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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access September 2, 2017

Participatory Variety Selection: A Tool to Understand Farmers′ Potato Variety Selection Criteria

  • Semagn Asredie Kolech EMAIL logo , Walter De Jong , Keith Perry , Donald Halseth and Fentahun Mengistu
From the journal Open Agriculture


Although the Ethiopian potato program has released more than 30 new varieties, selected primarily for yield potential and late blight tolerance, the majority of farmers still choose to grow older ‘local varieties’. Cognizant of this, the current study aimed to identify traits that farmers consider most important when deciding which varieties to grow. The study was conducted at two sites in northwest Ethiopia, representing two major agroecological zones, in two distinct growing seasons, using a participatory variety selection approach. Diseasefree seed tubers of nine local and three new varieties were planted. Twenty-three traits were found to influence the varieties that farmers selected and seven of them differed between agroecological zones. Gender differences were also observed for three of the 23 traits at Laigaint (submoist cool agroecology). Of the 23 traits, 12 were considered very important in one or both of the agroecological zones as well as in at least one growing season. At present eight of these 12 traits are not given high priority by the Ethiopian potato variety selection program. The results show that farmers′ selection criteria are very diverse, that no variety possesses all desirable characteristics, and that there is a need for selecting varieties adapted to different agroecologies and growing seasons. This study further suggests that taking farmer interests into account is important for a highly heterozygous, clonally-propagated crop like potato to be accepted by farmers.


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Received: 2016-12-28
Accepted: 2017-5-20
Published Online: 2017-9-2
Published in Print: 2017-8-28

© 2017

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

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