Participatory evaluation of drought tolerant maize varieties in the Guinea Savanna of Ghana using mother and baby trial design
Maize (Zea mays) is a major food crop in Ghana but grain yields are low as a result of drought and low soil fertility. This study evaluated drought tolerant maize varieties in 2008 and 2009 in the Guinea savanna of Ghana using researcher-managed mother and farmer-managed baby trial design. Mean grain yields ranged between 2574 and 3462 kg/ha for the mother trials and 1460 and 2328 kg/ha for baby trials. Several improved varieties performed better than the best local varieties, but two preferred varieties, TZEE Y POP STR QPM C0 and EVDT W 99 STR QPM CO which produced 35-52% more grain than the best local varieties of similar maturity rating were released in 2010. Farmers have multiple criteria for evaluating maize varieties apart from yield, though yield, larger cob and grain size were the three key criteria used by farmers to select and rank varieties. Researchers should incorporate farmers’ preferences in selecting varieties in the breeding process in order to increase likelihood of adoption of the varieties.
Keywords: Drought-tolerant maize, farmer preference, mother and baby, participatory