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Publication | 29 October 2020

Long-term collaboration between farmers' organizations and plant breeding: programmes Sorghum and pearl millet in West Africa

Global Food and Nutrition Security
Sorghum and pearl millet breeders in West Africa have worked together with farmers’ organizations to set priorities for breeding objectives, develop diverse breeding populations, select new experimental varieties, and test these new varieties and hybrids, in addition to producing and disseminating seed. This chapter describes the tools developed, methods used and lessons learned at each of these stages of a breeding programme. The long-term collaboration has allowed adaptation of tools and methods for participatory plant breeding to the specific cultural and crop contexts. Further, it has made it possible to introduce changes in broader development goals, such as farmers’ empowerment through the strengthening of their organizations, women’s empowerment through inclusion of their concerns for food processing and child nutrition in the breeding programme, and the maintenance of agro-biodiversity through the use of local germplasm for developing new breeding populations and methods for farmer management of broad-based breeding populations. This work has led to enhanced varietal diversity cultivated by farmers, as well as greater nutritional diversity.