Aspects of participatory plant breeding for quinoa in marginal areas of Ecuador

E. McElhinny, E. Peralta, N. Mazon, D.L. Danial, G. Thiele, P. Lindhout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Field trials were carried out in Ecuador with two indigenous communities, Ninín Cachipata and La Esperanza, to determine farmers¿ preferences for quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) cultivars and to improve PPB processes. More women than men participated, reflecting that quinoa, a primarily subsistence crop, is mainly managed by women. Farmers¿ field selection criteria for quinoa in the field were mostly based on yield, earliness and plant colour; however only breeders¿ measurements of yield and panicle height significantly correlated to farmer selection scores. Older women gave higher scores than younger women or men, apparently due to a concept of no cultivar being without value. Working in same gender pairs improved evaluation richness. INIAP technicians were more discriminating in their evaluations than farmers. They also used additional selection criteria of disease resistance and uniformity. At seed selection, farmers from Ninín Cachipata, where food security is not assured, chose lines based on yield, while farmers from La Esperanza, where resources are less limiting, also considered seed size, colour, saponin content and marketability. Field characteristics were not taken into consideration at seed selection, signifying that farmers are less interested in those characteristics, or that it was difficult for them to correlate field data when presented in tabular form with seed characteristics. Future trials with small farmers should have fewer lines or replications to avoid farmer fatigue during evaluation. Farmers who grow primarily for subsistence in semi-arid environments have more interest in growing quinoa, and more to gain from having improved cultivars; therefore future participatory efforts should focus on them
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-384
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • selection
  • farmers


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