Participatory Variety Selection for enhanced promotion and adoption of improved finger millet varieties: A case for Singida and Iramba Districts in Central Tanzania

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Henry Ojulong


Participatory variety selection (PVS) is an approach which provides a wide choice of varieties to farmers to evaluate in their own environment using their own resources for increasing production. It enhances farmer’s access to diverse crop varieties, increases production and ensures food security and helps faster dissemination and adoption of pre and released varieties. It allows varietal selection in targeted areas at cost-effective and timely manner and helps promotion of community seed production and community seed banks. Therefore, a variety developed through PVS usually meets demand of different stakeholders. Farmers in Singida and Iramba districts in central Tanzania were found to be growing land races which were low yielding, long maturing, drought and disease susceptible, as no variety had previously been released in Tanzania. Through PVS a broader choice of varieties that matched farmer needs in adaptation and quality traits was offered for evaluation. As such PVS was used to introduce, evaluate, release and promote for adoption finger millet varieties in Central and Northern Tanzania. Farmers selected and adopted new varieties of a higher utility (a combination of improved agronomic traits, higher yield, and improved quality). Through PVS Tanzania released her first finger millet varieties (U15 and P224). Adoption of the varieties was very high as farmers associated with the varieties; and affordable high quality seed was made available as Quality Declared Seed (QDS) produced by the target farmer groups.

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