As the result of a highly client oriented breeding programme in eastern India, two rice varieties (Ashoka 200F and Ashoka 228) were officially recommended for the upland rainfed farming systems in Jharkhand. Surveys were undertaken in 2002 and 2004 to determine their impact, over 2002, 2003 and 2004, on the livelihoods of farmers in eastern India. Farmer preference for the new varieties was high. In 2002, about 97% of farmers indicated that they would grow the new varieties next year, and 90%, or more, farmers perceived them to be higher yielding. Most farmers also perceived the new varieties to be earlier, higher yielding, and more resistant to drought and lodging. In the 2004 survey, farmers reported that in 2002 and 2003 their grain fetched a higher price in the market (an average premium of 12%). The new varieties significantly improved household income, with most farming households reporting that the effect on income was large. In the 2004 survey, over 60% of farmers reported increases in onfarm income of at least 20%. Farmers adopt the varieties on a high proportion of their uplands, and in villages that had only recent access to seed overall adoption was around 26% of the upland rice area. Seed multiplication is being undertaken by non-governmental and governmental organisations to meet the high demand for seed. A seed multiplication and dissemination programme is also underway in western India where the varieties have also proven to be highly accepted by farmers. In 2004, Ashoka 200F was officially recommended for cultivation in Rajasthan state. A financial analysis, using conservative assumptions showed that the cumulative benefits from this project will be greater than the total expenditure on the Plant Sciences Research Programme for the period 1995 to 2005.
Virk, D.S.; Bourai, V.A.; Choudhary, A.; Misra, M.; Witcombe, J.R.; Mottram, A. Highly client-oriented breeding: The impact of two upland rice varieties in eastern India. (2005) 16 pp.