Participatory varietal selection (PVS) is one of the most rapid and cost-effective ways for breeders, farmers, and agronomists to identify high-yielding and well adapted varieties to current climate threats and to obtain feedback from the potential end users in the early phases of the breeding cycle (s). On the other hand, a participatory evaluation of improved and local varieties of pearl millet, sorghum, cowpea, and groundnut was conducted in Southern Niger during the growing seasons of 2020 and 2021. The farmers’ varietal and trait preferences were identified through on-farm participatory variety testing and focus group discussions. The findings showed that farmers’ preferred varieties match most often with scientists, and the farmers’ most preferred traits in the study area were yield, yield components, and earliness. The highest average grain yields across environments were recorded from pearl millet variety ICRI-TABI, sorghum variety SSD35, cowpea variety Dan Hajia, and groundnut variety 55-437. In the study area, farmers' strategies for tackling climate change and variability included selecting early maturing varieties with high yields and tolerant to drought, pests, and diseases. These findings could be critical for increasing farmers’ farming systems productivity and thereby contributing to poverty alleviation and food security in the Sahel.
Key words: Participatory varietal selection (PVS); pearl millet; sorghum; cowpea; groundnut; climate change and variability; food security.
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