Crop, Conservation, Creativity and Collaboration
Gupta, Anil K.
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Participatory plant breeding has attracted lot of attention in the recent past. However, most of the time, farmers’ involvement has been restricted to selections from the material generated by plant breeders as a part of their institutional research. In this paper, I share a few examples of varieties developed by farmers arguing in the process for creating a special window of opportunity at the national and international level for such innovations. A portfolio of monetary and non-monetary incentives aimed at individuals and communities will be necessary for the purpose. The incentives should also reinforce the synergy between technology, institutions and culture. The incentive should be not only for conservation function but also for augmentation; innovation and diffusion function so that a complete value chain of agro biodiversity develops. An argument is also made for modifying the passport data sheets of the gene banks which have practically no information on food processing knowledge about various germplasm generated by the local communities, in particular, women. This neglect is not understandable except as a mark of inertia, when the demand for processed food is increasing so much every day. In the end, I suggest that taxonomy of farmers’ selection criteria be paid special attention. Crop, livestock, craft and tree characteristics are looked at together while understanding the selection criteria. The breeding strategy for dryland be modified so that we do not continue to screen germplasm only or mainly on grain criteria (higher harvest index) to the neglect of fodder quality and quantity. The role of PPVFRA is crucial in bringing about the suggested changes.
- Working Papers