Farmers are not involved in a pre-extension activity. They are active partners in agricultural research. Participation means empowering farmers.
What is PPB?
Broadly, PPB is the development of a plant breeding program in collaboration between breeders and farmers, marketers, processors, consumers, and policy makers (food security, health and nutrition, employment).
In the context of plant breeding in the developing world, PPB is breeding that involves close farmer-researcher collaboration to bring about plant genetic improvement within a species.
Developing a clear vision together with the stakeholders in the breeding process is important.
What are the goals of PPB?
- Increase production and profitability of crop production through the development and enhanced adoption of suitable, usually improved, varieties.
- Provide benefits to a specific type of user, or to deliberately address the needs of a broader range of users.
- Build farmer skills to enhance farmer selection and seed production efforts.
Why focus on PPB?
Traditional breeder-directed breeding programs are very effective at developing varieties that can be used in farming systems that are fairly homogeneous, but less effective when the reality of the farmer is more complex and risk-prone.
PPB encourages two kinds of participation:
- Plant breeders can direct their research according to the needs of the specific groups of farmers (women, men, rich, poor). The physical and economic resource bases of different people necessitate tailored research approaches.
- Farmers can assure plant breeders that they are assessing tradeoffs among traits correctly.
- On-farm research assures that varieties will produce well under “real life” conditions. On-farm research can be managed by the researcher, by the farmer, or by both.
- PPB ensures greater success of adoption of innovation by the farmers.
- Increasing farmer knowledge and skills so that farmers can participate more fully in the collaborative breeding efforts and be better at their own, personal efforts.
What activities can PPB include?
- Identifying breeding objectives
- Generating genetic variability (including the provision of plants to be included in breeding program)
- Selecting within variable populations to develop experimental varieties
- Evaluating experimental varieties (PVS – participatory variety selection)
- Variety release
- Popularization (diffusion of information about new variety and and how it is managed)
- Seed production
Participatory Research Methodology
- Diagnosis of the pest problem and analysis of the varieties grown by farmers
- Matching the characteristics of farmers’ varieties with those of the scientists’ pre-release lines
- On-farm trials
- Farmers’ evaluation of genetic material
Farmers and Scientists Have Complimentary Activities
- Farmers diagnose analyze; scientists catalyze, advise
- Farmers choose; scientists search and supply
- Farmers experiment; scientists support, consult
- Farmers evaluate; scientists facilitate
Farmers’ criteria and priorities are elicited in semi-structured interviews using participatory methods:
- Pairwise ranking
- Direct matrix ranking