, Volume 132, Issue 1, pp 95-108

Collaborative and consultative participatory plant breeding of rice for the rainfed uplands of eastern India

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We describe a participatory plant breeding (PPB) programme in rice for the rainfed uplands of eastern India. Collaborative participation (farmers grew and selected in segregating materials in their fields) and consultative participation (farmers selected among progenies in researchers' plots) were used. The PPB was started with only two crosses and, of these, Kalinga III/IR64 was the most successful and produced two released varieties: Ashoka 200F from collaborative breeding and Ashoka 228 from consultative breeding. Both yielded significantly more than control varieties, including Kalinga III, in research trials and in participatory trials in farmers' fields. Qualitative data from participatory trials was highly informative, statistically analysable, and cheaper to obtain than quantitative data. In low-yielding research-station and on-farm trials the two new upland varieties showed no significant genotype × environment interaction with the check varieties. However, in higher-yielding All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project trials, both varieties were more adapted to low yielding environments than the national check variety. Farmers liked the varieties for their early maturity, improved lodging resistance, higher fodder and grain yield, long-slender grains and excellent cooking quality. Before certified seed production, farmer groups have produced large quantities of seed that have spread widely through informal channels. The returns from PPB, compared to conventional breeding, were higher because it cost less, the genetic gains per year were higher, and the benefits to farmers were realised earlier.

This revised version was published online in August 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.