U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Main content area

Farmers’ Participatory Varietal Selection: A Sustainable Crop Improvement Approach for the 21st Century

Singh, Y. P., Nayak, A. K., Sharma, D. K., Gautam, R. K., Singh, R. K., Singh, Ranbir, Mishra, V. K., Paris, T., Ismail, A. M.
Agroecology and sustainable food systems 2014 v.38 no.4 pp. 427-444
breeding, cultivars, farmers, farms, genotype, pH, plant breeders, researchers, rice, salt tolerance, sodic soils, sodicity, soil salinity, stakeholders, India
Participatory variety selection (PVS) for the selection and testing of salt tolerant varieties/genotypes and breeding accessions of rice was conducted at Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Regional Research Station, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India from 2001 to 2007. This aimed to identify high yielding, adaptable, and acceptable rice cultivars for sodic soils through farmers’ participation. Typically, plant breeders develop varieties isolated from active farmers and release varieties that are most productive under ideal conditions; often they are not suitable for marginal farm conditions, like sodic lands. Therefore, PVS facilitates development of varieties suitable for marginal soils and farmers’ interests. A collection of modern rice varieties/genotypes was screened and evaluated under researcher-managed trials during 2001. From 2002 to 2008, farmers became a part of the variety/genotype selection and testing process in order to incorporate their preferences, which were crucial for the large-scale adoption of the selected variety/genotype. With farmer support, genotype CSR-89IR-8 was identified as superior and not only performed better in different locations in the state of Uttar Pradesh, but was also readily adopted by many farmers in sodic areas. This genotype is tolerant to sodicity (up to pH ₂ ˜9.9) and yields more grain in sodic soil than other varieties/genotypes tested. In view of the successful testing and large scale adoption of CSR-89IR-8 in the target sodic areas of Indo-Gangetic plains, this genotype was officially released as variety CSR 43 by Uttar Pradesh State Variety Release Committee in 2011for widespread cultivation. The successful use of PVS in these sodic environments convinced researchers, stakeholders, and partner organizations to more broadly adopt this approach for new rice variety development, particularly for other salt affected areas.