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Home > Basin > Karkheh > Outscaling community-based water management (SG511)

Full Project Title: Outscaling and upscaling community-based water management strategies in the Karkheh River Basin (SG511)


Drought is one of the major factors limiting crop production worldwide. Although enormous effort has been put into conventional breeding programmes for both drought and salt tolerance, there has been little progress in producing varieties that are adopted by farmers in their fields. This is largely due to the lack of consideration given to the specific needs of farmers in drought conditions and salt-affected soil and water environments.

The project aimed to create an enabling policy environment for establishing, and then upscaling and outscaling Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) in Iran for increased food production and improved water productivity in cereal based farming.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Trials in two very different contexts allowed experimenting with the PPB methodology in different environmental, agronomic and social/institutional conditions. We are able to compare the two different situations and develop various models, for example working in areas where we may be able to count on the support of the formal sector, and in those where only farmers and NGOs would be working on their own.
  • Two years of fieldwork were followed by the launch of the first National PPB Workshop in Iran in October 2008 which presented the PPB experience to a wider audience and was an important step in establishing PPB as an important alternative approach to breeding research.
  • New PPB trials have also been started, including with mixed seeds, triticale and evolutionary breeding.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

The cycle of an average PPB programme is 4-5 years so the programme is continuing beyond the lifetime of this particular project. Although the final results are expected after the closing of this project, the interest already achieved in PPB in Iran, and the results achieved in other countries suggests that the demand for PPB among farmers and other stakeholders will continue to grow.

Interest among farmers is considerable and the clearest trend since the launch of the PPB project has been that farmers are learning the importance of genetic diversity in their fields, particularly as a strategy to deal with harsh environmental conditions (including climate change) as well as its role in sustainable and organic agriculture. Perhaps it is not

Publications and Outputs

Selected publications and outputs

Reports (in English)

  1. Final declaration of the first national PPB workshop

Reports (in Persian)

  1. 17th meeting of the Scientific Association of Agroecology of Iran (PPB presentations followed by discussions)
  2. Final report of the first national PPB workshop
  3. Final declaration of the first national PPB workshop
  4. How to revive landraces and evolutionary breeding
  5. Discussions among farmers from Garmsar and Kermanshah
  6. Report of the participation of Iranian farmers in ICARDA’s Farmers’ Conference
  7. Views of farmer elders on the importance of preserving landraces
  8. Discussions between farmers and scientists of the National Gene Bank

Powerpoint presentations (in Persian)

  1. PPB: Strategy for sustainable development of rain-fed agriculture
  2. Implementation of PPB with farmers and ICARDA, Ahmad Taheri (farmer)
  3. First year activities of PPB from the point of view of farmers, Ahmad Taheri
  4. The system of control, certification, registration and introduction of plant varieties in Iran, Samad Mobasser, SPCRI
  5. Is using farm-saved seeds illegal? Maryam Rahmanian, CENESTA

Brochures in Persian

  1. “Agricultural biodiversity: a fundamental strategy for confronting climate change and drought”
  2. “Is using farm-saved seeds illegal?”
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.