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Development of superior cassava cultivars in Ghana by farmers and scientists: The process adopted, outcomes and contributions and changed roles of different stakeholders


A participatory breeding programme involving farmers in two Ghanaian communities and scientists from CRI (Ghana) and NRI (UK) to develop superior cassava cultivars is described. Initial situation analyses of the communities indicated that cassava is increasing in importance both as a food and a cash crop. Most farmers utilised landraces of cassava; modern varieties were scarcely mentioned. Seeds of 16 half-sib families obtained from a crossing block in Nigeria at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture were planted in a field in each community. During seedling and subsequent clonal generations, accessions selected either by farmers or scientists were retained to the next generation. This selection process has identified 29 superior accessions from amongst 1350 original seedlings. Farmers were relatively consistent in their selection from year to year and their selections corresponded with their stated criteria. Official variety release requires additional multilocational and inspection trials and postharvest assays but otherwise seems harmonious with a participatory breeding approach; our early involvement of farmers may facilitate early release, an important factor in cost-effectiveness. A stakeholder workshop confirmed the need for improved markets for cassava; surveys of current and potential markets have led to field trials with cassava processors. Adoption of a participatory approach, with farmers and scientists taking on new roles and decentralisation of activities, implies a concomitant transfer of influence and resources.

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Correspondence to R W. Gibson.

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Manu-Aduening, J.A., Lamboll, R.I., Ampong Mensah, G. et al. Development of superior cassava cultivars in Ghana by farmers and scientists: The process adopted, outcomes and contributions and changed roles of different stakeholders. Euphytica 150, 47–61 (2006).

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Key words

  • participatory plant breeding
  • farmer selection criteria
  • markets
  • variety release