FOSRIN: Food security through ricebean research in India and Nepal

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Work packages: WP4

Workpackages 2, 3 and 4 are all concerned with characterising the genetic resources available within Vigna umbellata in both Nepal and India, and collectively address project objective 2

Workpackage 4 addresses objective 2.3

Germplasm will be characterised and evaluated, by farmers and researchers, using Mother and Baby trials. Variants of this system have been used widely to great effect in a range of crops (Joshi & Witcombe, 1996), including rice (Gridley et al, 2002) and maize (Witcombe et al, 2003). At each location, a Mother trial consists of a single block of a randomised complete block (RCB) design. Each Mother trials consists of several germplasm lines, selected to meet the identified needs of farmers within WP2. Mother trials facilitate direct comparison of all entries together and allow the collection of statistically analysable data on yield per hectare as the Mother trials are replicated across farmers’ fields. There are only a few Mother trials compared to the number of Baby trials. As a minimum, three Mother trials will be grown in each of two villages, with each Mother trial grown, using their own management practices, by different farmers in different fields. Baby trials will consist of one, or sometimes two, of the germplasm lines from the Mother trial grown by individual farmers who will compare them to a local check variety. There are many more Baby trials than Mother trials and each new line will be tested by at least six farmers at each location. Baby trials give statistically analysable data on farmers’ perceptions and acceptance of new germplasm. Feedback from farmers during the Mother and Baby trial exercise will identify additional problems and constraints that can be addressed by additional, backup research. Moreover, the relative importance of traits derived from participatory trials can be used to support the development of a legume trait value index.

The endpoints will be information on the performance of available germplasm in a wide range of environments and detailed knowledge of farmers’ likes and dislikes concerning ricebean varieties and traits. This information can then be used to target genotypes to particular situations and to identify gaps where additional breeding efforts (aided by information from WP1, WP2 and WP3) can be used to produce ricebean genotypes that best meet the needs of resource-poor farmers.

Joshi, A. & Witcombe, J. R. (1996) Farmer participatory crop improvement II: Participatory varietal selection in India. Experimental Agriculture  32:461:477

Gridley, H.E., Jones, M.P. and Wopereis-Pura, M. (2002). Development of new rice for Africa (NERICA) and participatory varietal selection. In Breeding rainfed rice for drought-prone environments: integrating conventional and participatory plant breeding in South and Southeast Asia. Proceedings of a DFID Plant Sciences Research Programme/IRRI Conference, 12-15 March 2002, IRRI, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, 23-28 (Eds J.R. Witcombe, L.B. Parr and G.N. Atlin). Bangor and Manila: Department for International Development (DFID) Plant Sciences Research Programme, Centre for Arid Zone Studies (CAZS) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Witcombe, J.R., Joshi, A. & Goyal, S.N. (2003). Participatory plant breeding in maize: A case study from Gujarat, India. Euphytica 130:413-422


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