Degrees of Farmer Participation

There are various degrees of farmer-participation. At its most simple, individual subsistence farmers (or farmers' clubs) are encouraged to keep their best plants for propagation, identified by selecting within local landraces.

Next in complexity are the clubs that undertake actual breeding in a non-industrial country. They produce innumerable new lines that are simply added to the existing gene pool, without records, registration, or any scientific or government interference. The farmers choose, and multiply, and cultivate, accordingly. There is then a gradual improvement in yield and quality throughout the agro-ecosystem in question. This is true self-organisation, without any external interference whatever.

Somewhat more complex are the university and farmers' clubs that register new cultivars and collect royalties (or not, as the choice may be). Registered cultivars can be officially recommended, multiplied, and issued to farmers. Some control is necessary in the sense of keeping records of seed sales, farmers' yields, and other responses.

Finally, there are the plant breeding clubs of industrial countries, with government involvement, scientific sophistication, entrepreneurs, official testing, registered cultivars, royalties, official recommendations, and similar complexities. But this would still be self-organisation.

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