Impact of New Upland Rice Varieties in Eastern India from Client-Oriented Breeding: Evidence from Whole Village Surveys
A collaborative client-oriented breeding programme between the Gramin Vikas Trust (GVT), Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) and Centre for Arid Zone Studies (CAZS) resulted in the production of two new upland rice varieties, Ashoka 228 and Ashoka 200F. Since 2001, these varieties have been distributed to a number of farmers in Western and Eastern India. Whole village surveys of a sample of the villages in Eastern India, that had been supplied with seed by GVT, showed adoption levels of up to 63% of the current upland rice production areas within three years, with a potential to increase further into other fallow areas of the upland. Farmers are adopting the Ashoka varieties because they are high yielding, mature early, are drought resistant and have a good taste and short cooking time. Farmers, as well as increasing the area under these varieties on their own farms, sold or exchanged seed to other farmers Cultivation of Ashoka has had a large impact on farmers' livelihoods particularly in terms of food security where often this has been increased by 1-2 months, in some cases making grain-deficit households self-sufficient. This survey was done to triangulate the results of two previous surveys. It confirmed the results that farmers like the new varieties, adopt them on a high proportion of their upland, and distribute the seed to others. The proportion of upland rice areas devoted to the new varieties was uniformly high whatever the method of assessment employed.