Performance and Participatory Variety Evaluation of Finger Millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn] Varieties in West Gojam Zone, Northwest Ethiopia
Ten released and elite finger millet varieties were evaluated during 2013 in West Gojam Zone, Northwest Ethiopia under rain fed conditions through involvement of farmers in participatory variety selection. The study was carried out with the specific objectives to: (1) identify farmers’ selection criteria/parameters for finger millet genetic improvement; and (2) select high yielding varieties through participatory variety selection approach. The research was conducted at Adet and Koga Agricultural Research sites in Yilmana-Densa and Mecha Districts (Woredas), respectively. The data were collected from agronomic and Farmers’ Research and Extension Group members with involvement of fifteen (Koga) and seventeen (Adet) farmers of both sexes (male and female) in pair-wise and direct matrix ranking; on varieties, including Necho, Degu, Mecha, Acc.229380, Padet, Tadesse, Debatsi, Gute, Wama
and Barieda. All collected agronomy and farmer selected criteria were analyzed. Combined mean values indicated that, Wama (2067 kgha-1) followed by Gute (1967 kgha-1) and Barieda (1717 kgha-1) were found to be high yielding finger millet varieties, and Debatsie (1367 kgha-1) was identified as the least seed yielding variety. According to farmers’ evaluation criteria, over all higher rank was scored by the varieties Barieda and Degu followed by Wama and Gute varieties, in that order, with reference to ease of threshing, early maturity, high biomass yield and quality. The researcher and farmers together identified and suggested Barieda, Degu, Wama and Gute finger millet varieties for production in different ranks. Among the traits preferred by farmers seed color was given priority at Mecha as well as tillering capacity per mat and number of fingers per panicle at Adet. Early maturation was scored 146.5 and 146.8 days on wama and barieda, respectively. High tillering capacity (6.3) and (5.37) for barieda and degu shown in that order; as well as, low disease susceptibility depicted on barieda, degu and gute. The farmers also prefer white seed color for sale and injera making, and also the black seed color for local beer, arki and bread making. Therefore the results indicated, farmers are interested in a wider range of traits or combinations of traits than breeders expected.