Farmer Field Days for Participatory Selection of Promising Wheat and Lentil Cultivars
Farmer field days for participatory selection of promising Wheat and Lentil Cultivars, Pakistan. Wheat, chickpea and lentil are important crops to ensure food and nutritional security in dryland region. However, yield of these are low. Farmers plant local varieties using their own unimproved seeds. Low crop yield affects livelihood of these low income group farming communities majority of who have limited livelihood beyond agriculture. Increasing population and shrinking land and other resources indicate that crop yields in barani areas will have to increase per unit area on a sustainable basis to ensure food and nutritional security. Participatory varietal selection was therefore planned under CRP Dryland Systems to assist rural farming communities under CRP DS by providing them chance to select the most promising cultivars through on-farm PVS trials at representative locations in Chakwal-the hub of the rainfed region. The major objective was to identify promising crop varieties to increase resilience and improved use of marginal lands for crop production. 102 male and 48 female farmers participated in the varietal selection process. The field days effectively involved all stakeholders i.e. farmers, extension agents and scientists in the variety selection process. The idea was new to the communities as they were never involved in the varietal selection process earlier by any organization and was highly appreciated. The active involvement of rural women for evaluation of wheat cooking quality was greatly welcomed and will also pave way for greater women participation in such activities.