Participatory plant breeding in rice for high potential production systems in the terai and low hills of Nepal. Final Technical Report.
We started participatory plant breeding (PPB) in rice for high potential production systems (HPPSs) in the inner terai (Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts) and low hills of Nepal in March 1998. The project purpose was to test the applicability of PPB to more favourable environments. To do this we developed productive strains and genotypes through PPB and promoted them in the target environments. The programme was initiated with F3 lines of two crosses obtained from GVT East, India. A few carefully chosen crosses were subsequently made, involving a large population size targeted for different rice production systems in Chaite and Main seasons. The project activities included selection of genotypes in the target environments; involvement of participating farmers in pre- and post-harvest evaluation; testing advanced lines widely; scaling-up PPB processes and products, and dissemination. By the end of the 2001 Main season, we had selected 72 advanced breeding lines from seven crosses. Simple modified bulk and equal seed descent (ESD) breeding methods were used to extract these lines, which allowed increased farmer participation in the programme. Farmers selected during pre- and post-harvest evaluations of genotypes. Organoleptic taste assessment and micromilling were important selection criteria. The seed of superior lines were increased and tested in a wider area through another DFID/PSP project, R8071. In an effort to integrate the products of PPB into the national system, Chaite and Barkhe lines were included into national disease-screening nurseries of the National Rice Research Program. It was found that PPB products are resistant to, or tolerant of, blast (leaf and neck blast) and bacterial leaf blight (BLB). PPB in HPPSs has been successful in generating breeding lines of diverse duration suitable for varying production environments and input levels, and having tolerance to a range of abiotic and biotic stresses. Furthermore, partnerships with CBOs, NARC and DOA were established to share new knowledge, as well as disseminate PPB outputs to the stakeholders. The outputs of this project have thus directly contributed to DFID's development goals.