Thesis subject

Introducing new varieties through participatory variety selection and crowdsourcing in Ethiopia

From 2017-2019 ISSD has (as one of its activities) supported the deployment of seed of improved and local varieties. In 2019, 343 varieties of 20 crops were deployed across 181 villages in 52 woredas. Using a Participatory Variety Selection and CrowdSourcing approach, men and women's farmers preferences for varieties and varietal traits were recorded. Seed of most of these varieties were collected from agricultural research centres (ARCs), and several local varieties were evaluated also. PVS and CS proved an important means to introduce varieties that farmers are not familiar with.

Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (part of WUR) manages several Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) projects. The ISSD Ethiopia project has been working for the past 10 years to improve female and male smallholder farmer use of quality seed of new, improved, and/or farmer preferred varieties.

To what extent is participatory variety selection (PVS) and crowdsourcing (CS) sustainable and effective in diversifying crop portfolios of men and women farmers in Ethiopia:

  • Are men and women farmers satisfied with the varieties introduced?
  • Has CS been effective in introducing new varieties?
  • Are the new varieties included in current crop portfolios?
  • What are the sources of the preferred varieties?
  • Is CS effective as a research-extension linkage?
  • What is the scalability of CS?

Type of research activities

Survey, focus group discussions with farmers, key informant interviews with research and extension stakeholders. Both quantitative and qualitative.

Type of student

A committed student with good analytic skills, available from April - June. Interested in approach of crowdsourcing farmer’s preferences for new varieties. Able to write an concise thesis report which can be used for learning about ISSD Ethiopia project impact