Sunday, March 28, 2010


Today’s agriculture is like a huge inverted pyramid. Globally, it rests on a precariously narrow base. Less than 3% of the 250 000 plant varieties available to agriculture are in use today. The top-down system of agricultural research, where farmers are seen merely as recipients of research rather than as participants in it, has contributed to this dependence on a relatively few plant varieties. This trend and the increasing industrialization of agriculture are key factors in what can only be called “genetic erosion.” A new approach to agricultural research and development is needed to conserve agricultural diversity, improve crops, and produce food of quality for all.

What is “participatory plant breeding” and how can it contribute both to increasing the productivity of resource-poor farmers in the developing world and to enhancing agricultural diversity?

Project stories and research results illustrate how farmers and plant breeders are working together in remote regions from the Andes to the Himalayas and beyond.

A decade of research leads to a series of specific recommendations for governments and organizations involved in agricultural research and development.
This in_focus website assembles a variety of resources on participatory plant breeding (PPB). Including slide presentations, short stories, case studies, research reports, books, etc., the site presents an overview of PPB, results of IDRC-supported research, and the important lessons that have been learned.