Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) is increasingly considered as an efficient and effective methodology to develop improved crop germplasm specifically adapted to drought as well as to the complex of stresses characterizing the marginal environments where rural poverty is widespread. The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ/CIHEAM) has promoted for many years the implementation of selection and genetic improvement programmes in the main species of interest for the Mediterranean region through training, thematic research networks and research projects. ICARDA has pioneered the implementation of PPB programmes in a number of Mediterranean and other developing countries, and has developed a methodological package, which would allow a broad implementation of PPB as the way in which plant breeding is conducted for the drought prone regions in the Mediterranean countries. The Specific Support Action will establish a working group of 15 scientists responsible for plant breeding in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Greece, Italy, France and Spain that will develop plans and strategies on how to develop PPB programs in drought prone areas in a one-month Consultative Workshop in Syria, which is hosting one of the most advanced PPB programs. In the Workshop, the working group will be exposed to the implementation of PPB on the ground, to its technical aspects, and to the reaction of farmers, scientists, extension organizations, seed companies, and research managers. The proposed consultative workshop will develop an agreed strategy on PPB, aiming at its adoption as plant breeding strategy for drought prone areas. The Workshop might develop a curriculum to introduce PPB in forma University courses, regular degree or non-degree training courses, and eventually a European PPB Working Group. The outputs of the Workshop will be disseminated through the web, CD's, and booklets.
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