Crumb Trail
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Monday, September 01, 2003

Farmers needs are key to acceptance of new crops:

"While high-yield varieties developed through traditional agricultural research methods have been adopted successfully in some areas of Africa, less than 11 percent of the cropland in the upland West African rice belt is planted with them, says Dalton. Through his research, he found that farmers value factors such as plant height, days to maturity and processing characteristics more than how much a plant yields."

Research scientists often unconsciously assume that agronomic practices are uniform or that they will change as needed to reap the benefits of improved cultivars. One consequence is that new cultivars are sometimes not well received but it may also be that cultivars that would be well received are not developed.

"What I've done is derive some of the economic values of different crop traits which can then be used by breeders to move directly toward useful technologies," says Dalton. "My paper is novel in its use of a quantitative approach, but the trend toward more participation by farmers in research and development is getting to be commonplace throughout international ag research groups in developing countries."

Quite sensible.

posted by back40 | 9/01/2003 12:39:00 PM


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