Farmers’ perception of suitable upland ‘Ahu’ rice varieties in Assam

Farmers’ perception of suitability criteria for direct seeded upland ‘Ahu’ rice varieties with emphasis on the role played by ethno-cultural settings through application of various Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools and experimentation in the farmers’ field was studied. It indicated that any upland ‘Ahu’ rice variety to be acceptable to the farmers of the study area should be high yielding, non-lodging, semi-tall (120 cm), early maturing (100 days) with quick early vigour, deep green leaves, well exerted long and heavy panicles, reasonable duration of seed dormancy, desired grain quality and resistance to rice gundhi bug, stem borers, blast and brown spot disease. The study indicated that the farmers’ suitability perception of a variety even for similar growing environment might vary in different accounts due to ethno-cultural diversity suggesting the requirement of considering the ethno-cultural settings too along with the agro-ecological parameters of the target environments while deciding the breeding goals.