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Aims: To access farmers’ ability to identify traits of their preferred maize varieties and their implication on DUS testing.
Study Design: Purposive Sampling of Maize farmers.
Place and Duration of Study: Data were collected from two (2) districts (Ejura-Sekyeredumasi and Nkoranza North) and villages of Wenchi Municipality of a selected smallholder farming area in Ghana using a survey covering one hundred and seventy (170) maize farmers in 2015.
Methodology: Results indicated a limited selection of hybrids and improved open-pollinated varieties (OPV) grown by farmers in the area under study. More than 90 % of the farmers grew local landraces (Abrohoma or Appiah and Denkyeaburo) and the majority of the farmers were males. The results showed that bulk of the farmers were illiterate and youth farmers showing great prospect to future farming. Hybrids and improved OPVs were planted by less than 10% of the farmers. Abrohoma landraces had a characteristic similar to the hybrids and OPVs according to their abilities and their preferred characteristics of maize varieties with high yield, tolerance to abiotic stress, yield stability, white grain color and drying and shelling qualities. Farmers were willing to grow hybrids and improved (OPVs) if their preference and availability were considered.
Conclusion: The results showed that breeding opportunity exists for improving the farmer's local landraces and their ability to check off type with their long years of experience in growing maize. Plant breeders can therefore take advantage of this by incorporating farmers preferred traits into existing high yielding varieties.