Farmers' Preference for Rice Traits: Insights from Farm Surveys in Central Luzon, Philippines, 1966-2012.
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Many modern rice varieties (MVs) have been released but only a few have been widely adopted by farmers. To understand farmers' preferences, we characterized MVs released in the Philippines from 1966 to 2013 and identified important characteristics of the varieties that were widely adopted in Central Luzon using farm surveys conducted in 1966-2012. We found that farmers adopt MVs that are high yielding, mature faster, and have long and slender grains, high milling recovery, and intermediate amylose content. The amylose content of adopted varieties has been declining, suggesting value in developing softer rice. To have a high potential for adoption, new MVs should have characteristics within the ranges of values observed for the adopted MVs. In addition, new MVs should have higher head rice recovery, less chalky grains, and better resistance to pests and diseases. Most MVs released in 2005-2013 compared poorly in these three traits. To reduce the risk of severe outbreaks, broad spectrum resistance should be incorporated into new MVs. This analysis of five decades of farm surveys provides insights into the varietal characteristics preferred by farmers which could contribute to the establishment of a product profile for developing improved MVs that are more targeted and, hence, would have high potential for adoption by farmers in Central Luzon and similar areas. We recommend a similar analysis be done in other major rice growing regions to aid the development of MVs that are more responsive to farmers' needs and preferences.
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