Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) project of early mature rice lines has been visited by Dr. Hossieni, Director General of the Rice Research Institute of Iran
Dr. Maryam Hossieni Chaleshtori, Director General of the Rice Research Institute of Iran, together with Dr. Allahgholipour, an academic member of the RRII and project leader of PPB visited the farmer field of participatory breeding projects in Asalem city in Guilan province on July 17, 2021.
Over the past 50 years, thousands of rice varieties have been introduced by plant breeders to agricultural communities all over the world. Despite the improvement of attributes such as grain yield and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, a significant portion of farmers still prefer local varieties over the improved cultivars. The main reasons for this preference are the absence of a direct relationship between farmers and plant breeders, the lack of knowledge about the needs and preferences of agricultural societies, the differences in crop growth conditions at agricultural research stations and marginal farmers’ fields, and the different agro-ecological conditions among target agro-ecological regions. In addition, local varieties have high quality and stable grain yield under different conditions and overcropping seasons. Over the past two decades, the concept of participatory plant breeding (PPB) has been developed in collaboration with crop breeders, farmers, traders, and consumers to improve the system of introducing new crop varieties. In this approach, there is a direct relationship between farmers/stakeholders and plant breeders.
The released cultivars using participatory plant breeding programs, have higher grain yield and yield stability and increase farmers’ income. In addition, they enhance genetic diversity and accelerate the adoption process of new cultivars by farmers. Participatory breeding programs in close collaboration with farmers/stakeholders can be very useful and can be the future of conventional breeding programs. Releasing two new rice improved cultivars (Gilaneh in 2016 and Anam in 2019) with farmers participatory is an example of the rice breeding success story of the participatory rice breeding program in Iran.
Dr. Hossieni: With respect to the successes of the rice research institute of Iran in participatory plant breeding (PPB) programs, a new sustainability project under the PPB pattern was held in the farmer field in the Lame village of Asalem city with 14 promising lines.
During this visit, Mr. Shakoorian, a local pioneer farmer, explained the response of the cultivated lines and enumerated the advantages of selected lines in case of early maturity, tolerance to lodging, and disease.
As the selected paddy fields are located in an area that is faced with a lack of available irrigation water, farmers prefer good quality early mature varieties. Thus the rice research institute of Iran to cope with this upgrowing problem cultivated a set of promising early mature and high cooking quality lines.
Dr. Hossieni in her visit said that we hope among them, 2 lines be superior in terms of maturity and other traits.
Previously, Mr. Shakoorian after the adaptation test, 4 hectares of his paddy field allocated for the cultivation of Anam cultivar which had entered the reproductive stage 10 days earlier than the local variety (Hashemi). Last year average yield of Anam in the mentioned farm was about 6 tons per hectare, which is at least 2 tons more than the local Hashemi cultivar. The farmer was satisfied with the cultivation of the Anam cultivar and for the third year continuously had allocated the whole field to the Anam cultivar.
Dr. Hossieni at the end of her visit pointed out that we will arrange an extension visit for local farmers at the harvesting time to have an on-farm program to transfer and share of research findings of this project with them. Because the purpose of introducing new rice cultivars is to improve the quantity and quality of rice production.