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The Role of NGOs in the Popularisation of Varieties: A Case Study from Western India

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Focus Region:
Asia and the Pacific
Focus Topic:
Institutions / Organizations
Type of Risk:
Policy & institutional
Biological & environmental
Garg, M.; Sodhi, P.S.; Joshi, A.

In this chapter we analyse the role of NGOs in the identification of cultivars for farmers and the
multiplication and distribution of seeds to farmers.
The work reported here was based at the KRIBHCO Indo-British Rainfed Farming Project
(KRIBP(W)), a British Overseas Development Administration (ODA) funded project operating in
the districts of Banswara (Rajasthan), Panchmahals (Gujarat) and Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh) to
address the needs of smallholders and tribal farmers. The project in its initial phase has identified
several production constraints relating to existing farming systems. Drawing the lessons from the
participatory appraisals conducted in various project villages it is clear that seed related
technologies could improve the production levels significantly.
The project has initiated Farmer Managed Participatory Research Trials (FAMPAR), on various
crops involving several hundred farmers and found that some modern varieties, if appropriate to the
local environments, are accepted not only by the farmers who have tried these varieties but also by
farmers who have seen these MVs growing in or around their villages.
In many cases, the project has learned that the varieties which have been accepted by farmers are
not the ones which have been formally released, notified and recommended by state agricultural
universities and state department of agriculture of the three states under study (see section 2, and
Annex 5). Some of the most popular introduced varieties (such as Kalinga III) were released in
distant states, and, under present conditions, since they are not officially recognised, their
popularisation must depend on organisations other than the universities and agriculture departments
within the three states in which the project operates.
Numerous NGOs work in these three states and this study was initiated to examine their
potential in offering introduced varieties to the farmers with whom they are working. Contacts were
made with NGOs involved in seed-related activities and their activities summarised, especially
those related to the identification of appropriate cultivars using participatory techniques, and the
multiplication of seed using community-based systems. The objectives of the study were to produce
a list of NGOs whose activities involve demonstrating and supplying seed of recommended
cultivars and to establish a network of NGOs willing to collaborate with the KRIBP project on seed
technology related issues in particular, and participatory approaches to farming system development
in general.
To conduct the study, two inter-related methodologies were pursued: i.e., a postal survey of
NGOs; and visits to a selection of responding NGOs.