The main objective of the trial was to select best bet maize technologies through on-farm participatory evaluations of three maize varieties (BH661, BH546, and BH540) in combination with two different plant populations (44,444 plants ha-1 and 66666 plants ha-1), which was run on fifteen farmers’ plots in four districts. According to farmers’ selection, BH661variety was the most disease tolerant at all testing sites and it was also preferred for its seed size and color, grain weight, marketability, and stover. However, the variety was rejected by most of the farmers since its susceptibility to lodging. On the other hand, BH546 variety was preferred as the best variety in terms of disease and lodging tolerance as well as yield, and hence they liked to grow it at a higher plant population. The result of agronomic data also confirmed the highest lodging percentage (42%) for BH661variety was recorded at more than 70% of the total implementing farmers. However, the yield of BH546 variety was significantly higher at all locations. In addition, the majority of the farmers had a yield benefit of 11.5% more from BH546 variety with an increased plant population. The yield of BH661variety was decreased by 20% at not less than 70% of farmers’ plot as its population increased-1. Few farmers preferred to use it with a lower population in areas of higher altitude, like Wayu Tuka. Thus, BH546 variety plus 66666 plants ha-1 (75cm x 20cm) is the best preferable technology for wide dissemination and adoption to increase maize productivity. On the other hand, all farmers suggested that BH661variety is the most desirable variety if its plant height is modified to medium one. However, the variety can be used in some of the specific locations by practicing 75cm x 30cm spacing. About 50% involvements of women farmers in maize production were determined by groups of farmers from the time of land preparation to storage practices. Therefore, women labor saving tools are some of the main solutions that may help to reduce women workload. Efforts are needed to empower the women on household issues like empowering on marketing cases of agricultural outputs.
Keywords: Gender role, maize varieties, participatory selection, plant population.