Rice production in Northeast Thailand has been suffering because of drought and limited irrigation. In this area, glutinous rice is generally produced for household consumption. The new drought-tolerant glutinous rice, RD12, developed to target drought-prone area in Northeast Thailand, was approved by the Rice Department in 2007. The breeding of this new variety has incorporated farmers’ participation to identify preferred traits. This study aims to determine key factors contributing to the adoption of RD12 by focusing on farmers’ preference for traits subjectively selected from the farmer participatory varietal selection (PVS) program. Key findings are that farmers who are exposed to more late-season drought because their fields are at higher elevations are more likely to adopt drought-tolerant varieties despite their preference for other better tasting varieties. Also, those who prefer the cooking characteristics of RD12 are more likely to adopt it, instead of the existing drought-tolerant variety. These two characteristics are significant for the adoption of RD12 and were identified as a result of PVS. This suggests that PVS is essential in the breeding program to promote new and appropriate technology to farmers.
Key words: Rice, drought tolerant, Thailand, adoption, participatory varietal selection, participatory breeding.
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