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African Crop Science Journal
African Crop Science Society
ISSN: 1021-9730
EISSN: 2072-6589
Vol. 5, No. 1, 1997, pp. 65-76
Bioline Code: cs97009
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Crop Science Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1997, pp. 65-76

 en Gender and variety selection: Farmers' assessment of local maize varieties in southern Mali
Defoer, Toon; Kamara, Abdoulaye & De Groote, Hugo


In order to respond to the variability of local conditions and production objectives, farmers in southern Mali generally grow several varieties of maize, representing different characteristics. Their selection criteria have been reported to be quite different from those of breeders. Moreover, women's criteria for processing and consumption have often been neglected. The complexity and variability of farmers' production strategies and objectives make it difficult to grasp farmers' selection criteria, for both gender. In southern Mali, thematic research on the improvement of cereal varieties consists of testing new varieties on-station, followed by multi-location on-farm trials managed by researchers. Researchers' principal selection criteria are yield maximisation and agro-climatic stability. As such, several high yielding varieties have been selected for extension, but have, however, failed to be widely adopted. A participatory research methodology has been developed to quantify farmers' criteria for growing and prioritising local varieties. Through open evaluations, the relative importance of the different local varieties and their major characteristics, important to farmers, can be depicted. Pair-wise comparisons result in gender specific prioritising of varieties and quantification of decision making criteria. Linking decision making criteria with farmer and farm characteristics assists in explaining underlying objectives and strategies. This new methodology was used to assess local maize varieties in two zones in southern Mali. The results show that there was a wide range of selection criteria other than yield and ecological adaptability. The importance of these criteria differed substantially between zones and among male and female farmers, reflecting their production objectives and strategies. Incorporation of these criteria early in the selection programme could help breeders to produce varieties with a better chance of adoption. Through quantification of these criteria, it is possible to help prioritise breeders' selection criteria and to predict future adoption.

Gender, maize, southern Mali, on-farm

Defoer, Toon; Kamara, Abdoulaye & De Groote, Hugo


Dans le souci de repondre a la variabilite de conditions locales et d'objectifs de production, les paysans au Sud du Mali cultivent generalement plusieurs varietes de mais, representant differentes caracteristiques. Leurs criteres de selection sont bien differents de ceux des selectionneurs. De plus, les criteres des femmes pour la transformation et la consommation ont souvent ete negliges. La complexite et la variabilite des strategies et des objectifs de production des paysans rendent difficile la comprehension des criteres tant pour les paysans que pour les paysannes. Au Sud Mali, la recherche thematique sur l'amelioration des varietes cerealieres consiste a tester des nouvelles varietes en station, suivi par des essais multi-locaux a la ferme mais geres par les chercheurs. Les principaux criteres des chercheurs sont la maximisation des rendements et la stabilite agro-climatique. Plusieurs varietes a haut rendement ont ainsi ete selectionnees, mais n'ont pas ete adoptees sur une grande echelle. Une methodologie de recherche participative a ete developpee pour quantifier les criteres paysans pour la culture et la hierarchisation des varietes locales. A travers les evaluations, l'importance relative des differentes varietes locales et leurs caracteristiques majeures ont pu etre revelees. Les comparaisons varietales par paire aboutissent a une hierarchisation des varietes et une quantification des criteres de decision, differente pour les hommes et les femmes. Lier les criteres de decision avec les caracteristiques du paysan et de son exploitation aide a expliquer les objectifs et strategies sous-jacentes. Cette nouvelle methodologie a ete utilisee pour apprecier les varietes locales de mais au sud Mali. Les resultats montrent qu'il y a un grand spectre de criteres de selection autres que le rendement et l'adaptabilite ecologique. L'importance de ces criteres differe de facon substantielle selon la zone et le genre, refletant les differents objectifs et strategies de production. L'incorporation de ces criteres en debut des programmes de selection aidera les selectionneurs a produire des varietes avec une meilleure probabilite d'adoption. A travers leur quantification il devient possible d'aider les selectionneurs pour la hierarchisation de leurs criteres de selection et pour prevoir leur futur adoption.

Mots Clés
Criteres paysans, genre, mais, selection, varietes, Sud du Mali, Mali

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