Varietal identification in household surveys

Results from three household-based methods against the benchmark of DNA fingerprinting in southern Ethiopia

Frédéric Kosmowski, Abiyot Aragaw, Andrzej Kilian, Alemayehu Ambel, John Ilukor, Biratu Yigezu, James Stevenson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Accurate crop varietal identification is the backbone of any high-quality assessment of outcomes and impacts. Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) varieties have important nutritional differences, and there is a strong interest to identify nutritionally superior varieties for dissemination. In agricultural household surveys, such information is often collected based on the farmer's self-report. In this article, we present the results of a data capture experiment on sweet potato varietal identification in southern Ethiopia. Three household-based methods of identifying varietal adoption are tested against the benchmark of DNA fingerprinting: (A) Elicitation from farmers with basic questions for the most widely planted variety; (B) Farmer elicitation on five sweet potato phenotypic attributes by showing a visual-aid protocol; and (C) Enumerator recording observations on five sweet potato phenotypic attributes using a visual-aid protocol and visiting the field. In total, 20% of farmers identified a variety as improved when in fact it was local and 19% identified a variety as local when it was in fact improved. The variety names given by farmers delivered inconsistent and inaccurate varietal identities. Visual-aid protocols employed in methods B and C were better than those in method A, but greatly underestimated the adoption estimates given by the DNA fingerprinting method. Our results suggest that estimating the adoption of improved varieties with methods based on farmer self-reports is questionable and point towards a wider use of DNA fingerprinting in adoption and impact assessments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-385
    Number of pages15
    JournalExperimental Agriculture
    Volume55
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

    Fingerprint

    household surveys
    DNA fingerprinting
    Ethiopia
    households
    visual aids
    farmers
    sweet potatoes
    methodology
    Ipomoea batatas
    cultivars
    crops

    Cite this

    Kosmowski, Frédéric ; Aragaw, Abiyot ; Kilian, Andrzej ; Ambel, Alemayehu ; Ilukor, John ; Yigezu, Biratu ; Stevenson, James. / Varietal identification in household surveys : Results from three household-based methods against the benchmark of DNA fingerprinting in southern Ethiopia. In: Experimental Agriculture. 2019 ; Vol. 55, No. 3. pp. 371-385.
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    Varietal identification in household surveys : Results from three household-based methods against the benchmark of DNA fingerprinting in southern Ethiopia. / Kosmowski, Frédéric; Aragaw, Abiyot; Kilian, Andrzej; Ambel, Alemayehu; Ilukor, John; Yigezu, Biratu; Stevenson, James.

    In: Experimental Agriculture, Vol. 55, No. 3, 01.06.2019, p. 371-385.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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