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Partnering with farmers to accelerate adoption of new technologies in South Asia to improve wheat productivity

Ortiz-Ferrara, G., Joshi, A. K., Chand, R., Bhatta, M. R., Mudwari, A., Thapa, D. B., Sufian, M. A., Saikia, T. P., Chatrath, R., Witcombe, J. R., Virk, D. S., Sharma, R. C.
Euphytica 2007 v.157 no.3 pp. 399-407
Triticum aestivum, wheat, innovation adoption, on-farm research, crop management, international cooperation, research institutions, grain yield, cultivars, good agricultural practices, plant nutrition, boron, profitability, no-tillage, India, Nepal
There are many socioeconomic and technological constraints that affect the production of wheat and other staple cereals in South Asia. Wheat production is one of the economic mainstays in South Asia, but the yield gap between farmers' fields and experimental yields is wide across the region. For the last 3 years, CIMMYT and the CAZS-NR have been collaborating with farmers, NARS, and other South Asian partners to promote improved wheat varieties and new resource conservation technologies (RCTs) in farmers' fields. Participation fostered among farmers, scientists, extension specialists, NGOs and the private sector included variety selection (PVS), and evaluation of agronomic practices. Through PVS, several farmer-preferred technologies have been identified including wheat varieties for adverse conditions in eastern Uttar Pradesh (India) and for boron deficiency in parts of Nepal. There has been considerable improvement in the access of farmers to new varieties and technologies in the rural areas. Yield increases (15-70%) have been achieved by resource-poor farmers over the existing varieties through the adoption of new varieties and RCTs. The farmers have also made substantial cost savings and achieved higher yields through resource-conserving agronomic techniques such as zero till. Seed of the new farmer-selected cultivars has been multiplied by groups of collaborating farmers and widely distributed.