The content is primarily based on the experience of FiBL staff from ten years of implementing participatory plant breeding of organic cotton and on related farmers’ workshops in the decentralised participatory organic cotton breeding projects "Green Cotton" (www.greencotton.org) and "Seeding the Green Future" (www.SGF-cotton.org). The manual also features insights from FiBL master students exploring participatory methodologies and the fast-growing source of relevant scientific literature and guidelines on participatory breeding and participatory research in general, as well as experiences gained in the collaboration with smallholders, researchers, breeders and value chain partners.
The manual was produced with the support of Mercator Foundation Switzerland, the Organic Cotton Accelerator and The Giving Circle of Amsterdam Foundation. It can serve as a blueprint for replication and upscaling of PPB in different regions of India and other countries.
The workshops and trainings outlined are not just limited to the cotton crop, and can be followed by any institution, small group or an individual working on participatory plant breeding. This manual also has the potential to be translated into different local languages thereby catering to different audiences, maximising its outreach and widespread adoption.
The guide begins with a brief introduction of Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB), followed by seven sections on participatory cultivar evaluation including management of replicated mother trials and on-farm baby and pilot trials, making of crosses to create genetic diversity, plant selection in segregating populations (F2 – F8), maintenance breeding and multiplication, organic seed production and seed quality, and lastly commercialisation of cultivars to shed some light on the cultivar release process for both, the public and the private sector in India with emphasis on farmers and breeders.
The 84-page manual is available for free download at shop.fibl.org. A print version is in preparation.
fibl.org: Guide on Participatory On-Farm Breeding of Organic Cotton