriculture, 43 (1). pp. 5-19.

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A reconnaissance survey and participatory varietal selection trials (PVS) were conducted in four major pearl millet-growing countries of the Sahel between 2001 and 2003. The studies aimed to identify farmers' preferences in improved pearl millet varieties, increase awareness, test new varieties and enhance farmers' access to the improved varieties. Farmers selected five out of 10 tested varieties, with preferred characteristics, namely, maturity cycles of 80-90 d in the Sahel and 90-100 d in the Sudanian agro-ecozones, acceptable grain yield, compact and long (30-100 cm) panicles, a large number of tillers with panicles, adaptation and an acceptable taste. Farmers indicated that their local varieties were of superior adaptation and taste. They mentioned that hindrances to uptake and sustained use of improved varieties were due to lack of awareness, traditional values, seed unavailability, early maturity, bird damage and lack of fertilizer. The strong genotype × environment interactions in the Sahel suggests that breeding should be directed towards producing varieties adapted to specific zones rather than for wide adaptation. Notably, since farmers often cultivate pearl millet without any soil amendments, it may be advisable to disseminate varieties as a package (with fertilizer and agronomic instructions) rather than as varieties alone in a PVS programme, in order to achieve the full potential of improved varieties. The PVS trials are synergistic to plant breeding in identifying varieties suitable for harsh environments, which are difficult to duplicate in the research station. However, in the absence of formal distribution seed systems in the trial countries, village- or community-based seed production of varieties selected by farmers appears critical to the sustainable adoption of selected varieties.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2011 01:04
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2014 09:26
Official URL:
Funders: BMZ, GTZ
Acknowledgement: The authors acknowledge all the farmers who participated in the trials. We are grateful for the contributions of A. Bonkoungou, L. Kamfe, B. Kyelem of INERA-Burkina Faso; S Traore, Y. Kodjo of IER-Cinzana, B. Kassambara, A. Keita of Winrock International-Mali; S. Mohammed and team from Service Agriculture-Dogon Doutchi, and G. Comlan of PADEL-Service Agriculture-Gaya,M. Boubakar of Hariben-Moriben-Tera, H. Adamou, A. Abarchi, and L. Djingri and staff at ICRISAT Sahelian Centre. The assistance of D. Fatondji and A. Nikiema with statistical analysis and J. Omanya in proofreading is greatly appreciated. We thank the Germany Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) andGermanTechnicalCooperation (GTZ) for financial support.
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