Farmers' participatory approach using indigenous rice (Oryza sativa L.) crop diversity in mountain agriculture towards improvement of farm income

A number of rice landraces known from Kashmir valley (India) mostly belong to short grained japonica types and some of them like MushkBudgi, Kamad, Nun Bouel, etc.are highly aromatic and the cooked rice is tasty with desirable texture. After successful revival programme of some elite rice landraces in 2013, the participatory trials were conducted during 2014 and continued during 2015 in association with farmers of the niche areas through a unique way of multi-varietal trials (Mother trials) and a single variety trials (Baby trials). Paired 't' comparisons illustrated significant yield advantage of improved Mushkbudji (IMB) and improved Kamad (IKD) of 17% and 22.8% over respective farmer's variety during 2014,whereas, the yield superiority of 31.6% and 26.5% was recorded during 2015. The preference for IMB was significantly high with respect to most of the traits. The economics of cultivation showed that IMB is the best commercial and competitive choice for the farmers providing a net benefit of Rs. 2.50 lacs /ha which is around 150% more than any non-aromatic variety. The study also revealed role of farmer's participation and market links in conserving and maintaining the rice biodiversity in the niche areas for future.