This report, presented by Dr. Salvatore Ceccarelli from ICARDA, describes a model of participatory plant breeding in which genetic variability is generated by professional breeders, selection is conducted jointly by breeders, extension specialists and farmers in a number of target environments, and the best selections are used by breeders in further cycles of recombination. Farmers handle the first phases of seed multiplication of promising breeding material in village-based seed production systems.
The model has the following advantages: (i) varieties reach the release phase earlier than in conventional breeding; (ii) the release and seed multiplication concentrate on varieties known to be acceptable by farmers; (iii) it increases biodiversity because different varieties are selected in different locations; (iv) varieties fit to the agronomic management that farmers are familiar with and can afford and therefore can be beneficial to poor farmers. These advantages are particularly relevant to developing countries where large investments in plant breeding have not resulted in production increases, especially in marginal environments.
This report was discussed at the Stakeholder Meeting at AGM2005.